National is now enforcing 1 Discover cert per rental

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My favorite use of Discover Cashback is now severely limited.  Discover Cashback can be redeemed for cash or for discounted gift cards.  With gift cards, in most cases the savings are small, or the restrictions are huge, but I’ve always managed to get good value from the National car rental certificates:

National Discover Cert 1 Discover cert per rental National Car Rental

Discover lets cardholders redeem $20 of Discover Cashback for rental certificates worth $40 off your rental with Alamo, Enterprise, or National.  Alamo and Enterprise allow only 1 certificate to be applied when booking online.  National, though, allows up to 3 certificates.

The rental certificates have had the following stated restrictions all along:

  • One certificate per National rental
  • Not valid with any other offer, discount or promotional rate

National has enforced the second restriction for years.  For example, you can’t apply a free weekend day coupon to the same reservation in which you apply a $40 Discover certificate.  That said, the first restriction is not enforced online.  Nationalcar.com allows you to enter up to three Discover $40 certificates as long as you don’t put in any other promo codes.

Clawing back

I’ve received three recent reports in which people applied three $40 certificates to a rental, and then National charged them $80 after the rental was completed.  In all three cases, readers said that they asked National about the charges and were told that they had used 3 certificates, but only one was allowed per rental so they were charged for the extra two that weren’t used.

One reader reports success in getting his money back by arguing that they shouldn’t have accepted the certificates in the first place.  Here’s the comment David posted:

This just happened to me and my wife as well in the last two weeks for rentals in both Maui and Kauai. Two separate $80 charges about two weeks after the rentals were complete, and with no notification at all. Really pissed me off, and I called National and let them know as much. Both reps confirmed the charges were because 2/3 vouchers were removed from each reservation because “only one should be credited”, but they agreed with me that once accepted and the reservation confirmed (and completed) that they shouldn’t reverse them and charge after the fact (especially without any correspondence). They both reversed the charges, and in the 2nd instance she credited my account with a free day rental for the hassle. But it’s definitely happening, so be aware of it and make sure to keep an eye on your credit card activity. Also worries me that this might not last much longer…

Wrap up

Even though Nationalcar.com still allows three certificates to be used when booking a car rental (and it shows the $120 discount on the reservation), chances are that they’ll claw back the extra discount beyond the first certificate used.  So, I recommend against using more than one.

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