- Eligibility: Exclusive to American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders who link their card to their Uber account.
- Benefits: Access to high-rated drivers and quality vehicles, plus exclusive promotions and deals.
- Availability: Limited to select cities, including major ones like New York City and Los Angeles.
- Usage: Automatically applied when eligible cardholders request a ride in the Uber app, offering options like UberX VIP, UberBlack VIP, etc.
- What Is Uber VIP?
- What Are the Benefits of Uber VIP?
- Uber VIP vs. Regular Uber Services
- Is Uber VIP Different From Uber Rewards?
- Where Is Uber VIP Available?
- Eligibility and Joining Process
- How to Use Uber VIP
- Analysis: Is Uber VIP Worth It?
- Tips for Making the Most of Uber VIP
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
What Is Uber VIP?
Uber VIP is a special program offered by Uber in partnership with American Express, exclusively for American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders.
The program, available only in select cities, ensures enhanced ride quality at regular Uber prices.
By linking their card to their Uber account, members gain access to perks like higher-rated drivers, better quality vehicles, and exclusive promotions and deals.
Uber VIP is different from the broader Uber Rewards program and is specifically tailored to benefit select American Express cardholders.
It’s worth noting that Uber VIP isn’t the only perk for Amex cardholders. There’s the Amex Benefit Uber Cash program as well, which helps loyal riders earn monthly Uber credits.
Learn More: How AMEX platinum Uber Credits work
What Are the Benefits of Uber VIP?
The benefits of Uber VIP include access to higher-rated drivers, higher quality vehicles, and exclusive promotions.
- Members are matched with drivers who have a rating of 4.8 stars or above, ensuring a smooth and safe ride.
- The vehicles for Uber VIP are newer and more comfortable, although not necessarily luxury models. For luxury vehicles, members need to select Uber Black instead of UberX.
- Additionally, Uber VIP users receive exclusive promotions, deals, and discounts.
While it may not seem like a ton of benefit initially, riders have widely reported a stark difference between regular UberX rides and Uber VIP rides.
Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert
I have Uber VIP status and I notice a remarkable difference in ride quality depending where I’m at.
In smaller cities with limited driver pools, the difference is not really noticeable, but in large cities with tons of drivers, I notice a difference – big time.
The biggest difference that I notice personally is the quick pickup times, the high-quality vehicles, and the drivers that speak good English.
While I wouldn’t go out and seek an AMEX card directly for Uber VIP, it is a nice perk.
I’ve noticed that many drivers don’t understand what the service is, and think I’m some sort of celebrity when they see “Uber VIP” pop up on the screen.
This makes for interesting conversation, which I use as a chance to educate them that I am a normal guy and this is simply a benefit of linking an AMEX card with an Uber account.
Uber VIP vs. Regular Uber Services
Uber doesn’t promote the VIP program as much as the main services, so it’s not easy to do head-to-head comparisons. But there’s one clear similarity.
The cost of using Uber is the same for both regular services and VIP ride options.
Quality-wise, VIP riders have a better shot at matching with high-rated drivers than those using the standard Uber services.
Some people believe the app will only pick drivers with a 4.8-star rating or higher for VIPs, but there’s no definitive information about how the VIP status affects the typical matching algorithm.
Regardless of the rating, Uber VIP is more of an ego-booster than the regular services. After all, drivers will see your VIP label, which can affect the trip quality.
The difference in ride quality would be minimal in smaller cities with a limited number of active drivers. But this shouldn’t be a huge concern since Uber VIP is only available in select cities anyway.
You’ll particularly notice the difference in your first Uber trip after landing in one of the covered cities. Some users in the VIP club reported getting fast pickups at airports compared to non-VIP users.
Is Uber VIP Different From Uber Rewards?
Yes, Uber VIP is different from Uber Rewards.
Uber VIP is part of the Amex Benefits program and requires an American Express Platinum or Centurion card to access.
It offers promotions, deals, and access to higher-quality drivers and vehicles, but is only available in select cities.
In contrast, Uber Rewards is a separate loyalty program available in all U.S. cities, open to all users without specific card requirements.
This program allows users to earn points for rides and UberEats orders, which can be converted into rewards like flexible cancellations, price protection, and priority pickups.
