If rides from ride-sharing companies (like Lyft and Uber) are eating up an increasing portion of your budget, you might as well try to earn some extra rewards.
While more and more credit card issuers, payment platforms and travel rewards programs are offering discounts and bonus rewards on rideshare transactions, cardholders aren’t always taking full advantage of these opportunities on their cards, a Dec. 2016 Capital One survey found. So peruse the options below to make sure you never miss out.
NEW: 50 percent off your next five Uber rides when you pay with Android Pay
This offer ended Dec. 31, 2016.
To utilize this promo, set up Android pay with a debit or credit card, set Android Pay as your default payment option for Uber and enter the promo code ANDROID50. You’ll get 50 percent off the next five rides (up to $15 per ride). It’s a nice “hack” for getting a discount on a card that my not otherwise earn any rewards, simply by linking it with Android Pay.
$15 off first Lyft ride with Citi
Through Feb. 28, 2017, eligible Citi cardholders can get $15 off their first ride. This offer is for new Lyft users ONLY.
To get this discount, go here to get your redemption code.
Free Uber rides from select airports with American Express
This promotion has expired
Through Dec. 31, 2016, you can get two free rides home from some U.S. airports if you take Uber and pay with a linked American Express card. American Express is a CreditCardForum advertising partner. You get up to $65 per ride free, which will automatically be deducted from the cost of your ride. To participate, enter AMEXAIRPORT in the promotions tab in the Uber app before you request your ride. You must also select an American Express card as the payment card for the ride.
First ride free with Chase card
For a limited time (until March 30, 2017), you can get your first Uber ride free (up to $30) when you use a Chase debit or credit card to set up your new Uber account and enter the code ChaseUber (more terms and details here).
Get double Membership Rewards points
This partnership allows you to get 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent by linking your Uber account to a credit card from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner).
To sign up for the promotion, you’ll need to download or update the Uber app, add an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points to your account and then tap “Enable.” To get the 2 points per dollar, you will need to select the enrolled card to pay for your ride. Your receipt will confirm that you’ve earned 2X points.
You can also use Membership Rewards points to pay for Uber rides. When you request a ride, the app will ask you if you’d like to pay with points. When redeeming this way, your points will be worth 1 cent each toward the fare.
If you have enough points to cover the ride, the cost will be automatically deducted from your rewards balance. If not, your card will be charged for the full fare (and you’ll earn 2X points).
Visit this page for more details on earning and using Membership Rewards points with Uber.
Get every 10th ride free with the Capital One® Quicksilver® or QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
This is available for only a limited time. Through March 2017, if you add your Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card or Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card card to your Uber account and use it to pay, you’ll get every 10th ride free (up to $15). This will happen automatically if you use your Quicksilver card to pay.
Earn Starwood Starpoints by taking Uber
The SPG-Uber benefits program doesn’t require a credit card, but we thought this partnership was worth a mention.
First the basics: You’ll need to join the Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program. Then, you’ll need to sign in to your SPG member account and link it to your Uber account. Finally, you’ll need to complete one stay at a Starwood property.
After that, you’ll earn 1 Starpoint for $1 spent on Uber rides (up to $10,000 per year). This is changing to 1 Starpoint per $2 in Feb. 2017. It gets better for Uber rides you take while staying at a Starwood property, as you can earn even more points, with elevated Starwood status. Through January 2017, if your Uber pick-up happens between the date you check in and 11:59 p.m. on the day you check out, you’ll earn:
- Preferred members: 2 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber
- Gold and Platinum members: 3 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber
- Platinum with 75 nights: 4 Starpoints per dollar spent with Uber
Starting Feb. 2017, Uber rides taken during stays will earn a flat 2 Starpoints per dollar spent.
Extra points using cards with a travel/transport category
Does your card give you a fixed number of bonus points for travel purchases? Lyft and Uber may fall into your card’s travel category, meaning your rides could get you double or triple points, depending on the card.
Most generic travel cards consider an assortment of transit options to be “travel” expenses. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred includes taxis, limos, ferries and passenger trains – and some have reported that Uber and Lyft do indeed fall within that category for double points. Citi’s ThankYou cards, meanwhile, include “merchants that provide passenger transportation services for hire.”
I used my Barclaycard Arrival (which rewards 2 miles per dollar on travel charges) on both Lyft and Uber and was rewarded double points for both:
The U.S. Bank Cash+ card also recently announced a new category (ground transportation), which will include Uber and similar ride-share companies.
Of course, it’s difficult to know in advance exactly which purchases will count as “travel” or “transport.” It’s based not only on the card, but on the merchant category code assigned to the purchase. That code has to match the card’s requirements. If it does, using a travel card for ride-sharing (and taxis) can help you get some extra rewards out of a regular expense.
Updated Jan. 2017