National Emerald Club turns 25: win an American Express gift card and gift basket!

The Emerald Club, National car rental’s loyalty program, is turning 25 this year. That means they’re finally old enough to rent a car without paying an underage fee. šŸ˜‰

To help celebrate they’ve sponsored a giveaway. In addition to the one they’re running on their Facebook page, they’re giving me a couple of prizes to pass on to you guys.

The winner will receive a National “Go Like Pro” kit, including a $25 American Express gift card, tumbler, writing pad, pen set, duffel bag, and driving kit. The runner up will receive an American Express $25 gift card.

To enter, simply leave a comment about where you were traveling 25 years ago, or if you’re not that old, what your first travel memories were.

I’ll pick a winner and runner up at random based on the entries through 11:59PM EST on Friday, March 9.

For another chance to win, check out Points Miles and Martinis.


  1. Not that old, but my earliest travel memory is Disneyland when I was 3. I remember getting a Minnie Mouse doll, not sure I should read too deeply into that.

  2. Old enough. 25 yrs ago I was a college student taking my first trip to Europe: Zurich and St Moritz for skiing fun. It was a blast!!

  3. Wow. 25 years ago. Ok. Let’s see. I was 7. But yes. I was traveling. My family flew to Hawaii. And it was my first memory of flying. I remember not so much the flight there, but getting off the plane to the warm weather and the women would put leis around your neck immediately after deplaning. Nowadays, you have to pay for that! My mom is originally from Hawaii, so we were visiting family I had never met before. I remember thinking how lucky I was to go to basically Paradise while kids my age had never left the state of Michigan.

  4. My first travel memory was of a trip to London after Kindergarden. It was fun being that young and experiencing another country, though it has taken close to 20 years to stop dropping into a British accent for some words.

  5. Oldest travel memory was of visiting Athens, Greece, but my memories of that experience are so vague, I probably should plan to go visit again and treat it as if I’d never been there before.

  6. I was young at that age so but I believe I flew to Atlanta to visit my aunt & uncle. Coach flight from DC that had breakfast.

  7. Traveling to an oil platform, in the North Sea, wearing a survival suit, in a British Airways Chinook.

  8. London Trip. I must have been 5 or 6? My mom had been working there for about half a year. I just remember that we drove her car to Paris and that my sister and I stuck our heads out the sunroof while driving by Notre Dame.

  9. I was 2 in 1987 and I went with my mom to San Francisco to visit my aunt and uncle and newborn cousin who were living there. All I remember about the trip is having to take my shoes off before going into the apartment (my aunt is Asian) and walking across/sitting on the Golden Gate Bridge, which terrified me.

  10. Since I’m 19, my first travel memory was going to Quebec City for a family vacation. My parents told me the city is very European…I wouldn’t see the real Europe until much later – thanks to points!

  11. I was going to visit a college friend in NYC for spring break. We went to see the Rocky Horror Picture show, hung out in Brooklyn and then went to meet friends in MA. Now, I feel old!

  12. Yeah I was like 5 years old and my parents took me to Youngstown, Ohio (!!!) because they wanted me to have the experience of staying in a hotel

  13. 25 years ago I would be flying DEN-EUG on UA to visit my grandmother. This was before the RJs took over the route!

  14. I was probably traveling with my parents to Centralia and other glorious PA coal region locales.

  15. 25 years ago I flew to Los Angeles for the first time, to take a test for a Directors Guild film industry program. I scored in the top 100 of >1000 applicants and got to fly back for a interviews. I remember we hit a huge air pocket on one of those return flights. Service cart fell on the flight attendant, breaking her leg.

  16. 25 years ago, I was just graduated and started to work right away; thus, I did not have the time to travel then. Thanks.

  17. Back then I would’ve been about 6 and taking one of my first flights to Florida to visit family. Good times

  18. While I’m a frequent Emerald Aisle customer as an Exec level member, 25 years ago I was 2. My first travel memories are getting yelled at for sitting on the Pyramids to take a picture in Egypt in 1989. I hope that one day it settles down enough that I can return!

  19. 25 years ago, the majority of my traveling was down to Orange County by car to see my cousins. Didn’t really fly much until I started college!

  20. 25 years ago I was traveling with my parents from LAX to Seoul Gimpo on a Korean Airlines flight on our way to see relatives in the Philippines. I don’t quite remember much, except I felt like a piece of duty-free merchandise as my parents passed me around the plane showing me off..both to the flight attendants and fellow passengers!

