Uber

How Uber Has Softened Their Stance On Tipping

Uber-Logo

I think there’s no denying that the public perception of Uber has changed substantially over the past couple of years. When Uber first became popular it was sort of the underdog that everyone loved, as they were taking the taxi mafias to task. Unfortunately that perception has changed, especially over the past few months.

After countless corporate scandals and widespread dissatisfaction among drivers, they just aren’t as beloved as they used to be. Originally people used Uber to boycott taxis, and now people are boycotting Uber.

Personally I continue to use Uber, mainly because I think Uber is still better than taxis. I have started using Lyft a bit more as well, but they’re not available in all markets.

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How I’m Maximizing The 5x Transportation Bonus This Quarter

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I’ve had the Chase Freedom® Card for several years, since before I even started reading One Mile at a Time. It’s one of the two no-annual-fee cards I actually use (the other is The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express).

The 5% cash back the Freedom Card offers on rotating quarterly categories (up to $1,500 a quarter) is actually 5x Ultimate Rewards points for those of us who pair it with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

This quarter (January through March), the bonus categories are gas stations and local commuter transportation. Gas stations often sell gift cards for future fuel purchases or other things, and many people meet the bonus that way.

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Man Sues Uber For Getting Caught Cheating On His Wife

Uber-Logo

A Frenchman is suing Uber for up to $48 million because he believes a glitch in Uber’s app caused his wife to catch him cheating, and eventually lead to his divorce. Per BBC:

“The man says he once requested an Uber driver from his wife’s phone.

Despite logging off, the application continued to send notifications to her iPhone afterwards, revealing his travel history and arousing her suspicions.”

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Changes Are Coming To The Starwood & Uber Partnership

SPG-Uber

Starwood Preferred Guest has been a leader among hotel loyalty programs it comes to their partnerships with other travel providers, whether it’s airline or ridesharing apps.

One of my favorite partnerships is between Starwood and Uber. The partnership was launched in February 2015, and has allowed SPG members to earn bonus Starpoints for Uber rides.

While the partnership has remained unchanged for almost two years, there will finally be some changes coming as of next month. I’m not sure if this is influenced by Marriott’s takeover of Starwood or not. I suspect it isn’t, and that this is simply the natural progression of any partnership, where companies renegotiate after being able to analyze the performance of a partnership.

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Reminder: You Can Now Earn 5x Points On Uber & Lyft

Uber-Logo

The Chase Freedom is one of my favorite no annual fee credit cards, as it offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, for up to $1,500 of spend per quarter. Most people use this as a cashback card, meaning the 5x points really translates into 5% cashback in these categories.

The best part is that in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, points earned on this card can be converted into “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, and be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners. Since I value one Ultimate Rewards point at significantly more than one cent, that’s my preferred use of those points.

Now that it’s 2017, the first 5x points category for the Chase Freedom is active, and it includes gas stations and local commuter transportation.

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One Of My Biggest Uber Driver Annoyances

Uber-Logo

I take Uber on a daily basis, and really appreciate the service. While there are some horrible drivers in the system, for the most part I’ve found Uber drivers to be exceptional, and so much better than what was available in the taxi industry before.

I’ve read all kinds of stuff on the internet about “pet peeves” that drivers have about passengers, most of which seem warranted. As a passenger I have one slightly unusual annoyance that I have to get off my chest.

Let me start by saying that I do everything I can to be respectful of Uber drivers — I’m always polite, I almost never talk on my phone in a car (and when I do, I ask the driver if it’s okay and keep it very short), etc.

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Get 2 Free Uber Airport Rides Thanks To Amex!

Uber-Logo

American Express and Uber are teaming up to offer a great promotion for American Express card members. Between now and December 31, 2016, you can get two free Uber rides (up to $65 each) originating from select airports.

Just enter code AMEXAIRPORT in your Uber app prior to requesting a ride, and select an American Express card as the payment method for your ride (pre-paid cards aren’t eligible). You can enter the promotion code by clicking on the “Payment” tab, and then at the bottom click “Add Promo/Gift Code.” Once you enter the code it will stay linked to your account, and your fare up to $65 will automatically be covered (and if your fare is more than that, you’ll get a $65 discount).

