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I use Uber on an almost daily basis, and am always looking for tricks to improve the value I’m getting. This includes maximizing my return on credit card spend with Uber, and also taking advantage of their partnerships.
Hotel partnerships with Uber
Perhaps Uber’s most useful partnership is with Starwood, which was announced early last year. Through this partnership, SPG members earn bonus Starpoints when riding with Uber.
Through this partnership, Starwood Preferred Guest members earn:
- One Starpoint per dollar spent on all Uber rides
- Bonus Starpoints when using Uber in conjunction with a hotel stay, as follows:
- Preferred members earn two Starpoints per dollar spent
- Gold/Platinum members earn three Starpoints per dollar spent
- Platinum members with 75 nights earn four Starpoints per dollar spent
There are two “catches:”
- You can only earn Starpoints for your first $10,000 of spend with Uber per calendar year
- You must have stayed at an SPG property once so far in the calendar year in order for this promotion to be “activated” (the exception is that for January 1-31, a stay in the prior calendar year is fine)
Since then we’ve seen other hotels introduce partnerships with Uber as well, though they haven’t been nearly as valuable:
- Hilton & Uber have a partnership, where Hilton’s app sends you ride reminders in conjunction with your Hilton stays, and Hilton also uses data from Uber to suggest local places you should visit while staying at their hotels
- IHG & Uber have a partnership, where travelers can set ride reminders and request a ride through the IHG app; the only useful part of the partnership is that new Uber members registering through IHG earn 2,000 IHG Rewards Club points and $20 off their first ride
All things considered, the partnership between Starwood & Uber is the only one so far which has any long term value.
American & Uber announce a partnership
Well, it looks like airlines are following the lead of hotels, in introducing partnerships with Uber. American is the first such airline, and has announced a new partnership with Uber.
Here’s how American views the partnership:
“We’re excited to partner with the only global ride sharing service to offer customers exactly what they’re asking for – a seamless travel experience, whether they’re in the sky or on the ground,” said Scott Hinshaw, American’s director – Partner Marketing. “By working together, we can provide a service that allows customers to request their Uber ride to the airport in step with their itinerary and know where to meet their Uber driver after their flight lands.”
“Whether you’re trying to get home to see your family, or heading to an important business meeting across the country, your travel experience should be seamless. We’re excited to work with American Airlines to ensure passengers have a great door-to-door experience,” said Jonathan DiOrio, Uber’s head of travel partnerships.
More concretely, what does the partnership between American and Uber consist of?
- The American app will let you set Uber ride reminders; when you get your e-ticket, you can click on the “Remind me to Uber” icon to set a reminder for the ride
- New Uber customers can get $20 off their first ride by registering with code RIDEAA (better than the standard $15 off new member bonus)
- American Executive Platinum members will be emailed a unique code for $25 off a one-time Uber ride, regardless of whether they’re Uber members or not; this is valid for those with Executive Platinum status as of March 1, 2016, and these codes will be sent out to members in March
- Through July 31, 2016, those who use the AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard as their method of payment with Uber will receive a total of three miles per dollar spent on Uber; the two bonus miles per dollar spent will post after the promotion ends
Starwood’s partnership with Uber early last year was innovative, as it added value for members. We’ve now seen Hilton, IHG, and American announce that they’re adding “ride reminders,” which I really don’t see the value of. Maybe I’m just better organized than most (I highly doubt it), but when I get off the plane I usually don’t forget if I need to get in a car.
The better sign-up bonus through American is nice, as is the $25 one-time use code for Executive Platinum members. The triple miles through the AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard is limited time, and even with the bonus I’m not sure that’s where I’d choose to put my Uber spend. For example, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card always offers triple points on Ubers, and those points are more flexible.
Some partnership is better than nothing, though I also don’t see these partnerships changing behavior for either party involved.
I assume Starwood has some sort of exclusivity agreement with Uber when it comes to hotels, so I was hoping one airline would take the lead and offer similar perks for Uber rides, by offering actual, long term value. But perhaps Uber’s agreement with Starwood covers both hotels and airlines, and there’s nothing that can be done.
What do you make of the new partnership between American and Uber?