Maximizing Credit Card Points With Uber

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One of my (many) flaws in this hobby is that I tend to focus a lot of my effort on new and exciting opportunities while often not going back to the basics and making sure I’m maximizing my points on things I do every day.

I use Uber a lot. It’s typically cheaper than a taxi, minus the hassle and frustration usually associated with them. The great thing about Uber is that no cash changes hands, and paying for the rides is effortless. You keep a credit card on file, and then it automatically charges that card after every trip.

So for years I had the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card linked to my account, which is one of my favorite all around credit cards. It offers double points on travel, which includes Uber. It seemed like a logical option, given that at the time it was the only card I had which offered double points on virtually all travel purchases.

Then yesterday I stopped for a second to look at my credit card usage with Uber, and realized that I really should switch my card on file to the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. I only recently acquired the card, and it offers triple points on all travel purchases. While I do value Chase Ultimate Rewards points more than Citi ThankYou points, it’s not a difference of 50%. So when I made the switch I figured it was the best option.

Excited about the fact that I’d be earning more points, I told Tiffany, only for her to say “shouldn’t you be using the Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card?”

Keep in mind that as of last year you can earn and redeem Membership Rewards points for Uber rides. The redemption value isn’t especially good, since each Membership Rewards point basically gets you one cent towards the cost of an Uber ride. That being said, on the earnings side you earn an extra Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on Uber.

Uber-1

In other words, with the Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card I would be earning two Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on Uber, and then if I make 30 transactions during my billing cycle I get a 50% points bonus, which means I’m earning three Membership Rewards points per dollar spent.

And there’s a further hidden benefit. Remember how last month I wrote about how I was struggling with using the EveryDay Preferred Card, because it’s sometimes tough for me to maximize category bonuses on other cards while making 30 transactions per billing cycle on this card?

Well, linking my Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card to Uber is a great way to make sure I get those 30 transactions per month, so that I’m both earning three Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on Uber, and also maximizing my spend otherwise.

For example, last night I had the following Uber bill, which I paid for with my Amex EveryDay Preferred (I had a free ride credit — thanks to those who signed up using my Uber link).

Uber

Man, if only I could get all 30 of my transactions down to seven cents each. 😀

Anyway, I can’t believe it took so long for me to have this epiphany. Uber is part of the solution to making sure I make my 30 transactions per month on the Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card, and also offers me a higher return than I’m getting on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. That seems like a win-win to me.

Add in the fact that I’m earning Starpoints for my Uber rides, and I feel like I’m getting quite nicely rewarded on what’s already a good deal.

Uber

I should also note that hands down the best return you’ll get on Uber rides is through Capital One. The Quicksilver Card offers 20% back as a statement credit on every Uber ride paid for in USD through April 30, 2016. So if you have a Quicksilver Card that’s a no brainer, but personally that’s not a reason in and of itself that I’ll apply for a Quicksilver Card, given that I wouldn’t get much value out of the card otherwise.

Which credit card do you use to pay for Uber rides? 

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Comments

  1. No Quicksilver? The 20% statement credit on every ride blows every card you mention out of the water.

  2. Yeah, if it’s truly about maximizing spend, it’s all about the Quicksilver, like the guy says above. But also, I think it’s important to mention to people that AMEX charges an excise tax ($0.06 per point) for transferring their points, which blows big time (transferring 50k points means you have to pay $30). Also, it can’t just be maximizing entirely on value if you prefer the Chase partners over the (as of yet) non-American Citi transfer partners, unless your including whether you’re a fan of those transfer partners in your valuation. For me, UR points > TYp >> MRp any day.

  3. Quicksilver without a doubt. Load the card onto Uber, then cut it up. 20% cash back and no fee.

  4. I usually don’t harp about how bloggers push the products they get compensated for as I think it is usually genuinely in everyone’s interests, but zero mention of the Quicksilver card, really?!? It has a 20% discount on Uber for the next 10 months. That is more than any points scheme is going to net you.

