There’s nothing earth-shattering here, but in this post I wanted to cover the basics of National Rental Car’s Emerald Club Executive status, which is the company’s mid-tier status.
We’re seeing an increasing number of credit cards offering this status as a perk, so I figured it was worth covering the basics, since I imagine that many people haven’t yet enrolled in this, and aren’t aware that it’s a card benefit.
In this post:
National Car Rental is my favorite rental car company
I’ve written in the past about my frustration with renting cars. At least in the United States, it’s rarely a glamorous experience, in terms of the customer service, car selection, etc.
That being said, I find National Car Rental to be the best of the major rental car companies in the United States, and I’ve consistently had positive experiences. I find National’s customer service to be good, and the cars to be above average. Also, unlike Hertz, National doesn’t have a record of arresting customers, and/or accusing Puerto Ricans of not being Americans (though Hertz President’s Circle status makes renting from the company tolerable… most of the time).
What’s great is that if you have a premium credit card, you can easily earn National’s elite status, making your rental experience much better.
The basics of National Emerald Club Executive status
Emerald Club is the name of National’s loyalty program. What’s awesome is that just for joining the program, you get access to the Emerald Aisle, whereby you can pick your car (this applies when you pay at least the midsize rate in the United States and Canada).
Emerald Club Executive is the program’s mid-tier status level, which ordinarily requires 12 paid rentals or 40 paid rental days per calendar year to earn (though as I’ll explain below, this is also offered with several credit cards). What are the perks of having National Emerald Club Executive status?
- You get faster free rental days; you get a free rental day after six rental days, rather than after seven rental days
- You receive Executive Area access, whereby you can choose from a larger selection of cars, including fullsize and above (this applies when you pay at least the midsize rate in the United States and Canada)
- Aside from Executive Area access, you can always expect an upgrade — it’s guaranteed in the United States and Canada for fullsize through luxury vehicles, and it’s subject to availability at participating locations in Europe, including in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, and Germany
- You don’t have to pay a second driver fee, if you have a family member or business associate who is traveling with you
- You can use the drop & go feature, whereby you can just drop off your car and leave, and receive an email receipt
The main value of Emerald Club Executive status is access to the Executive Area, where you can pick your choice of cars at participating locations. I find this makes the rental experience so much better, rather than being assigned a car you potentially really don’t want.
How to earn elite status with National Emerald Club
We’re seeing an ever-increasing number of credit cards that offer National Emerald Club Executive status just for being a card member, so I wanted to recap which cards offer that. Note that each of the below cards required you to enroll for this benefit. It’s then valid for some amount of time (usually one or two years), though you can then re-enroll, so this isn’t a one-time perk.
For one, several American Express cards offer National Executive status. This includes the following:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) — enrollment required here
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) — enrollment required here
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review) — enrollment required here
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card (review) — enrollment required here
The information and associated card details on this page for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card has been collected independently by OMAAT and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
On top of that, Visa Infinite cards issued in the United States also offer National Executive status. This includes the following:
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) (Rates & Fees) — enrollment required here
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) — enrollment required here
In addition to being able to easily earn National Executive status with credit cards, National also has a generous status match program, whereby you can match status from other rental car companies, as well as from airline and hotel loyalty programs.
National Car Rental offers a pretty good rental experience, especially in the United States. You can get access to Emerald Aisle just for enrolling, but if you have a premium credit card, then you can get Executive status, which offers some additional perks.
I figured it was worth recapping the cards that offer this perk, especially since so many now offer it. It’s easy to overlook the rental car perks on premium cards, but they can come in handy.
If you’re a National Emerald Club Executive member, what has your experience been like?