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After a year of being stuck at home, travelers are itching to hit the road. Higher demand and smaller fleets are pushing rental car rates to the extremes. Even if you can get a reasonably priced rental, you may be subject to hours-long lines at rental car counters.
Thankfully, there's a way to avoid the counter with many rental car companies: elite status in the car rental company’s loyalty program. Many car rental companies let elite members skip the line and head straight to the garage — sometimes even to select their preferred car.
You don’t necessarily have to be a regular customer to get elite status. You can get rental car elite status through credit cards or through airline or hotel elite status. In this article, we'll show how to get rental car elite status by leveraging the elite status you already have.
Match airline and rental car elite status
Delta and Hertz status match
Delta Medallion elites also can enroll to get Hertz Gold Plus Rewards elite status. The level of Hertz elite status that you'll get depends on your Delta elite status level:
Gold Medallion elites match to Hertz Five Star status.
Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion elites match to Hertz President’s Circle status.
Delta Silver Medallion elites aren't eligible for a Hertz status match.
How to status match from Delta to Hertz
To get your Hertz status match, log in to your Delta SkyMiles account on this page and complete the required steps to link your SkyMiles and Gold Plus Rewards accounts.
After enrolling for this benefit, you'll keep your Hertz President’s Circle or Five Star status as long as you remain an active Delta Medallion member in good standing.
Delta and Sixt status match
Delta Medallion elite members, including Silver members, can get elite status with car rental company Sixt. Here's how it works:
Silver Medallion elites match to Gold Sixt Card.
Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion elites match to Platinum Sixt Card.
How to status match from Delta to Sixt
You’ll receive an email with links that get you to an Optional Information page. Click "Card Upgrade," enter your Delta SkyMiles number and upload proof of your SkyMiles elite status. Finally, click "Complete Registration" to create your Sixt account and claim your elevated elite status.
» Learn more: Which Delta Air Lines credit card should you get?
Match hotel and rental car elite status
IHG Rewards to Hertz status match
IHG Spire Elite is the top tier of the IHG Rewards program. One of the lesser-known benefits of this status is Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status.
If you are an IHG Spire Elite, go to the IHG Rewards Spire Elite Benefits page. Select the "Upgrade to Five Star Status" option, then complete the process to link your accounts.
» Learn more: The complete guide to IHG elite status
Even if you’re not at Spire Elite in IHG Rewards, you can still enjoy up to 35% off base rates and 1,500 additional IHG Rewards points per rental. But do a little comparison shopping first to make sure that the IHG partner offer will get you the most value for your booking.
Status matches with rental car companies, recapped
Car rental elite status may score you a car upgrade, bonus points and — perhaps most critically — save you time during pickup and drop-off. Best of all, you may be able to claim car rental elite status for free from the airline or hotel elite status that you already have.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card