Uber is more and more used for transportation including commute from/to work. Along with increasing its presence it has also partnered with SPG to provide SPG Rewards points where you earn SPG points for each Uber ride. It also has partnered with Sears SYWR where you earn flat $2 SYWR Points in about ~25 markets in United States.
While the SPG partnership requires 1 qualifying stay each year before you start earning SPG points, the partnership with Sears SYWR does not have any such requirements. Also you earn $2 in SYWR points regardless of the ride cost. Although the SYWR points earned from UBER Ride expires within 30 days of earning, $2 in SYWR can potentially give you value of USD $2.
The other interesting aspect of the SYWR partnership is that as of now you do earn SYWR points on UBEREATS as well. So, if you order your food often from UBEREATS then linking your Sears SYWR rewards account would easily get you $2 SYWR per order which you can redeem for anything Sears sells. Also UBER runs the "commuter" uberPOOL service where you can use your commuter benefits and get tax-free rides to your work while also earning $2 in SYWR points.
So, next time you ride with UBER make sure you link your account to earn these benefits free of cost.
Over the recent times technological innovation and community sharing has spurred lot of companies looking to provide same service as traditional companies. One area is "Car Rental".services. The traditional model of car rental is to rent from the old car rental companies or their counterparts such as Hertz, Avis and Alamo, but there are new start-ups which are trying to give established players run for their money by using the concept of community sharing. Couple of companies in this space I want to bring your attention to are:
RelayRides and GetAround both use the community sharing concept. Below are few details which will help you determine if they are better options for you than the traditional car rental companies.
RelayRides allows you to specify the destination (could be an airport) and will show available cars and pricing options for your need. The great thing about RelayRides is since it is based on community sharing you can rent a SUV or Premium Car at reasonable cost compared to the traditional car-rental companies. For e.g. Renting an SUV from San Jose Airport (SJC) from 08/01 to 08/03 gives quite a reasonable rate of $44/day (excluding taxes/fees and insurance) as shown below.
The best part is you could customize the search based on various factors such as Price, Mileage limit, Vehicle Type, Features etc, which is contrary to Traditional car-rental companies where you selection is just limited to "Vehicle Type and Price". There is no joining or annual fees as well as there are options of what kind of insurance you want and based on your comfort you could take either a "basic package" or a "premium package". The only "con" I can think of is that you need to be "approved" by RelayRides before you can rent-a-car from them. What it means is that you need to be registered with Driving License and Credit Card Details and they verify your Driving Record before you can take your rental. But given the price advantage and selection based on your situation it could be a great buy-in.
The other side of RelayRides is that you can get "free airport parking" (which is currently available only at San Francisco Airport) by listing your car for rental through RelayRides (Of-course you would not earn anything from that rental). An alternative option to consider if you are not going to just park your car at the airport.This also helps them provide rentals directly from airport. If you wish to know which airports have rentals available you can look that up here.
GetAround is another "community sharing" car rental service which functions similar to RelayRides. The basic premises are same as RelayRides such as "no joining or annual fees" as well as approval needed before you take your first rental. The difference is that full-coverage as well as 24/7 roadside assistance is included in the price quote. The con is that number of selection criteria is rather limited. Taking the same example as RelayRides for Renting an SUV from San Jose Airport (SJC) from 08/01 to 08/03 gives a rate ranging from $100 to $140 (including insurance) as shown below:
As you can see from above the options are limited compared to RelayRides but the pricing seems to be at par once you consider that insurance cost is included for GetAround. Similar to RelayRides you could list your idle car for rental and earn an extra income from GetAround.
Both RelayRides and GetAround has sign-up or referral promo's all the time from which you can get $10 to $25 for your first rental. So, next time you plan to rent-a-car, you would want to consider these new "community sharing" car companies for your need!
There has been new wave in on-demand services in arena of travel. From shared holiday accommodation to alternative rental car companies to on demand taxi service. In alternative taxi space there are few companies which are creating their niche by providing an easier way of taking that ride when you need it. Two of them are providing incentives like discounted and free rides to get the passenger on board and this companies are UBER & LYFT. Both of them work on a similar model where you use their Iphone or Android App to get taxi service when you need it. These helps in hunting down the taxi quickly as well as eliminating the hassle of cash payment which traditional taxi requires.
UBER - Uber has been the first mover in this space and has presence in 100 cities around the world as of this writing. They do promotions for free rides of varying dollar amount when they launch in the new cities and currently provide $10 credit if you signed up using existing member referral (Of course this provides the referrer $10 credit and if you wish you could use my link to sign-up). Currently you can use the code "hipmunk" to get $25 credit for your first ride. You can sign-up using your email address and need to register a credit card as well as mobile number to take the ride. You could also set the percentage of tip you want to give your driver. All you need to do is download their Iphone or Android app and login into your account to request the taxi service (provided they are present in your city). It would give you the approximate wait time for your pick-up as well as you can see the approximate amount it will cost you for the ride. Uber provides wide range of car selections and charges different amount based on the taxi type you request. They have taxis categorized from UberX to LUX with increasing cost.
LYFT - Lyft is currently offering the first time users $50 credit for free rides when you register on their app using the code "slickdeals". The only downside is you need Facebook login to register yourself. Also they just launched in 24 cities on April 24th and as part of that promotion they are providing 50 free rides up to $25 each in those cities for new users. You would not be able to get on to both the above promotion but they both are good if you are looking to hire a taxi in coming days. Usually the drivers are friendly and you would be intimated of the approximate wait time before the taxi arrives. Also since you enter all the payment information in the "app" itself you do not need to do any payment transaction. As soon as you are done with your ride you can get to see in the "app" the cost of the ride as well as your receipt. Currently Lyft is present only in 36 cities across USA but they have aggressive expansion plan. So, next time if you are stuck looking for taxi you might want to take a "Lyft".
I would strongly suggest giving Uber and Lyft a shot next time you are looking for a taxi and you will surely enjoy the convenience of a ride.
I love traveling / backpacking. This blog focuses on 3 aspects: