How to use the Executive Area of the Emerald Aisle

Discussion in 'National | Emerald Club' started by Jason, Aug 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    I'm a new executive member (via Amex Platinum) and am confused how the executive area of emerald aisle works. I prefer midsize SUV's, and understand that they're available often in this area.

    There appears to be conflicting information on their website. Under the "Emerald Club Benefits" link it says:
    How to use the Executive area:
    • Simply reserve a Midsize car at participating counter bypass locations in the U.S. or Canada.
    • When you arrive at the location, follow the Executive signs and go directly to the Executive area.
    • Choose any car on the Executive area (all cars are Fullsize or higher classes) and you'll only be charged the reserved Midsize rate.
    Under the "Program Rules" link it says:
    All the benefits of Emerald Club, PLUS Executive Selection:
    Counter bypass area with Fullsize or larger vehicles.
    Requires a fullsize reservation, but you pay the Midsize rate.
    Lastly, at the "How to Counter Bypass" link, below the video it says:
    Emerald Club Executive Selection (exclusively for our Executive level members)

    • Make your reservation for an intermediate or full-size vehicle confirming Executive Selection service at participating locations.
    • When you arrive at the location, go directly to the Executive Selection area, and choose from any available car.
    • Remember that you can choose any car from the Executive Selection area for the intermediate rate.
    So I was thinking that maybe you just rented the full sizes, and it automatically knew to only charge you the mid-size rate, but that doesn't seem to be the case either, because I looked at the prices with and without being signed in and they were identical.

    Does anyone that has used this benefit know if a mid-sized or full car needs to be reserved or have any tips or tricks to getting a great deal?

    Thank you!
     
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  2. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    I'm new with this as well (my Corp travel agent gave me free exec membership) and I've done this twice now -- reserve mid size and that's it.

    Pick the car you want in the executive area , there's nothing else to it.

    When you drive out give the agent the card that's in the car, your DL and your Exec Card. They fill out the card and give it back to you and that's it. Very nice and fast.

    From my first two rentals I've gotten a nice Charger and a brand new premium Taurus Limited which was quite nice.

    In EWR where I rented last week a ton of SUVs were available in the executive area.
     
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  3. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    Thanks. I was hoping it was that easy, and didn't want to get there and have them force me to either accept a midsize or a big up charge.
     
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  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Yup, just reserve an intermediate or full (full will price out as intermediate - I think them pricing out the same when not signed in was a coincidence). Note that the full pricing out as intermediate does not occur until you click through to the final screen - at the car-selection screen the normal full size price will show.

    At the airport, grab whatever you want from the exec selection. Usually options are pretty good, occasionally they are sparse. Drive out, and present your DL at the exit. Quick and easy.
     
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  5. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    A few more rentals and I'll be Executive:), which is the sweet spot for me.
    Midsize SUV? ; that would be an Escape. A trick I learned was that I can always get away with a "downgrade". They whine at me that I'm not getting my "upgrade"; but "upgrade" to them means bigger. To me it means more appealing.:)
    So check out Executive Aisle first. If nothing there satisfies; take a look around the lower price vehicles.;)
     
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  6. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    @Mattsteg, you're absolutely right. The prices are the same on the car selection page, whether signed in or not, but when you click through the full size price as executive matches the mid sized as a lowly mortal. Thank you!

    @mht_flyer, I think you were saying to just reserve the mid-sized car. Maybe that works as well, but as Mattsteg states (and I confirmed), you ARE able to just book the full sized at the mid-sized price. I actually just modified my existing reservation and the only thing that changed was the type of car and not the price.

    @2soonold, You've confused me. Are you saying a mid-sized SUV would be a lower class than "full sized and above
    "? Based on the pricing, I thought any SUV was a higher class than a full size rental. Regardless I'm excited for the EA experience. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint!
     
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  7. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    it is that easy, let us know what you scored.

