Ridesharing is hardly anything new. In fact, it’s so commonplace these days that it’s even less commonplace to use the term “ridesharing.” Now, instead of saying you’ll call a taxi, you simply say you’ll call an Uber or Lyft. The two brands have dominated the market completely, so much so that their names are synonymous with the service they offer.
With that said, is there anything that can be gained from joining their loyalty programs? Here are all the details on both, so you can make the right decision for you.
What To Know About Lyft Rewards
Lyft Rewards started rather secretively and slowly late last year, as something only available to riders in certain cities and of a certain status (though that status was a bit clouded in mystery). Lyft Rewards allows riders to earn rewards for every ride and, with every dollar spent, you get points that can be used for future rides, upgrades and access to better drivers.
The program, however, is still under construction and evolving at a semi-slow pace. Lyft Rewards still isn’t available to every single user. Since the initial announcement, the brand hasn’t released any new details on its blog.
However, even when Lyft Rewards becomes available to the average joe, will it be worth having? What about when you can use Lyft to earn points and miles for other loyalty programs? Will it be worth it then? Possibly not.
There are a few perks that are available to Lyft aficionados now that might negate the need for an all-out loyalty program membership. For example, you can purchase the Lyft All-Access Plan, which is a ride pass purchased upfront that includes a specific number of rides for a set amount, on a renewing monthly plan.
Additionally, Lyft has partnerships with airlines that you might already use frequently. It might make more sense to invest your Lyft earning in those airlines’ reward programs instead. JetBlue TrueBlue members earn 30 TrueBlue points per ride, up to 1,200 points per year, with a 750 TrueBlue-point welcome bonus for syncing your accounts.
Likewise, Lyft’s Delta SkyMiles partnership gives you the opportunity to earn 1 mile per $1 spent, up to 2 miles for every $1 spent on airport rides.
What To Know About Uber Rewards
Uber Rewards is a little more transparent and available on a nationwide scale. It’s free to join and has a pretty simple, straightforward points system.
Uber Rewards members earn 1x point for every $1 spent on Uber Pool rides and Uber Eats, 2x points for every $1 spent on UberX rides, UberXL, UberSelect and UberWAV, and 3x points for every $1 spent on UberBlack or UberSUV. For every 500 points you earn, you will receive $5 in credit toward future Uber purchases.
Like any good rewards program, Uber Rewards does have a tiered status system. There are four different tiers, including Blue, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. To reach Gold status, earn over 500 points. To reach Platinum status, earn over 2,500 points. To reach Diamond status, earn over 7,500 points.
When you reach Gold status, you’ll have added perks such as the ability to cancel and rebook a ride for a refund in 15 minutes (versus the normal two minutes). You’ll also have access to priority support.
Platinum members additionally receive surge pricing protection and priority airport pickup.
On top of all this, Diamond members receive dedicated phone support and the nice little surprise upgrade on occasion. Every six months, Diamond members are treated to waived fees for Uber Eats deliveries. Diamond members also have priority access to top-rated drivers.
However, while Uber Rewards seems like a very potentially valuable rewards program, could you find more value in Uber earning by linking your Uber account to another rewards program? Quite possibly.
There have been several credit cards announced recently that allow you to earn points or miles on Uber spending (as well as Lyft spending in some cases). The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card gives you 3x points on rideshare services (this card also attractively comes with no annual fee).
While the premium Platinum Card from American Express doesn’t give you points for your ridesharing, it does give you Uber VIP status and up to $15 in free rides each month, plus a bonus $20 in free rides in December. Similarly, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card awards you a $300 annual travel credit, which can be applied to Uber (though that might not be the best use of this travel credit).
Along the lines of credit cards and Uber, if you’re trying to just get cash back from a credit card, the Uber Visa card will give you 4% back on UberEats and 2% back on Uber rides (plus an additional 3% back on Airbnb purchases). The Discover It cash back card, with its rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter, does occasionally allow 5% cash back on Uber and Lyft services.