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Earn up to 14 points per dollar and cash-back rewards with this ultimate Lyft deal stack

Jan. 14, 2020
7 min read
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For many people, the choice between Uber and Lyft is based primarily on convenience and price. An especially good (or bad) experience with either company might influence your future ride-hailing decisions, but there hasn't been much of a financial incentive to pick one over the other.

As part of a much-anticipated refresh to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase raised the annual fee on the card to $550 and added a number of benefits at DoorDash and Lyft, including Lyft Pink status and 10x points on Lyft rides. This is a huge deal for Sapphire Reserve cardholders: Based on TPG's valuation of Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each, that amounts to an immediate 20% return.

But if you stack this with a number of other promotions that you can run in the background with no extra effort, your returns climb even higher. Let's take a deep dive through this Lyft mega-stack, which is so powerful I've all but deleted the Uber app from my phone. It's important to remember that the promotions mentioned below are not mutually exclusive, meaning you don't have to pick just one. You'll get the best return by stacking them all together and watching your points and miles accumulate at a rapid clip.

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10x points per dollar with the Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy.)

The recent changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve are already the news of the year, though it will take a while for most cardholders to test these benefits out in the real world and decide if they're worth paying an extra $100 each year (now that the annual fee has been raised from $450 to $550).

TPG has covered these changes extensively, including Lyft Pink status which offers a 15% discount on rides, but today I just want to focus on the addition of a 10x bonus category for Lyft rides. If you haven't done so already, log into your Lyft account and set your Sapphire Reserve as your primary and only payment method. The Lyft app should already reflect the 10x points you'll be earning, as you can see in the screenshot below:

Related: Maximizing points and miles with Lyft

1x Delta mile per dollar

Lyft also partners with Delta to allow you to earn bonus SkyMiles on your rides, though you need to register at this link first. You only need to register once, after which you'll receive an additional 1 mile per dollar on all U.S. rides, and 2 miles per dollar on all airport rides. TPG values Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each, so this promotion will offer you an additional 1.2 to 2.4% return.

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Even if you don't fly with Delta frequently and don't use Lyft often, it's worth signing up for this promotion just in case. Registration is free and there's absolutely no harm in signing up.

Related: Best ways to earn miles with the Delta SkyMiles program

3x Hilton Honors points per dollar

Lyft also runs a partnership with Hilton, and again you need to register first at this link. After registering you'll earn up to 3 Hilton points per dollar on Lyft rides, though shared rides only earn 2 points per dollar. You also have the option to redeem your Hilton points for Lyft credits, though this usually represents a pretty poor value.

TPG values Hilton points at a modest 0.6 cents each, so you're looking at another 1.8% return with this layer of the stack.

Related: Best ways to earn points with the Hilton Honors program

25 Amex Membership Rewards points per ride with Rakuten

While there are plenty of cash-back rewards programs out there, Rakuten is my favorite because it allows you to earn your rewards as Amex Membership Rewards points instead of just cash. Better yet, they value points at just 1 cent each meaning you can earn points quite cheaply and then redeem them at higher values.

Related: Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards points for maximum value

Rakuten has an app that's primarily used for in-store and dining cash back, but you can also use it to earn $0.25 (or 25 Amex Membership Rewards points) on all Lyft rides. 25 points seems like a pretty small amount, but this can end up being a very large percent return if you're taking shorter, cheaper Lyft rides. Unlike the first three deals on this list, this is one that you'll need to remember to activate every time you order a Lyft.

Adding it all up

Conceptualizing the value of a deal-stack can be a little tricky, so let's take a look at what a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder would earn on a $100 Lyft ride. For starters, their complimentary Lyft Pink status would drop the cost to $85, and on top of that they'd earn the following bonus points:

  • 850 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($17)
  • 85 Delta SkyMiles ($1.02)
  • 255 Hilton Honors points ($1.53)
  • 25 Amex Membership Rewards points ($0.50)

This adds up to about 35% in discounts and rebates on the original $100 ride price: 15% from the Lyft Pink status and a little over 20% from the various point stacks. Obviously 85 Delta SkyMiles isn't getting you a free tropical vacation, but if you frequently use Lyft these points can add up quickly. This can also be a great way for Delta or Hilton loyalists to supplement the points they already earn from flights and hotel stays or from spending on cobranded credit cards.

Related: The best airline credit cards

Bottom line

Ride-hailing services can be expensive in major cities, but in many cases they beat the hassle of renting a car. Stacking together multiple different deals can give you a significant return on any money you choose to spend with Lyft, making it the clear winner in the ride-hailing competition for most travelers.

Featured image by AFP/Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.