Review: Silvercar Orlando Airport

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Silvercar is an innovative car rental company that has been around for a few years now, and which I’m a big fan of. Personally I’ve always found the car rental experience to be unpleasant, though Silvercar has changed my perception of that.

As much as I love Silvercar, I don’t rent cars often. That’s because in a vast majority of cases I find it cheaper and more pleasant to just use Uber whenever possible, so I don’t have to worry about parking, damage, etc.

However, last month I found myself in Florida and needed to do plenty of driving (including visits to Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota), so I decided that renting a car — and specifically, a Silvercar — made the most sense.

Booking my Silvercar

Silvercar isn’t cheap, though personally I find the premium they charge to be worth it. The great news is that you can almost always score a discount on a Silvercar rental, so the rate you initially see isn’t the rate you’ll end up paying.

For my four day rental the standard rate was $49 per day, or $246.10 including all taxes and fees. However, for having a Visa Infinite (like the  Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card) you get 30% off any rental of two days or more, so that brought down the cost to $35 per day, or $177.21 for the entire four day rental, which comes to ~$44 per day all-in.

I also had rental coverage with my  Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, which is another way that the card added value.

Could I have gotten a cheaper rental elsewhere? Absolutely. Given that I’d be spending at least a couple of hours per day in a car, I’d gladly pay this premium for a much better rental experience.

First time renters can save even more

If you haven’t yet rented from Silvercar, they have a generous referral program, where you can get $25 in cash after your first rental if you’re referred by an existing customer. If you enter my code, BSCHLAPPIG, at the time you sign-up for Silvercar, you’ll get that after your first rental (and I’ll get the same). Just go to the top right of silvercar.com and click on “sign-up,” and then enter your email address and password. Once your email address has been verified you can log-in and enter the above referral code.

You can stack this with the Visa Infinite 30% off deal.

What makes Silvercar unique

There are several features that make Silvercar unique. The individual benefits will be of varying importance to different renters, though I find the combination of them to be quite valuable. Included with every rental is:

  • GPS
  • Satellite radio
  • A “fair refueling plan” (if you don’t want to fill up the tank yourself, bring it back however full you’d like and they’ll refill it at market price, plus a $5 fee)
  • Tolls are automatically charged to you, so you don’t have to worry about how you’ll pay for tolls, which is especially useful in Florida

My Silvercar rental experience in Orlando

I received a text from Silvercar on the day of my rental welcoming me to Orlando, and saying I could just text them when I arrive. Otherwise the app has instructions of how you can let them know you’re ready to go.

Silvercar picks up on the ground transportation level (one level below baggage claim), and specifically, at section B11, for “off-airport rental cars.”

We were picked up in a mini-bus, though the guy picking us up said that when they’re less busy they just pick people up in a Silvercar. In this case it was a busy night, as they were picking up another five people.

One of the things to be aware of about Silvercar is that they often have off airport locations, and they aren’t terribly forthcoming about that. However, I’ve found their shuttle service to be efficient, so that doesn’t bother me.

Within five minutes we were at their facility, which is in a parking lot behind a strip mall.

While they had a bunch more Audis in the back, they had seven specifically lined up for anyone who is just arriving.

Silvercar uses technology brilliantly, so you can choose your car and unlock it using their app. You just have to present the attendant with your driver’s license, and once they verify it, the ability to pick a car is unlocked for you.

You unlock the cars by scanning the barcode on the front left window of the car. When you do that you can also see the mileage, in case you want to pick your car based on that. I picked the lowest mileage car of the seven, though they all had 7,500-10,000 miles on them.

Once you unlock the car you’l find the key inside the car already, and then you’re ready to go.

The car was exactly what you’d expect from an A4. No, it’s not a Porsche, but it’s a comfortable, safe, and durable car that’s fun to drive.

I had a great time driving the car around Florida for four days, and then returned the car back to the facility in the evening. This time I saw that they also had a bunch of Q5s. Silvercar recently added these to their fleet, though when I booked they weren’t an option. These are great for anyone who is traveling with a larger group or a family.

