The Milelion is embarking on a round the world trip over the next 4 weeks to more than 10 different countries. En route I will be doing reviews of different airlines and hotels. This will be one really, really long trip report. Thanks for keeping me company.
Introduction: Around the world in 28 days
EVA Air Business Class Singapore to Taipei
EVA Air Business Class Taipei to Los Angeles
Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa
Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles
United First Class Los Angeles to Mexico City
Le Meridien Mexico City
United First Class Mexico City to Houston
United Business Class Houston to Sao Paulo
Sheraton Sao Paulo WTC
South African Business Class Sao Paulo to Johannesburg
Ten Bompas Johannesburg
Turkish Airlines Business Class Johannesburg to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Zagreb
Croatia Airlines Business Class Zagreb to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt to Riyadh
Four Points Riyadh
Air India Business Class Riyadh to Mumbai
St Regis Mumbai
ANA Business Class Mumbai to Tokyo
Asiana Business Class Tokyo to Seoul
Asiana Business Class Seoul to Tokyo
ANA Business Class Tokyo to Singapore
Silvercar is a startup car rental service that rents one and only one type of car- a silver Audi A4. All cars come equipped with GPS, satellite radio and a built-in free WiFi hotspot. They currently have operations in
- Dallas-Forth Worth
- Las Vegas
- NYC- Brooklyn
- Dallas Love Field
- Fort Lauderdale
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
I like Silvercar because of their fair policies. For example, if you drop off a rental car at a traditional agency with anything less than a full tank, they’ll charge you 2-3X the market rate for whatever petrol is needed to fill it up. Silvercar charges you a flat fee of $5 plus whatever the market rate is for gas.
Tolls are another thing. Most rental companies charge ridiculous rates for using the electronic tolling system in the car. Oftentimes they may charge a day-use rate once you’ve used the toll for the first time, even if you only used it once. For example, if the day-use rate is $5 and the toll is $3, if I use a toll on the first day of the 3 day rental I’ll be billed $5 *3 +$3, which is downright ridiculous. Silvercar charges you exactly the amount you paid for the toll, nothing more.
I had a coupon that gave me one day free with a two day rental (LOUNGEBUDDY if anyone wants to use it) plus I used a referral code when starting my account that gave me a US$25 gift card after my first rental. If you want to sign up you can use my referral code here (NOGRVPMX) and get $25 as well.
The total cost of my rental was therefore $78 (before taking into account the $25 voucher)
Finding the pickup spot proved challenging but that’s probably because it was my first time flying into LAX on an international flight.
Here’s the explainer:
Once you’re at baggage claim follow the signs for “Ground Transportation”
After baggage claim you’ll go through customs, and then you’ll exit the secure area into the public area
Once you’re in the public area head straight out the doors
Look up and see the sign for “LAX Shuttle Airline Connection”.
This is the waiting point
And this is the bus you need to take to the Silvercar lot
Once I was on the bus I swiped to the app and pressed the “pick me up” button
This sent an automated text via SMS to Silvercar
And when I got off my pickup was waiting
The Silvercar rep drove me to their facility which was about 2-3 mins away. He told me that in the future I could just call them directly and they’d fetch me from the terminal, avoiding the whole hassle with the shuttle.
Silvercar has about 200 cars in LAX and as you can see business is good. The guy who gave me a quick garage tour said they’re typically running at 80% utilization.
Once you’ve run through the damage check, license verification and credit card verification, you use your camera phone to scan the QR code on the windscreen and you’re all set.
And here’s the moneyshot. I didn’t get the newest of cars (it had 14,000 miles on the odometer) but at less than $40 a day for an Audi A4 I’m not complaining
If I had any gripes about the car, it would be that it doesn’t have keyless entry and go, which is surprising for an otherwise high-end model. Can you imagine that once upon a time people had to insert a car key to start the car? I know right. Soon you’ll be telling me that people had to drive themselves too…
The car also didn’t feature the automatic engine start/stop which is common on a lot of mid-range/high-end cars these days. I know some people find the sudden engine cutoff annoying but apparently it’s good for fuel efficiency.
I tested the car’s built in WiFi hotspot and it ran like a charm. I can imagine this being very useful to you if you haven’t got a local sim card yet or want to tether multiple devices.
In terms of the actual driving experience, it’s definitely nowhere as fun to drive a BMW, but a heck of a lot better than whatever Toyota/Nissan your typical rental car company would give you for the same price. The A4’s handling is quite nuanced and the pickup was very good. Being a law-abiding citizen I didn’t test the engine at any speed over 65mph for protracted periods of time, but I was able to get rapidly up to 70-75 when overtaking.
The returns process was painless too. The Silvercar valet even dropped me off at the Sheraton Gateway instead of at the airport terminal (it was pretty much the same distance but I appreciate the flexibility).
Within 1 hour of dropping off my car, I got the following email confirming my US$25 gift card. Remember that if you want to try Silvercar you can use my referral link and we’ll both get a US$25 gift each.
To sumarise- I’m not sure if I’d be willing to pay full price (US$69 a day) for Silvercar, given that I can usually get a perfectly good mid-sized vehicle for US$40-50, but if you’re only renting for a short period and can make use of both the US$25 sign up credit + one day free rental code, why not treat yourself?