Credit cards can cater to those who rent cars in a range of ways. Find out how you can benefit.
Rewards credit cards offer rewards applicable to the vast majority of spenders out there—there’s usually something for everyone.
A rewards credit card can benefit those who regularly rent vehicles in the following ways:
- You can use rewards points to pay for car rental
- You can earn bonus points when using car rental partners
- Some cards have complimentary rental vehicle excess insurance
Read on to learn more about how each of these benefits works, and how you can compare the cards which offer them.
Car Rental Credit Card Comparison
Using rewards points to pay for car rental
Most of the frequent flyer and rewards programs in the market today allow you to use your points to pay for car rental services. There’s a couple things you should know about this.
Unlike using points to claim with hotels, most programs have only one car hire partner.
For Qantas and American Express this is AVIS, for Virgin Velocity this is Europcar (with Hertz and Thrifty supposedly on their way) and for Westpac Altitude it’s Hertz.
If you regularly use the services of one car hire company in particular you’ll want to see if they’re a partner with any frequent flyer programs.
Different rewards programs allow you to use your points in different ways.
This will also have an impact on how you use your points towards renting a car. Some frequent flyer programs like Qantas’, American Express’ and Westpac Altitude only allow you to redeem your points for car hire vouchers. Others like Virgin Velocity allow you to directly redeem points for car hire.
You can earn bonus points when using car rental partners
Most frequent flyer and rewards programs also allow you to earn bonus points when using car rental services. If we take some of the above examples we can see the extra points able to be earned when hiring a vehicle.
Qantas Frequent Flyer Program
You can earn bonus points for the following car hire partners.
|In Australia||Outside of Australia|
|AVIS||3 points per dollar spent||700 points per rental|
|Budget||3 points per dollar spent||700 points per rental|
Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer Program
|In Australia and New Zealand||Outside Australia and New Zealand|
|Hertz||3 points per dollar spent||800 points per rental|
|Thrifty||3 points per dollar spent||800 points per rental|
|Europcar||3 points per dollar spent||800 points per rental|
There are also bonuses to this rate depending on what Velocity membership level you have.
|Silver||50% bonus points|
|Gold||75% bonus points|
|Platinum||100% bonus points|
Westpac Altitude Program
The Altitude Program also gives cardholders the ability to earn bonus points when hiring a vehicle from Hertz.
|Card used||Bonus points earned|
|Altitude and Altitude Business Cards||1 per dollar spent|
|Altitude Black, Altitude Business Gold, Altitude Platinum, Altitude Platinum Plus||3 per dollar spent|
Complimentary rental vehicle excess insurance
As part of the benefits of many gold and platinum credit cards card providers will give cardholders free insurance policies.
These policies can include complimentary travel insurance and of particular relevance to this article, insurance which covers your excess in the event you have an accident in your rental vehicle and it suffers damage.
How’s it activated?
The activation of this policy differs depending on the card. In most cases you’ll have to pay for your car rental booking using the card.
You’ll also have to be booking with a licensed rental car provider and take out the standard comprehensive insurance provided with rental cars.
Some of these policies will cover the cost for the excess and the cost of returning a vehicle to the nearest depot in the event you make a claim under another section of the policy.
There’s usually a cover limit for each of these two parts of the policies. For excesses the limit is generally around the $5,000 mark, and for the costs of returning a vehicle to the nearest depot you’re usually covered for around $2,000. As always do your own research of the terms and conditions first.
Compare the market today
As you’ve probably noticed, there are quite a few cards out there which offer the benefits listed above, so you’ll want to compare rewards cards out there to find the right one for your use.
The information about earning bonus points and redeeming points with car hire partners can be found easily on the rewards page of the card you’re looking for.
If you want to compare car rental excess you can read about the limits and exclusions on one of our complimentary insurance pages or in the terms and conditions on the card provider’s website.