Which frequent flyer program and rental company combinations offer the most points?

Overview of frequent flyer program and car rental points earning options

GUIDE: Earning Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: July 8, 2018
UPDATED: November 3, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Air New Zealand Airpoints

Making a decision about which car rental company will earn you the most frequent flyer points will depend on where your allegiance lies and your status within the frequent flyer programs.

It’s not as easy as you think, so that’s why we’ve broken it down for you. If you want to understand the methodology we’ve used, explore the tables; if you just want an easy answer, look at the tables without numbers plus our conclusion.

What’s in this guide?

This guide summarises the number points you can earn from six of the world’s leading car rental companies. It covers frequent flyer programs that are most relevant to New Zealand consumers and provides an example for both domestic and overseas car rental bookings.

The frequent flyer programs covered are the ones travellers in New Zealand are most familiar with (we have separate car rental guides with each of the below):

and the car rental companies covered are:

Note that you can also earn Fly Buys points on domestic car rentals with Avis and Budget. We have looked at the earn rates for these also, given they can be redeemed on flights in almost the same way that Airpoints Dollars can.

Earn rates

Car rentals are either awarded on a points per day spend, points per dollar spend, or a fixed allocation of points per booking. The relevant earn rates for domestic and overseas bookings are shown in the following comprehensive table – you can use the search function to narrow down to desired car rental company and/or frequent flyer program:

Car RentalFrequent Flyer ProgramDomestic NZ Earn RatesOverseas Earn Rates inc. Australia
AvisAir New Zealand Airpoints3 Airpoints Dollars for every rental day3 Airpoints Dollars for every rental day
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer700 points per rental4 points per AUD in Australia, 700 points per rental elsewhere
AvisCathay Pacific Asia Miles250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
AvisSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
AvisFly Buys1 point per $10 NZDNot a Partner
BudgetAir New Zealand Airpoints3 Airpoints Dollars for every rental day3 Airpoints Dollars for every rental day
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer700 points per rental4 points per AUD in Australia, 700 points per rental elsewhere
BudgetCathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
BudgetFly Buys1 point per $20 NZDNot a Partner
EuropcarVelocity Frequent FlyerFor contracted rates, 2 points per AUD

For all other rentals:
Red Member: 4 points per AUD
Silver Member: 4.5 points per AUD
Gold Member: 5.25 points per AUD
Platinum Member: 6 points per AUD
For contracted rates, same as NZ Domestic in Australia, otherwise 400 points per rental elsewhere

For all other rentals, same as NZ Domestic in Australia, otherwise 800 points per rental elsewhere for Red Members, 1,200 for Silver Members, 1,400 for Gold Members, and 1,600 for Platinum Members
EuropcarCathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
EuropcarSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
EuropcarFly Buys1 point per $20 NZD1 point per $20 AUD in Australia, and 20 points per rental elsewhere
HertzVelocity Frequent FlyerRed Member: 3 points per AUD
Silver Member: 4.5 points per AUD
Gold Member: 5.25 points per AUD
Platinum Member: 6 points per AUD
Same as NZ Domestic in Australia, otherwise 800 points per rental elsewhere for Red Members, 1,200 for Silver Members, 1,400 for Gold Members, and 1,600 for Platinum Members
HertzCathay Pacific Asia Miles250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
HertzSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
250 miles on rentals within Asia
500 miles on rentals outside Asia
SixtCathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
SixtSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
ThriftyVelocity Frequent FlyerRed Member: 3 points per AUD
Silver Member: 4.5 points per AUD
Gold Member: 5.25 points per AUD
Platinum Member: 6 points per AUD
Same as NZ Domestic in Australia, 800 points per rental elsewhere

With Asia Miles and KrisFlyer, you could also earn miles with all of the above programs by booking via Rentalcars.com. You’ll earn 2 miles for every HK$10 spent, and 1.5 miles for every US$1 spent, respectively.

