While Uber has a couple of useful long standing partnerships, including with Capital One and Starwood, they’ve also been testing out a lot of concepts in various markets. I wish they’d have a bit more follow-through on some of these concepts, as they’re usually in limited markets for a limited amount of time.
Uber still hasn’t launched an outright loyalty program, though has tested out all kinds of partnerships with other companies. Well, Uber and Visa have partnered to launch the latest such initiative, called Uber Local Offers.
What is Uber Local Offers?
As of now Uber Local Offers is available in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and may be expanded to other markets in the future. The concept is as follows:
- Uber riders can earn points for purchases at select local shops and restaurants
- The offer is only available if using the same Visa card you have on file with your Uber account
- Merchants have to opt-in to participate, so I imagine it’s a similar business concept to a mileage dining portal
- Uber riders can track their points directly through the Uber app, and 100 points (which equates to $100 of spend) gets you $10 worth of Uber credit
Here’s a GIF explaining how Uber Local Offers works:
Then here’s an ad campaign about Uber Local Offers, starring Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco:
I suspect they’re taking this concept pretty seriously, or else they wouldn’t have hired a big name celebrity to promote it (then again, Uber doesn’t seem to mind blowing through money).
Here’s how Uber describes the new Local Offers program in their press release:
Every day, millions of riders use Uber to explore what their cities have to offer. We’ve seen Uber become an integral way for residents and visitors to connect with the restaurants, shops, and local businesses that make each city special.
This got us thinking: what if we could help riders get even more out of their experience shopping and dining at the places they love, and the local favorites they’ve yet to try? What if that next kale salad (or late night burrito) could get you a ride home?
Today, we’re introducing Local Offers, a way for riders to get free rides by spending at nearby businesses with the Visa credit card on their Uber account. It’s pretty simple. Once you enroll in the spots that interest you, you’ll get 1 Uber point for every $1 you spend there. And 100 points earns you a free ride up to $10.
Here are some of the merchants that are participating already:
Is Uber Local Offers worth participating in?
Essentially you’re getting a $10 Uber credit for every $100 spent, which means you’re earning 10% back in the form of Uber credit on your spend at participating merchants.
It’s a creative idea, because I suspect the cost to each party here is limited. Uber, Visa, and the participating merchants are all picking up part of the bill. Uber gets more engaged customers, Visa gets more people linking one of their cards to their Uber account, and the merchants get customers who may not have otherwise visited them.
What’s interesting is that you have to specifically opt in to specific merchants through Local Offers, rather than just having to register once. I suspect this will actually drive a good bit of business in the direction of participating retailers. Meanwhile for many dining portals, I often accidentally dine at a participating restaurant without realizing it. While that’s good for me, it’s not doing much in the way of generating incremental revenue for participating merchants.
Ultimately if this is going to be successful they need to have more merchants participating. While I’d certainly be participating if I happened to be eating at a partner restaurant, I don’t see myself hugely changing my behavior as a result of this.
What do you make of Uber Local Offers, and would you like to see it expanded?