Saturday, October 14, 2023

A Strange Time for Hertz to Chisel Its Loyalty Program Members

It wasn't that long ago that Hertz comped Brian up to their top-tier President's Circle status, presumably to encourage future rentals.

The last time we rented a Hertz car was September 2022. The fact is that we don't rent cars all that much, and Hertz rates have not been competitive in recent years.

We were surprised to notice earlier this week that 1,400 or so points had disappeared from our Hertz account. A little research at FlyerTalk revealed what had happened.

Hertz has advertised various point expiry lengths of time over the years. They put everything on hold during the Covid pandemic. As recently as July 2023, their written material included this: "Points do not expire if you have Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Rental activity in the prior 18 months." Even our Award Wallet account indicates we have five months remaining until our Hertz points expire.

Guess what. They've now changed it to 12 months retroactively, and we've lost our points, with no warning or notice.  They proclaim in their terms and conditions statement the right to change the expiry date at any time without notice, so they're just exercising their rights.

Brian contacted Hertz first via social media and was referred to a customer service phone number. A call to that line resulted in being read a script letting us know we were out of luck. At least a couple of other FlyerTalk members wrote that they received "one time exceptions," but we didn't. We're happy we weren't saving up a few thousand points for something like a week-long SUV rental.

It's a good reminder that loyalty points are not the safest of investments (to say the least), and that the company maintains complete control over them. 

It does still strike us as a little odd that a company that emerged from bankruptcy only in 2021, and then paid out in 2022 upwards of a couple of hundred million dollars in a class action settlement to the many customers imprisoned after Hertz falsely accused them of car theft (apparently a computer glitch that went on and on), wouldn't be a little more interested in trying to restore customer loyalty. 

Instead, they are surreptitiously removing points from the very customers who have rented from them and joined their loyalty program. We're reminded again that loyalty in the travel industry can have a short shelf life.

What next? Perhaps Hertz can hire OJ Simpson back as a celebrity endorser to recreate his 1970s Hertz ad campaign. How about a weekend special on Ford Broncos? Stranger things have happened. 

Update: Loyalty Lobby covers the Hertz debacle here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Typical Hertz. They screwed me over earlier this year on a CDN rental. I’m done with them as well.
Plus I’m certain it was the Hertz guard shack guy that compromised my AMEX card