As of May 15, National Car Rental is terminating the award program component of Emerald Club.
National was the first car rental company to introduce its own award program back in May of 1987. The program lasted about four years, before it was no longer offered to new Emerald Club members in 1991. Existing members, however, could still participate in the program and many viewed the program as quite valuable.
The program seemed far from dead as late as July 2001, when a new and even more lucrative award chart was introduced. Shortly thereafter though, the award chart was rescinded and an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2002 was placed on the original Emerald Club points.
National blames the “realities of today’s business climate, and of the travel industry in particular,” for the termination of the program.
Though the program is officially terminating on May 15, members will be able to redeem their points through the end of the year. And, until May 15, National is offering double points. This should help get that balance to an award level of your choosing.
Those who still have Emerald Club points that need to be burned should take a look at the Emerald Club award chart. In addition to the awards listed on this chart, National has recently added an American Express certificate award option (5,000 points = $100 certificate). Not a bad option if you prefer cash over hotel stays, airline miles or car rentals.
For our money, the Radisson rewards offer the best value, but at this point you will want to burn the Emerald Club points any way you can.