Every customer is automatically enrolled in the new Premium Rewards Program unless you choose to opt out. Earning is simple: one point per dollar spent on the base rate (excluding taxes and fees). As you accumulate points you can redeem them for future free rentals.
But then it gets complicated. Free awards start at 516 points for a $49 rental. That’s a weird exchange rate and says nothing about rentals that cost more than $49, like getting an Audi Q5 instead of an A4. You can redeem points when you have enough for at least 50% of the full cost, so I guess that would be 258 points for 50% off a $49 rental. You cannot redeem points in conjunction with any other discount.
There’s also a weird contradiction in the marketing materials. While the website says points don’t expire as long as you have account activity once every 5 years, the official terms and conditions say 24 months. Hmm…
So I sent an email to customer support, which was the only venue open after I got home from the office. The responses I received mostly parroted the original announcement.
I did get clarification that redeeming points for a rental still leaves you responsible for taxes and fees. There was no further attempt to address my specific question about redemption rates for more expensive cars. It was also clarified that the points expire after five years of inactivity, not 24 months, but I’m not sure I trust the answer.
At the end of the day I’d say this program is nice to have but wouldn’t do a lot to make me loyal to Silvercar as a new customer.
Most major car rental agencies offer a loyalty program. The primary benefit, in my view, is not the points but the shorter wait time. When I rent with Hertz or National Car Rental, I can skip the counter entirely and usually pick a car of my choice from a designated area. The last time I rented from Budget in Hawaii, where I didn’t bother to pre-register, I spent nearly two hours at the facility before driving away.
But Silvercar already offers a uniform fleet and a high-touch customer service experience, including curbside drop off and pickup when permitted by local airport authorities. The new rewards program seems more like an effort to prevent defection by the most frequent customers who would be missing out on free rentals. Now you can get those at Silvercar, too.
If you have to ask nitpicky questions, then the program is not for you. It’s much easier to just save money on Silvercar with a discount of 10-30% offered to Visa Infinite customers (with a card like the Sapphire Reserve). You can also save $25 on your first rental when you use my referral code SMACKENZIE.