  21. 25 years ago I was traveling with my parents from LAX to Seoul Gimpo on a Korean Airlines flight on our way to see relatives in the Philippines. I donā€™t quite remember much, except I felt like a piece of duty-free merchandise as my parents passed me around the plane showing me off..both to the flight attendants and fellow passengers!

  22. My earliest travel memory was flying to Flordia when I was 6 on good old Northwest Airlines!

  23. A busines trip to Tecate, Mexico to source and survey transformer manufacturers for Smith Corona Corp.

  24. Around that age, I was headed to Vegas of course…. with my parents who would take me to Circus Circus to play the midway games as I was not anywhere old enough to play the real Vegas casino games.

  25. YAY! Love me some National!! 25 years ago I took my very first flight. My parents took us (me and my sister) to Sea World in San Antonio. I remember we flew AA and they gave me my own set of wings!

  26. 25 years ago I took my first international trip to Beijing, China! I was SO excited. Its amazing how much airlines have changed since!

  27. I was 10 years old and traveled to south east Asia for the first time which included Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. That was also my first time ever experienced flying on an airplane!

  28. Around 25 years ago I was traveling on Frontier in my mom’s womb…yea I know it sounds wierd by she was a flight attendant at the time šŸ™‚

  29. I wasn’t here 25 years ago but my first travel memory is flying Spirit with my family to Florida.

  30. My first opportunity to travel was when I was in college travelling with the track and cross country teams.

  31. I was only 2 years old 25 years ago my first travel memory is when i was 6 years old and my family took Lufthansa to move to the united states from india.

  32. I was all of 5 years old back then, so I was probably riding in the car to visit grandparents in Iowa that year!

  33. Let’s see, I think 25 years ago I was traveling with my parents through Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco.

  34. 25 years ago: I was in college, not traveling anywhere, unfortunately. But my first real travel experience – a 10-day high school trip to London, Paris, Florence & Rome. Amazing! This is back when you could still smoke on airplanes. And since our school got the cheapest tickets available, I was sandwiched between 2 smokers for 5-6 hours between JFK and LHR! Ugh!

  35. I was 2 years old and took my first flight to Puerto Rico to be in my cousin’s wedding. I made my parents take me on the terminal-to-terminal train at ATL at least 10 times during our layover.

  36. Twenty-five years ago my twin daughters were just about one year old and I remember flying by myself from Boynton Beach, Fl to Savannah, Georgia to visit my parents. Boy was that a challenging trip!

  37. 25 years ago this summer I was 13 and made my first trips to Boston and Washington DC. The Boston trip was especially fun, from a travel geek standpoint. Continental ran a promotion in Texas with Kroger that summer, where Kroger grocery receipts could be redeemed for vouchers to buy tickets with. We had no Kroger in my small town, so we made frequent trips to one 50 miles away. Not only did we buy groceries there, but we picked up every single receipt we could find on the ground or in the store. Eventually my parents had enough receipts to pay for 2 of our 5 IAH-BOS round trip tickets. I still remember the look on the agent’s face at the airport when we went to exchange the receipts for the tickets as she added up the value on all of them with a mechanical adding machine. Half the receipts that came from the parking lot were stained and had tire tracks. Continental never ran that promotion again, for good reason. Apparently they gave away a ton of tickets out of IAH that summer thanks to that offer.

  38. Only 27 but the earliest I can remember was my family’s yearly summer vacation to Stone Harbor, NJ. Nice beach with good fishing and crabbing

  39. My first travel memory was seeing London and its surrounds (Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon, etc.) with my parents. I think we flew BA, and had a blast.

  40. 25 years ago my wife and I took a wonderful vacation out west that included visits to San Francisco (our favorite city in the US), the Grand Canyon (our favorite national park) and Las Vegas (our favorite destination for decadence!)

  41. My earliest travel memory is going out to New Jersey (I grew up in NYC). That was going pretty far at the time!

  42. 25 yrs ago my mom would regularly put me on a plane from SJC-LAX to visit my grandmother. Since I was a minor I’d be seated at the front of the plane, but the flight attendants would normally let me move up to first if there was room.

  43. I would have been traveling to Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, and Seattle among others.

  44. Almost that old! I grew up in Penang, Malaysia since I was about 4. First memories of traveling were going to Pulau Langkawi and Pulau Pangkor with my family!

