A little while ago, I attained Virgin Platinum status. One of the perks of having this status is that it also translates into your choice of hotels and car hire programs:
Complimentary Partner Membership – Hotels
- Receive complimentary Platinum Partner membership with IHG® Rewards Club or Diamond Partner membership with Hilton HHonors™.
Complimentary Partner Membership – Car Hire
- Receive Complimentary Privilege Elite Partner membership with Europcar Privileges Program or Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Presidents Circle®.
I chose Hilton for the hotel and Europcar Privilege Elite for the car hire. Recently however, Europcar have tweaked their program; it comes with a free weekend rental both when you sign up and when you have paid for your third rental. The first free weekend rental we experienced was on our trip to Tasmania in January 2014 with friends. Since then, thanks to several personal and work trips, we have benefited from two more free weekend rentals.
As a side note, for those rentals which I did pay for, I have yet to receive the other benefits (as illustrated in the pictures below) and I never had much luck with upgrades at check-in either Europcar or Hertz in Australia. In other words, I would not book a car in the compact manual class and rely on getting an upgrade.
After your third rental with Europcar, you will receive an email similar to the one below with a link to book a car.
Thank your for renting with Europcar!
As a reward for your 3rd rental of the year, we’re pleased to offer you a free weekend rental!
To redeem your weekend, please click on the link below (please note that this is the only way to redeem your free rental so make sure you keep this email safe).
Your complimentary weekend rental is valid for 12 months from the date of this email.
You will be redirected to a screen where you will be prompted to select your intended dates for your rental as well as your intended pick-up/drop-off location.
The Terms & Conditions are contained in a PDF found at http://microsite.europcar.com/n/priv/lifecycle/terms&conditions/Privilege_Elite_Terms_en_AU.pdf.
The key points can be summarised as follows:
- The Voucher is valid for a 2 (two) to 3 (three) day-rental including a Saturday night;
- The Privilege member may extend the duration of the rental at time of rental or during the rental itself. The extension is however subject to vehicle availability and to the public rate applicable at the time and in the country of rental to the exclusion of any Corporate rate;
- Without prejudice of the provisions stated above, the Voucher is not subject to any amendment or cancellation.
On our recent trip to Melbourne, our free weekend rental booking consisted of picking up our rental car on arrival at Tullamurine airport on the Friday evening and dropping it off to the same location on Monday evening. Included in the booking were all location fees etc however it booked us into the lowest class which is a compact manual. Neither of us felt comfortable driving a manual (we’re working on that) and neither of us were planning on learning how to drive a manual on a rental car so in the circumstances, we were prepared to pay a fee to upgrade to an automatic.
Free booking base car:
|Car Category||: CDMR|
|Example||: Hyundai I20 5dr|
|Vehicle class||: Compact 4 Doors,Manual,A/C|
Fortunately for us, Europcar had of plenty of rental cars available and the Europcar agent was happy to give us a complimentary upgrade to a Toyota Corolla with an automatic transmission.
Whilst the benefits of having a free rental car for the weekend meant we could travel to Philip Island, a place we had not yet been to, the disadvantages remain that finding a reasonable deal on parking in the city is quite annoying. More on how we tried to keep parking costs down in a future post.
Thanks to Europcar for the free weekend rental!