The Ultimate Guide to Uber and Earning Maximum Points

Uber App

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Uber has become the go-to ride service for many travelers in the last several years. The ability to quickly request a ride from a mobile device has made navigating cities across the world so much easier.

With so many miles and points enthusiasts taking Uber rides all over the world, we wanted to review all the tricks to maximize the platform — including some fun ways to save money on your Uber rides, plus how to earn lots of miles and points that can help you book your next award flight or hotel award stay.

Now, let’s dive into the good stuff so you can start earning the most with Uber.

Earn Maximum Points With Uber

If you take Uber rides to and from work events on a regular basis — or even just to hang out with friends on weekends — you’ll want to choose the right credit card that will earn you the most points.

Previously, if you used an American Express Membership Rewards card, you would earn an additional 1X point per dollar spent on each Uber ride. Unfortunately, that benefit is no longer available.

That’s okay though, because Chase provides 2 great options for earning points on your Uber rides. Unlike American Express cards that have air travel bonus categories, Chase has a broad travel bonus category for both the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card earns 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all Uber rides, and it’s your best bet to easily earn the most points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great alternative if you want to earn Ultimate Rewards points at 2X points per dollar spent.

The Citi ThankYou Premier Card earns 3X points per dollar spent and is a great option for those who want to earn Citi ThankYou Points. Keep in mind that the Citi Prestige Card will not earn 3X points per dollar spent, as its bonus category only covers air travel and hotels.

If you want to earn American Express Membership Rewards points, the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is your best bet — it earns 2X points per dollar on all spending up to $50,000 per calendar year (and there’s no annual fee, either).

Use Travel Credits With Uber

Uber Amex
With the Platinum Card from American Express, you will receive $15 of Uber credit each month and an additional $20 in December.

If you’re a regular user of Uber, a couple credit cards offer travel credits that can really help you offset the cost of the annual fee. Considering these cards have steep annual fees, utilizing the credits can really make a difference.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you receive a $300 travel credit, and will continue to receive this credit on each cardmember year anniversary. This travel credit is the easiest to use, since it’s automatically applied to your first $300 spent on travel. As we mentioned above, Chase has a broad travel category that includes Uber, so this credit can knock out a bunch of Uber rides for you.

The Platinum Card from American Express has long provided a $200 airline fee credit, but it added a $200 Uber credit last year. This credit isn’t quite as simple as the travel credit with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, but it’s not too tough to use.

Every month, you will receive $15 in Uber credit to use, plus an additional $20 in December (for a total of $35 that month). With this credit, you either use it or lose it — it won’t roll over into the next month.

This is a clever way to get you to use The Platinum Card from American Express on your Uber rides when the card only earns 1 point per dollar. However, if you have a card that earns 2X or 3X points per dollar on Uber rides, there’s an easy way to take advantage of this Uber credit and earn more points.

To activate the Uber credit, you merely have to link The Platinum Card from American Express to your Uber account…you can then set another card as your default payment method.

For example, if you have a $50 Uber ride to the airport, you can take advantage of the $15 Uber credit and then pay the remaining $35 with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. This will let you earn 105 ThankYou Points instead of 35 American Express Membership Rewards points!

It might not seem like much in the moment, but earning 3X points per dollar spent instead of 1X really starts to add up over time.

Uber Visa Card Overview

Uber Credit Card
The Uber Visa Card by Barclays has no annual fee and several solid bonus categories that can earn you plenty of points, which can be redeemed for 1 cent each.

In late 2017, Barclays and Uber launched a co-branded credit card with plenty of fanfare. The Uber Visa Card is a cash back card with several popular bonus categories:

  • 4% cash-back on dining including restaurants, bars, and UberEATS
  • 3% cash-back on airfare and hotels, including vacation home rentals
  • 2% cash-back on online purchases, including Uber plus video and music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

This is an excellent earning structure for a card with no annual fee. The points you earn function as cash-back and can be redeemed for Uber rides, gift cards, or statement credits. Each point is worth 1 cent.

