With so many car hire companies leasing similar types of vehicles, it pays to see what else your rental can crank out. You could be due for a hefty serve of frequent flyer points – if you hire from the right company.

Different car rental companies have different airline partners. This means there isn’t one ‘gold standard’ to book with. The best choice instead depends on where your airline allegiance lies. Your airline frequent flyer status may also be key to unlocking bonus points every time you hire.

Here at Point Hacks, we’ve done the hard yards for you. We’ve put the microscope on airline earning rates at Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt and Thrifty. Here’s what we found – and how you can benefit.

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.

We’ve updated this guide for 2022 with new point valuations and currency exchange rates.

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. Of course, that starts with Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer. We’ve also included Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Etihad Guest.

Meanwhile, the 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 the price and availability of your preferred vehicle class, as well as any limits on distance travelled. The cost of extras – such as insurance – and whether you have elite status with that rental company should also be factored in.

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 offers miles in a number of overseas-based programs instead.

Domestic car rentals are generally awarded on a points-per-dollar basis, with a few exceptions. Overseas rentals are instead generally usually a fixed number of points per booking.

The relevant earn rates for domestic and overseas bookings are shown in the following table, checked as of January 2022:

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 GuestBronze: 3 miles per US$1
Silver: 3 miles per US$1
Gold: 4 miles per US$1
Platinum: 5 miles per US$1
Bronze: 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 A$1700 points per rental
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental (excludes Alaska)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
Etihad GuestBronze: 3 miles per US$1
Silver: 3 miles per US$1
Gold: 4 miles per US$1
Platinum: 5 miles per US$1
Bronze: 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
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

All other overseas rentals

Red: 800 points per rental
Silver: 1,200 points per rental
Gold: 1,400 points per rental
Platinum: 1,600 points per rental
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
300 miles on contracted rates
500 miles on all other rates
HertzVelocity Frequent FlyerRed: 4 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: 4 points per A$1
Silver: 4.5 points per A$1
Gold: 5.25 points per A$1
Platinum: 6 points per A$1

All other overseas rentals

Red: 800 points per rental
Silver: 1,200 points per rental
Gold: 1,400 points per rental
Platinum: 1,600 points per rental
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles250 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
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 GuestStandard Collection rentals

Bronze: 550 miles
Silver: 675 miles
Gold: 800 miles
Platinum: 825 miles

Prestige Collection rentals

Bronze: 1,100 miles
Silver: 1,200 miles
Gold: 1,300 miles
Platinum: 1,400 miles
Standard Collection rentals

Bronze: 550 miles
Silver: 675 miles
Gold: 800 miles
Platinum: 825 miles

Prestige Collection rentals

Bronze: 1,100 miles
Silver: 1,200 miles
Gold: 1,300 miles
Platinum: 1,400 miles
SixtCathay Pacific Asia Miles500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer500 miles per rental500 miles per rental
Etihad Guest500 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

All other overseas rentals

Red: 800 points per rental
Silver: 1,200 points per rental
Gold: 1,400 points per rental
Platinum: 1,600 points per rental

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. These illustrate 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.

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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 = 0.73 USD, based on the live rates on 13 January 2022.

The results for each car company are shown below. These reflect each company’s differing earn rates based on frequent flyer status. The cells highlighted in green show the best-value car rental and frequent flyer program combo.

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 = 0.73 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)
SixtSingapore Airlines KrisFlyerSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer
ThriftyVelocity Frequent Flyer (all status levels)Velocity Frequent Flyer (all status levels)

It’s not surprising that Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer are among the two most rewarding programs for Australians looking to rent a car. That’s because points are awarded per dollar spent in Australia – and sometimes New Zealand, too. Overseas, the flat earning rates are relatively high as well.

Velocity Frequent Flyer and Etihad Guest also stand out for elite frequent flyers. Tiered members earn more points on most rentals, versus those without frequent flyer status.

Don’t forget that frequent flyer points are only one element that should be considered in a car rental decision. However, this 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 that suits you better! For example, Etihad Guest is the most rewarding program for overseas Avis bookings. But you might still be better off choosing Qantas Points if you don’t otherwise collect miles with Etihad.

This article was originally written by Daniel Sciberras, with additional reporting by Brandon Loo.


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How to maximise your frequent flyer points on car hire was last modified: January 24th, 2022 by Chris Chamberlin