How To Rent A Car from Hertz During the Coronavirus Pandemic
This morning, I picked up the first piece of my "social distanced" road trip to Zion National Park: a Hertz rental car. Having not rented a car since before the pandemic started, I was curious to see how renting a car would go with all the changes in the travel industry. Here's how it went!
How I Booked My Rental Car Reservation for Cheap
For all my car rentals, I start my search with AutoSlash.com. They offer a great service, running what seems like every possible combination to save you money on your rental. For me, it pulled up a very cheap rate of $279 for a 5-day rental for a "Chevrolet Suburban or Similar." That's over $200 cheaper than what I found by searching without coupon codes on Hertz.
Luckily, the cheapest rate that appeared was one that required I use my Platinum Card from American Express, which has special privileges with Hertz rentals. By using CDP code #211762 and paying with my Amex Platinum card, I'm receiving:
- Bypassing the counter and picking a car from my designated pickup area at 40 airport locations (including the Phoenix location that I booked from)
- One-car upgrade based on availability
- Special weekend rates on Prestige Collection cars
- 10% bonus on Hertz points earned from my reservation
- 4-hour return grace period
- Free spouse as a second driver
Sadly, the Platinum card does not feature free primary car rental insurance, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. However, I was able to purchase a $20 plan through Amex to cover my rental, up to $75,000 in damages. It's important to emphasize that I had to both be a cardmember and pay with my Platinum card to get the above rate, so there was no way around paying with a different card for this rental.
Picking Up at Hertz Go, Given the State of Travel Right Now.
I was dropped off at the massive Phoenix consolidated rental facility in the morning to pick up my rental car, so the space was incredibly empty when I arrived. There were a few people waiting for the airport bus to the terminal, but I was the only one picking up a vehicle. You could also see how many rental cars that weren't rented, with nearly every parking space taken. No wonder Hertz is rumored to be on the verge of bankruptcy.
I received an email before my rental time that told me to head directly to the Gold Plus Rewards area, which is located down a set of escalators (again, empty).
Through one set of automatic doors led me to the Gold desk, where I found a woman behind plexiglass and a roped off area to promote social distancing. She needed my credit card for something, so I did have to hand over my Platinum Amex for that purpose, but theoretically, I could walk to a car in my section without human-to-human contact.
I found my GMC Yukon XL waiting for me in space 832. When I stepped in, it really smelled clean. I had received two emails detailing Hertz's cleaning procedures beforehand, and it definitely seemed cleaner than other rentals I've had in the past. While I'm wasn't too worried about exposure in this scenario, it did make me feel safer knowing the car had been cleaned thoroughly.
I was excited about renting from Hertz because of their partnership with CLEAR, which I've used in the past to clear airport security. CLEAR has a number of partnerships outside the airport, including some sports stadiums. Their Hertz partnership actually uses their biometric scanning to allow you to exit the rental car lot.
Unfortunately, when I reached the CLEAR station, I placed my two fingers on the reader and received an error. I was hoping that the reader would use the iris scan technology so that it would be truly touchless. Instead, the attendant ran my license to give me my contract.
In less than 10 minutes from entering the facility, I was exiting in my suburban, ready for the open road for the weekend.
I think Hertz is doing as much as they can to make customers feel comfortable renting a car during the times of coronavirus. Employees were gloved, distanced enough from customers, and the car seemed to have been deep cleaned for me. I wouldn't hesitate to rent from Hertz again given my experience. Are you thinking of renting a car in the near future? I hope my experience helps you make some memories this summer.