  5. The limited-time 20% “Uber” cash back for the Capital One Quicksilver sounds great.

    I think at least some bloggers hate the card because it only has a $100 sign-up bonus, because it only pays 1.5% cash back, and because Capital One generally does three hard pulls (one from each major credit bureau) for new applications. Plus it’s a cash-back card and those, rightly or wrongly, tend to get little love in this space generally.

    I use the Citi Double Cash (2%) myself.

  6. 95% sure Everyday would earn only 2.5 points per dollar, not 3, as the extra Uber point credits separately and likely wouldn’t get the 50% bonus.

  7. @ AdamH — You’re 100% correct, wasn’t my intent and updated the post. When I first started drafting the post it was about how my strategy specifically changed. Then I figured I might as well “zoom out” a bit, but in the process I failed to mention the Quicksilver Card, since it’s a card I don’t personally have, and not one I plan on applying for (the 20% Uber discount is awesome, but it’s the only benefit of the card I value). Thanks for calling me out on it, and sorry about that.

  8. I have been using the QuickSilver for the 20% off. I take about 20 to 30 Uber trips a month, most in the $6 to $9 range. I just got the blast email from Uber and I have taken 575 trips across 6 citys in about 41 months.
    I have Lyft and Sidecar linked to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
    I would also consider the Amex Every Day card as one to get.

    I am signed up to earn Starpoints but I still need the 1 quallifying SPG stay and I’ve been concentrating on Hyatt so I haven’t gotten the SPG stay in!

  9. Not directly related to card choice, but don’t forget to also register for the SPG–Uber partnership so that you are earning at least 1 SPG point per dollar also.

    Everyday Preferred is a good choice but I agree with Bgriff that you are probably only earning 2.5 MR/$. Also, don’t forget about foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad (unless Uber somehow waives them?).

  10. I don’t know. The Quicksilver might actually be compelling for the discount alone. Let’s take the Amex Delta card, which you told us to apply for yesterday. That was like a ~$600 signup bonus.

    You’d only have to spend $3,000 on Uber for the Quicksilver bonus to be the same. Maybe you have too much referral credit for that to make sense, but for someone, it could.

    That person who’s spending $3,000 on Uber should also just consider buying a car though… haha…

  11. @Lucky Yeah no hard feelings and thanks for updating the post.

    @stvr The problem with your comparison is it is leaving out a third scenario, having both cards. You could argue it is ridiculous to have a card for a single use but not the craziest thing in the world. Would I go out of my way to get the Quicksilver card, probably not, but if I can convert an existing Cap1 card you bet I would.

  12. I get double points on my SPG Amex, I’d rather have that than triple TYPs unless I have something specific in mind )like saving up for SQsuites). Might be different if I had the prestige, but I only have the premier.

    If I’m shy transactions in Amex everyday preferred, I buy Amazon gift cards at 50 cents each. A bit of a pain, but better than rushing to do other transactions. I have Amazon Prime so I use them a lot.

  13. I don’t use a card for Uber spend currently. Back with the Amex sync deal late last year I bought $1,300 worth of credit for a little over $700. That beats any credit card spend bonus.

  14. @Francisco Excise tax only applies to US airlines. If you’re transferring MR to one of the US airline partners (JetBlue/Virgin America/Delta) you’re doing something really wrong.

  15. I took three Uber rides last week after updating my account to my Quicksilver card. Still do not see one 20% credit on my statement. Should it have been immediate – or is there a bit of a wait for the credit?

  16. Amex Everyday Preferred charges forex fees, so that’s a good reason not to use it as your main card registered with Uber if you use it outside the USA.

    I’m sticking with CSP 2x plus the extra SPG point per $

    -David

  17. And please tell me why a card with a $95 annual fee charges forex fees?

    It’s an otherwise awesome card, and I have no problem getting to 30 charges when I’m not out of the country for most of the month. I use it for all sorts of small daily charges to get there and definitely it’s the goto card at grocery stores.

    I missed getting there during heavy travel months because of their 2.7% forex fee.

    -David

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