Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why Hertz is my go-to car rental company

I have been renting cars for personal and business purpose for the last 3 years. By most people’s standard that might not be a long time, but long enough for me to be able to try all the well-established car rental agencies. After 3 years of regular usage, I can confidently say that Hertz is the best car rental company out there. This is not to say I have not had the occasional “bad experience” with them, but in the larger scheme of things, they are the best. Here’s why I like them over others:

1.       Ease of booking: the first and foremost thing. After all, to get car you need to book it. And that’s where Hertz scores over the others. Their website is user friendly and intuitive. Doesn’t take long to make your booking and it’s easy to modify it from any stage of the process. They have an app also, that provides similar ease of booking. So even if I am on the road and want to make a car reservation for pick up, I can do it. The only issue, sometimes it doesn’t let me book car for the very hour I want it. Thankfully, the on the spot rates at the Hertz locations aren’t all that bad.

2.       Rates: To me, this is the most important part of the rental. I am very cost conscious. I always look for the cheapest deals. My loyalty is to my wallet first and then to any car rental agencies. This is where Hertz almost never disappoints. Their rates are always very competitive against any car rental company. Best of all, they always have some great discounts listed on their website. Find the one which suits you and you are on your way to saving money. And if you want to find more, there are some more at website like flyertalk. Find the coupon codes that works for you and suddenly the good rate Hertz was giving you becomes the lowest rate available. Voila, you are in business. And best of all, they don’t have slimy charges not mentioned on their contract. No extension charges or the likes. The only charge I probably don’t like in US- The daily rate for using EZPass is atrocious.

3.       Quality of cars: Now that I have booked it easily at the cheapest rate possible, I want the best possible car for myself in that category, or may be better. And hertz never disappoints here either. Their car classes usually have the best cars in each category and most are new. I can hardly remember ever getting a car that had more than 20000 miles on the meter. But I can surely remember cars having below a 1000 miles. And atleast 2 instances where the cars were brand new – less than 100 miles. And if I don’t like the car they offer me I simply ask what else they got- they are more than happy to help me switch. That allows me to try all sorts of car – from the Chevy Cruze to the Rav 4, the VM Passat to the Ford Fusion, the Kia Optima to the Audi, I have driven them all.

One of my more recent rentals with Hertz

4.       Customer Service – This is the icing on the already delicious cake. Most of the hertz customer reps at the local editions are well behaved and willing to help out. Any issue, any request, you can rest assured they will hear you out and try to help you as much as possible. As is true for any customer service, sometimes they are unable to help or you bump into that occasional person who doesn’t want to help. But that’s more of an exception than the rule. In case they can’t help you and/or your issue can be handled after the rental, just email them. They will take some time to respond, but they will solve it for you. My personal experience ranges from getting $400 damage charges removed from my CC to renting a car and returning after 30 minutes to return it due to sudden change in plan and not being charged for it. If they can, they will help you.

5.       Miles and Points: You got the cake, you got the icing. All that is left is the cherry. Here’ it comes. Hertz has a great membership program (Hertz Gold Plus). Earn points as you rent and once you get to 500 points, you can get a free car for yourself for a weekday day. The always have some promotion or the other going on, increasing the rate at which you earn your points, so that you get to the free car-FASTER. And if you are the occasional renter, then you can always get credit for your rentals to your choice of Airline or Hotel Miles. Their hotel list is tiny, but their airlines miles partner is looonngg. From American to Skymiles to Flying Blue to Miles and More to United. They got it all covered. They help you rake up those stray miles that convert 58000 miles to 60000 miles in your FFP account and get you the ticket you want. I used to initially take all my points on my airlines program, but once I discovered the benefits of taking them on Hertz Gold Plus, I switched and I don’t regret it one bit. I have enough points to cover my car rental for almost a month. That’s more than $1000 in value.

No matter how good a company is, there is always that random incidence that leaves your with a bad memory of the company you are dealing with. I have had my share and then some. The extra rude agent at a local HLE in London, the damage charge that I thought was plain wrong, the upgrade that never came and so on. But you gotta look at the bad ones alongside the good incidences and see which is more. In my case, my good experiences with Hertz far outnumber the bad ones.

So, which is your preferred rental company and why? Have you had a good experience with Hertz that made you a loyalist? Or did you have a very bad experience with them and vowed never to rent with them again? How do you decide on your car rental ????