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A disappointing downgrade for holders of the United Club credit card, and potentially the old Presidential Plus card.
Avis has decided to change the rental card benefit for card holders from complimentary Avis President’s Club status to basic Avis First status, effective April 1, 2013 according to a post on its site. (Thanks bcbrz on Flyertalk for posting)
What’s the difference? Well it’s actually pretty meaningful.
President’s Club guaranteed a 2 car class upgrade up to a Luxury level vehicle. In practice, this meant you could book a full sized vehicle and drive off with a Cadillac, Infiniti, or, if you got lucky, something better (like a BMW 5-series).
Avis First only offers a space available one car class upgrade, and reports among frequent renters are that the upgrades are inconsistent and not very useful.
If you were persistent with agents, President’s Club was a great deal with valuable perks. Now, that trump card is gone for United Club credit card holders.
We can understand why – there are a lot more Club card holders than there used to be thanks to the free first year sign up offer, and merger of United and Continental. But it’s disappointing none the less.
If you’re looking for car rental perks with a credit card, the strongest is now the Platinum Card from American Express.
The Platinum Card offers National Executive status, which guarantees an upgrade at the time of booking. No need to worry about space available upgrades.
Try a status match to Hertz or National
Since your President’s Club status is good until April 1st, you can match your status at Avis’ competitors and try taking some of your business there.
You can do a status match to Hertz here. They’ll match their President’s Circle level, which also offers guaranteed upgrades, though wasn’t as consistent as Avis President’s Club. But at least it’s better than the downgrade to Avis First.
National will also do a status match, to its Executive Elite level, you can fill out the form here.
That way you can get a flavor of who will give you the most reliable benefits before you commit to one for future re-qualification.
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