Whether it’s for leisure or for business, when traveling domestically in the U.S, rental car is a major means of transportation to get from Point A to Point B, because after all, America is a Nation on Wheels. We’re all too familiar with the whole rental process, which involves a lot of waiting in line and paperwork, as well as the wishful thinking that the employees at the counter will actually bring you the car you wanted, so that they won’t up-sell you a better model.
Technology is revamping each and every industry these days, including rental car industry. Silvercar, an Austin-based startup, decided to take a different path than the traditional rental car companies. Launched in 2012, this app-based, Audi-only rental car service gained its popularity among savvy travelers by offering a fleet of silver Audi A4 sedans at a reasonable pricing (In early 2018, Silvercar added Audi Q5 SUVs as second vehicle option). Average daily rates for the A4 model range from $49 to $79, with occasional promotions that further lowers the daily rate to $39. That’s basically the cost for a compact or economy-level car from the major rental car companies, such as Hertz or Enterprise. Silvercar is currently serving 18 locations all across the U.S., with the aim to expand its footprint to 25 locations in the near future. “Audi acquired Silvercar in 2017, a sign of the shifting dynamics as automakers become more like technology companies that create their own digital platforms to serve consumers.” (Source: Skift)
The whole rental process, from reservation, to pick-up and drop-off, to receipt delivery, are all processed through the Silvercar app. No paperwork or waiting in line, or guessing (“What kind of car am I getting?”) involved.
When you arrive at the pickup location, “the camera-enabled app scans a QR code on the windshield, which starts the rental period, unlocks the doors, and even pops the trunk for your bags.” (Source: AFAR)
(Photo Credit: Geekwire)
Nearly all the premium features of Audi A4 and Q5, such as In-Car Wifi, Audi MMI Touchzone, Satellite Navigation, Rear View camera, Audi smartphone interface (Apple CarPlay or Android Auto), etc. are included with no additional cost.
And the icing on the cake is that, there are always promo codes you can find online that can give you an additional 15% to 40% discount, these are the ones that I collected, that are still valid as of now:
15% off any rental promo Code HOLIDAY15 (exp: 1/1/19)
20% off first rental promo code: FIRST20 (exp: 6/30/18)
30% off any rental of 2 days or more promo Code WEEKLY30 (exp: 9/30/18)
40% off any rental of 5 days or more, promo code: WEEKLY (exp: 3/31/18)
And if you have one of the Visa Infinite credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve (referral link) or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite Card, you can take:
30% off any rental of 2 days or more, by using promo code: VINFINITE (No expiration date)
An additional benefit of using Chase Sapphire Reserve for rental car payment is that, the credit card comes with Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. This means, you can “decline the rental company’s collision insurance” and use this credit card for theft and collision damage reimbursement for up to $75,000 for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. And this coverage is primary, which means the insurance from the credit card will kick in before your own auto insurance, so you don’t need to worry about raising your own auto insurance premium after accidents happen to the rental cars. (More details on Chase)
I took advantage of the Visa Infinite promo code (30% off) in my most recent Silvercar reservation for my upcoming business trip to LA in April. And it yields a saving of $111 for my company.
Whereas for the same time period and location, an economy-level rental car from the major car rental companies are about the same price as the Audi A4. So it’s a no-brainer to use Silvercar for the trip
To double dip the bonus (and earn $25 for yourself): if you have never rented from Silvercar before, you can get a $25 Virtual Visa Gift Card when you enter my referral code: DTRFHJNP into your account, and finish your first reservation afterwards. You can stack it with all the promo codes I listed above. Remember, you need to enter my referral code prior to a reservation starting, so if you made your first reservation without using my code, you’ll miss $25! Here’s the proper procedure:
- Sign up on Silvercar website or on their App;
- Once logged in, go to “Account” => “Refer a Friend”
- Enter code: DTRFHJNP in this page
- Make your first reservation
- You’ll get $25 after you complete your first drive.
I hope this article can give you a general idea of what Silvercar is, provide you with more options to consider for rental car services in the future, and help you get the best bang for your buck next time you travel by rental cars.