I was greeted by the same attendant when returning my car that I had when I first picked up my car. I was staying at an airport hotel, and while the shuttle service is technically only to the airport, he offered to drive me to my airport hotel, which I thought was nice.

Bottom line

While I generally shy away from renting cars, Silvercar is as good as it gets on that front. Let me acknowledge that many people have good luck with National and other car rental companies, using their “Emerald Aisle,” where you can pick from a few different cars. Maybe I just need to understand car rental programs better, because I never seem to have a good experience.

That’s what I love about Silvercar. I know exactly what I’m getting every time, and I love that consistency. You can get cheaper rentals elsewhere, but I find the premium that Silvercar charges to be worth it, especially when you use a promotion code (which you should be using on just about every booking).

If you’ve rented from Silvercar, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. You missed one of the biggest savings for families. Free Car Seats that can be pre-reserved. Renting a car seat from Avis run $15/per seat/ per day

  2. So it’s an off and rport location and more expensive.

    How on Earth is this better than cheaper on airport locations where your standard Avis/Hertz etc will upgrade you through the same credit card generated status. For cheaper! Those companies have similar auto toll and refueling options, for similar price points. Overall cheaper since you can get a four day rental typically for $100 or so.

    Clearly a shilling post, referral code and all

  3. @B tell me where your getting a four day rental for $100 with all taxes and fees included. Sure you can get some cheap cars but for $25 a day all in your going to be renting a economy car in a low priced market. On top of that your getting a new a4 or q5 which at any rental place is going to run you atleast $50 with taxes and fees probably closer to $75 bare minimum. And other than national rental car companies are terrible with upgrades maybe you’ll move from a focus to a fusion if there feeling generous. Sure sometimes you can score great upgrades especially if you have top status(Avis chairman’s/presidents) but that isn’t normal. Lastly tell me one rental company where they don’t charge a ridiculous cost for gas (usually it’s $2+ over market per gallon)

  4. *sigh*

    Why go off airport when National is just sitting there… Your allegiance is bought and paid for.

    *sigh*

  5. I used them once for a week in Los Angeles. The rate was cheaper than my discount rate at Avis once I put in all the taxes, fees, franchise fees, etc that Avis was going to add. I got an AWD Audi A4 instead of a Chevy Cruz. Instead of getting on the Avis shuttle bus (or whatever system they use at LAX to go to their off site location), the guy picked me up in my rental car. And I was on the road. I may or may not have taken it off road in the desert.

    I haven’t used them since as I haven’t been in a Silvercar location where I needed to rent a car since.

  6. Gave this a try after reading the article just now. Trip to LA June 19-22. Silvercar actually came out cheaper than Alamo, Enterprise, Hertz, and Budget by about $80 (not including the Visa infinite discount). One thing to note, Lucky, is that Silvercar does not have an underage surcharge like the other rental companies. This could actually be a good play for anyone under 25. Not only do you get a far nicer car, but you also don’t have to pay that extortionate fee!

  7. Well my experience with Silvercar was terrible at EWR. First, there is no Silvercar shuttle but you have to take a regular shuttle that goes to many places including their lot which is pretty far and in not a nice location. Second, I got a very beat up Audi A4 with almost 45k miles on it which was clearly ready to be retired. Car was not very clean, had noises all over it and it felt was going to fall apart. Last, when I complained about my experience I was told cars are first come first serve so when I got there all newer cars were gone. Not what I expected. Never got a bad car on National Executive Aisle.

  8. How much does Silvercar pay you for the free advertising?

    I just can’t understand why anyone would choose to use them. With readily-attainable status at Hertz or National (through various credit card, hotel, and/or airline partnerships) you can frequently get as good or better of a car, though granted it’s not guaranteed. And you’ll almost certainly pay less, and in many places you’ll have access to much more conveniently located facilities and better shuttle services, which can be a huge value driver.

    (Despite frequent claims on this blog that they pick people up or drop people off at the airport in their car, I’ve never gotten any indication from Silvercar that they would do such a thing in a half dozen or so rentals over time. If they want to be competitive with the big guys despite their lousy airport locations, actually making at-terminal pick-up/drop-off service a thing would go a long way.)

