Free National Emerald Club Executive Membership

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(Update 2018: Here is a new alternative sign-up link that should give you instant Emerald Executive Club status at National. I’m not sure if my previous link below still works, but it did as of March 2018 according to the comments. More details in original post below.)

When I’m paying for it myself, my preferred car rental company is National. Now, when AutoSlash says I’ll save big bucks by going elsewhere, I will, but if the difference is small then I will stick with National. Here’s why:

  • If you sign up for their free Emerald Club loyalty program, even at the base tier you get to pick from any car in their “Emerald Aisle” while paying the Mid-Size price level. As a car enthusiast, that adds a bit of fun and excitement to the process, even if it is choosing between a Hyundai and a Chevy compact. At most major airports, you can show up, walk up to the car you like, and drive off without waiting in lines.
  • Even though they aren’t Hertz or Avis, they aren’t a tiny shop that I’m afraid will try to wring every last penny out of me. I’ve never had any issues when returning cars with tiny scratches or dents, so I don’t have to stress about making every scratch noted when picking up the cars.
  • There are often promotions where I can get upgraded to their a higher status level, Emerald Club Executive.

Here is a current sign-up link that will get you free National Emerald Club Executive Status. The upgraded status will last for the rest of this year, plus another 14 months. Note that you have to provide valid Driver’s License information; I put in the wrong information initially because I just wanted to test out the link, but it only worked after putting in the real information. Perhaps they check it against some sort of database.

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Here is a quick summary of the perks of Emerald Club Executive over the base Emerald Club level.

  • Obtaining this status usually requires 12 paid rentals or 40 paid rental days in a calendar year. It is also available to American Express Platinum cardholders.
  • While paying the Mid-Size rate, you can pick from cars in the Executive Aisle, which are a notch nicer than the standard Emerald Club aisle. There are usually full-size cars and SUVs available in the Executive aisle. Off the top of my head, I’ve driven a Chevy Impala, Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, Ford Mustang, and a GMC Terrain.
  • You’ll always pay for one car class less when you reserve a full-size or luxury car. For example, if you reserve a full-size car, you’ll pay the mid-size price. This discount can be thought of as a “free upgrade”.
  • You can earn a free rental day every six rental credits, as opposed to every 7 credits at the base tier.

Once you obtain your status and/or membership kit, you can also ask for a status match with Hertz, Avis (request via email), or Enterprise. For example, based on the qualification criteria, it appears at Emerald Club Executive lines up with Hertz Five Star, while Emerald Club Executive Elite lines up with Hertz President’s Circle.

Comments

  1. Great info! I’ll be doing this today. One note: You wrote ‘Chevy Mustang’ but of course Mustangs are made by Ford.

    • Haha, that’s horrible, I probably managed to alienate both Ford and Chevy fans at the same time. I drove the Ford Mustang, but would love to try out the new Camaro in the future.

  2. I agree with you on National – I love renting from them because of the aisle, and the executive status is really helpful in getting the rental car I need (especially when traveling with family where we need a larger car)

    One note , right now National has their one:two:free promotion. In addition to their tegular rewards, you get a free night after every second rental. So for six, one day rentals you get four free days of rentals (three from promo, plus one from regular rewards) and those free days are good for pretty much any vehicle class.

    https://www.emeraldclubpromos.com/12free/2015/

    I was just in San Francisco and picked up a one way rental of a premium car from Union Station to SFO (and drove it around for a whole day on the PCH over Labor Day) for just $39, all taxes and fees included. I don’t know how they made any money in that, but I’m totally happy.

  3. What if you are already an Emerald Club member? I tried the link and began filling out the form but it doesn’t say “Executive” anywhere and I don’t want to end up with two EC memberships.

    • You just fill out the link above and it will try to find your existing membership. If you are a regular base Emerald Executive, it should say something like “We found your existing membership” and automatically upgrade you. Log back into the regular website to confirm.

      By the way, it does say Emerald Club Executive on the front page of the form.

  4. If we are already a member of Emerald Club, is there a way to upgrade our current membership to the Executive status using this offer?

    • Yes, just fill out the link above and it will try to find your existing membership. If you are a regular base Emerald Executive, it should say something like “We found your existing membership” and automatically upgrade you. Log back into the regular website to confirm.

      By the way, it does say Emerald Club Executive on the front page of the form.

      • Thanks Jonathan!

        • Jonathan,

          I’m wondering if this promotion has changed since you first posted this? I had the same concern as Pedro (I’m already an Emerald Club base member and didn’t want to memberships)and I’m not seeing any evidence that the link is for the “executive” status. I don’t see the words “Emerald Club Executive” on the front page of the form. When you do the initial lookup, it is looking at past rental records, not your current Emerald Club membership.

          Can you provide any additional information that this is indeed for the executive membership?

          Thanks,
          Brad

          • When I click on the link, the second line of green text says “Welcome to Emerald Club Executive Mastercard Elite”. I believe the offer link was intended initially for World Elite MasterCard holders, even though I have two of those cards and was never notified of this benefit. But it worked for me without having to input my card numbers.

  5. Brad, it worked for me. I didn’t see the Executive status until after I registered, but was able to confirm it when I logged into my account afterward. I was able to retain the same EC number.

  6. Pedro and Jonathan, thank you for your responses. I can confirm, after following your advice, it worked for me as well. (I confirmed when I logged in again) Interestingly, before it would confirm my “application” it asked to overwrite my “current employer” with “Executive Mastercard Elite”. The only potential issue with this is that my “old employer” provided an excellent discount (2 free car seats) on my rentals. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to still use my old employer/contract ID going forward on future rentals and keep the Executive status as well. We shall see…..

    In the meantime, thanks again for your help. Jonathan, keep up the excellent work on your blog!

    • Glad to hear it! I’m pretty sure you can always switch your contract ID to whatever you want on each specific rental. (I almost always do.) I believe the MasterCard ID will fill in automatically, however.

  7. Just found this in late May 2016 and your link still seems to work. I signed up for Emerald Club this morning and this afternoon clicked your link. My account badge now shows EC Executive. Renting a car in a few weeks so see how it goes.

    Thanks!

  8. just did this, worked great Executive Status! Thank you!!

  9. I think the link for Executive status worked, but it didn’t show any difference when starting the reservation process, just said Emerald Isle selection. Definitely made my rental choice easy as I love using National at Orlando Airport, but the price was fairly higher for the rental period, but with EC status, National is it again.

    • Just finished my reservation….
      “Your reservation is confirmed! An email has been sent to bp11301@yahoo.com. Upon arrival, please proceed to the Executive area to choose your vehicle..”

      Thank you for this wonderful link.

  10. I tried it, only gives you Executive, not Elite.

  11. The link still works, this is the second time Ive used it in 3 years.

  12. The link still works, this is also the second time I have used it.

  13. What if you sign up for this and sign up for a car rental, but put a different driver? I always take care of the finance stuff but I can’t drive haha that’s my husband’s job. So should I put his driver’s license to begin with?

    • With Emerald Club, they waive the additional driver fee for spouses (specifically spouse, common law spouse, or same-sex domestic partner with the same address on the driver’s license as the Emerald Club member and meets normal renter requirements).

      So you could be the primary renter and let him drive with no additional driver fee. If you guys always travel together, I guess it doesn’t matter?

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