Uber Is Now Selling Gift Cards — Should You Buy Them?

Uber announced yesterday that they’re slowly rolling out gift cards, which are already available at many retailers, and will soon be available online. Uber gift cards will be available at 35,000 retailers across the country, including Walmart, Target, and CVS. Furthermore, in the coming weeks they’ll also be available online through Uber’s website.

The gift cards don’t expire, and the amount of the gift card will be added to your “credits” balance, which can be applied towards as many rides as you want.

uber-gift-cards

So, does it make sense to buy Uber gift cards? There are a few reasons you may (or may not) want to consider buying them.

The downside to Uber gift cards

Uber gift cards are added to your “credits” balance. While I can’t guarantee this will be true in practice with gift cards, historically credits aren’t combinable with promotions, meaning that both can’t be applied towards a single ride. This could be a major downside.

So if you have a free ride for referring someone to Uber, or through the Capital One partnership Uber has, you typically won’t be able to pay for any fare overage with your credits balance. Perhaps that functionality is changing now that they’re formally rolling out gift cards but I figured it made sense to add that caution based on my past experiences.

Uber-Capital-One

The (potential) benefit to Uber gift cards

So, why should you consider buying Uber gift cards? Well, for one, it could potentially help you maximize your credit card points. We don’t yet know the full list of retailers where Uber gift cards will be sold, though I suspect eventually they’ll also be sold at select office supply and grocery stores, in which case you can potentially earn up to 5x points on those purchases.

Of course there are other ways to maximize the points you earn for Uber rides, like using a credit card that offers bonus points on travel purchases. You should also link your Starwood and Uber accounts to earn bonus Starpoints.

Uber

Another potential benefit is that it could allow you to spend money upfront on a purchase you’d make anyway. If you have a credit card minimum spend you’re trying to reach, you could always buy some Uber gift cards as a means of achieving that within the required timeline. Given that many of us use Uber so often, it could be as good as cash.

Bottom line

I’ll be carefully watching how these Uber gift cards are rolled out, and specifically what retailers these end up at, and also whether Uber allows users to combine credit balances and promotions. Hopefully Uber will even offer some gift cards on promotions, just as Lyft has done.

Regardless, I’m happy to see this offering rolled out in general, as Uber gift cards will make a great gift.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. The biggest issue with Uber credits is that they can only be used in your ‘home’ currency and not when traveling. As someone who uses Uber about equivalently in India, UAE and Uganda this means any credits can only be used for rides taken in my base currency (currently AED).

  2. I would never buy a gift card until you have an affiliate link for it lucky.

    We need to support each other. I read your articles, you use my referral links and on and on.

  3. Alternatively, you could support your local registered taxi drivers, who are vetted, licensed, trustworthy, pay their taxes, and for whom this is their main job, which supports their family.

  4. @Cassie I choose to support my local Uber drivers who are also vetted, licensed, trustworthy, pay their taxes, and for whom this is their main job, which supports their family.

  5. @Cassie @Brice – not to mention that the vast majority of taxi drivers I have interacted with are UNtrustworthy. Sure, there are good ones out there too, but I’d rather put my faith in the single point of contact of Uber customer service in the case of a bad apple than deal with the crap shoot of a legion of lowlife taxi drivers just looking to scam a buck.

    Uber wouldn’t be nearly as popular if taxis hadn’t abused their position for decades.

  6. Only tangentially related but has anyone ever had the following issue with Uber? I have never had a promotion that was show in my account before requesting an Uber to post automatically. Every time I’ve had to go through help, request it, send a screen shot, and within a day they give me the credit. I’ve never had this issue with Lyft. It makes me wonder if I’m doing something wrong since it’s 100% of the time (twice in the last week).

  7. The Uber giftcards Dont work! They initially charge your card THEN reimburse you. So you can have $100 in Uber credits but if you don’t have enough on your debit card to pay for your ride or food, it will NOT let you request using your Uber gift card/credits

  8. I have used it twice today, you can use promo codes and credits at the same time. I bought a groupon 6$ for 3 first 8$ free rides and also i bought a 15$ uber gift card. I applied the groupon first then the giftcard… My trip was 9.93$.. at end of trip it showed my 8$ discount an also showed the difference deducted of 1.93$ from credits.. so its possible to use both.. plus i have my remaining two promo rides left for 8$ each and 13.07$ credit balance left! Uber gift care good especially for people have prepaid card problems. I got mine through the paypal site… their minimum is 15$ for uber gift card but i noticed the uber gift cards can go as low as 10$ minimum actually. Also, i just used my paypal prepaid card and got them to fix my paypal account.. i contacted them through the app an was like “you guys say you take paypal, it won’t let me link, plus i have a paypal card too you guys won’t let me link, its the mastercard one” i didn’t say prepaid not once, all i said was i had a paypal card and withing 10 min i got alert of 1$ null then when i went to account, my paypal prepaid card was linked and i could use it to get rides now

  9. uber gift cards do NOT work. Have two of them. One for $25.00 and the other for $50 I enter the codes and hit add and nothing happens. there is plenty in my bank to cover the amounts and I have been an uber VIP rider for the last six months. I have emailed them countless times and have not gotten a response yet. I am truly saddened to say it, but uber and I are going to be parting ways. Lyft is such a better “customer” based business, and they actually answer a PHONE.

  10. That happened to me at first, but if you click the help link inside the app and then click help with gift card. It’ll ask you the gift card information an where it was purchased. At first they will say they see the gift card added, but you say “it won’t allow me to use it at all and that it keeps saying invalid payment update billing settings”… once you say that they will manually update and add everything themselves and the message you’ll get from them is “we have received your request your account has been updated and we have ENABLED your Gift Card Status”. Then when you try it again it should work. I only know because I have my old conversation from them when they fixed mine so I just summed up what happen and what to say an what they do an what to look for 🙂

  11. Have not been able to make an Uber Gift Card work for my Windows Phone. There is no place to add the gift card in the app, or the mobile web-site, or the normal web address. Customer service inform me that they cannot add the card for me. If they are unable to resolve this situation, I plan to contact the Consumer Protection Bureau. It is fraudulent to sell gift cards that one cannot redeem.

  12. To add the gift card, go under payments and click “add promo/gift code”. It should give that option online and in app..

  13. To have them add it for you, in app go to Help, then Account and payment, then Payment options, then Report issue with with an Uber Gift card.. you type where purchased, gift card pin, am explain what the problem is like it isn’t letting you use it etc.. by that point they should attempt to update your account and make it usable or allowing uou the try to add it again..

  14. I bought a uner gift card put $25 on it and they won’t even let me use it to schedule a ride. And i dont have any credit cards and my son’s bday on sunday thats why i got it so we can go to his birthday party. But now i have to walk and btw im pregnant and where we have to go is very far and my son is 1 years old. I really dont want any one else to get ripped off so bottom line dont use uber . i even messages them many times about the gift card sent them pictures of my receipt. Showed the error that keeps popping up . i showed them the picture of the uber gift card i showed them that my account says uber credits $25 but it wont let me use them . so all i can say is fuck uber

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