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National Car Rental - Emerald Club Signup - Epic Fail

By Andrew Pollack on 01/08/2009 at 04:24 PM EST

So in making my car reservations for Orlando, I decided to try National's Emerald Club. The idea being that you walk to the cars in the row you want (or an upgrade row if they're in there) and get in, they check your license at the gate and you leave. Done. If you want a more expensive car, just get in it and they'll fix it at the gate. In concept, I like the idea.

I have Gold service with Hertz and "wizard" service with Avis. Both offer bypass services, but not with that kind of flexibility. I'm not a huge fan of GM cars this decade, but for a rental who really cares? Hertz in Orlando is off-site and its a real pain in the butt due to traffic so there is no way I'm doing that.

So, thinking it would be a good opportunity to try it out, I signed up for the National Car Rental Emerald Club. Turns out, I can't bypass the counter yet. I can't do this stuff until I sign their agreement. I can't sign their agreement until they send it to me. That takes 4-6 weeks. Once I get it, I can fax it back. They can't fax it to me now though. Why? The office that handles the Emerald Club customer service doesn't have them. I can't go to the counter here in Portland and sign one. Why? They can't do that. I don't really understand why not. I guess I'm not smart enough.

The only option other than waiting 4-6 weeks, is that they'll forward some kind of paperwork to the counter in Orlando where I can sign it when I get there. Anyone see the potential for a problem with that? I'll be landing in a busy airport, trying to get to a major convention, and I'll have the thrill of being a "Special Case" at the car rental counter. Sorry, I'm not that stupid.

Hey, National Car Rental Emerald Club -- Anyone over there doing a Company Name use watch on the web? If you read this, you can fix it if you hurry. Until then, or of it, you get classified as "Epic Fail".

I'll give it until tomorrow evening for some brilliant alternative to emerge, but if it hasn't I'm cancelling my National reservation and going to Avis.

* UPDATE - 1/9/2009 -- National had someone call me, and send the contract over so I can fax it back. At least someone in that organization is paying attention to customer service.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: National Car Rental - Emerald Club Signup - Epic FailBy Turtle on 01/08/2009 at 04:45 PM EST
Alamo does this at Orlando, I did it last year. Go out, pick your car, drive
away. No special plan needed.
re: National Car Rental - Emerald Club Signup - Epic FailBy Turtle on 01/08/2009 at 04:50 PM EST
And I just sent their CS email a link to this post. They are nonexistent on
Twitter. Hope they pay attention.
re: National Car Rental - Emerald Club Signup - Epic FailBy Danny Lawrence on 01/09/2009 at 01:14 PM EST
You don't need to do the Emerald club thing (at least not at MCO), if you make
a reservation, you then do something else, I think it is called "Fast Break"
this will allow you to go to the lot, grab an appropriately sized car, show the
confirm and your driver's license on the way out and off you go.

PS Do you know that the Dolphin is a NCR pickup/dropoff point? I used to rent a
car at MCO on Saturday, and drop it at the Dolphin on sunday before the 'sphere
started (thus getting around that pesky "no non-guest cars at in the Dolphin
lot" problem.
re: National Car Rental - Emerald Club Signup - Epic FailBy Aleks on 01/23/2009 at 09:46 AM EST
Have you ever tried an Avis Preferred service?
If you have a wizard card you could easily upgrade your status to Preferred.
Wouldn't be great if you could bypass a rental desk and find your keys in
fresh, brand new and fully tanked vehicle? and all the paperwork (to enroll,
sign etc) is so simple.
just try it out.
re: National Car Rental - Emerald Club Signup - Epic FailBy Nick Stamatoff on 01/24/2009 at 09:05 AM EST
Customers prefer good service and reliable cars. Price and insurance are also
of great importance.
re: National Car Rental - Emerald Club Signup - Epic FailBy Rose on 01/23/2010 at 09:44 AM EST
7 a.m. this morning I arrived at a National Car rental office on W 40 St. in
Manhattan (NYC) to pick up a reserved car. All correct official ID was
established. An American Express Rewards coupon for $75 was presented. The
National Car Rental supervisor, Michael, refused to honor the coupon saying
that I should have read the fine print because AMEX Rewards coupons are not
accepted at NYC locations !!

That rebuttal was not what I wanted to hear after rising at 5 a.m preparing to
drive several hours to a funeral!

When the original reservation was made with National over the phone I stated an
AMEX coupon would be presented at the Manhattan car pick up address. I asked
many question when reserving from National and getting the $75 coupon from AMEX
to be sure all would run smoothly on the day of the funeral. The AMEX coupon
was downloaded from the web following phone instructions from AMEX.

I gave the details of my reservation and coupon all substantiating the careful
way in which I made the reservation and got the coupon but the supervisor
continued to deny and rebut. He then suggested I take a cab to JFK airport and
catch a National Car Rental from there where the coupon would be accepted!
Absurd hardship! 45 minutes cab ride in the wrong direction (1.5 hours round
trip) to give National my business! No thanks!

Thumbs down to National for bad, discourteous and insensitive customer service
and double thumbs down for their original misinformation. Thumbs down as well
for American Express for misinformation and misrepresentation.
re: National Car Rental - Emerald Club Signup - Epic FailBy jo'lee on 02/04/2010 at 12:47 PM EST
you should not have been sent out in the cold like that.... ask for a manager
next time and they could have made an adjustment...

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