$49 Silvercar Rentals For All Of April

I’ve written extensively about Silvercar, which is a fairly new rental car company with only one type of car in their fleet, the Audi A4. Each A4 is equipped with free GPS, wifi, and satellite radio, and Silvercar has a fair fuel plan, whereby they’ll fill up your tank for the “market price” plus a $5 refueling fee.

Silvercar-Benefits

Silvercar has offered a ton of promos, both in terms of discounted rentals as well as referrals for making your first rental.

They’ve just announced a promotion for the month of April. If you use promotion code SILVER49 at the time of booking, you can rent a Silvercar in any market for $49 per day plus taxes/fees through April 30, 2015.

Silvercar

Keep in mind that in some markets taxes & fees can add up, so the “all-in” cost will not be $49 per day.

Silvercar-Rate

In terms of even further value you can get out of your rental, Silvercar has a great referral program, which they just recently improved. If you’re referred to Silvercar and make your first rental, both the person referring and person being referred will receive $25 in cash.

If you haven’t yet rented from Silvercar, simply go to the sign-up page on silvercar.com, and enter the “Referral Code” at the bottom of the page. If you’d like to use my code (which I’d of course be incredibly grateful for) it’s BSCHLAPPIG, though feel free to post yours below as well, and someone else can use it.

Silvercar-LAX-1

But really, why should you rent from Silvercar?

On my last post about Silvercar, reader Adam left the following comment:

I’m genuinely curious to know how Silvercar, at $60/day, is really better than a rental car you can get on Priceline – by naming your own price – for around $15/day. Heck, I’ve gotten a mid-size for $11, in LA over a 3-day weekend. All the “amenities” seem to be easily replaced by my iPhone in a much cheaper rental…

GPS? iPhone/Android phone with Google Maps or Apple’s sub-par version
Satellite Radio? iHeartRadio, iTunes/iTunes Radio, Amazon Prime, Pandora
WiFi? Phone as a hotspot, or just use your phone
$5 Refueling? So you’re paying $5 to avoid filling at a gas station; not sure that four minutes of my life is worth $5, but YMMV

So what does $60/day really get you aside from an A4? My rental cars are merely for transportation, so is the $60 just to look cool? Serious question to those that have rented.

And that’s a valid question. Now, first of all, you certainly can’t always get a rental for $15 per day through Priceline. Yes, some places on weekends you certainly can, but for weekday rentals that’s generally not going to happen.

But to answer Adam’s actual question…

Other than Silvercar, I dread renting cars. They’re mostly crap. Heck, I consider myself lucky if I rent a car where I only have to tilt the steering wheel at a 10 degree angle in order to drive in a straight line. When I get to my car with one of the major agencies I find myself having a five minute internal dialogue about which of the 30 scratches on the car I should be reporting so that I don’t get accused of causing damage when I return the car.

And that’s simply not the case at Silvercar. It’s actually fun to rent from Silvercar. I don’t dread it, but instead I look forward to it. The wifi, satellite radio, GPS, and fair fuel plan are all nice add-ons. But the main thing is that you’re renting an actually nice car for what I consider to be a reasonable premium.

Silvercar-LAX-6

It’s no different than anything else in life. For a few thousand dollars you can buy a beat up car with hundreds of thousand of miles on it. Or you can spend half a million dollars on a customized Rolls Royce. For most of us there’s a happy medium between the two.

So I’m not saying Silvercar is for everyone. But for those of us that like “nice” experiences and that are still value conscious, Silvercar is a great option, in my opinion.

Silvercar-LAX-3

Where do you stand on Silvercar — do you find their product justifies the premium over a “normal” rental car?

Comments

  1. @ Ben — What? We rent from Hertz all of the time, and it is generally delightful and WAY cheaper than Silvercar.

  2. I am curious if you have National Executive Elite status. I rent cars every other week and have rented a car with >10000 miles only once and even that time I got $25 cert when I complained regarding an issue. Also, the rental process is totally painless. You just walk to a row of cars, select one and drive off. I am sure you are more familiar with it that I am.

    The only unique selling point of Silvercar is that I get an Audi. Given that I wouldn’t be earning miles for the rental, I am not sure I would give up a brand new Nissan Altima or Dodge Charger for an Audi if it >$10 differential. Am I missing something?