  45. About 25 years ago my family took a trip up the California coast and spent some time in Oregon and Washington.

  46. 25 years ago…had never been on a plane and the only memories i have are driving across the country with the whole family in a packed car.

  47. 25 years ago would have been 1987, I was about to go to grad school – 2 more years then I was an Emerald Club member (in 1989).

  48. 25 years ago would have been 1987, I was about to go to grad school – 2 more years then I was an Emerald Club member (in 1989).

  49. 25 years ago I would be a 2 year old, so I was traveling in a car a lot around suburban New Jersey. No overseas travel then.

  50. 25 years ago is about the time of my first travel memory…taking a day trip to the Philadelphia zoo and being pushed around in a stroller by my parents!

  51. Not that old, but my first travel memory was my doctor dad diverting our Aeromexico flight to ATL b/c of sick passenger. He still gets coffee from Aeromexico every year.

  52. Hmm, at the 25 year mark I wasn’t doing much in the way of exciting travel. However, my earliest memory of serious traveling was on the Southwest Chief as a six year old. As much as I like enjoy flying off to far flung lands, I would actually prefer more passenger trains for shorter domestic trips. It’s a shame we still can’t find a way to build a world-class passenger rail network to rival those of countries with much smaller economies than our own. šŸ™

  53. 1987, that was many years back, but I wish I travelled more then. Now, I am too old to travel like you guys!

  54. almost two… so, first trip to beijing and I had a stomach ache when in the forbidden city… šŸ™

  55. my first travel memory is stepping onto an old Ansett 727 for a Mystery Flight to Canberra. Man those were the days!!! Back when Ansett ruled the air in Australia.

  56. I was working as a teacher then. Iwould have just returned from Spring Break in St. Thomas.

  57. The first trip I remember was to visit my grandpa and grandma in florida. We did the usual things – disney world, cape canaveral. On the final morning, before leaving for the airport, we ate breakfast, stepped outside to a clear and sunny morning and watched the space shuttle launch from some distance.

    From our spot, it was really just a streak of fire into the sky. I recall my grandpa saying something similar to that didn’t look right.

    We got in the cart and drove to the airport. Upon arrival, it became clear what we’d seen – the challenger disaster.

  58. My first travel memory close to 25 years ago was riding in the family station wagon to Wisconsin. My first flight memory was flying on Ozark Airlines to Florida.

  59. About 25 years ago I took my first international trip with my parents. My dad was a business traveller and in those days, he had easily enough miles for us to go in F class on Quantas to Australia. I asked him about it later and he told me with all the mileage bonuses they had back then, it cost him roughly 50,000 miles for 4 tickets. It was an amazing experience!

  60. 25 years ago I learned how to drive with a manual transmission while driving from New York to LA. I returned on a no frills, no service, red-eye through Houston on Eastern Airlines. Love the Emerald Aisle though often have trouble picking a car!

  61. My first REAL travel experience was flying Sabena airlines from Atlanta to Brussels back when smoking was allowed. I’ll never forget the misery of trying to escape all that smoke, nor will I forget the airport security personnel carrying machine guns.

  62. 25 years ago I was travelling back and forth along the coast of Libya…. as a military flyer patrolling Qadafi’s “line of death”. a little different flying, that…..

  63. 25 years ago, I travelled with my family to israel, my first flight was when I was 3 years old and all I remember there was a lot of smoking in the back of the plane.

  64. 25 years ago I took my first trip from the East Coast to California to attend a friendā€™s wedding. I rented a car afterwards and drove down the PCH

  65. 25 years ago I was traveling in the backseat of my parents car to visit my grandparents in Iowa.

  66. My brother and I flew to NYC 25 years ago.. by ourselves, ages 6 and 8. It was awesome. šŸ™‚

  67. I remember going to Disney World in Orlando with my parents when I was 7 years old. It was awesome!

  68. 1987? I was in jr high. That summer, my sister and I flew from ATL to Baltimore to visit our cousins. Our uncle from Denver also came out and drove all of us up to NYC in his 1977 Town Car to visit our other uncle, who was a grad student at Columbia. We spent a few days in the city, visiting MOMA, the MMA, the Statue of Liberty (long climb up!), barely eating half a sandwich from Carnegie Deli, and hanging out in Central Park. Good times.

  69. First travel memories would be sleeping on the floor at the bulkhead of an Aer Lingus 747 bound for Shannon, Ireland. Also, going up into the cockpit was the coolest thing a 4 year old plane junkie could ever do!