Uber Rewards features a tiered system with increasing benefits at Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels. Unlike Uber VIP, the benefits in Uber Rewards vary based on usage frequency.
Where Is Uber VIP Available?
As mentioned, Uber VIP is only available in select cities.
The cities where Uber VIP is available include Atlanta, Dallas, Harrisburg, Houston, Nashville, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
If you live or travel outside of these areas, you may technically be an Uber VIP member, but you will not receive access to any of the benefits or perks of the program.
Eligibility and Joining Process
Uber VIP wasn’t always an exclusive perk for Amex cardholders. For a while, Uber used to hand out the VIP label to top riders.
The company’s definition of “top riders” would change from one location to the other, though. For instance, to be eligible for Uber VIP in Dallas, you’d need to take 10+ Uber rides (or put 10+ UberEat orders) monthly.
Uber riders in other locations had to maintain a specific rating to be eligible for the club. In Cape Town and Johannesburg, VIP riders needed a rating of 4.5 stars or more. Uber set the bar in Lagos even higher (a perfect five-star rating).
That said, Uber closed the loyalty program to all non-Amex users in 2018. Now, you need an American Express Platinum or Centurion card to join the Uber VIP club.
You don’t have to apply, though. Once you link your Amex card to your Uber account as a payment method, you should automatically get access to VIP perks.
There are a couple more requirements, too:
- You’re using the latest version of the Uber app.
- You’re in one of the eligible locations.
How to Use Uber VIP
To use Uber VIP, start by linking your Amex Platinum or Centurion credit card to your Uber profile. This will automatically enable the Uber VIP program for you, provided you’re in a city where it’s available.
Simply use Uber as usual. If you’re new to Uber, here’s how to book a VIP ride:
- Open the Uber app and tap the “Ride” button, marked with a car symbol.
- Enter your destination in the “Where to?” field.
- Verify that your current location is correctly displayed.
- Choose your preferred type of Uber VIP ride – options include Uber X, Uber Black, Uber XL, or Uber Black SUV.
Analysis: Is Uber VIP Worth It?
Considering that Uber VIP provides added value at no additional cost, we’d say it’s worth it.
The fact that there are no trip frequency requirements for the elite status in the new VIP model makes the program even more appealing.
We wouldn’t recommend getting a Platinum credit card from American Express solely for the VIP trips, though. You can choose Uber Black if you want a luxurious experience without the VIP perk.
The main drawback to expect if you do go for Uber VIP is the wait time, which depends on the number of high-quality vehicles and drivers near you.
Another common complaint from VIP riders is the limited locations. There are many major cities (like San Francisco) where the service isn’t available.
One more hiccup that could bother some users is that the Uber VIP status doesn’t cover authorized cardholders—it’s for the basic card members only.
Tips for Making the Most of Uber VIP
To make your Uber experience even better, check out these handy tips:
- Switch Accounts When Needed: If a family member wants VIP access, you’ll have to unlink the Amex credit card from your Uber account so they can use it as the primary payment method on their account.
- Get Ready for an Interesting Conversation: Many drivers have no idea what Uber VIP means and could mistake you for a celebrity.
- Keep an Eye on Your Notifications: Check the app and your email regularly for special giveaways and promotions. If there are no exclusive offers for the VIP club, you can still find something suitable among Uber’s current promotions.
- Renew Your Membership on Time: Remember to pay your annual Amex fee, or you’ll risk losing your Uber VIP ride perks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Uber VIP and Uber Rewards Together?
Yes! Uber Rewards is a program in itself, and Uber VIP is a part of the program called Amex Benefit.
Since Uber VIP and Uber Rewards are a part of completely separate programs, you can receive benefits from both at the same time.
Do I Have to Use My Amex Card to Book Uber Rides?
To gain immediate access to Uber VIP, you have to enter your Amex or Centurion credit card information as the primary payment option in your Uber profile.
Uber VIP can be a great opportunity for people with American Express Centurion and Platinum cards.
Even if we put the high-quality cars and driver matches aside, the expense-free elite status alone can make the program worth it.
Ultimately, you need to consider the limitations (location coverage, authorized users, etc.) before you decide if Uber VIP is a good fit for your ridesharing needs.