Below are hypothetical case studies of a domestic and overseas car rental booking that show the value obtained from crediting points to your frequent flyer program for each car rental company. You can read more about how we value points.

Note that these values are Daniel’s own take and, of course, your values may well be different due to your own personal preferences on how you like to earn and redeem points. They are useful to generate a comparison though.

Case study: domestic rental

In this case study, we assume a booking for a four-day standard car, i.e. not a prestige vehicle, for example, with a total cost of NZD $360. The results for each car company is shown below, factoring in different earn rates for some companies based on frequent flyer status level:

Avis Domestic Rental

Budget Domestic Rental

Europcar Domestic Rental

Hertz Domestic Rental

Sixt Domestic Rental

Thrifty Domestic Rental

Assuming you have no status, the winners for each car rental company are:

Car Rental CompanyFrequent Flyer Program
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer
EuropcarVelocity Frequent Flyer
HertzVelocity Frequent Flyer
SixtAsia Miles or KrisFlyer
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer

and the winners based on your Velocity status level are:

StatusCar Rental Company
Base LevelEuropcar with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Silver LevelEuropcar, Hertz & Thrifty with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Gold LevelEuropcar, Hertz & Thrifty with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Platinum LevelEuropcar, Hertz & Thrifty with Velocity Frequent Flyer

Case study: overseas rental

In this case study, we assume a booking for a seven-day standard car with a total cost of NZD $760. As with the domestic case study, the results for each car company is shown below, factoring in different earn rates for some companies based on frequent flyer status:

Avis International Rental

Budget International Rental

Europcar Intertional Rental

Hertz International Rental

Sixt International Rental

Thrifty International Rental

Assuming you have no status, the winners for each car rental company are:

Car Rental CompanyFrequent Flyer Program
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer in Australia, Airpoints everywhere else
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer in Australia, Airpoints everywhere else
EuropcarVelocity Frequent Flyer in Australia, Asia Miles everywhere else
HertzVelocity Frequent Flyer in Australia, Asia Miles everywhere else
SixtAsia Miles
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer in Australia, Asia Miles everywhere else

and the winners based on your Velocity status level are:

StatusCar Rental Company
Base LevelAvis & Budget with Qantas Frequent Flyer
in Australia, Airpoints everywhere else
Silver LevelEuropcar & Hertz with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Gold LevelEuropcar & Hertz with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Platinum LevelEuropcar & Hertz with Velocity Frequent Flyer

Things to remember

The above analysis looks solely to points earned on personal car rental bookings, not business rentals.

The decision on which car rental company will undoubtedly look at other factors first, such as price, availability of preferred vehicle class, capping on kilometers driven, cost of extras such as insurance and whether you have elite status with that rental company.

If you are in the market to redeem for Qantas flights, remember that you can use Asia Miles to travel on many Qantas flights for a reduced number of points.

If Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines are your redemption partners of choice, remember that you can transfer points between Velocity and KrisFlyer under their unique partnership at a rate of 1.35:1 in either direction.

Also remember that the Cashrewards program provides you with ‘cashback’ when purchasing through their link, without compromising on any points that can be earned.

Summing up

This guide does not reveal any major surprises in that most of the winning frequent flyer programs for each rental car company are also that company’s major frequent flyer partner.

Some key takeaways are:

  • High-value international rentals will often be best credited to Asia Miles or KrisFlyer, booked via Rentalcars.com, noting that these will be tied to dollar value rather than a fixed amount. Cheaper bookings of only a one or two day duration will be better credited to a program with a fixed points/mile value.

  • Domestic rentals are best credited to Velocity with Europcar, where you’ll earn more points than which any other program.

Don’t forget that points are only one element that should be considered in a car rental decision; however, they can serve as a valuable tie-breaker when the offers provided by the rental companies are similar.

You should also take into account car rental discounts that may tip the scales in favour of a particular company – for example, those offers available to Entertainment Book cardholders.

Which frequent flyer program and rental company combinations offer the most points? was last modified: November 3rd, 2018 by Daniel Sciberras