  3. How much did Silvercar pay you this time to advertise them?

    Seriously?!?! Your response to Adam who had all the valid reason why NOT to us Silvercar was a joke. I am a Executive with National which is not the highest level but I got it for free through my Amex Biz Plat, and I am very satisfied with National. I use every time I need a rental car. Usually Nissan and Camry but they always have the newest model with around 2-3k mileage. Last month I had a 2015 Camry with 150 miles… 150! There are usually even mini SUVs in the executive aisle.

  4. Silvercar could be a good value on a weekday when rates are much higher than $49.

    On weekends, you can generally get a full-size or even premium vehicle for less than $49.

    Yes, earning a few thousand miles reduces the actual rate too.

  5. LOL at the guy who snapped the side view mirror off a Mercedes for complaining about damaged rental cars.

  6. Lucky… apart from the ‘status’ of renting an Audi (and who has the money to burn for that?), I have to agree with Adam: why on earth would anybody want to pay major bucks for a Silvercar (apart from the ‘status’), when the same or similar vehicle can be rented from a major chain for less than half the price?

    Even though I feel sorry for them, I can understand why some folks are unwilling to endure the relative discomfort of economy on long-haul flights — for instance, if they have an important business meeting and need to arrive without spending a sleepless night — surely car rentals are generally for far less time-consuming travels? Do the movers and shakers of this world (as opposed to the real workers) really judge a person by the vehicle she arrives in? If so, we live in a sad, sad world.

  7. Sorry but I haven’t seen enough reviews from you on the alternative rental companies to feel this is anything but another advert for Silvercar.

    I’ve just rented an impala @ LAX with < 7500 on the clock for 14 days for $520 including all taxes, premium insurance and the first tank of fuel. I had to return the thing empty – and very much did (2,350 completed anyone?)

    Besides, in Europe Audi drivers have quite the reputation…and its not a good look.

  8. Thanks for posting the promo, I appreciate it! I’ve never rented from Silvercar, but I want to. I most definitely see a difference between the average Ford Focus / Camry / Malibu that you’d get from most agencies, and getting an Audi. It’s interesting that your readers don’t see that, maybe they haven’t driven anything as well engineered as an A4?

  9. The statement “But for those of us that like ‘nice’ experiences and that are still value conscious…” really jumped out at me.

    Love your blog, but if you’re amenable to some constructive criticism, I do not agree that your travel choices are ‘value conscious’. I think that you haven’t grasped the concept of what investing early and compounding interest could do for your net wealth. I can’t fault you though, at your age I spent too much money on booze and blow. Just saying that it’s ok to not opt for the luxury choice now and then as a little sacrifice now can add up to a large reward in the future.

  10. Sorry Lucky, huge fan, but this post was one of your biggest duds.

    Renting with National’s Emerald Aisle is both super cheap and a breeze. Only a venal salesman could allege that Silvercar is orders of magnitude better.

    Try renting from National a handful of times at major airports and tell me its worth paying 2x-3x more for Silvercar.

  11. @ stvr — I have. National is my “go to” rental agency. But even so, I’ve consistently gotten crappy cars in the Emerald Aisle.

  12. @ Stannis — I appreciate the feedback, though without knowing my “situation” that’s kind of tough for you to judge, no? Keep in mind travel *is* my job as well. Reviewing many of these experiences *is* my job.

  13. Some of the commentary here is really harsh. I would pay extra for an Audi, a quality vehicle, over a more generic so called “premium” vehicle, especially given the personalised service that Silvercar is offering (such as individual airport pick up and drop off).

    If cheapness is your primary driver, so you aren’t in Silvercar’s target market, fine – but what’s the point of hanging crap on them just because you don’t value quality. A lot of people do value quality, are happy to pay more for the privilege, especially when the overall package on offer is attractive both to the senses and the wallet.

    I hire cars exclusively from prestige/premium offerings from Europcar or Hertz, because I want to drive something close to what I drive at home. So I’d happily consider Silvercar for US car hires, and I doubt I’m the only one.

    Some people argue flying premium classes domestically is a waste of money, but I’m not them and I choose comfort over value (and I’m always annoyed when people think they should tell me how I should spend my own money). The car hire angst on display here in the comments to this article is much the same, if you want a cheap hire car fine, but let other people make their own choices (we put different values on things).

  14. Ben,

    Nice commercial for Silvercar. Maybe you should consider being a spokesperson for them. Oh, I forgot, you already are.

