National is one of my favorite car rental companies. Part of it is because I love Emerald Aisle, and the other part is National rental car discount codes often provide some of the deepest discounts on the market for car rentals.
Also known as National Car Rental, I’ve been collecting their rental car codes for years and it’s finally time refresh, check, and consolidate all of the best promo codes on the market. You’re free to use them at your discretion.
Good luck and I’m sure you’ll find significant savings on your upcoming trip.
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Table of Contents
Here's what we're covering:
- What is a National Car Rental Account Number?
- Observation about National Car Rental prices and locations
- National rental car discount codes
- So which discount code will save you the most money?
- How to apply National account numbers and coupon codes
- Other tips on saving money with National car rental
- Are there any codes for underage drivers (under 25)
- Disclaimer on using corporate codes
What is a National Car Rental Account Number?
When you’re looking for a car rental coupon code for National, you’re really looking for one of two things. One is an account number and the other are coupon codes.
In naming, it’s intuitive to think that it’s the coupon codes you want to look for but in National’s case, what’s going to give you the biggest discount is the account number.
Account numbers are essentially corporate account IDs that are assigned to companies and meant for employees or members of a particular association or program.
Coupon codes on the other hand are more general codes that typically offer smaller bonus-type savings such as a free upgrade, $20 off, $50 off, etc.
Whether you agree with it or not, discount codes in the form of corporate accounts are the best way to save money on car rentals which is contrary to what some other platforms want you to believe such as Discover Cars and RentalCars.com.
The best part about these codes is that you can use them anywhere around the world. For instance, these codes would be great to use for an 8 day Iceland itinerary, or perhaps a photography trip to Utah and Arizona?
One thing I’ll touch on at the bottom of the post is the disclaimer on using corporate codes.
Observation about National Car Rental prices and locations
Something I’ve noticed about National’s pricing strategy is that without codes, their pricing is quite high compared to say Budget which starts off really low even when you don’t use a BCD code.
However, when you plug in an account number, the prices fall dramatically to 1/3 of the original price or more.
One thing that you’ll notice about National locations is that they are primarily only at airports. They do have local offices but they are few and far between. As a result, National is great for car rentals straight from the airport but if you’re looking for a pick up or drop off in the city, you might be hard-pressed to do so.
National’s footprint is very strong in North America but you’d be surprised to hear that they also have many outlets in South America, Europe, and Japan.
Since National is partnered with Enterprise, all locations outside of the airport are serviced by them instead of National.
One thing you’ll also notice with National counters is that they’re normally next to Alalmo and/or Enterprise. In some locations, they actually share the same staff.
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National rental car discount codes
The below are an exhaustive list of all of the National car rental discount codes you’d ever want to use or try. Each offers a different level of discount and I’ve also provided extra columns to make it clear which ones are beneficial for underage drivers and one-way rentals.
I’ve combed through massive lists of account numbers and you’ll notice that even on my list, many are similar. There are also some other rental car discount codes that actually give you worse discounts than if you weren’t to use one so I haven’t included those. Extra redundant codes with exact same offers have also been cleaned out.
Official National Car Rental Discounts
For those that are weary of using corporate codes, these are the standard set of car rental deals created by National. They change roughly every quarter or half year.
Some of their deals are good if you’re looking for one of the destinations they’re promoting. Otherwise, they’re pretty basic and generic.
Official Discounts (click to expand)
Corporate Account Numbers for National Car Rental
For the best deals, the corporate National rental car discount codes are going to give you maximum savings.
Since the codes don’t actually tell you the explicit savings or how they’re calculated, I’ve done my own research. Starting with a baseline booking, I then calculated savings of each code to the cost without using a corporate account number.
These offer pretty significant codes but the caveat is the disclaimer which I explain below.
For transparency, I’ve added the companies and organizations some of these codes belong to.
Corporate Codes (click to expand)
So which discount code will save you the most money?
For those wanting the best deal, the truth is that “it depends” because it’ll depend on whether you’re an underage driver, doing a one-way rental, country, and overall length of rental. That said, if you take a look at the tables below, it’s pretty clear how big the discounts can potentially be.
