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: March 10, 2017
UPDATED: September 19, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest

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 Australian consumers and provides an example for both domestic and overseas car rental bookings.

The frequent flyer programs covered are the ones travellers in Australia are most familiar with (we have separate car rental guides with Qantas and Velocity):

and the car rental companies covered are:

Earn rates

In Australia, car rental companies partner exclusively with either Qantas or Velocity, with the former being chosen by Avis and Budget, while the latter is picked by Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Sixt does not partner with either of these programs, instead choosing to partner with Asia Miles, KrisFlyer and Etihad Guest.

Domestic car rentals are generally awarded on a points per dollar spend with a few exceptions, while overseas rentals are usually 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 Earn RatesOverseas Earn Rates
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer4 points per AUD700 points per rental
AvisVelocity Frequent FlyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
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
AvisEtihad GuestBase Member: 500 miles
Silver Member: 650 miles
Gold Member: 775 miles
Gold Elite Member: 800 miles
Base Member: 500 miles
Silver Member: 650 miles
Gold Member: 775 miles
Gold Elite Member: 800 miles
AvisFlybuysNot a PartnerNot a Partner
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer4 points per AUD700 points per rental
BudgetVelocity Frequent FlyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
BudgetCathay Pacific Asia MilesNot a PartnerNot a Partner
BudgetSingapore Airlines KrisflyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
BudgetEtihad GuestNot a PartnerNot a Partner
BudgetFlybuys3 points per AUD
(1.305 Velocity points per AUD)
(1.2 Etihad miles per AUD)
0 points
EuropcarQantas Frequent FlyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
EuropcarVelocity Frequent FlyerRed 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
800 points per rental
EuropcarCathay Pacific Asia MilesNot a PartnerNot a Partner
EuropcarSingapore Airlines Krisflyer300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
EuropcarEtihad Guest500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
EuropcarFlybuysNot a PartnerNot a Partner
HertzQantas Frequent FlyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
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
800 points per rental
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
HertzEtihad GuestBase Member: 500 miles
Silver Member: 675 miles
Gold Member: 800 miles
Gold Elite Member: 825 miles
Base Member: 500 miles
Silver Member: 675 miles
Gold Member: 800 miles
Gold Elite Member: 825 miles
HertzFlybuysNot a PartnerNot a Partner
SixtQantas Frequent FlyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
SixtVelocity Frequent FlyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
SixtCathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
SixtSingapore Airlines Krisflyer500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
SixtEtihad Guest500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
SixtFlybuysNot a PartnerNot a Partner
ThriftyQantas Frequent FlyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
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
800 points per rental
ThriftyCathay Pacific Asia MilesNot a PartnerNot a Partner
ThriftySingapore Airlines KrisflyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
ThriftyEtihad GuestNot a PartnerNot a Partner
ThriftyFlybuysNot a PartnerNot a Partner

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 Keith’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 $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

Sixt Domestic Rental

The above winners for each car rental company are:

Car Rental CompanyFrequent Flyer Program
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer(for all status members)
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer
EuropcarVelocity Frequent Flyer(for all status members)
HertzVelocity Frequent Flyer(for all status members)
SixtCathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer (for all status members)

and the winners based on your Velocity/Etihad Guest status level are:

StatusCar Rental Company
Base LevelAvis and Budget
with Qantas Frequent Flyer
Silver LevelAvis and Budget
with Qantas Frequent Flyer
Gold LevelEuropcar, Hertz & Thrifty with Velocity Frequent Flyer
Platinum/Gold Elite 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 $760 AUD. 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 Overseas Rental

Budget Overseas Rental

Europcar Overseas Rental

Hertz Overseas Rental

Sixt Overseas Rental

Thrifty Overseas Rental

The above winners for each car rental company are:

Car Rental CompanyFrequent Flyer Program
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer (for all status members)
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer
EuropcarVelocity Frequent Flyer
HertzVelocity Frequent Flyer(for Base and Velocity & Etihad Silver members)
Velocity Frequent Flyer & Etihad Guest(for Velocity & Etihad Gold members)
Etihad Guest(for Velocity Platinum & Etihad Gold Elite members)
SixtCathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer (for all status members)

and the winners based on your Velocity/Etihad Guest status level are:

StatusCar Rental Company
Base LevelAvis & Budget with Qantas Frequent Flyer
Silver LevelAvis & Budget with Qantas Frequent Flyer
Gold LevelAvis & Budget with Qantas Frequent Flyer
Platinum/Gold Elite LevelHertz with Etihad Guest

Things to remember

The above analysis looks solely to points earned on car rental bookings.

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.

Of more interest is the different levels of value that can be achieved based on Velocity or Etihad Guest status level.

Some key takeaways are:

  • Base members earning on a domestic rental at Avis or Budget crediting to Qantas will earn more than double the value than if they credited to Asia Miles, KrisFlyer or Etihad Guest

  • Base members earning on domestic rental at Europcar crediting to Velocity will also earn more than double the value than if they credited to other frequent flyer programs

  • Velocity Platinum or Etihad Guest Gold Elite members earning on a domestic rental would be better choosing Europcar, Hertz or Thrifty than crediting to Qantas with Avis or Budget, unlike their Base member counterparts

  • Base members of Velocity and Etihad earning on an overseas Hertz rental are better crediting to Velocity, whereas their Platinum or Elite Gold counterparts are better off with Etihad Guest

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.

Which frequent flyer program and rental company combinations offer the most points? was last modified: September 19th, 2018 by Daniel Sciberras