United Airlines teams up with Hertz; Is travel going to a partnership structure?

Today, United Airlines announced a partnership with Hertz Car Rentals to provide extra benefits to United travelers who rent their car from Hertz.  This deal is on top of its partnership with Marriott, and tends to give the best offers to members who have United Airlines elite status, while still reserving some points for the rest of us.

This is not the first time that United has tried to form a “travel package.”  In 1970, United acquired Western International Hotels, which has since been renamed Westin.  Over the next two decades, it acquired several other companies, including insurance and leasing companies, a reservation system and, coincidentally, Hertz.  In 1987, United picked the ignominious name “Allegis” for the new corporate entity.  Fortunately, it didn’t last.  With the recognition that the value of the airline was dragging down the rest of the businesses, the band broke up, with each piece going its own way in 1988.

And now we’ve gone full circle.  Well, not quite; maybe 270 degrees.  Without actually buying any entities, United has found a way to strengthen its corporate partnerships.  Hertz will start offering extra benefits to United members on November 1st.  In particular, you can toss that ol’ “50 miles per day” business and get anywhere from 500-1,250 miles, depending on your status, per rental (not per day).  United is also citing a discount of up to 40% per booking, but there are coupon codes all over the internet.  Use whichever one works best for you.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 7.01.58 PMGot elite status with United?  Then the perks get better.  MileagePlus Silver and Gold members get Hertz 5-Star status, while the two higher levels, as well as the holders of the high-end credit card (the one that costs $395 and comes with lounge access) get President’s Circle status with Hertz.  You can read about those perks here, but suffice it to say, they’ll make your life a lot simpler at the rental counter.

Bottom line: Look for more of these deals as airlines try to build loyalty.



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