I flew to Charlotte, NC on Wednesday, for a site visit in Hickory, about an hour's drive from Charlotte. Generally I use Enterprise, but after hearing wonderful things from my colleagues about National and the Emerald Club, I decided to give it a try. My company does provide us a code that waives the $50 membership fee, so what the heck?
I'm not going back to Enterprise if I can ever help it.
At the airport, as I approached the car rental counters, I noted that the only line was at the National counter. I didn't let this bother me, as I knew that Emerald Club members don't need to wait in line. Sure enough, there was a sign posted directing Emerald Club members to proceed directly to the shuttle. Out I went, and the shuttle pulled up within 30 seconds. As I climbed aboard, the driver asked if I was an Emerald Club member (I'm guessing he asked since I wasn't clutching a rental agreement in my hand). After I confirmed that I was, we headed on over to the rental center. He dropped me off right on the "Emerald Aisle," which contains a variety of "intermediate" cars, all available to Emerald Club members. There's also an Emerald Executive option, with larger, more luxurious cars, but my company only reimburses for up to intermediate.
Once off the bus, I just selected which car I wanted from the Emerald Aisle, got in, drove to the gate and handed the gatekeeper my license and the card from the dashboard. Less than a minute later he handed me back the card and license and wished me a good day. How easy was that??