Menu Toggle

National Emerald Club - The Rewards

Introduction Image for: National Emerald Club - The Rewards

National Emerald Club Tips!

November 2017

Learn a few great tips about the National Car Rental Emerald Club program. We also shed light on when it makes sense to choose Emerald Club credits toward free rental days rather than participate in a hotel or airline partner bonus offer!

Who likes to wait in line at the rental car counter? We sure don’t! So, we always suggest you join the car rental loyalty programs! National’s Emerald Club is a great choice. It’s free to join and membership allows you to skip the counter at most locations in addition to other great conveniences! And Emerald Club reward credits toward free rentals do not expire!

National also provides Emerald Club discounts for all members and even more lucrative Elite benefits with their Emerald Club Executive and Executive Elite statuses.

Here are some additional benefits of the Emerald Club:

  • Choose whichever rental car you'd like from the Emerald Aisle and only pay the reserved Midsize rate; this is a feature we really like and once you try it, you’ll be hooked on the convenience and flexibility of choosing your own car

  • E-receipts are sent right to your email address (often hitting your inbox before you’ve left the rental car center), so you can drop off the car and be on your way – fast

  • Member can select from National Free Rental Days, frequent-flyer miles or hotel rewards

  • You’ll never pay extra when a friend, family member or business associate does the driving - the second driver is free

Members must choose to earn either National Emerald Club credits toward free rental days or hotel reward points or airline reward miles when offered. Regardless of your earning choice, you will still receive rental credit toward Emerald ClubExecutive and Executive Elite statuses. In order to make your earning choice, log into your Emerald Club account and choose “Profile Update” and click on “Reward Preference” or call (877) 222-9058.

If National is your preferred car rental company and you rent from National often, we suggest you choose Emerald Club rental credits as your earning preference and forgo the bonus offers from the hotel or airline partners of National. It is almost always a more lucrative choice!

If you are more likely to shop around for the best rental car price and your choice of rental car company varies, we suggest you choose one of the hotel or airline bonus offers featured in Browse Perks.

Here’s an example of how to evaluate the free-day benefits from National:

With Emerald Club rewards you earn a free rental day after seven qualifying rentals. This free day can be used any day of the week. Let’s assume that your paid rentals average two days in length. That would mean that 14 rental days provides your required seven qualifying rentals. The free day only covers the “base rate” of a Midsize car and not the surcharges, taxes and fees. We estimate the value of a free day to be $60.00 and therefore the value of the Emerald Club credits earned for each paid rental day at approximately $4.30 ($60.00 divided by 14 paid rental days). We suggest you use this value to compare whether a hotel or airline bonus offer is more or less lucrative than Emerald Club credits toward free rental days.

It takes only six Emerald Club credits for a free day for Executive Members and only five for Executive Elite Members if you choose to earn credits toward free rental days. This increases the daily value, but for illustrative/comparison purposes we use the standard membership which requires seven.  

Please note, most airline miles and hotel points earned through the rental car companies incur a small daily charge (usually about $0.50 - $1.00 per day), which also reduces the value of the partner program incentives, but was not factored into our car rental valuation comparison on TRVLVIP.

Bonus trvlvip Tip:

National’s terms state that free-day certificates only include the base rate and cannot be used for one-way rentals.

But, we have used these free-day certificates for many one-way rentals and have had to pay less than $10 total (only the taxes and fees) for most of those rentals. This experience may not occur for everyone, but if you’re after a one-way rental, we suggest you book the free-day reservation online to see the total expected charges before you confirm. This has provided us with great value often exceeding well over $100 per day and has worked every time we'd tried it!

The Wrap-Up:

Top 3 Tips to remember:

  1. If you rent from National often, it is generally a more lucrative choice to elect to earn the Emerald Club credits toward free rental days.

  2. If you are more likely to shop around for the best rental car price and your choice of rental car company varies, we suggest you choose one of the hotel or airline bonus offers featured in Browse Perks.

  3. Regardless, sign up for the National Emerald Club for the great convenience it offers - particularly the Emerald Aisle service!

And if you haven’t already, sign-up for complimentary alerts so you never miss an important trvlvip Perk or Tip about National!

We greatly appreciate when you click on any of our links or ads and book a stay directly on the travel partner's website to enjoy the best rates! We have the potential to receive compensation at no cost to you, which allows us to provide our helpful travel updates and advice to you FREE of charge! For more information see our Advertising Policy. Many thanks!