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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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