Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, rental car prices have been on the upswing. Rental prices reached all-time highs in July 2021 and — while they’ve slightly recovered — they’re still higher every month thus far of 2022 than they ever were pre-pandemic.
And rental car prices are almost always higher for young adults. That’s because most rental car companies charge underage rental car fees. But now, college graduates under the age of 25 won’t be subject to young driver fees at all when they rent with Hertz this summer.
To be eligible, you’ll have to join the free Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program . From there, sign up at Hertz’s promotional page, where you’ll enter some personal details like your graduation date, school and your Gold Plus Rewards member number. While Hertz doesn’t actually ask you to upload your diploma to that page to prove it, the fine print does say “waiver subject to verification,” so you should also be prepared to provide some sort of proof that you’ve graduated college.
You have to sign up by June 30, 2022. While you don’t necessarily need to have made the trip or even booked by June 30, you do need to hand over that info to Hertz by then to qualify for the waiver.
Besides applying for the promotion and having a college degree, you must also be at least 21 years old. So, precocious individuals who graduated college before legal drinking age are still subject to the underage rental car fee.
You can apply for Hertz’s college graduate fee waiver program here .
Hertz’s young renter fee is $19 per day. Though that’s below the industry average, it still adds up to more than $260 over the course of a two-week road trip.
Underage driver rules vary by company, but most will only let drivers under 25 rent with them if they pay an additional fee, which is typically between $20 and $30 per day. Depending on where you’re renting, 18- to 20-year-olds might pay additional fees of about $65 per day.
Depending on the length of your trip, this promotion could save you potentially hundreds of dollars.
Even if you’re not a college graduate or are ineligible for other reasons, you can still avoid young renter fees.
There’s another way to rent a car with Hertz and avoid the young renter fee: Join AAA .
The two companies have a partnership where AAA members get discounts, fee waivers and other perks when they rent with Hertz, including young driver fees waived for customers ages 20 to 24.
The cost of an AAA membership varies based on location and level of coverage, but plans tend to run from about $60 to $120 annually. Given that Hertz’s young driver fee costs $19 per day, you break even on the AAA membership after about three days of a car rental, assuming you purchased one of the cheaper AAA memberships.
Not only would that help young drivers save money on road trips of four days or more, but AAA membership also includes perks like roadside assistance, discounts at other travel providers, including Marriott hotels and some theme parks, and discounted financial products including auto insurance , life insurance and travel insurance .
There is yet another way to avoid paying underage driver fees . Look at your affiliations, as some employers and universities have partnerships with rental car companies that can offer their employees, alumni and students waived underage driver fees.
Some non-traditional rental car companies don’t charge such youth-based fees — or they at least charge a lower rate than your standard rental car company.
The Hertz college graduate promotion offers an easy way for many young people to save some money on car rentals over the next few months. And while you must apply by June 30, 2022, to qualify for this offer, a spokesperson for Hertz said it will be re-evaluated for potential broader rollout — meaning there’s a slight chance that Hertz might eventually dump these driver fees for good.
And here’s another reason why young people might choose Hertz. According to a NerdWallet analysis of hundreds of rental car prices, Hertz is among the cheapest rental car companies out there. Of the eight major rental car companies, only Enterprise and Budget had lower average prices than Hertz.
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