I’ve gotten to the point that I rarely rent cars. The costs (yes, plural) associated are usually not worth the justification above and beyond simply taking a cab or Lyft. Not to mention, with Lyft, I get instant bonus miles through Delta… So it’s even more tempting! The costs that I refer to are not only monetary in nature (but there is the cost of the rental car, fuel, and depending where I am, the parking), but also time. These time costs are based on the trip to/from the rental car counter on a shuttle or tram, the time to refuel, time to do the paperwork, and time to park in various places (which again, may not be trivial!).
This week, I traveled to Denver, Colorado, and needed to go a fair distance. What’s more, I also had a colleague traveling with me who needed to be dropped at the airport before I traveled to a different customer location. I also knew up-front that I was staying at a hotel with free on-site parking, minimizing that cost. This leaves me with the cost of being on a rental car shuttle, the cost of fueling up, and the cost of the rental car itself…
SilverCar is a rental car company that came on the scene in a few airports just a few years ago. They are known for only having silver cars, as the name would suggest. The unique part, is that they *only* have newest generation Audi A4 and Q5’s in their rental fleet. That’s right, no ‘ending up with’ an uncomfortable car, but also newest generation tech, cleaned up, and ready to go. The upside is that they have grown considerably, and now have 20 locations, including several in major cities that aren’t directly associated with an airport. The price is also surprisingly economical- not just for what it is… When I booked my rental, National’s rate was 64.99 per day, for a midsize. I’m able to book straight into the ‘Emerald Aisle’ (basically, i pick anything available from two to three rows of cars, could be a compact, could be a Suburban… you never know), so the ‘compact’ part is kinda thrown out. Also not listed in that up front rate is the extra ‘fees’ and taxes put on top. SilverCar was 39.00 a day, which resulted in a sum total of 62.49 for my entire reservation… Now – it doesn’t always work that way, but I can say that by being part of the Audi Car Club of America, as well as being a frequent renter with SilverCar, it does help bring the price down. They often have specials for longer term rates make vacations extremely appealing to use them over a traditional rental car company.
I booked directly with the SilverCar app on my iPhone 7 Plus. You can do it on the computer, but this was easier for me as I was already in transit when I made the reservation. My credit card is already on file – I chose my Delta Reserve by American Express for the built in rental car coverage – and simply selected my dates, approximate arrival and drop off times, and whether I wanted an A4 or a Q5. I got an email confirmation, and it was done.
I’ve used SilverCar twice in as many weeks (Orlando and Denver), and the experience has been the same each time. Around the time I land, I get a text message from SilverCar indicating how to get to them. They have already emailed me this, but it’s great to get a reminder of where to go to find their shuttle. It also notes that you can reply to let them know you’ve landed, which triggers them to be waiting on me at the shuttle exit. I then ride a shuttle to a traditional park and ride facility. This allows them to do covered, sometimes heated (in the case of Denver), rental check-out.
I’ve been greeted by a SilverCar representative at the door to the shuttle each time, and they walk me to the car. This is where the magic starts to happen…
They then ask you to open your SilverCar app on your phone/tablet, and click a few “I Agree” checkboxes – then you ‘scan’ a barcode on the windshield of the car – once you do this, the car unlocks, and the trunk pops open automatically to let you put your luggage in. That’s pretty much it! Drive off! You have a car!
The return process is pretty much the same – pull up, hand off the keys, tell them what airline you’re going to, and head out… you’ll get an emailed receipt within about the time it takes to shuttle to the airport.
It’s a super easy process, gets you a very nice vehicle (guaranteed), no surprises, and I’d recommend it to anybody looking for something just a bit out of the “norm”… That said, I’m using it everywhere that I can when I need a car to get around.