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National, Enterprise and Alamo are owned by the same company and form the Drive Alliance. National Emerald Club and Enterpise Plus have reciprocal benefits and earning. Alamo sits apart, not meaningfully participating in the grouping.
Published details have been sketchy. Now National has published a FAQ for Enterprise rentals. The short take:
- Not all Enterprise locations participate for National rental credit earning
- European Enterprise locations may participate, check details for specific locations
- If you are opted in with National to earn miles, you will earning nothing with Enterprise, you need to switch your National preference to rental credits and will then earn those
- Rental credit earning is same as with National (1 credit per rental up to 7 days, then an additional credit for each 4 additional days on the same rental)
- Cannot use National award days at Enterprise
- Cannot bypass the counter at Enterprise
- Cannot select vehicle at Enterprise in the style of National Emerald Aisle
To make this easier to select program of choice, the Enterprise site now allows sign-in using National username and password. Any bookings then made will earn with National, if eligible. Note that Enterprise brings over any associated National corporate code, which may or may not apply to Enterprise. You can delete the corporate code when booking.
From the sign-in box, look to the bottom and click on Add Emerald Club:
Sign in with Emerald Club credentials:
This is not only a time saver. I have had limited success getting Enterprise rentals credited to National, whatever the Enterprise agents tell me at rental.
For 3rd-party rentals such as with Costco Travel, Enterprise now automatically pulls in Enterprise Plus profiles. I cannot find a way online to change to National. Either call or attempt to change at the counter.
Should you earn with National or Enterprise?
National rental credits can highly rewarding when they are running One Two Free, a promotion that traditionally earns one award day per two rental credits. It most recently ran August 2015-January 2016 and is expected to return. Outside of promotion times, earning is slow, though probably more lucrative than Enterprise on short and/or cheap rentals.
Enterprise Plus is not very rewarding. Earning is revenue-based, one point per qualifying dollar. Elite status with Enterprise (not National) earns bonuses.
What counts toward qualifying dollars? Base rate, paid upgrades, and additional add-ons, less any discounts or credits.
What does not earn qualifying dollars? Taxes, surcharges, vehicle license fees, airport-related fees, insurance costs, fuel purchase options, and refueling charges. That excludes a lot of spend.
Redemptions are also revenue-based, starting at a minimum of 400 points. That is at least $400 in qualifying dollars, which may be significantly more in total spend. There is no published chart so you must check award price by attempting an award booking on the Enterprise site.