Free National Emerald Club Executive Elite Upgrade (Extended Through 2023)

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Back again for 2021, possibly good through 2023! Emerald Club is the loyalty program for National Car Rental that includes a unique “Emerald Aisle” where you can walk up and pick any car in that aisle based on your tier. The base Emerald tier (anyone can sign up and join this for free) may only mean picking between a Nissan Altima or a Hyundai Elantra, but it’s still a bit of fun as I like cars.

I’ve been doing this multiple years, but American Express has brought back a promotion with a free upgrade to Emerald Executive Elite status, which is the highest tier – one above Emerald Executive and two tiers above plain Emerald Club. The “Executive Emerald Aisle” includes a wider choice of nicer cars including SUVs and large sedans (while still paying only the midsize rate) and faster rewards accrual (1 free rental day after 5 rental credits). I was able to extend my existing account, but you may have to sign up for a fresh new account (or sign up your spouse/partner as the 2nd driver is free). The form doesn’t appear to ask for an American Express number. They will change your Contract ID and you should allow that, but you can always change it back later if you want.

Here is my Emerald Executive Elite status extended to February 2023:

In addition, if you enroll a new account through the promotion and also pay for your first rental with any American Express card, they will credit you with five Emerald Club Credits. Remember, 5 credits is enough for a free car rental already with Executive Elite status. Essentially, you get a free rental day after your first rental if paid with AmEx.

Enroll in National’s Emerald Club® by clicking the Executive Elite Enrollment button below, between 10/9/2020 – 2/28/2021, and automatically advance to Emerald Club Executive Elite status. After enrolling, pay for your first rental with any American Express® Card and earn five Emerald Club Credits toward a future rental day.

Status match. 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. The worst thing they can say is no.

Changing your Contract ID. When you make a new reservation, there is a section for “Account Number / Coupons”. After signing up for this, it may say “AMEX EE” but you can remove it and change to whatever you wish. (You may need to keep it for 5 credit promo above.) Some discount car rental sites like will help you find and apply alternative coupons and contract ID discounts. My local credit union membership also lets me use a contract ID that sometimes offers the lowest rate.

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  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.

    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?


          • 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.


  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 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?

  14. Are they going to ask that it be booked on a mastercard elite card that i don’t have?

  15. Worked for me. Since I was already logged into the Emerald Club, it didn’t ask for any info (other than if it was ok to change the default contract code). Updated everything automatically!

  16. Philip Copeland says

    do you have any coupon for national car rental

  17. The new link worked, it gave Emerald Cub Executive till Feb 2020. Thanks!

  18. link worked, didn’t have to fill out form, just signed into my existing account when prompted and status upgraded instantly.

  19. paul frampton says

    So you can still pick executive cars if you are a base member. unless it is a volvo or a bmw or another luxury vehicle, they never stop you. Also, Ohare and Midway have more than hyndai or nissans on the lot.


  20. Thanks for the article. No where on the National website could I find documentation the joining the Emerald Club is free. I saw one article online that said the Emerald Club is $50 to join and then ongoing membership is free. Do you have any information? Thanks.

  21. You state: “They will change your Contract ID, but you can change it back if you want.”

    How do you change it back?

  22. Thank you for the information Jonathan! I clicked on your updated link and was able to upgrade from Executive to Executive Elite with no issues. I just signed in and signed up for the program. I had my Amex tied to the account already so it was a simple process. This blog was a great find. I was just looking to see what type of cars you get in the Executive Aisle since I just hit the new level last week.


    Jonathan, you sir just made my year!

  24. Created a new account today and got Executive Elite. Thanks!

  25. How do I remove the AMEX contract code?

  26. I used the link and booked my rental with my AmEx card. But I only received 1 credit for that rental instead of the 5 credits mentioned in this and AmEx EE website. Is there any one who received 5 credits through AmEx EE?

  27. The link expired

  28. Jared Ross says

    Thanks Jonathan! On this topic, which cards still have PRIMARY rental car insurance coverage?

    • My favorite cards that have included primary rental car insurance are the Chase Sapphire Preferred/Reserve cards. I have also used the American Express “premium” car insurance add-on that is about $25 for primary covers of the entire rental period up to 30 days (not per day). If you don’t have a card that includes primary for free, this can be a cost-effective option and I have had good experiences with AmEx customer service.

      • Jared Ross says

        It is a shame that none of the BoA cards have it. With COVID and my decrease in travel, I opened a BoA Cash Rewards and Premium Rewards card and then moved over investments to a linked Merrill Edge account to get the Prefered Rewards Platinum Honors. Thankfully I kept my Chase Saphire Reserve and Chase Freedom open and opened a Chase Freedom FLEX. With moving point and the 50% bonus on paying yourself back, it doesn’t matter that I’m not traveling.

  29. I tried this… but when I followed up with them to get my 5 credits I finally got this response after three emails over six weeks:

    “The offer that you provided is for new members enrolled between 10/9/2020 – 2/28/2021. We show that you enrolled on xx/xx/2018. Since you enrolled prior to the promotional period the rental did not qualify for the five car credits.”

  30. How can I third party the reservation and pay for the rental at home for one of my employees to just go in and not have any problem having to pay at the counter because our company pays for everything

  31. Is there still a way to get Elite status as of now?

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