Discover’s National Car Rental certificates

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In August I published “Discover rental car discounts and upgrades”.  In that post I described my approach to car rentals: maintain Executive status with National Car Rental (which allows me to reserve a mid-sized car, but pickup a much bigger or nicer car), and save a lot of money on rentals using Discover Cash Back.  Unfortunately, I’ve recently hit a few snags with this plan…

When you accumulate cash back with your Discover card, you can redeem directly for cash or you can redeem for partner gift certificates worth even more.  For example, you can get $50 Lands End gift certificates for just $40 in Discover Cash.  That’s a 20% discount:

DiscoverPartnerGiftCardLandsEnd

Similarly, car rental certificates are available at a 50% discount:

DiscoverPartnerGiftCards_CarRental

I prefer the National Car Rental certificates because:

  1. They can be applied online (with the other agencies you have to call to use more than one).  All three companies have a 3 certificate limit for each rental.
  2. I can rent a mid sized car and then pick any car from their Executive Aisle since I have Executive status with National.  This can save a ton of money when traveling with a large group since minivans and large SUVs are often available so it is sometimes possible to rent fewer cars than otherwise needed.

Recently, though, when I’ve tried to redeem my Discover Cash back for National Car Rental gift certificates I found they were out of stock.  First the e-gift certificates were gone, and now the by-mail ones are gone too.  I don’t know if they’ll return, but I hope so.  The website currently shows them as unavailable:

Discover_NationalCar_Unavailable

Using the National certificates

Assuming the certificates return, here are a few tips for using them:

  • They can be combined with Contract IDs which can offer additional National Car Rental discounts.
  • You can apply up to 3 of these certificates to a single rental, even when booking online.
  • You can go through a portal to National Car rental to earn additional cash back.
  • You cannot combine these certificates with other types of coupon IDs.  This can be a big problem when you qualify for a free weekend day coupon, for example.
  • You cannot combine these certificates with free days rental certificates earned through National’s rewards program.

See also:

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