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Everybody wants to save a buck or two. Your grandmother probably uses coupons. Your parents probably use airline miles and cash back programs on credit cards. And if you’re a frequent Uber user, now you can do the same with Uber Rewards.
Uber wants your loyalty. They don’t want you taking rides with Lyft or ordering food from GrubHub. They want you to use their services as often as possible. And to entice you to do so, they’ve launched Uber Rewards.
But what’s it all about? Is it worth signing up for? How much can you actually save?
Keep reading for our complete guide to Uber Rewards.
- What is Uber Rewards
- Uber Rewards Levels
- How to Earn Money
- How to Sign Up
- Is Uber Rewards Worth It?
- How Uber Rewards Affects Drivers
What is Uber Rewards?
Uber Rewards is a loyalty program where you can earn one point for every dollar you spend with Uber and Uber Eats.
The theory is not new – other companies have been offering rewards programs for decades. But this is the first time that one of the big rideshare services has gotten in on the trend.
Here’s how it works:
Why do they offer different rewards for different levels of service?
They want to entice you to use their more expensive services. And if you’re using Black or Black SUV regularly anyway, it’s nice to know that you’re earning more than someone who’s jumping in the Pool line.
But what do the points get you? What can you use them for?
More Uber rides, of course.
When you earn 500 points, you’ll earn $5 in Uber Cash. And you can use that Uber Cash towards any future ride or Uber Eats delivery.
Here’s what it all boils down to:
If you do the math, you’ll see that Uber isn’t all that generous. At the lowest level, you’ll only earn 1 penny in credit for every dollar you spend. At the highest level, you’ll earn 3 cents for every dollar spent. It’s only a 1%-3% savings, but at least it’s a start.
Higher Rewards Levels Include More Perks
There are four different membership levels with Uber Rewards: blue, gold, platinum, and diamond. Each membership level includes its own series of benefits and perks.
As the lowest level of membership, you’ll be in blue level status as soon as you sign up. This level is for people who have between 0 and 500 points. When you reach 500 points, you’ll earn your first $5 in Uber Cash that you can spend on future Uber rides or Uber Eats orders.
Gold is the second membership tier, and it’s for passengers who have between 500 and 2500 rewards points. With gold status membership, you’ll start to receive some additional perks. Those perks include the ability to access dedicated phone support and make flexible cancellations.
What does “flexible cancellations” mean? It means that you can cancel a ride and have your cancellation fee refunded – as long as you rebook a trip within 15 minutes. Uber only allows you to do this three times in one month, and it doesn’t apply to Pool or Express Pool rides.
In some cases, it also places limitations on where you can cancel from, so you may not be able to cancel rides from airports, venues, and stadiums.
In terms of “priority support,” Uber is pretty vague about what that actually means. There’s no guarantee of a specific response time, so it’s one of those perks that may not really be a perk at all.
You’ll reach platinum status when you accrue between 2500 and 7500 points. Platinum members enjoy all the benefits of gold members, plus you’ll receive some additional perks. One of those benefits is priority pickups from airports.
You’ll also enjoy price protection on UberX rides between your two favorite places, such as home and work or home and school. With price protection, you can lock in a price that will remain capped, even during a surge.
But it’s not a dollar cap – it’s a percentage cap. In other words, you can keep your locked-in price until it becomes more than 35% off the current price.
Diamond membership is the highest level you can reach, and you’ll hit it as soon as you accrue more than 7500 points. Like all members, diamond members receive the perks of all lower membership levels. They also receive premium support, access to highly rated drivers, and complimentary upgrades.
Diamond level members can also enjoy free delivery fees on three Uber Eats orders.
We’ve heard of some riders ordering an UberX and being upgraded to a higher level of service for being a diamond level member. There’s no guarantee that they will send you an SUV in place of your UberX, but as a Diamond level member, it’s a possibility.
For Diamond level members, access to premium support may be the best perk of all…or maybe not. All that means is that you can CALL Uber Customer Support. In no way does it mean that your issue will be resolved immediately.
How to Earn Money with Uber Rewards
Keep in mind that the rewards program will only earn you Uber credit. The points CANNOT be redeemed for any other service or converted to cash.
The way to earn money with Uber Rewards is to ride frequently, use higher levels of service, or order lots and lots of meals from Uber Eats. The more you ride and the more use you the various Uber services, the more points you can earn. And the more points you earn, the more money you’ll save.
