How one of my new credit card perks helps me avoid rush hour traffic

Mar 3, 2020

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I live in downtown Austin, where electric scooters litter the sidewalks, sloppily leaning against a skinny tree or shamelessly sprawled along the side of the road like discarded children’s toys. I eye them and their riders with suspicion, giving them a wide berth as they wobble down poorly paved roads next to my car. 

Related: Love ’em or hate ’em, here’s everything you need to know about electric scooters

I’ve been pretty disdainful of scooters until now, but they’ve slowly grown on me for short commutes across town. They’re extremely useful for getting through the downtown gridlock in a city like Austin, where it can take almost an hour to go three miles during rush hour and where parking is pretty much non-existent.

I’m a big fan of walking, which is why I live downtown in the first place. But sometimes walking just doesn’t work out, like when it’s more than 100 degrees outside and I don’t want to show up to an event sweating like I just ran a marathon. Other times, scooters help me get from Point A to Point B when I’m a few minutes behind schedule and don’t want to power walk. Finally, electric scooters are a bit more eco-friendly than driving.

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I still think scooters are dangerous, especially when I see people whizzing down the street after a drink (or two, or three). They can go up to 20 miles per hour, which can spell disaster when paired with a crack in the street or an unsteady hand (scooters technically count as vehicles and are required to stay off of the sidewalk). And while users are strongly encouraged to wear helmets, the vast majority of people don’t have them on hand — myself included. I do my best to be super vigilant, keep a close eye on traffic regulations and oblivious drivers alike, and make sure I never mix drinking and scooting.

Of late, I’ve found myself gravitating toward Lyft scooters for two reasons:

  1. I always have the app on my phone, since I use Lyft for ride-hailing. I often delete apps that aren’t in frequent use, and most of my scooter-specific apps have fallen by the wayside.
  2. I get three Lyft rides per month now, thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Related: Chase partners with Lyft for customer discounts

Don’t worry: I don’t actually operate these contraptions in heels. (Kathrine Fan/The Points Guy)

I used to be scooter brand-agnostic. With several competitors in Austin, I could take my pick between Lime, Lyft, Spin, Uber, Bird, Jump and likely at least one other company with a trendy startup name.

While Lime scooters are a bit on the large side for my 5′ 2″ frame, the rest are essentially indistinguishable from each other from an operational standpoint. So those three free rides each month have made all the difference in tipping me toward Lyft for my tiny-wheeled adventures, since none of the scooter brands cost all that much to operate, especially compared to ride-hailing cars.

Related: Here’s how to activate your Lyft Pink membership

I don’t have a good solution to the valid safety concerns, or for the clutter of scooters galore clustered around downtown. But at least in Austin, electric scooters are here to stay for the time being. And now that I get three rides for free each month, I have one more reason to use them.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.