“Rental Cars That Don’t Suck” Tries to Make Their Referral Program Not Suck.

Silvercar tries to improve the rental car process with nice cars, inclusive pricing, technology and good service.

You aren’t going to get $20 per day rentals. They start at about $60 per day, though there are sometimes coupons.

For a business traveler renting at the airport midweek they’re pretty price competitive while giving you a better experience in my view.

They only rent Audis:

My first Silvercar rental: How I Made $12 on My Audi Car Rental, And How You Can Too!

Generally their model is all-inclusive. You get:

  • Free GPS
  • Free wifi
  • Free satellite radio
  • Actual price of tolls charged, without add-on administrative fees
  • A $5 charge for them to refuel the vehicle at actual market rates

Here are their current locations:

You’ll generally be picked up curbside at the airport and dropped back off curbside, and you manage the rental with a mobile app.

The Old Subpar Referral Program They’re Replacing

Silvercar has long offered $25 to folks whose friends register with their referral code and make their first rental. These $25 credits even applied when someone booked a $59 one-day weekend rate with a $50 off first time user code. So a $9+tax rental generated that $25. And the $25 was actually both for the referrer and the person referred, so both made money.

That’s not exactly subpar.

Indeed, they shared the performance of their 2014 referral program:

Once a month however they used to send you a link to a third party site where you could claim a Visa gift card.

You could choose an electronic gift card (which you could only use online) or a physical gift card that would be mailed to you. Expiration of these cards would be about six months into the future.

Silvercar reports amounts of $600 or more to the IRS with a 1099-MISC form. Of course gift cards aren’t worth as much as cash. You have the annoyance of manufactured spend, turning these cards back into cash, without the upside of having earned miles for the cards.

Full disclosure I’m fortunate that I received over $600 in referral credits in 2014. As a result I received a 1099 in the mail (they only requested my tax information at the end of the year). The 1099 I received was for more money that I had actually received. Getting that sorted actually involved about half an hour on the phone with Silvercar’s CFO — the third party gift card provider gives them a list of people and payments, they don’t have access to the details they just submit those to the IRS.

It finally got sorted, but cash (via paypal) is a far better system.

Silvercar acknowledged their old system was clunky at best.

Silvercar’s New Referral Program

They’re going to pay out on a more frequent schedule and via paypal (so actual money rather than gift cards).

You’ll get notified when a friend books their first reservation with your code as well as when they finish the first reservation: so you know you’ve got some sweet green headed your way

You’ll get paid within days, not months, and your payment will come from Silvercar via Paypal (we were told our old payment set up seemed like a phishing scam. Like, zoinks, Scoob!)

If you aren’t currently a Silvercar customer, sign up now and I appreciate your using referral code GLEFF.

This gets you $25 via paypal after your first rental and $25 to the person who refers you.

This should stack with promo code AFF-FTD which will give you $50 off a 2+ day rental.

You can feel free to post your own in the comments as well for others to use if you wish.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. If you think that $60/day and above midweek at a major airport is competitive, you must not work for a company with a contract. That’s over double what most big companies pay.

  2. I rented from Silvercar recently at DEN for the first time. While getting ANY rental car there is a bit of a process, I really enjoyed it and it was an awesome car (especially in Denver in February). Satellite radio, nav, wifi (my son was super excited he could use his iPod to get online), and they refuel at local gas prices + $5, which is great for DIA, seeing that it’s basically all the way to Kansas.

    I’d be grateful if anyone used my referral code to sign up: AKOBILAROV.

    Thanks!

  3. I have a Founders Card as well, and their deal with Silvercar is excellent. Gas is free and they comp the $5 refueling fee too. If you expect to be able to return the car with the tank significantly empty, that can cover the difference right down to a very cheap rental for a few days driving.

    Here’s my code, MDARLING, and I can get you an invite to Foundecard too if you message me directly.

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