    I noticed that on my monthly statements, that National puts a double asterisk next to rentals I've had to reinforce the 'hey look, you had a double upgrade with this rental':)
     
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  8. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    @ Jason, I'm usually renting at ATL; which may not be the best operated National location but the staff is generally friendly. I understood from your post that you are an Executive member, and that you prefer a midsize SUV. National's website lists a midsize SUV as an Escape or similar.
    At ATL that vehicle may well likely be parked on the Emerald Aisle. I was there last Sunday night, and they had 1 Escape and 2 RAV4. What I saw in Executive was a Traverse and a Grand Cherokee.
    What I'm saying is that when you arrive at ATL-like location with an Executive reservation, the greeter will direct you to the Executive aisles. But if nothing there strikes your fancy, take the time to see if there is something more to your liking on the Emerald aisles, or even in the midsize aisle.
    What I have found is that as long as I am not trying to drive off the lot in a car that is more expensive than what I originally agreed to pay for, the friendly National folks have been very nice about letting me drive whatever I choose.:)

    Ps. You are correct, in that a regular reservation for a Midsize SUV can be more than a Fullsize. And, there is no guarantee that any SUV will be available on either the Emerald Aisle or the Executive Aisle at any given time.
     
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  9. Andrew72681

    Andrew72681 Silver Member

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    I've had the best luck with executive rentals at large airports. The smaller airports (ORF, BUF, AVL) just seem to keep alot of impalas around. At the larger airports (CLT, LAS, MCO) there's usually at least a couple of SUVs and premiums cars in the executive area (explorers, suburbans, flex, regals). 2 more rentals and I hit executive elite for the year.
     
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  10. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    Thanks 2soonold. That makes sense. The trip I'm planning in at Hartford in October, so I'll let you guys know what I see in each of the aisles and what I end up with. Thanks again.
     
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  11. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    I've been Executive for a while, Executive Elite since recently, (not that there's any difference).

    You book a midsize and then you can pick everything from the Executive or regular aisle.

    Some locations are pretty cheesy on what they keep available for Executives, but mosts are ok. But if you want a midsize SUV, that's a pretty easy thing to achieve on the standard aisle. Jeep Liberty, Compass or Rav 4s are usually easy to find.

    Here's some feedback on some airports:

    SFO: The worst. Only garbage in any aisle. Have rented there 3 times this year and SFO is a Hertz location for me. Last time, the best they could do was a Sonata. HATE Hyundai's, the time before, there were only Malibus and Impalas

    MSP: Another Impala/Malibu central, but if you ask, you can get whatever you want. Last time, I had a Jeep Grand Cherokee which was actually parked in the Executive aisle. Friendly folks who will take a friendly request.

    ATL: Awesome location. Plenty of cars to choose from during the week.

    PDX: Only rented once. Great selection, got a Ford Edge Ltd with nav and leather and 63 miles on it in the Executive Aisle

    SEA: Varies. Got a G37 once, Impala central another time.

    DCA: :rolleyes: Only Impalas and a stinking Town Car the last 3 times I was there. Renting from Hertz at Reagan.

    IAD: Pretty good. Gotten a Volvo (S60 or XC70) the last few times there

    DEN: Great selection, but they hide the SUVs. But if you ask nicely, they have a huge selection of Jeeps and they'll give it to you. Have had a bunch of new Grand Cherokees and the last time I got a Wrangler with a hard top that you could easily take off.
     
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  12. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I think there is a very important difference, someone please clarify if I'm wrong.

    EEs can redeem free days on any car & not get charged for car class difference. Es can only use free days up to premium & then pay any difference.
     
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  13. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Yes, that's the only difference, but on my day to day paid travel there's no difference at all between Executive and Executive Elite. I do wish they could give better upgrades on the paid rentals as well
     
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  14. Andrew72681

    Andrew72681 Silver Member

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    Also, the rentals needed per free rental day drops from 6 to 5 when you hit EE. As someone who has had 3 separate one day rentals this week it's a little bit of an advantage.
     
