Just in time for Mother's Day, Audi-owned Silvercar has decided to partner with Peg Perego to provide free car seats in rentals. And in some ways, we have to say we're surprised -- as we noted in our initial review article, the founding principle of SilverCar was four cool guys needing a vehicle for a golf outing. Yet SilverCar does have many included services that usually result in hefty fees at other rental car companies, such as satellite radio and GPS, WiFi, and actual cost for tolls; adding the potential for a car seat included in the price means many families might begin to consider Silvercar at one of their 21 existing sites!
How to Take Advantage of the Offer
In order to take advantage of the offer (listed under Silvercar's Premium Upgrades), one simply makes a reservation and then sends an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting the child or booster seat at least 24 hours in advance of vehicle pickup. If a child or booster seat is available -- the offer is always "Subject to Availability" -- then it will be provided at no charge. And given the other features available in Silvercar's all-Audi fleet, avoiding the fee on one of these seats (which often run $15 per day plus taxes) at competitors is a pretty substantial saving. Of course, Silvercar's status as a niche competitor limits the value of this offer -- the company has just 21 total locations while competitor Enterprise Holdings will soon open their 10,000th site.
Silvercar is Not the Only Path for Free Car Seats
There's quite a bit of misinformation on the Internet. We know -- you're shocked to hear that statement. In fact, we waited a day to post about this offer because we wanted to be able to verify the offer through Silvercar. The sources that initially reported the offer (such as these posts from Fatherly.com and even trade group Auto Rental News) listed information that's verifiably false, so we were more than a bit skeptical. A blog that tells us it costs $150-$325 per day to rent a car from Hertz -- and that Hertz's AAA rate is the only way to get a free car seat -- isn't a resource whose pronouncements we can accept without verification.
Our blog has addressed the child safety seat dilemma in the past, and we dispelled the myth that only the combination of Hertz and AAA rates provide free child safety seats. The AAA rate code entitles a renter to a free car seat at Dollar, Hertz, or Thrifty. The National PTA rate code provides a free car seat at Hertz. Even Avis Preferred points can be redeemed for a free car seat. So there are multiple avenues of getting a car seat directly from the rental car company without any incremental cost, although Avis, Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty will not guarantee Audi A4s and Q5s as Silvercar will!
And while we do provide readers information about all the ways to get a child safety seat without additional cost, we are really strong advocates of bringing safety seats from home for two reasons. The first is we think about all forms of travel -- if a child arrives at a rental car counter without a child seat, that means the child was likely in one or more forms of transportation (car, shuttle, train, airplane) without a safety seat. Second, bringing a child safety seat from home provides familiarity for parent and child nearly all rental car companies forbid staff from helping with the installation of child safety seats (due to liability) and the model one has at home may well be more advanced than the model purchased by the rental car company.
Ready to rent your next rental car? If you need child safety seats, Silvercar may be the easiest path. After all, that company (unlike Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty) doesn't require renters to take the extra step of ensuring the individual is booked under the proper rate code. Yet no matter the situation, the first step in finding the lowest rates on your rental is to request quotes from the link below so we can find the lowest rates available.