If you want to earn miles and points that can be used to book business and first class award flights, this card won’t help you do that. However, if you regularly book economy class flights, you might find this card valuable since you can book a flight with the card and redeem your points for a statement credit to cover the flight.

7 Tricks to Get the Most Out of Uber

Choosing the right credit card to get the most miles and points when you pay for each ride is pretty straightforward, but there are a number of tricks that can help you get even more out of your rides while saving you some money.

1. Visa Local Offers

Visa Local Offers
Visa Local Offers is Uber’s reward program that allows you to receive rebates as Uber credits at participating merchants.

Uber’s rewards program is known as Visa Local Offers. Rather than earn rewards when you pay for Uber rides, you will earn Uber credits when you shop at participating restaurants and businesses.

To access your offers, you need to link a Visa card to your account — the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can fulfill this requirement. To link a credit card, all you have to do is add it as a payment method. Just select “Payment” from the menu options, then “Add Payment Method” and enter your credit card info.

Once you have done this, go to the Settings option in the menu. Under Rewards, you will see “Visa Local Offers.” Opt in and you will be eligible to earn Uber credits at participating merchants.

Now, when you’re on the home screen of the Uber app, you can access your offers under your messages at the bottom of the screen.

Depending on the merchant, you will earn between 1% and 10% of your purchase amount in Uber credits. For example, a $100 purchase at a merchant offering 10% back will earn you $10 in Uber credits.

2. Share Your Location With Your Driver

Sometimes, it can be a little tricky pinpointing the exact pickup spot on the Uber app. This can be especially tough when you’re traveling abroad if you don’t speak the language or have a good handle on the area.

To make it easier for drivers to find you, Uber now lets you share your current location with your Uber driver. If you are close to your designated pickup location, drivers will be able to see that and adjust accordingly.

You can turn this function on and off as you please.

3. Share Your Trip With Friends

When meeting a friend, it can be tough to estimate arrival times as traffic patterns change, accidents happen, and occasionally your Uber driver might take a wrong turn. Well, similar to the ability to share your location with your Uber driver, you can share your ride location with a friend.

This allows your friends to track your ride in real-time. If your friend is walking to meet you at a restaurant, he or she can time when they need to leave based on the progress of your ride so they aren’t sitting alone for 15 minutes waiting on you.

If your friend has the Uber app, they will get an invite to follow your Uber ride via the app. If they don’t have the app, they will receive a text message with the invite.

4. Make Multiple Stops on the Way to Your Destination

If you forgot to pick up beer and chips for a party, you can enter up to 2 additional stops en route to your final destination. This makes it easy to swing by a gas station or grocery store so you can pick up anything you had forgotten to get earlier.

To add a stop, simply hit the plus sign next to the box where you enter your destination. You can add multiple destinations before starting your ride in the order you want, and you can even add a stop or 2 once you’re on your way.

Uber asks that riders limit these stops to no more than 3 minutes as a courtesy to drivers.

5. Schedule Ride Requests

Unlike booking a ride with a car service that guarantees a driver will be at your door at a specific time, scheduling a ride with Uber only means that you will request a ride for a 15-minute window of time. Once the ride is requested, you will receive a notification on your mobile device.

If you know you are going to be pressed for time getting to the airport or an important meeting, you might be better off using a car service. You could also try Lyft’s scheduled ride service, as a driver agrees to pick you up in advance so you’ll know if a ride is available before the time you need to leave.

6. Buy Discounted Uber Gift Cards

Walmart Storefront Concerning Walmart Credit Cards
Walmart (and other merchants) occasionally run sales on gift cards, including for Uber. This is a great opportunity to prepay for your Uber rides and save some cash.

Occasionally, you can buy discounted Uber gift cards at stores such as Walmart and PayPal Digital Gifts on eBay. These gift cards come with a code that can be added to your Uber account under the Payments menu option as Uber credit.

This is a very simple way to save money on Uber if you know you’ll have rides in the near future.