I’ve ranked the above by discount so it’s easy to decide which one of the best for you.
I recommend that you pick a selection of them to try on your own because your trip requirements may affect the actual savings offered by each discount code.
How to apply National account numbers and coupon codes
On the full list of car rental coupon codes, a common question was how to actually enter in these codes. I will admit that National’s is the most confusing because of their own terminology which I explained near the top. The key to know is that when you’re thinking about corporate codes or discount codes, you’re really thinking about account number. Coupon codes are secondary for National but I’ve made sure it’s clear which is which in the tables above.
Once you head to the National car rental home page, the first step is to reveal the entry of account numbers and coupons which is labelled. Click on this first to open up the text fields to enter the account number or coupon.
One of the sweet things you’ll notice about National is that it allows the stacking of coupons. So if you end up finding a few, it doesn’t hurt to add them all in to see if you can get the benefit of all of them. There are likely restrictions though so don’t be too disappointed if some of them don’t work.
Other tips on saving money with National car rental
Here are a couple of basic tips on car rental savings with National.
- Register for Emerald Club – This is National’s loyalty program. I personally think it’s one of the best ones in the market. You accrue points that give you free rentals or you can have them go into another loyalty program such as a hotel or airline. Right off the bat when you register a new account, you get access to Emerald Aisle which allows you to walk right to the garage and pick whatever car you want in the special Emerald Aisle section even if it’s not the class you book.
- Stacking – Remember to try combinations coupon codes so you can get the benefit of multiple codes instead of just one.
- If possible, rent from in the city – This might be harder to do with National since most of their locations are at airports exclusively. For cities where it’s possible, those airport fees add up. They sneakily call it something ambiguous which is why you’ll see Concession Recoupment Fee (11.11%) , FL Waste Tire/Battery Fee ($0.02/day), Rental Facility Charge ($4.85/day), SC REC/FL Surcharge Recovery ($2/day), VLC REC ($0.80/day). In parenthesis are examples of the fees at MIA airport. In this example you’re looking at $96.79 vs $19.74 in extra fees for a one week rental. That’s massive!
- Week rentals sometimes cheaper than 5 or 6 days – Discounts often kick in when you hit a full week so if you’re close to that, try getting a quote for 7 days.
- Use credit card for car rental insurance – Instead of purchasing LDW, leverage your credit card for insurance. Make sure you read your policy beforehand to know what and how you’re covered.
- Their fuel program is never a good idea – Unless you think you’re going to be in a crazy time crunch, always fill up the tank before you return the car. Even if they offer you a temping fuel plan, it’ll always be more expensive than you filling it up by yourself.
Are there any codes for underage drivers (under 25)
There are plenty of good corporate codes for National that are perfect for drivers between 21 and 25. There’s a special column above that indicates which ones charge a fee. Look for “no”.
Disclaimer on using corporate codes
As I talk about in the complete guide to car rental coupon codes, one thing you need to be aware of is that codes from the corporate section belong to corporations generated for their employees or are for members of big box stores.
Using these codes without being an employee or member is outside of their rate terms. If you do get into an accident, your own insurance may be void coverage if your misuse gets surfaced. It’s also possible that car rental companies may change your rate during your rental if they find out. It is also unclear whether if you purchase additional coverage (LDW, PAE, SLI), whether that will be nulled if they find out.
It’s a risk you have to be willing to take if you use a corporate code for your car rental. If you don’t feel comfortable, you should just stick with the official National car rental discount codes.
Here’s a perspective on using corporate codes that will give you more food for thought on the ethics behind using them.
Does National check for ID?
From all of my personal experience, I’ve never had my ID checked. A big reason behind this is because I’ve always been an Emerald Club member and so I always walked straight down to the garage, picked up a car in the Emerald Aisle and “checked-in” through the gate instead of the standard counter check-in flow.
I’d say in general, National doesn’t typically ask for ID from other readers that have chimed in on the full guide on car rental coupon codes but if you want to be safe, Emerald Aisle is the way to go.
Featured image via Flickr by Autorentals.com