  9. I’m going to Dallas next week and National (I’m Executive Emerald and have the CSR discount) was $450 while Silvercar was $294, which then came out to $210 after my CSR discount. So, don’t pretend that the on-site brands are always cheapest, they aren’t. I’m getting a much better car for less than half the cost of National.

  10. I don’t see this is a shill post at all. It’s a really helpful post about a product that a lot of people (like me) have never tried. Use of the phone screen-shots is a nice way to help folks see the Silvercar process and feel more comfortable with it. I’m also surprised so many folks are rabid about their preferred car rental companies. I can identify nothing, not one thing, that is enjoyable about renting a car at the airport. This post provides useful info about a potentially better option. If it’s not your cup of tea, go to the next post.

  11. Has anyone had an accident in a Silver Car and can attest to how it’s handled by “corporate”? I’ve only had experience with an accident/insurance claim with Avis, and they’re “legal team” tried every trick in the book to show we weren’t covered. Fortunately my own personal auto insurance as well as the insurance provided by my CC took care of everything, but dealing with any of the big rental agencies seems to be a nightmare.

  12. Parents just rented from Silvercar Orlando as the rate was about $60 cheaper then Budget for their four days in Orlando. They absolutely loved the experience so much that when they visit Phoenix on an upcoming trip they switched from Budget to Silvercar since it was also cheaper by about $60. They loved being picked up in the Audi from the airport with absolutely no wait since my dad has trouble walking long distances and they really enjoyed no long queues to get a car either. My mom is even considering leasing an Audi A4 because of what an amazing ride she had in the car. So all in all a great experience and definitely their preferred car rental company going forward as long as pricing is line with competitors. All of the prices I looked at when booking at competitors including with airline, AAA, AARP, and even credit card points were substantially higher.

  13. ” I know exactly what I’m getting every time, and I love that consistency.”

    I like picking a different car every time. I find it fun to try new things.

  14. @B upon reading one of your previous posts about Silvercar. I decided to give them a try in LA last week, currently a National EE, and not use my free days. I got my car for 7.5 days and paid 400 for it total with the CSR discount. Overall it was a great experience, car was really nice, so here are my pros and cons.
    Pros
    Great car with nav and Wi-Fi included
    No crazy extra charges
    Process was simple to get and return, first time so it took a little longer
    Loved the option of booster seat at no charge
    Wife was impressed, so bonus on that
    Cons
    No booster available I guess since it was spring break week
    Waited 20 minutes for shuttle bus that was part of the parking deck the location was at, so disappointed with that
    Overall I think it is a great alternative especially if you have the CSR for the discount. You get a nice car, actually really nice car at a decent price with no extra charges and having the Wi-Fi with no additional charge was a great bonus. I would certainly do it again, but wish they had more locations though and maybe a convertible option!

  15. @Lucky: you mention one feature
    Tolls are automatically charged to you, so you don’t have to worry about how you’ll pay for tolls, which is especially useful in Florida

    The major players offer that feature as well. Hertz outsources this to a third party firm and they don’t make it clear that you can pay up to $7/day convenience fee for the complete rental period plus tolls, even though you may go through toll booths on only one or two days. Hertz’s program is a horrible rip off.
    I’m curious what SIlvercar charges for this so-called feature.

  16. We use Silvercar every trip to Dallas. We are National Emerald Club member with Executive status but we definitely favor Silvercar. We have found WITHOUT EXCEPTION that Silvercar meets or beats National’s pricing… and … its an Audi!
    Even when I fly into DFW, I take the airport/city train and Silvercar picks me up at Inwood station near Dallas Love field. I don’t fight the traffic into downtown riding the train for $2.50
    I use the tolls in Dallas which make my trip so much faster and i’m ALWAYS charged exactly the toll that is posted. $5 to fill up the car at the pump price is a terrific feature. I’ve never been charged any more than I’ve seen the prices at the pump. Having wi-fi in the car keeps us productive with the office when we are on the road without using the hot-spot on the phone. We are loyal Silvercar fans. AND…. we learned about Silvercar thanks to OMAAT!

  17. do you know why they wont let you reserve a car for more than 10 days? Do I need to make two consecutive reservations then?