7. Earn Bonus Points on Uber Gift Cards

Amazon
It might make sense to buy Uber gift cards at face value if you can earn even more points. Amazon provides a great way to boost your Membership Rewards and TrueBlue accounts.

If you’re really trying to earn as many points as possible for your Uber rides, you might consider purchasing Uber gift cards at face value if you have a way to earn more than the 3X or 2X points per dollar spent.

If you have the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card, you can earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent when you buy Uber gift cards at an office supply store. Keep in mind that the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card earns cash-back, unless you have a premium card that earns Ultimate Rewards points and has an annual fee.

If you pair this card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you will be able to earn Ultimate Rewards.

Another fun option is buying Uber gift cards on Amazon while on a JetBlue flight. The JetBlue True Blue shopping portal allows you to earn 3X True Blue points when shopping at Amazon inflight.

If you fly JetBlue regularly or even occasionally, you can take advantage of this opportunity. When you pay with the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express, you’ll earn 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in addition to the True Blue points. You might even find Uber gift cards on sale.

Previously, you could earn 3X True Blue points when shopping on Amazon from home, but as of March 27, 2018, you will only earn 3X on while flying Jet Blue.

Tip a Driver

Uber made the controversial decision to add an option to tip after your ride is complete. You can tip with cash, or just add the tip to your total through the Uber app. If you choose to tip through the app, you will be provided 3 pre-selected options: $1, $3, and $5. You can tap one of these options and submit or enter a custom amount.

Final Thoughts

Uber has become a big part of many people’s lives, whether they travel regularly or even just once per year. With plenty of money being spent on Uber rides, we want to make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity to save money or earn the miles and points that can help you book your next vacation.

If you want to keep things simple, just pick a credit card that includes Uber in its travel bonus category. If you have The Platinum Card from American Express, consider pairing its monthly Uber credit with a card that will earn bonus points.

Finally, if you really want to maximize your Uber rides, take advantage of some of the tricks we discussed above to save money or earn even more points on the money you spend with Uber.

FAQ

What credit cards earn the most points?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card earns 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent, and the Citi ThankYou Premier Card earns 3X ThankYou Points per dollar spent.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent, and the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent.

Where can I use Uber?

As cities add Uber service (or remove it), Uber keeps an updated list that is easy to access. Check out Uber’s updated list before you visit a city to see if you can use Uber while you’re there.

Can I take Uber to or from the airport?

Many airports around the world allow Uber to pick up and drop off travelers. However, some do not. Use Uber’s list of participating airports to find out if you’ll be able to use Uber when you land.

Once you select an airport, you will be able to get information about pick-up spots so you can quickly navigate your way through the airport upon arrival.

Can I pay for an Uber ride with cash?

Yes. Whether you are traveling alone or with friends, you can pay with cash if you choose.

Can I bring my dog (or other pets) with me on an Uber ride?

Service animals are always allowed to join you when taking Uber. For non-service animals, Uber recommends contacting your driver immediately to see if they are okay with pets.

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3 comments

  1. Scott Schuh · March 14, 2018 · Reply

    Closed my Uber account after the driver screwed up a pre-scheduled pick-up at my home. I had to hop in my car last minute to get to the airport and make my flight (6AM.) Uber’s customer service response was simply not charging me for the ride I did not take. They suck, and Lyft is better paid and have trained drivers.

    • I’m a bit confused. They did or did not charge you for the ride you did not take? In any case, sorry to hear about your frustration. 90-95% of the time Uber has been great for us and I’ve found their customer service to be very good. Sometimes we’ve needed to get our $5 back on a ride we cancelled (because the drive just didn’t turn up) and they do it without question…in our experience.

  2. I don’t like Uber – I only use it when my Lyft ride will cost more or the wait is too long for me at the time. It all depends on the time of day and/or how many cars are available at the time. Talking with the drivers, Uber doesn’t care about the drivers and it’s good that more people are becoming aware of Lyft but unfortunately Uber still has access to most of the business.

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