  70. I remember flying to Hawaii for the first time (second time was last summer). I remember there was a smoking section in the back, and I was in love with the FA button. Soda anytime and my parents didn’t have to know? True love!

  71. 25 years ago I would have been two years old living a few blocks away from the ocean. I would have likely been on the beach at the time.

  72. Earliest travel memories are road tripping across the states with the grandparents. Wasn’t the mileage junkie I am now!

  73. I had just graduated. I took a trip to Washington, D.C — my first trip where I could get a beer in a bar.

  74. I was twelve. I would travel to Phoenix in the summer with my dad who was testing air conditioning systems on trucks. Was fun to just hang out at the pool all day and go tubing down the Salt River.

  75. Twenty-five years ago I was four years old and traveling to San Francisco from the East coast. Also the annual seven hour drive for Thanksgiving was on my itinerary as well.

  76. 25 Years ago, I was only 1… put right around that time my mother took me to Connecticut to meet my Great grandmother for the first and only time. So that would probably count for me.

  77. I think around that time I was 8 and got to see the big city in Wisconsin – Milwaukee for the first time!

  78. 25 years ago I was still a minor and was flying back and forth between Seattle and Eugene on Horizon Air. At that time all but one daily flight was operated by Metro III 18-seaters, with one daily flight on a 37-seat Dash 8. I always figured out a way to work myself onto that Dash 8 flight, as it had actual in-flight service, and even a snack in those days. I like to think that I started getting into the perks of flying recently, but it started pretty young. = )

  79. 25 years ago, my best friend and I met up (he lived in los angeles, and I in PHL) and traveled to Scandinavia in June. We flew into Oslo and tried to make our way above the artic circle, but we kept taking extra days because it was so beautiful. Took the train down into a fjord, visited Hell (just for the postmark) and ended in Stockholm. For some reason, there were no unattractive women in either Norway or Sweden. Made a lasting impression on a couple of impressionable single men.

  80. I was 5 years old and we were driving from Toronto to Edmonton. I remember sitting in the back seat of a White Chevrolet Chevette as we drove through the national parks (probably Jasper).

    It was the only time we drove across Canada. I would love to do that drive again. Maybe National car rental can give me a free car rental to do it. šŸ™‚

  81. I was an infant at the ripe young age of 3 months… fixing to move my family from the potato patches and skinheads of Idaho, to the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.

  82. First travel memory was road tripping with my parents when a suitcase strapped on top of the old station wagon exploded! The contents went everywhere LOL.

  83. 25 years ago I was only four, but my earliest travel memory was shortly thereafter flying USAir from NY to Cleveland by myself to visit my grandmother. My mom walked me to the gate and my grandma met me at the gate, and I thought I was too cool for school traveling by myself at such a young age! I also loved being allowed in the cockpit. I think I even still have the wings that the pilot gave me on one of those trips…

  84. That was my first trip to Sao Paulo and I was 6 months old. Barely remembered anything though ;-).

  85. (Almost) 25 years ago, heading to Savannah for spring break, some sunshine, and St Paddy’s Day activities there.

  86. EWR-BOS on a Piedmont $50 fare that also included a free helicopter ride from Manhattan to EWR

  87. 25 years ago I was traveling back to the US after living in Taiwan for 5 years with my grandmother.

  88. 25 years ago I was visiting state parks by car with the kids and had never taken a commercial flight.

  89. 25 years ago, home daycare/4 kids/4-H volunteer/PTA volunteerā€¦.today, children, 1 grandchild and still volunteering šŸ™‚

  90. 25 Years ago, I was 9 and was traveling to Mexico for the first time. Puerto Vallarta and it was awesome — it was my first int’l trip and Mexico was perfectly safe. Ah…how times have changed…

  91. 25 years ago I was traveling for work – as I still do today – to Camarillo, California to start up some process equipment at a factory. Working outdoors in 70 degree temps in Feb. and March was not bad!

  92. 25 years ago, I was traveling to Walt Disney World and believing it was the happiest place on Earth!

  93. My first memories 25 years ago was traveling to Virginia on a family trip. Ah – the good old family trips!

  94. I was living in Honolulu & traveled to Modesto, California & Springfield, Illinois in January to get married, spend time with family & have a “honeymoon.”

    I was certainly glad to get back home to Hawaii šŸ™‚

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