  18. I also just rented a car out of MCO for 4 days. Got a Nissan Versa for $105 in total at Budget (on site), paid for with my CSR. The car had well functioning AC, which is all I really care about in Florida. Why should I pay $72 more to take a shuttle to an off site rental place to get an Audi?

  19. @Neil
    Silvercar charges nothing extra for tolls. Especially useful in Orlando location, as you get a small discount with the sunpass. I love the National location in Orlando, and have rented many times, but my discount at silvercar makes it comparable in cost, and the A4 is better than any car I have ever chosen off the executive aisle. I do mostly 4 day weekends and was always able to get a coupon for a free day with national, but that is drying up.
    My one negative on silvercar is refueling. They advertise market price for gas + $5, but it is slightly higher than surrounding stations. In Orlando, gas stations with regular prices are not convenient to the airport, but I was always able to fill up just outside Disney and still make it on full.

  20. I’m rethinking a reservation I made with Silvercar in Denver (my first) because there’s some negative buzz about the airport shuttle service, and we have a tight timeline on an early a.m. return trip. I’d love to hear from anyone whose DEN experience with shuttles was ok.

  21. I’m using Silver Car for the first time in San Francisco for Memorial Weekend. Initially, I reserved a car through Hertz (my preferred) and did a search for other rentals and all the prices were hovering around $205. When I price checked Silver Car, for $15 more I could get an Audi so I decided to give them a shot. Why pay about the same for some Hyundai compact car?

  22. @Brian,@Michael:

    Thanks for the details on SIlvercar and toll charging.

    So what Hertz does is highway robbery (I couldn’t resist)

  23. @neil. Hertz is terrible that way. At least national/Alamo only charge ($3.95) for the days you use it. MCO pick service has been good the times I used it. LAX not so much now as you have to use the existing yellow shuttles.
    Another nice surprise was that they discount your rental (20% I think) if you take a car with over 20,000 miles (if I remember correctly). MCO cars are all quite new, but without thinking, I took an older model from LAX and noticed it on my receipt.

  24. One thing to add about the Silvercar location at MCO. The gas station it is located behind is a complete ripoff along with the gas station on the other side of the street. They change between $4.50 – 5.00 $ per gallon. I kid you not on the price. If you need to refuel continue north on semoran blvd 1 more block and refuel at Wawa, best gas prices around.

  25. I just used Silvercar at MCO this past week – I agree with the article, the experience was fine and I enjoyed the Q5 a lot. Used a 40% first time user discount I’d found, but more importantly I needed to put my wife and daughter on the rental with me as drivers – and there was no surcharge for them as drivers with Silvercar. All in I couldn’t do as well with Hertz, National, or Sixt despite status at all 3 of them. Not sure I’d pay a large premium for an Audi next time, but it’s certainly on my radar.

  26. after researching rentals in SFO for June, found that silvercar was actually minimum $50 cheaper than other onsite rental agencies after using visa infinite code…also get free toddler seat! sign me up please

    don’t really understand all the vitrol and pessimism from people hiding behind their keyboard

  27. The calculus for an “underage” (in this case <25) driver is a little bit different. With the surcharges levied by the likes of Hertz and Avis, it's usually cheaper for me to rent from Silvercar, even before any additional discounts are factored in.

    While the offsite location and shuttle transfer are admittedly annoying, I far prefer it to paying excessive fees to the legacy car rental companies and driving off the lot in a beat-up Toyota Yaris.

  28. I rent cars out of MCO pretty frequently. I’ve bought myself a Sunpass Portable. I just suction-cup it to the windshield and remember to log the rental car license plate number into the website within 48 hours. This is perfectly “within the rules”: Sunpass’s website understands the idea of rental cars and deals with it gracefully. No problems so far–I’ve never had any tolls processed through the rental car company.

  29. I have used Silvercar in Orlando and Austin and would definitely do so again. Good service and the cars are very nice. Much nicer than National, Hertz etc and in my opinion worth the extra cost. I also had no issue with the off airport location since I was not in a rush and didn’t care about the few extra minutes it added. I also think the refueling option and toll payment are great!

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