Hertz Gold – Golden and Tarnished

Longtime McCool Travel followers and former students know that Hertz Gold is one of my favorite travel programs. Well over 90% of my car rentals over the past 20 years have been with Hertz Gold and National’s Emerald Aisle.

Though I typically rent cars less than a handful of times a year, I (and anyone) can use the benefits of the Hertz Gold program. Besides, it is a FREE program!

For my last car rental, in December, I reserved a car with Hertz Gold in Boston. Here are my experiences—good and bad—and tips to hopefully help you with future rentals.

Hertz Gold: Golden

First the good stuff.

Find the best possible rate using discount codes and shopping features. After making a reservation, register the reservation with Autoslash.com and be notified if the rate goes down.

After deplaning from my JetBlue flight in Boston, I have received an email from Hertz telling me the exact stall location of my car, the car model, license number, and more.

Even if I did not check my email (I actually did NOT), then the Hertz Gold board lists my name and location (such as B72). The old Boston (and other Hertz locations) marked my stall with my name.

McCool Travel: Hertz Gold Service
Hertz Gold Service

Simply place bags in car, check the car (for obvious damage), adjust the mirrors, and proceed to the exit gate. A Hertz employee will check your driver’s license and provide the paperwork. Double check that the rate matches your reservation!

When returning the car, follow marked signs for Hertz return and an employee will scan the car’s sticker, check fuel level, and give you a receipt.

Fast pick up and fast return. Super convenient!

Hertz Gold: Tarnish

Some pitfalls to be aware of and things that I wish were improved.

First, nothing to do with Hertz, Boston Airport now has a centralized car rental center. When Hertz had their own Boston location, passengers were at the mercy of the frequency of the Hertz shuttle buses. Same with other rental firms. Now we are at the mercy of the frequency of one bus line; sometimes better, most of the time it is worse.

The exit line after the above process (quickly finding a car and driving to exit gate) is too long. There are multiple exit lanes but almost always one employee. Result is a 10+ minute wait to leave the Hertz rental area. This tarnishes the Hertz Gold experience (for me). There should be an automated exit lane for Gold members.

Gold Choice is Hertz’ answer to National’s Emerald Aisle. Members can choose from a pool of cars and swap one for the assigned car—at no extra charge. For this rental I chose the car next to my assigned car. When I drove it to the exit gate, I was told it would cost an extra $50 a day. What? I asked which cars were available for swapping and he told me a range (like B100-B150). There were no signs to mark Gold Choice plus those cars were several rows from my assignment AND the Gold Choice cars were worse than my assignment (smaller, older, dirtier). At the old Boston location, more than one time I was able to switch my assigned car for a preferred car. For instance, for bad winter weather exchange reserved midsize car for an SUV. Perhaps Hertz Gold Choice in Boston was not 100% in early December but, for me, it was a bust.


Hertz Gold is still a great program. They even offer points now, although any potential rental I have researched will not accept reward points.

As with other travel suppliers, Hertz features are being re-engineered (often for “our convenience”) or eliminated. Gold Choice sounds nice but I have not experienced its benefit.

How about you? What is your rental car firm or program of choice?

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