Silvercar Review: Luxury Car Rentals for the Tech Generation
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Lifestyle Editor Shayne Benowitz recently gave Silvercar a spin, an Audi-only, on-demand car rental service catering to the next generation of travelers, which is currently the TPG Thursday Giveaway, for a whole year's rental, a $9000 value! Here's her review of the new premium service.
For travelers in search of luxury rental cars and on-demand concierge service, Silvercar’s Audi-only, app-centric service may be the solution. Akin to the Uber of rental cars, users input their contact and billing information into SilverCar website or app and make their reservation in a few simple steps. Available at nine major U.S. airports across the country, Silvercar promises an Audi every time, as well as curbside service where available, allowing customers to skip the lines at typical airport rental car desks.
I gave the service a spin at Miami International Airport (MIA) a couple of weeks ago to see how it stacked up. Overall, it was a seamless process and I enjoyed tooling around Miami in a 2015 Audi A4. It’s definitely a service that will impress the next generation of travelers.
Other Silvercar locations include: Austin (AUS), Dallas (DFW and Love), Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX), Phoenix (PHX) and San Francisco (SFO) with plans to expand.
Making the Reservation
The reservation process is simple and intuitive, and took me about five minutes in all to complete. I went to the website where the homepage asks you to select your location, pick-up date, pick-up time, return date and return time, along with your email address.
From there, if you’re a first time user, you fill in your billing information and other specifications, such as insurance packages. If you’ve used the service before, your billing information is saved and you can simply make a reservation on the site or the app, which you’re instructed to download.
For a 24-hour rental period in Miami, the cost was $89 per day ($103 total with taxes and surcharges).
I arrived at MIA on an international flight from Anguilla and gave myself an hour’s window with my pick-up time to get through customs. By the time I cleared, I had a welcome message on my phone from Silvercar with instructions to login to the app and notify them of my arrival.
Inside the app, there were clear instructions on how to take the MIA Mover on level 4 to the rental car center where I’d head straight to the exit and veer right to wait for my pick-up curbside. The only small bit of confusion here was that the instructions stated to take exit door #3—the problem is that the doors are not numbered, so I stood outside looking for a sign that indicated #3 that didn’t exist.
My Silvercar concierge arrived promptly and walked me over to a poorly lit one-hour parking lot just off the curb. As a solo female traveler, I’ll admit it was a little unnerving to be escorted by a stranger through a parking lot after dark, but whatever anxiety I felt was unfounded as my concierge was professional and polite. Still, it’s a consideration the company could stand to review.
I was asked to inspect the car for any damage and then my concierge offered an orientation of the vehicle, which I accepted. He showed my how to work the MMI Control Panel, the navigation and the radio. The car’s GPS has the drop-off location pre-programmed, making the return fool proof. The car is also equipped with a brief guide in order to use your souped-up Audi to its fullest potential.
We tried to connect my iPhone via Bluetooth, but it didn’t take. And the SiriusXM Radio was not available, as advertised. Finally, he showed me how to start her up by holding my foot on the brake and sliding the key into the ignition, and I was off.
The car was a brand new 2015 Audi A4 and she drove like a dream. The new car smell was in full effect and the leather interior was soft and luxurious. The car is definitely high-tech with everything you need at the turn of the central control knob, as well as steering wheel controls for music, volume and navigation.
Clear instructions are provided to take advantage of navigation, Bluetooth, radio and connecting to the in-car WiFi hotspot.
The car was also equipped with a SunPass, making driving through tolls simple—the fare is added to your bill at the end of the rental period.
While I found the MMI Control Panel’s knobs, buttons and dials a little overwhelming and distracting, I’m sure if I had the car for a little longer they’d become second-nature features that I wouldn’t want to live without. For luxury enthusiasts and car geeks, this service is a no brainer.
I returned the car the next evening, after a little trial and error searching for the address in the GPS. A Silvercar message checked in with me midday to make sure my plans hadn’t changed, and I shot them a quick message to inform them that I was on my way.
The drop-off location is just off Le Jeune Rd. near the other rental car services at MIA, and it was easy to navigate to. The same concierge was there when I returned the car. He was friendly and genuinely interested in how I enjoyed my experience. He offered me a bottle of water or a soda, and then gave me a lift to the terminal in the same car that I rented. It took about five minutes in all to get back to the airport.
Silvercar’s seamless service and luxury vehicle promise makes it an excellent choice for the traveler in search of a stylish rental car. While standard and economy car rentals can be found much cheaper (an Expedia search yielded prices ranging from $21 - $38 per day), the price is on par—if not slightly cheaper—for luxury rental cars. And with Silvercar, you know what you’re getting every time—a sweet Audi A4—along with concierge service for the tech generation. There's a lot to like with Silvercar.
TPG Tip: Check with your car insurance, as well as your credit card's rental car insurance policy before paying for additional coverage from the rental car agency. American Express Platinum is an excellent choice.
For those interested in Silvercar, they are giving all TPG readers an exclusive $50 off their first drive, plus a $50 cash rewardwhen you complete your first drive of 2 days of more! Simply enter “thepointsguy” at sign-up in the Referral Code field and your coupon will be available in the Silvercar app’s Message Center.
TPG is also giving away a year of free Silvercar rentals valued at $9,000. Enter now before it’s too late!
Have you tried Silvercar? Tell us about your experience or other car rental services you'd recommend.