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It’s been a tough couple of years for U.S. holders of the black American Express, known formally as The Centurion Card.
Many Centurion benefits have eroded, in large part because of the fallout from airline mergers.
But there’s finally a benefit upgrade to speak of…
Centurion Card holders are now eligible to enroll in Hertz Platinum status, the top tier of the Hertz frequent rental program.
If purchased on its own, Hertz Platinum costs up to $1,500 per year, though many current Hertz Platinum holders get it free or reimbursed by their employers, so the $1,500 value can be dubious.
Hertz Platinum entitles you to a range of benefits, including
The most reliable benefit is the car service back to your departure terminal after you drop off your car, which means you won’t have to drag your bags onto the shuttle bus. Usually what happens is a Hertz agent will hop in the car you’re returning, and drive that car to the terminal with you, saving you have to unload your luggage twice.
Hertz also offers on-demand pickup from the terminal when you arrive at the airport, but that service is more hit or miss and harder to time than getting dropped off after you return a vehicle. Complete details on the arrangements for airport pick-up on arrival are listed here. If you are arriving at a private plane terminal that is adjacent to a major airport they will deliver your car there as well.
Upgrades are one car class from what you reserved, up to a maximum of Premium, which includes some Volvo vehicles at select locations.
Occasionally you might be upgraded to something better, like the Hertz Prestige Collection, but that’s not part of the official policy and is subject to inventory and local management discretion. In other words, don’t expect anything more than a one car class upgrade for your rental. And this year, Hertz is rolling out an update to its mobile app which will start offering ‘special upgrade‘ opportunities for Platinum members. We can hope this means heavily discounted upgrades to Prestige vehicles.
For some members, the guaranteed vehicle availability is of real value. If you’re a last minute traveler and going to places that are very popular, like a Super Bowl city or Las Vegas during CES, getting a car rental can be next to impossible, but if you’re a Platinum member Hertz will pull a car off the lot assigned to another renter for you to guarantee you’ll have something to rent on sold-out days.
Other than that the four hour grace period is nothing new for Centurion members – it’s already been part of the package for both Centurion and Platinum Card holders who rent from Hertz.
Centurion Card holders also already get Avis Presidents Club membership, which offers 2-class car upgrades which tend to be more reliable than those with Hertz Platinum, but that program doesn’t offer the complimentary pick-up and drop off service.
Never look at an upgraded benefit with disdain, but for Centurion Card holders this doesn’t look like something that will really sway either way if you’re on the fence about keeping or canceling the card after all of the recent benefit reductions.
To get the benefit you’ll need to manually enroll. Just logon to Centurion.com or call your Centurion concierge and they’ll handle it for you.
Here are the official details on the Hertz Platinum program.
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