  15. On Bens advice I rented from Silvercar in Miami in January. I would say it was fine but I don’t know at that price if I would do it again.

    First, on pickup two customers showed up at once so I had to ride to the facility to get my car. Minor blip.

    I was not a fan of the audi. Uncomfortable car. That’s personal though.

    I did appreciate the toll pass. Great since you cannot leave miami without paying tolls.

    Really what would make me rent from them again is the drop off service. There is a lot to be said for leaving your bags in the trunk and being driven to the terminal And then simply walk away from the car. I think I hate rental car company airport busses more than anything.

  16. My one frustration with Silvercar is that, in my opinion, if they are trying to be a “premium” offering they should really come up with ways to improve the most annoying part of the car rental experience — pick-up and drop-off. You know what would be amazing? If you called them at baggage claim and they drove a car to the terminal and you hopped in and drove off.

    I have used Silvercar at DFW and SFO, and at the former, it is the same as any other car rental — you take a long shuttle bus ride to and from the terminal. At the latter, it’s actually worse than all of the other rental cars (even cheapo “Fox Rental”) since you have to take a shuttle bus to an off-site long-term parking operator, rather than being able to take the airport train to the consolidated rental car center.

    Pretty sure things like Hertz Gold speedy car pick-up shows that improving car pick-up and drop-off is the real luxury people are willing to pay for in their rental car experience.

  17. I rented a car last October @ LAX from Silvercar and I have another reservation in July and I agree with Ben. I actually had reserved a comparable car for almost twice the cost before switching to Silvercar and I was very happy with it. The GPS was great, and I never knew how much I would like having Wi-Fi in a car until I had it.

    I’m willing to pay a slight premium both for a nicer experience, from flights to hotels and yes to cars.

  18. I have rented with Silvercar multiple times. Found them on Yelp. Their reviews in comparison to Hertz, Avis, etc. were off the charts. It really is a MUCH better experience. I love the Audi A4 and knowing I will always get the same immaculate car and service experience with them every time I rent. I love not having say “not interested” to a billion up-sells. In reality, after paying for my girlfriend to be an additional driver, for roadside assistance, a car seat for our kid, GPS, and toll-tracking each day it adds up. Silvercar does not charge additional for any of those items which makes it a great value. My biggest and only complaint is that they are not in enough cities and that a couple of times I’ve tried to rent in LA that they were completely sold out.

  19. @speedski please show me receipt for 14 days with “premium” insurance for around 520. #cmon

  20. @Borathean: This is something I don’t completely understand but in fact experienced myself several times already: If you book a rental car online in Germany you get deals for 2 weeks with maximum insurance on Alamo/Hertz/etc. starting at around 450€ which equals around 500$. I looked up how much it would cost if I would rent directly from Alamo in the U.S. and was really shocked how expensive this would be. But the best thing for me about this is that the insurance contract actually is in German as I wouldn’t be able to completely understand the more tricky parts of such a document in English…

  21. keep in mind- Ben isn’t likely paying for any silvercar rentals, he’s using the referral credits he gets from the constant write-ups blubbering about Silvercar (OMG I can’t wait until I’m 25 so I can rent from Silvercar! OMG, a stripped down AUDI!)

    I’ve used it once, and it’s nice, but certainly not worth the price you pay (and the Audi’s aren’t that great).
    LIke others have mentioned, I always rent from National, and can usually find a very nice SUV, with suits me much better than a standard model Audi.

  22. I used SilverCar in December in Denver and San Francisco when it was half off. I loved it! The experience was great getting to have Google maps, XM Radio, and the toll pass (without having to pay a daily surcharge). I was picked up from the airport in an Audi, all I had to do was scan in and go. I ended up catching a flat tire about an hour away from the rental car location and they sent a driver out with a new car to swap cars while they dealt with it, so I’m a fan of the car and the customer service. I wouldn’t recommend splurging on it all the time since you can probably normally find a better rate but if the price is right go for it.

  23. to clear up my earlier post:
    instead of ” If you book a rental car online in Germany”
    it should say “If you book a rental car for a trip to the U.S. online from Germany…”

  24. I booked my husband a Silvercar (LAX) rental for a business trip at the last minute when rentals at other agencies were more expensive for a standard car. He enjoyed the experience/customer service. Our rental car experiences have been overall pleasant – never as bad as Lucky’s experiences – but nice to have more options.

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