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My daughter and I took a brief trip recently to San Antonio to visit friends. It was a great surprise trip. It was also my daughter’s first time experiencing first class, which she loved. We had a great weekend and then flew back to Santa Rosa on another one-way ticket, taking advantage of the American Airlines reduced mileage awards (SEE: American’s reduced mileage awards – why you need to be talking about them).

Change of plans, book a car

My wife was originally planning on picking us up at the airport in Santa Rosa on our return. However, she remembered that a friend of hers was coming to town and would only be there for a few days, so she asked me if we might be able to make other arrangements. At first I thought it would be a no-go, since cars are typically $150+ for a one-way rental, and I was trying to keep this trip as cheap as possible.

But then I remembered that I have Hertz points I’ve been hoarding. They’ve been carefully saved for a weekly rental, but it turns out we are not going to end up using them for an upcoming trip. So…I decided this was a perfect time to burn them. Situations like this are what points are meant for, right?

Getting some serious value from Hertz points

When I checked Hertz, cars were running $180 for a one-way rental between Santa Rosa and Eureka. Not fun. The one time I previously considered using points on a one-way rental, it didn’t price at the saver level. But in that case I was looking to book a rental from SFO that was asking $350.

Fortunately, I was in luck this time around. Hertz was pricing out my rental for 1,325 points plus $14. I’ll take it. However, when I actually rented, it was even better than this. My guess is that they slashed the price even more since they had to put me in a car below the class I’d reserved. Not really sure from the contract.

All said and done, I paid $2 for the car. #winning

Doing the math, this was a net value of 13.4 cents per point. Of course, if I take into account the prices of other companies, it isn’t quite as amazing. The cheapest option I found was Enterprise at $140. Since I would have rented from them had I been paying cash, I guess the real redemption rate is 10.4 cents per point. Still great.


Make sure you don’t neglect rental car rewards programs, especially Hertz. I also like using eRewards to earn Hertz points, if you have that option (I believe the available partners changes from person to person). This is how I amassed 1,100 of my points (SEE: The ONLY surveys worth doing for the points).

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