Uber has recently launched public program of Visa local offers in select markets where you earn the Uber Credits (Can be used for Uber or Ubereats). You need to have Visa card added to your Uber account and enroll for the program. Once you enroll you will see offers to earn Uber credits at nearby places. The offers are available at various local participating places for any given month and depends on location where you have these participating partners rather than your home address.
All you have to do is purchase using the Visa card (use credit card option at checkout) registered on your Uber account at participating partners. While most of these places are restaurants there are quite a few interesting places such as Staples, Walgreens, Whole Foods Market etc.
The Uber credit is limited to dollar amount per purchase which varies from $20 to $100 based on the partner but you can make as many purchases in a day with each earning up-to the limit credit. Also note the terms mention that Gift Card purchases are excluded but in reality it is an YMMV and from my experience purchases having combination of Gift cards and regular items and which earn Uber credit within the maximum credit limit works fine.
One example of interest is Staples. As you can see from above you can earn Uber credits at Staples store and since you can earn 5x Ultimate Rewards points on all your purchases made with Chase Ink/ Ink plus card at office stores this would give you Uber credits for the purchases you might already be making. As mentioned earlier you can keep the purchases at amount lower that the maximum purchase amount ($200 for Staples as per the offer) on which you earn Uber credits which would hopefully trigger the credits.
So get the Uber credits using the Visa local offer while it lasts.
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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.
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.