Here’s everything you need to know about the revamped Uber Rewards program
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If you find yourself using Uber a lot, you should be familiar with its rewards program, one that frequent travelers have requested for years. Uber Rewards offers riders and food delivery customers rewards and elite status that comes with a wide variety of perks. The program was revamped in November and is now much more rewarding than when it first launched in 2018.
The program is quite robust and somewhat resembles an airline or dining rewards program. It’s free to join, but riders won’t be automatically enrolled, so make sure you opt-in via the app. You can do that by opening the Uber app, tapping the menu icon in the top left corner and selecting Uber Rewards from the list.
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There are two main aspects to the program: First, the rewards you earn, and second, the different tiers of elite status you can attain and each perk that comes along with it.
Uber Rewards overview
Once you join Uber Rewards, you’ll start earning points on rides and UberEats orders, Uber’s food delivery service, immediately. Points earning breaks down like this:
- 1 point per eligible dollar spent on UberPool, Express Pool and UberEats
- 2 points per eligible dollar spent on UberX, XL, WAV/Assist, Comfort, Connect, Pet and Select
- 3 points per eligible dollar spent on UberBlack, Black SUV and Green
Points are not earned on tips, cancellation fees or taxi, bike, and scooter rides.
But how much are the points worth? Depending on how you redeem them, points can be worth up to 1.5 cents apiece.
The rewards program was recently completely revamped and will soon offer over 30 redemption options, ranging from 100 to 8,000 points. Here’s a look at some of the rewards you can expect:
- 10% off your next trip (up to $3) — 250 points
- Free coffee from Starbucks ($3 value) — 250 points
- Up to four free months of Apple Music — 500 points
30 day free trial of HBO MAX for new subscribers — 1,000 points
- Free UberX trip (up to $30) — 2,000 points
- Free Uber Eats order (up to $25) — 2,500 points
Additionally, the points redemption period has been extended from 28 days to 6 months.
This essentially equates to 1.5% back in Uber credit on UberPool rides and UberEats orders, 3% back on Uber’s flagship UberX product and 4.5% back when taking rides in high-end vehicles like UberBlack.
While the program isn’t insanely rewarding, it definitely has a solid return, especially considering that before the launch of Uber Rewards, no one was being rewarded at all. Even better, this stacks with points you’d earn from a credit card. So if you were charging a $50 UberX ride to a card like Chase Sapphire Reserve, which earns 3x points on all travel purchases, you’d be earning 100 Uber points through Uber Rewards (essentially worth $1.50 in Uber credit) and 150 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $3 according to TPG’s valuations).
There’s no cap on how many points you can collect, and you’ll even earn your own points on business rides charged to your employer’s account and when splitting rides with friends. Note that points are accrued based on a ride’s base fare and taxes and fees, but tips aren’t eligible for points earning.
Uber Rewards elite status
Earning elite status with Uber is relatively straightforward compared to airlines and hotel loyalty schemes. It really comes down to how many points you collect with Uber over six months.
Like an airline, you’ll have a qualifying period to earn points toward elite status. These elite points are the same points you earn that you can redeem for Uber credit and are accrued at the same rate.
In the case of Uber Rewards, each rider has six months to hit status. The earning period is tied to the date you joined Uber Rewards, and when you obtain each level of status, you’ll stay at that tier for the remaining earning period and the next six months after that.
Here are the points needed to earn each elite tier (which appear to be inspired by other, more prominent loyalty schemes):
- Blue: Requires no points
- Gold: Requires 500 points earned in six months (i.e., spend $250 on UberX rides)
- Platinum: Requires 2,500 points earned in a six-month period (i.e. spend $1,250 on UberX rides)
- Diamond: Requires 7,500 points earned in a six-month period (i.e. spend $3,750 on UberX rides)
For example, if you joined the program on Dec. 1, 2020, the six-month earning period would last until June 1, 2021. If you unlock Gold on Feb. 1, 2020, you’d have Gold status from that date until Dec. 1, 2021, since you keep your status for the remainder of the earning period and the six months after that.
And there’s excellent news for riders who want a fast-track to status. Uber will automatically look at everyone’s ride history over the past six months and apply those eligible rides toward your elite status. So, you may have status the minute you sign up for Uber Rewards.
Each elite tier comes with its own unique set of perks:
Blue: Access to earning reward points that you can redeem for Uber rides and UberEats orders.
Gold: Over the past few years, Uber has introduced fees if you can cancel your ride two or three minutes after ordering it. Now, if a Gold member cancels a ride after the fee-free cancellation period but rebooks a new Uber within 15 minutes, you’ll automatically have the cancellation fee refunded (normally ~$5). Note that UberPool rides aren’t eligible for this benefit. This is a great perk, as TPG staff and readers have dealt with ongoing issues around cancellation fees. You’ll also receive priority support when contacting Uber, meaning faster response times and being connected with better-trained support agents.
Platinum: The biggest benefit Platinum members enjoy is the ability to boost your points earning on UberX rides one particular route by 5x. That means that you’ll earn a total of 10 points per dollar spent on UberX rides on your “favorite route.” You’ll be able to change this route once a month, and the boost works in both directions.
Platinum members also get priority pick-up at most airports, where you’ll jump to the front of the digital queue. However, this doesn’t mean your car will be curbside in two minutes — you’ll still be subject to wherever the closest driver may be, which could be in an off-site parking lot. Platinum members also enjoy all the benefits of Gold members.
Diamond: Uber’s top-level Diamond members get four more valuable extras by sitting on the loyalty program’s throne. Diamond members have dedicated phone support from Uber’s “most-experienced customer support agents.” Most exciting is that Diamonds receive complimentary surprise upgrades from UberX cars to premium products like UberBlack or UberSelect — although Uber doesn’t specify when or how you’ll be upgraded.
Like Uber VIP, Diamonds have a special “UberX Diamond” option in your app if you only want to be paired with highly-rated drivers. Members also earn six points per dollar spent on the first five Uber Black and SUV trips they take. Finally, Uber awards double points on all Uber Eats orders. Diamond members also enjoy all the benefits of Gold and Platinum members.
Best credit cards for Uber
The Platinum Card® from American Express gives up to $200 in annual Uber Cash for services in the U.S., which is added directly to your Uber Cash balance and automatic Uber VIP status that matches you with highly-rated drivers and luxurious cars (enrollment required). The card now also comes with 12 months of complimentary access to Eats Pass*, valued at $10 per month, when you enroll by Dec. 31, 2021. Uber Eats Pass will auto-bill starting 12 months from initial enrollment in this offer, at then-current monthly rate.
Starting in early 2021, American Express® Gold Card members will receive up to $120 in annual Uber Cash ($10 credit per month). This will work similarly to the existing annual Uber credit on the Amex Platinum. Card must be added to Uber account to receive benefit. Cardholders must add Gold card to the Uber app to receive Uber Cash benefit. Like the Platinum card, the Amex Gold offers cardholders a complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Uber Rewards is an excellent opportunity to stack your earnings by using the right credit card. These cards net the best return on spend with Uber:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on Uber expenses, which code as travel on your statement)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x points on eligible travel purchases, including Uber rides)
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (Up to $200 in Uber credits to use annually)
- American Express® Gold Card (Up to $120 in Uber Cash to use annually)
- American Express® Green Card (3x on transit, including ride-hailing apps like Uber)
- Blue Cash Preferred Card® from American Express (3% cash back on transit, including ride-hailing apps like Uber)
- Citi® Double Cash Card (Earns 2% back on all purchases: 1% back when you buy and 1% as you pay, including Uber purchases)
- U.S. Bank Cash + Visa Signature Card (5% cash back on the first $2,000 spent each quarter on ground transportation, if chosen category)
- Citi Premier® Card (3x per dollar on air travel & gas stations)
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (3x on travel, including ride-hailing apps like Uber)
- Apple Card (3% cash back on Uber and Uber Eats)
The information for the Amex Green Card, U.S. Bank Cash + Visa Signature Card, Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card, Uber Credit Card and Apple Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
By pairing Uber Rewards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you could be earning a 7.5% back on Uber Pool rides (1.5% with Uber Rewards plus 6% through Chase), 9% on UberX or a 10.5% return on UberBlack.
For road warriors and frequent Uber users, this is a big win. It’s only adding value to the current Uber experience — points can rack up at a decent rate, and benefits like the favorite route boost can save serious cash if maximized correctly.
Uber’s created a win-win scenario by allowing travelers to earn and redeem points across the entire Uber ecosystem; it makes it easier for riders to use points and creates an incentive to spend money solely with the company. Will people who use Uber a few times a month see a significant change in their experience? Probably not, but it’s still much better than nothing.
Like priority support and priority queue at airports, some of the perks seem a bit gimmicky and don’t feel like they’ll change the overall rider experience too much. Even the Diamond “surprise upgrades” already happen — I’ve been matched with UberBlack cars when requesting an UberX, since Uber gives these drivers the option to accept up UberX trips. Hopefully, Diamond users will see plenty of these upgrades.
It would be fantastic to see a partnership similar to Lyft and Delta’s integration, where Lyft riders earn SkyMiles on every ride in addition to points, or Lyft’s partnership with Chase, which awards 10x points on Lyft rides and a year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership to Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders.
Brendan Dorsey contributed to this post.
Featured photo by Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images.
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