The following airports are eligible for this promotion, and again, only rides from the airport (and not to the airport) are eligible:

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You Can Now Earn JetBlue Points For Lyft Rides

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I think the gold standard of ridesharing partnerships is the one between Uber and Starwood, where members can earn Starpoints for all their Uber rides. It’s one of the most straightforward and beneficial ridesharing partnerships, especially since Uber is a service many of us use everyday anyway.

Since then we’ve seen a few other hotels partner with ridesharing apps in one way or another (including Hilton and IHG), though none have been especially valuable, in my opinion.

Well, Lyft and JetBlue just announced a partnership, and it’s worth being aware of, though not really as useful as I would have hoped.

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Get Lyft Rides For An Entire Month For $29

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The ridesharing apps have been testing out all kinds of programs to see what works and what doesn’t. Many of these programs can be lucrative for consumers, and are intended for the apps to steal market share from one another, and perhaps even from the taxi industry.

In late August I wrote about how Uber was offering flat rate uberPOOL rides for an entire month at a very reasonable cost in select cities.

For example, in Seattle you could pay $49, and then receive flat rate uberPOOL rides for $3 and flat rate uberX rides for $8.

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Here’s Why Uber Drivers In China Are Painting Their Faces To Scare Passengers

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Okay, this is sort of hilarious/ridiculous. Per Quartz, apparently there’s a scam among Uber drivers in China where they intentionally use scary profile pictures. These drivers are painting their faces to the point that they look like ghosts, or perhaps even clowns. Why are they doing this? In order to scare passengers into canceling trips, so that they get hit with the Uber cancelation fee. Per Sixth Tone:

“With profile photos that look like they’ve just stepped off a horror movie set, the ghost drivers scare passengers into cancelling their trip, meaning they will owe the driver a few yuan for their troubles.

Another scamming method used by the ghost drivers is accepting rides, saying the passenger has entered the vehicle, and cancelling the trip. The customer will have been taken for a ride worth a few yuan without noticing. Either way the ghost driver wins.”

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

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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.

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.

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Save $20 On A Lyft Premier Ride (Including For Existing Users)

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As I first wrote about in July, Lyft recently introduced Lyft Premier, which is intended to compete with UberSELECT service. This isn’t quite to the level of UberBLACK, where you’ll get a town car, Escalade, etc.

While the basic ridesharing services offered by Lyft and Uber are less than the cost of a taxi in most cities, their premium services are typically more than a taxi. However, you’re also getting an all around better experience. For example, Lyft Premier is advertised as offering “a high-end sedan or SUV (such as a BMW, Audi, or an Escalade) with leather seats.”

Per Lyft’s website, as of now Lyft Premier is only available in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Well, if you haven’t yet experienced Lyft Premier, you can get $20 off your next ride, even if you’re an existing Lyft user. Just use promotion code PREMXRIDE. The promotion is valid for rides through September 28, 2016.

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Uber Now Lets You Pay In Cash In Some Cities

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A few weeks back I used Uber during an overnight in Colombo, so I’ve been receiving email updates about their service there ever since. Usually I’d just delete the emails, but the one in my inbox this morning caught my eye, as the subject line read “Arriving now: Cash payments in Colombo.”

I was confused at first, because in my opinion half of the benefit of Uber is that it’s cashless. To me, marketing “Uber” and “cash” in the same sentence would be the same as marketing “Starbucks” and “gin & tonic” or “Dunkin’ Donuts” and “steak tartarte” in the same sentence. They just don’t go together… or so I thought.

Here’s what the email said:

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Uber Plus Offers Flat-Rate Uber Pricing For A Fee

Uber-Seattle

Uber is frequently tweaking around their pricing in test markets as a way of figuring out what does and doesn’t work, and it looks like they’re rolling out an interesting new offering in select markets.

It’s called Uber Plus, and allows you to essentially purchase fixed price rides in select markets for a monthly fee. Eligible cities for the month of September include Boston, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.

Let me explain, in the form of an example. Let’s look at Uber Plus in Seattle.

For the month of September you can pay $49, and then you’ll receive flat-rate uberPOOL rides for $3, or flat rate uberX rides for $8.

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