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If you’re under age 25 and want to rent a car, there are options but they can be pricey. Most car rental companies will hit you with a steep additional fee simply for being under 25, usually referred to as an underage- or young-driver surcharge.
Depending on the rental, under 25 car rental fees can easily add hundreds of dollars to the price of your car. For example, the Hertz young renter fee is $19 per day — an additional $133 for a weeklong rental.
However, there’s a way to avoid the fee through a little-known perk offered by a loyalty program — and using it could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Join AAA to avoid underage driver fees with Hertz
AAA's partnership with Hertz makes it one of the easiest rental car companies to use if you want to avoid underage driver fees. Through the partnership, AAA members get several discounts, fee waivers and other perks when they rent with Hertz. One of those benefits is that the young renter fee is waived for drivers ages 20 to 24.
To qualify to have the fee waived, young renters must be AAA members and have a valid driver’s license and a major credit card.
The cost of joining AAA
AAA membership rates vary based on where you live and the level of coverage, but if you’re planning to rent a car with Hertz and are 20 to 24 years old, it’s almost always worth it to purchase an AAA membership.
When signing up for AAA membership, you can choose coverage plans ranging from the lowest-priced Classic (often around $50 annually) to the most expensive and comprehensive Premier plan (around $120 annually). Exact prices vary by location and sometimes the plan names may vary, too.
The Hertz under 25 rental fee costs $19 per day. Now, let’s say you got the $50 AAA membership. You’d break even on the AAA membership cost after just three days of a car rental. For a weeklong trip, you’d save over $80 after accounting for what you paid for AAA.
Additional benefits of becoming an AAA member
Don’t discount the other benefits of becoming an AAA member besides the waived under 25 car rental fee.
As an AAA member, you’ll also get additional benefits when renting with Hertz, including:
Discounts on car rental base rates of up to 20%.
Free use of a child or infant booster seat.
No additional driver fee for AAA members.
10% off the per gallon price if you purchase fuel from Hertz.
10% off prepaid rates for U.S. rentals.
50% discount on SiriusXM satellite radio.
AAA membership also comes with a bunch of benefits beyond Hertz savings.
AAA is perhaps best known for offering 24-hour roadside assistance to its members.
Discounts on travel
In addition, AAA provides discounts at other travel providers, including Marriott hotels and some theme parks. Other travel services offered by AAA include vacation planning and free maps.
You don’t technically need to be a member to be eligible to purchase life or travel insurance from AAA, but members get discounts on them.
If you're renting a car under 25
If you’re a young driver planning to rent a car with Hertz for at least three days, it’s almost always a smart move to join AAA to save money on the under 25 fee. Plus, you may find that the other benefits of AAA membership — such as help with a flat tire or discounted Disney tickets — are a delightful money-saving surprise.
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 2022, 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