Making a decision about which car rental company will earn you the most rewards points depends mainly on where your allegiance lies, but also sometimes on what status you hold within a frequent flyer program.

It can be a bit confusing to work out, so that’s why we’ve done the hard yards for you. If you’re after a quick answer, skip right to the final table and our ‘Summing up’ section. Otherwise, feel free to browse through the colourful tables as well to see our methodology.

What’s in this guide?

This guide summarises the number of points you could 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.

Though originally published a few years back, we’ve updated this guide for 2021 with new point valuations and currency exchange rates, so our numbers are a better representation of what value you could get from car hire during the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Earn Asia Miles from your car rental bookings
Earn points with your next car hire in Australia or abroad.

The frequent flyer programs covered are those that travellers in Australia are most familiar with: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Etihad Guest

Meanwhile, the six car rental companies we’re comparing include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt and Thrifty.

Note that our guide solely focuses on the value of the points you could earn in a booking. You should consider other factors too when deciding which company to use.

This includes price, availability of your preferred vehicle class, any limits on distance travelled, cost of extras such as insurance and whether you have elite status with that rental company.

How do I earn frequent flyer points with car rentals?

In Australia, most car rental companies in this guide partner with either Qantas or Velocity. The exception is Sixt, which chooses to partner solely with Asia Miles.

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 table, checked as of January 2021:

Car RentalFrequent Flyer ProgramDomestic Earn RatesInternational Earn Rates
AvisQantas Frequent Flyer4 points per A$1700 points per rental
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
Etihad GuestBase: 3 miles per US$1
Silver: 3 miles per US$1
Gold: 4 miles per US$1
Platinum: 5 miles per US$1
Base: 3 miles per US$1
Silver: 3 miles per US$1
Gold: 4 miles per US$1
Platinum: 5 miles per US$1
BudgetQantas Frequent Flyer4 points per AUD700 points per rental
Etihad GuestBase: 3 miles per US$1
Silver: 3 miles per US$1
Gold: 4 miles per US$1
Platinum: 5 miles per US$1
Base: 3 miles per US$1
Silver: 3 miles per US$1
Gold: 4 miles per US$1
Platinum: 5 miles per US$1
EuropcarVelocity Frequent FlyerRed: 3 points per A$1
Silver: 4.5 points per A$1
Gold: 5.25 points per A$1
Platinum: 6 points per A$1
Red: 3 points per A$1
Silver: 4.5 points per A$1
Gold: 5.25 points per A$1
Platinum: 6 points per A$1
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
Etihad Guest500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
HertzVelocity Frequent FlyerRed: 3 points per A$1
Silver: 4.5 points per A$1
Gold: 5.25 points per A$1
Platinum: 6 points per A$1
Red: 3 points per A$1
Silver: 4.5 points per A$1
Gold: 5.25 points per A$1
Platinum: 6 points per A$1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
250 miles on contracted rates
500 miles all other rates
Singapore 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
Etihad GuestBase: 550 miles
Silver: 675 miles
Gold: 800 miles
Platinum: 825 miles
Base: 550 miles
Silver: 675 miles
Gold: 800 miles
Platinum: 825 miles
SixtCathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
ThriftyVelocity Frequent FlyerRed: 3 points per A$1
Silver: 4.5 points per A$1
Gold: 5.25 points per A$1
Platinum: 6 points per A$1
New Zealand only

Red: 3 points per A$1
Silver: 4.5 points per A$1
Gold: 5.25 points per A$1
Platinum: 6 points per A$1

Don’t forget that if you hold an ABN, you can earn additional Qantas points if you book an Avis or Budget car rental directly from the Qantas Business Rewards site. This isn’t included in our comparisons below.

With that in mind, below are some hypothetical case studies of a domestic and overseas car rental booking, that illustrates how much value you could be receiving from bonus points. You can read more about how we value points, as those proprietary figures play a part below.

Case Study: Where do I get the most points for domestic car hire?

In this case study, we’re using a booking of a standard car (i.e. not a prestige vehicle), with a total spend of A$360. Where currency conversions are required, we’ve used a rate of 1 AUD = 0.77 USD, based on the live rates in early January 2021.

The results for each car company is shown below, factoring in different earn rates for some companies based on frequent flyer status level. The green highlighted cells shows the best-value car rental and frequent flyer program combo.

PH Car Rental Comparison Domestic

Case study: Where do I get the most points for overseas car hire?

For this international example, we’re basing it on a booking for a standard car with a total cost of A$760, along with the same 1 AUD = 0.77 USD exchange rate as above where necessary.

Summing up: which programs are most rewarding?

Based on the tables above, here are our best picks for earning frequent flyer points with car hire in Australia and abroad:

Car Rental CompanyMost rewarding program for domestic car rentalMost rewarding program for overseas car rental
AvisQantas Frequent FlyerEtihad Guest (all status levels)
BudgetQantas Frequent FlyerEtihad Guest (all status levels)
EuropcarVelocity Frequent Flyer (all status levels)Velocity Frequent Flyer (all status levels)
HertzVelocity Frequent Flyer (all status levels)Velocity Frequent Flyer (all status levels)
SixtCathay Pacific Asia MilesCathay Pacific Asia Miles
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer (all status levels)Velocity Frequent Flyer (all status levels)

It’s not surprising that Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer are amongst the two most rewarding programs for Australians looking to rent a car. This is because points are awarded per dollar in Australia (and sometimes New Zealand), while the flat rates are relatively high overseas too.

Velocity Frequent Flyer and Etihad Guest stand out as two programs which also rewards its Silver, Gold and Platinum members with more points when renting a car worldwide.

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

Finally, it’s okay to go against our comparisons and pick a different program if it suits you better. For example, even though Etihad Guest is the most rewarding program for overseas Avis bookings, you might still be better off choosing Qantas Points if you don’t collect miles with Etihad at all.

This article was originally written by Daniel Scibberas.

Which frequent flyer and car rental partnerships offer the most points? was last modified: January 6th, 2021 by Brandon Loo