Do you only use Uber to take a quick ride home from the bar every once in a while? If so, it will take you quite a while to rack up 500 points. If you take a $10 UberX ride home every Friday night, you’ll earn 20 points. And at that rate, it will take you six months to get to 500 points and get your first $5 in Uber Cash.
However, if you take one $50 Uber Black ride each week, you’ll earn 150 points for each trip. And at four Uber Black rides a month, you’ll rack up 500 points pretty quickly. In that scenario, it will only take you about a month to earn your first $5 in Uber Cash.
Remember, you can also earn points with Uber Eats, so if you order in food a lot, this can help you earn points a lot faster. And, the more you spend on your Uber Eats order, the more points you’ll earn per order. So you’ll accrue points more quickly if you order $40-$50 restaurant meals than if you spend $10 on a McDonald’s delivery.
Depending on how (and how often) you use Uber services, building up those points can take quite a while. And while Uber wants to seem like they’re being generous, it’s really just their way to get more loyal customers. They want to encourage you to use them over other service providers as often as possible.
How to Sign Up for Uber Rewards
Ready to sign up for Uber Rewards? Uber Rewards is available in all U.S. states, across 100+ U.S. cities including Washington D.C., New York City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, San Diego and more.
To get started, open the Uber app and tap the menu icon in the top left corner. Click on “Uber Rewards.”
From there, click “join for free” and that will open a signup screen where you can fill in your information. Accept the terms and conditions, and you’re done! You can hop in your next Uber ride or order up your next meal and start racking up those points right away.
Is Uber Rewards Worth It?
Are you an Uber loyalist? If so, then there’s no reason NOT to sign up for Uber Rewards. The more often you ride, the faster you’ll accrue points and earn Uber Cash to apply towards future rides.
It’s important that riders be fully aware of what Uber is trying to do here. They didn’t create the rewards program out of the kindness of their hearts. They want you to use their service – and ONLY their service. Their biggest competition is Lyft, and their goal is to make you want to use Uber as much as possible and use Lyft less (or not at all).
So is it worth it to spend the minute or two to sign up? It all depends on your riding habit and what sorts of perks could be meaningful for you.
If you only spend $20 per week in UberX rides, you’ll only earn 40 points per week. And that means it will take you 12.5 weeks to get to 500 points and $5 in ride credit. At that rate, you’ll save about $20 per year.
However, if you’re a regular Uber rider or someone who uses the higher levels of service, such as Uber Black or Black SUV, you can rack up points much faster. Spending $50 per week in Uber Black rides will earn you 150 points per week. And that would equate to making $78 per year back in Uber Cash credit.
Here’s the takeaway: if you’re using Uber regularly, you may as well sign up and start collecting Uber Rewards. Even if you earn $20 a year in ride credit, that’s $20 less you have to spend on getting you where you need to go.
Not an Uber fan? Prefer to ride with Lyft instead? Lyft also has plans to roll out their own rewards program, though it hasn’t happened yet…
How Will Uber Rewards Affect Drivers?
If the new rewards program is successful, Uber will build the brand loyalty that they’re looking for. And that means more consistent customers. For drivers, that means more opportunities to pick up passengers.
Drivers won’t be affected by the discount negatively – they’ll still receive their share of each fare. And the hope is that it will help drivers put more money in their pockets. Ideally, riders will become loyal to Uber and make it their preferred rideshare method.
The program is new, so the jury is still out, but we can’t see any reason why drivers would be adversely affected by the rollout of the rewards program.
Our Thoughts on Uber Rewards
The Uber Rewards program is new, but all signs point to it being a viable way to save some money for loyal riders that use the service regularly. It’s designed to benefit users who hire the highest level of services and use the rideshare app several times per week.
If you only call for a ride once a week or so, it will take quite a while to build up enough points to earn a $5 ride credit. But if you ride frequently and often, those points can stack up quickly, which means that will save money in the long run.
And it’s not just about the Uber Cash credits – the more points you earn, the more benefits you can reap. If you can reach diamond status, you can enjoy direct access to Uber support and enjoy the services of top-rated drivers. You might even get complimentary upgrades from lower services to higher service tiers, such as Uber Black.
Regardless of how often you use Uber or order food through Uber Eats, we think it’s worth it to sign up for the rewards program. After all, even if you don’t accrue enough points to earn perks and discounts, you’ll be no worse off than you were before signing up.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.