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.

Originally published in 2017, there have been a number of partner and earn rate changes that have occurred since then, which have changed the final results.

The frequent flyer programs covered are those that 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, most car rental companies partner with at least Qantas or Velocity, with the former being chosen by Avis and Budget, while the latter is picked by Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty, in addition to some other programs. The exception is Sixt, which chooses to partner solely with Asia Miles, but does partner with other frequent flyer programs outside the above five .

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 – you can use the search function to narrow down to the 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 MilesGreen Member: 500 miles
Silver Member: 600 miles
Gold Member: 700 miles
Diamond Member: 800 miles
Contracted Rates: 250 miles
Green Member: 500 miles
Silver Member: 600 miles
Gold Member: 700 miles
Diamond Member: 800 miles
Contracted Rates: 250 miles
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: 3 miles/USD
Silver Member: 3 miles/USD
Gold Member: 4 miles/USD
Platinum Member: 5 miles/USD
Base Member: 3 miles/USD
Silver Member: 3 miles/USD
Gold Member: 4 miles/USD
Platinum Member: 5 miles/USD
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 GuestBase Member: 3 miles/USD
Silver Member: 3 miles/USD
Gold Member: 4 miles/USD
Platinum Member: 5 miles/USD
Base Member: 3 miles/USD
Silver Member: 3 miles/USD
Gold Member: 4 miles/USD
Platinum Member: 5 miles/USD
BudgetFlybuys3 points per AUD
(1.305 Velocity points per AUD)
No 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
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
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
Red 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
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 KrisflyerNot a PartnerNot a Partner
SixtEtihad GuestNot a PartnerNot a Partner
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
New Zealand only:
Red 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
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 here.

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 and have assumed an AUD/USD of 0.67 where relevant.

The results for each car company is shown below, factoring in different earn rates for some companies based on frequent flyer status level:

The above winners for each car rental company are:

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

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 and have assumed an AUD/USD of 0.67 where relevant.

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:

The above winners for each car rental company are:

Car Rental CompanyFrequent Flyer Program
AvisEtihad Guest (for all status members)
BudgetEtihad Guest (for all status members)
EuropcarVelocity Frequent Flyer(for all status members)
HertzVelocity Frequent Flyer(for all status members)
SixtCathay Pacific Asia Miles
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer (for all status members)

Earning bonus points through Avis or Budget

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. For further information, refer to ‘Maximise points tip 2’ in the following article.

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 kilometres 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 1.55:1 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

In a number of cases, 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. The major exception is for overseas rentals using Avis or Budget, where Etihad Guest comes out on top.

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

Some key takeaways are:

  • Base and Silver members earning on a domestic rental at Avis or Budget crediting to Qantas will earn around three times the value than if they credited to Asia Miles, KrisFlyer or Etihad Guest, while Gold and above members around twice as much than crediting to Etihad Guest
  • Base members earning on domestic rental at Europcar and Hertz crediting to Velocity will earn around double the value than if they credited to other frequent flyer programs, while Silver and Gold members will earn around three times as much and Platinum members over four times as much.
  • Gold and above members earning on an overseas rental with Avis or Budget would be better choosing Etihad Guest than crediting to Qantas with Avis or Budget, as they will earn around double the value.
  • Base members earning on domestic rental at Europcar and Hertz crediting to Velocity will earn around double the value than if they credited to other frequent flyer programs, while Silver and Gold members will earn around three times as much and Platinum members around four times as much.

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: February 3rd, 2020 by Daniel Sciberras