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  15. riverchica
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    riverchica Silver Member

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    I'm a new Executive (Thanks, Amex!) and about to rent from National for the first time. If I'm renting from a location that doesn't have an Executive Aisle (SDF), is there any reason to book a particular class of vehicle? (ie, is there any upgrade for Executives if you rent a midsize or higher?)
     
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  16. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Rent a full-size or higher and you pay one class less. This is only indicated when you click all the way through to the final price.
     
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  17. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    As a follow up, the Executive Aisle was just as great as expected. Out of Hartford, ended up getting a new (3,000 mile) Jeep Grand Cherokee off the aisle for the mid-size price of $260 for 10 days. Great experience to be left off 1st, grab the car of your choice and get out of there. Looking forward to the next rental!
     
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  18. Jason
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    Jason Silver Member

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    To be fair, I wrote the last note before checking out. Somehow there was an issue and I think they charged me as if I was renting from Alamo vs National (even though I gave them my National Car and had a reservation). They fixed everything, so it was still a great experience, but it took some time because I had to go inside and talk to a manager. Definitely wasn't the "Drop and Go" service I was told to expect :)
     
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  19. Just a ORD perspective for what it's worth. I use Exec services there every other week. My company switched from Hertz this year, I was concerned! Seem to be less busses making their terminal routes (than lets say Hertz) but the switch has been excellent. Only had 1 time when there were limited Exec cars, drop off is always quick and they actually drove me to the terminal by car a few weeks ago when I was running late for a flt (I was blown away). Only gripe I would have is that the car options (emerald and exec) are pretty cheesy, but at least available and quick. Also, know my way around now but dropped GPS from my profile (use google maps with turn by turn in other cities) and added the toll pass which is about $6/day +tolls and finally now included in your drop off bill (vs. charging you after and separately which was lame).
     
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  20. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    Holy crap that is expensive, considering one can get an ipass for free either online or at many of the tollway oases and at most Jewel Food Grocery stores.

    If you are in Chicago that frequently, might look into it but then again your company is prob paying for the ipass rental so you might not care.
     
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  21. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    The toll thingy sucks all the way 'round!

    Since I rent mostly in South Florida, I looked into getting a cheap Sun Pass. Whenever that was, the cost or something else made it impractical.

    Also, now many rental cars (more national than hertz) have the toll thingy installed/imbedded in a hidden place so that you will likely get charged anyway even without signing up for it.

    Sort of what happens when going through a mixed use cash/easy pass lane with the old fashioned slider box in the off/closed mode.

    I used to pay cash but got double-billed so often that I finally gave up & just used the auto toll option.

    Luckily, the per rental toll thingy charge is usually capped (at the still exorbitant rate of @$10)
     
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  22. c29flier

    c29flier Silver Member

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    For whatever it's worth, I just bring an old iPass that I've had for years that still works, a couple of new, plastic velcro stickies and put it where the dash meets the window so I don't forget it when I return the car. My understanding is that newer iPasses are designed so they can't be moved from car-to-car (technically, they're not supposed to be), but this has worked well for me for years because iPass is interoperable with most electronic tolls east of IL (IN, OH, PA, VA, and MD come to mind, but there may be more).
     
  23. tassojunior
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    tassojunior Silver Member

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    One thing I like at Hertz Gold Choice is that if a car has PlatePass or SirriusXM you're not charged for it. (Unless you use the PlatePass). At National do they charge for these if they're on an Executive car? I really want to try National at DCA but I have such good luck with Hertz there.
     
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  24. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    National has always wanted to charge me (I'm exec elite) for an iPass toll transponder, but to be honest, I haven't even asked if there is charge (just said no at check out gate) for quite awhile as I have my own, I'll ask next time just for curiousity sake.
     
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  25. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Tolls they'll frequently ask about, siriusxm never comes up.
     
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