PSA Regarding National & Discover Certs: What You Need to Know & Details of my Recent Experience


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National Car Discover Certificate Chargeback

National Car Discover Certificate Chargeback

Let’s face it. Getting the best prices on a car rental can take some time. Deals are definitely able to be had, but that usually involves finding the right combination of website, corporate code and coupon to make it all magically work. Some people are willing to invest the time while others “Ain’t got no time for that.”

Before you yell at me for that last statement, there are services like Auto Slash that will help you as well, but this post isn’t trying to address that. I am trying to talk about one of the simplest and most effective deals of recent times. Using Discover car rental certificates at National Car Rental.

Why was this such a good deal?

  • It only costs $20 in Discover cash for $40 towards a rental.
  • You can apply up to 3 certificates to a rental online. (The terms say 1.)
  • The certificates stack with corporate codes.
  • As an Amex Platinum cardholder you get Emerald Club Executive elite status.

Unfortunately, all is not well in Discover National rental certificate land. About a month ago readers at Frequent Miler began reporting they were getting charged back $80 since the terms say only one certificate can be used per rental. These readers were able to fight and receive their money back, but it is clear National is enforcing this pretty strictly after not enforcing it at all or a long time.

My Hawaii Rental

A couple of months ago I made a National rental reservation for my Maui trip using three Discover certificates. When the news broke about these chargebacks, I was just a couple of days away from my trip and wouldn’t have been able to replicate the price anywhere else. Since I had applied to certificates long before and since I was quoted a specific price, I rented the car, returned it and my card was charged $82.36 as agreed.

National Car Discover Certificate Chargeback

Then I waited. Would National come back and try to charge me an additional $80? Remember, they have been accepting three certificates for a long time and I made this reservation before anyone had reported being charged back. I crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t happen, but then the other day I noticed this charge on my Sapphire Preferred card.

National Car Discover Certificate Chargeback

As you can see, they did indeed charge me the $80. Even though I was quoted $82.36 online, quoted it again when I picked up the car and given a receipt for that amount when I dropped the car off, National went back and charged me the additional money.

Getting a Resolution

After noticing this charge, I decided to contact National before escalating it any further. While Twitter would have probably been a good method, I decided to email them first since I wanted to explain everything and then move on with my work for the day. I have to say I was impressed when a National representative sent this response later in the same day:

I reviewed the account and show that you used Discover Certificate on this rental. You are actually only allowed to use one certificate per rental. As a result, two of the certificates got removed which is why you were charged another $80.00.

With that said, we never want our clients to leave dissatisfied. Therefore, I have refunded the $80.00 that you are requesting. Please allow 7-10 days for the refund to appear on your credit card. The updated invoice is attached for you.

So National made right on it and refunded the $80 without any escalation. From now on I have no issue with sticking to their one certificate per rental rule. Had this reservation not been made long ago, then I wouldn’t have tried applying three certificates. This ended about as good as it could have.


If you are planning to add three certificates to a National rental (I believe the website still allows it), then expect them to try to charge you for the additional money. You probably will get the refund since I honestly don’t think they can enforce it given you have a receipt for the lesser amount, but who knows. Why get into that position in the first place?

While I strongly disagree with this chargeback method, I continue to be a fan of National, their Emerald Club program and their customer service. Of course I mostly rent on price, but when they are close to the lowest, I will continue to rent from them since my experiences with the company have been positive overall.

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  1. I went to Maui as well and came back last weekend. I was aware of National, so switched to Alamo. There I was able to apply 3 certs. Right now, I didn’t see any chargeback from Alamo yet. Let’s see


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