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Holding elite status with an airline or hotel loyalty program is an aspiration for many frequent travelers due to the slew of benefits it provides. While many credit cards automatically award you instant elite access with hotel programs, it’s much harder for those who are flying. However there’s another opportunity with a new rewards programs.
Two weeks ago, Uber unveiled its new loyalty program, aptly named Uber Rewards. It introduced points earning on all rides, upgrades and waived cancellations fees. Points can be used toward future rides and also count toward elite status.
The program offers four elite tiers, with each level being reached after earning a certain amount of points over a six month period:
- Blue – requires no points
- Gold – requires 500 points earned in a six-month period
- Platinum – requires 2,500 points earned in a six-month period
- Diamond – requires 7,500 points earned in a six-month period
You earn points based on what type of ride you order (including UberEats orders):
- 1 point per eligible dollar spent on UberPool and UberEats
- 2 points per eligible dollar spent on UberX, Uber XL, Select and WAV
- 3 points per eligible dollar spent on UberBlack, Black SUV and Lux
At first glance, it may seem a bit daunting to earn Gold Status, which would require $250 spent on UberX rides over a six-month period. Platinum needs $1,250 in spend and Diamond a whopping $3,750 on UberX over six months! While top-tier status may be achievable for frequent business travelers or those who’ve traded in their cars and now rely solely on ridesharing it’ll be quite difficult for even the semi-frequent rider.
However, you won’t have to start from scratch to earn elite status in Uber Rewards. The ridesharing giant is generously counting the last six months of activity toward elite status when you sign up for the loyalty program. That means that if you’ve spent at least $500 on UberPool / UberEats, $250 on UberX rides or $167 on higher-end rides you’d instantly get Gold status. The same goes for the higher status levels, as long as you earned enough points to hit the status level, Uber will retroactively count that spend toward your elite status.
To join, open up the Uber app and at the bottom of your screen you’ll see a button to join the Uber Rewards, click on that and hit join. Note that the program is only available in eight cities and one state (New York City, Miami, Denver, Tampa, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego and New Jersey) but it’s quickly rolling it out to more locations. It seems that not everyone in the launch cities are currently eligible for the program, however they can join the waitlist in the meantime.
Once enrolled, you’ll automatically be awarded status. When I signed up two weeks ago, I instantly received Gold status:
And now, whenever I take Uber rides I can see what status I have at the bottom of the screen as well as how far I am from the next level of status:
As a Gold member, I can get my cancellation fee waived in certain circumstances and receive priority support from Uber’s customer service agents.
To enhance your return on Uber spend even more, you’ll want to use a credit card that earns bonus points on travel purchases:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – 3x Ultimate Rewards points on all travel for a 6% return
- Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – 3x Ultimate Rewards points on all travel up to $150,000 in purchases a year for a 6% return
- Citi Premier Card – 3x ThankYou points on all travel for a 5.1% return
- US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card – 3x points for a 4.5% return
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – 2x Ultimate Rewards points on all travel for a 4% return
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers up to $200 of Uber credit as one of its card benefits, although it doesn’t have a bonus category for the ridesharing or general travel purchases. If you haven’t spent anything on Uber in the last six months, the Amex Platinum offers Uber VIP status which awards special benefits to cardholders.
For a detailed rundown of Uber Rewards make sure to read our guide: Uber Launches Its Own Rewards Program — Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Featured image courtesy of Uber.
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The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at Marriott and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,200 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees