Uber

Earn Uber Credit For Everyday Purchases With Uber Local Offers

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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.

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

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Is This The Worst Lyft Passenger Ever?

Lyft-Passenger

Nowadays just about everyone has the ability to film situations on the spot thanks to smartphones, which is probably a blessing and a curse.

Well, for a recent Lyft passenger, it was probably a curse. Essentially this lady was offended by the driver’s dashboard doll, and proceeds to chew him out over it. She doesn’t just tell him it offends her, but demands that he remove the doll, and then lectures him for several minutes.

Perhaps worst of all she’s filming the situation thinking that she’s in the right, and talking about how she’s going to humiliate him and upload the video go Gawker (hah). Meanwhile the driver does an amazing job maintaining his composure.

Here’s the video:

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OpenSkies Introduces Free Uber Rides For Business Class Passengers

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There are a few airlines out there offering complimentary chauffeur service for first & business class passengers, though the restrictions associated with the services vary. Some only offer the service to full fare passengers, some only offer it at certain airports, etc.

Well, transatlantic airline OpenSkies has just introduced an innovative new type of chauffeur service. For those of you not familiar, OpenSkies is British Airways’ subsidiary which operates flights between New York (both JFK and Newark) and Paris Orly Airport.

They have fully flat business class seats, and while it’s not the most modern product anymore, the experience overall feels pretty intimate, thanks to the premium heavy 757s they operate (though they also now have a 767 in their fleet).

No doubt OpenSkies is facing more competition in their market due to La Compagnie, which offers all business class service between New York and Paris. While La Compagnie’s hard product isn’t as good, their fares are exceptional.

Anyway, it looks like OpenSkies is trying to find a way to differentiate themselves and add services for business class passengers.

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My Worst Uber Experience: Don’t Leave Your Phone Behind

Uber-Logo

Like Ben, I’ve generally had great experiences with Uber. I take them several times a week, and almost all of my rides have been good.

Recently I had a terrible Uber experience. A friend requested an Uber to take us to dinner, and the second the ride ended and the driver pulled away, I realized my phone had fallen out of my pocket and was still in the car.

I called the driver right away from within the Uber app. He couldn’t have been more than 1,000 feet away at that point. He gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him back in a half an hour. When I called him back, he didn’t answer. He didn’t answer my texts either.

After several unanswered texts and calls offering to meet him anywhere that’s convenient for him (as well as an email to Uber), the following morning I offered him $50 cash to return my phone. Immediately he texted back and said “on my way.” I was in a big rush because I was leaving LA early that afternoon. He did return my phone, but the experience left me with a terrible taste in my mouth.

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Uber Lost Over $1.2 Billion In The First Half Of 2016

Uber-Logo

Late last year I posted about how Lyft lost $127 million in the first half of 2015 on $46.7 million in revenue. I realize tech companies just operate in their own world and in many cases investors are willing to throw more money at them even when they’re losing almost three times as much as their total revenue in a year. At the same time, outside of the tech world that’s not typically a thing, at least not long term.

Well, if you thought Lyft’s losses were bad, Bloomberg just ran a story this morning about Uber’s losses (which are much worse in absolute terms, though as a ratio of revenue aren’t quite as bad).

Last Friday, Uber’s head of finance shared some details about their financial performance in the first half of 2015:

“In the first quarter of this year, Uber lost about $520 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to people familiar with the matter. In the second quarter the losses significantly exceeded $750 million, including a roughly $100 million shortfall in the U.S., those people said. That means Uber’s losses in the first half of 2016 totaled at least $1.27 billion.”

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Why You Don’t Take Uber In Moscow At 6AM…

Singapore-777

This morning we flew Singapore Airlines from Moscow to Houston, a flight that departed at 9:40AM. Singapore Airlines operates out of Domodedovo Airport, which is the Moscow airport further from the city. Traffic in Moscow can be terrible, so we left the hotel extra early, at around 6AM. The drive takes about an hour, so we figured that would get us there plenty early.

We decided to use UberBLACK, which cost a very reasonable 2,500RUB (~39USD) for the hour-long drive.

The guy who picked us up seemed friendly, at least compared to the other Uber drivers we had in Moscow. He didn’t really speak English, but said “music?” as we got in the car, and then turned on some dance music.

Clubs in Moscow on the weekends seem to be insane, as people seem to party till 6AM. So as we started driving I thought to myself “this guy has probably been driving since last night,” since I doubt many Uber drivers are starting at 5-6AM on a Sunday morning.

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Lyft Premier: A New Competitor To UberBLACK

Lyft-Premier

Lyft has been competing fiercely in many markets with Uber, which has led to some amazing price cuts and promotions (though sometimes I wonder if it has brought down prices too much in some markets). There are lots of drivers who work with both Uber and Lyft, so at some point you have to wonder how differentiated they are.

While Lyft has been competing with UberX and UberPOOL, up until now they haven’t been competing with Uber’s black car service, UberBLACK. It looks like that’s finally changing, as Lyft is introducing Lyft Premier. Per the Lyft blog:

“If you’re one of the many Lyft passengers who has told us you want a more stylish arrival for business trips and special nights out, we have a new ride option you’re going to love. Lyft Premier adds a little luxury to your ride, anytime you want it. You’ll be matched with a high-end sedan or SUV like a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Lexus ES, or Cadillac Escalade in minutes.”

Initially Lyft Premier is only available in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, though over time it’s expected to expand to other markets as well.

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An Easy $5 Off Your Next Uber Ride

Uber

Update: This deal is now dead.

This promotion has apparently been around for a couple of weeks now, though this is the first I’ve heard of it.

Lay’s is offering $5 off your next Uber ride while supplies last. Simply enter promotion code LAYSSUMMER in the Uber app. This is valid for existing customers as well.

To redeem the code, just log into your Uber app and click on the “Promotions” tab, where you can enter the code.

This seems really straightforward, as it’s valid on all Uber rides in the US. The only catch is that you have to use the code for a ride by July 10.

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My Horrible, Fraudulent Uber Driver — WHAT WAS HE THINKING?!

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It’s no secret that I love Uber. They’re innovating an industry that didn’t innovate for decades, where horrible customer service became the norm.

The average Uber experience is exactly the opposite. There’s an instant feedback loop where you rate the driver and the driver rates you, so that means everyone is usually on their best behavior.

Uber drivers get kicked out of the system if their rating falls below a certain number, which is why service is typically so good. I tend to take a pretty easy approach to Uber ratings, and in my hundreds and hundreds of rides only ever remember rating five stars. Unless someone is actively bad, I don’t want to do anything that threatens the person’s livelihood.

Well, for the first time ever I gave an Uber driver one star, and sent an email, because he was an a@$hole and a fraud.

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Here’s How Uber Is Going To Make You Forget About Surge Pricing

Uber-Surge-Pricing

Uber’s surge pricing tends to be pretty controversial. It seems to get a ton of media attention around New Year’s Eve, after we hear about all of the insane surge pricing from the night before.

Personally I don’t have an issue with surge pricing as such. Do I like paying it? Of course not. But I think it’s ridiculous when people agree to surge pricing, get a ride, and then after the fact complain the fare was too expensive. Uber is very transparent about it, and even has a functionality where they’ll notify you when surge pricing isn’t in effect anymore.

My one complaint about surge pricing is that it seems to be erratic, as it changes by the minute. I wish it took a bit more of a macro look at the market. I also feel like there should be some cap on how much the surge is — at some the price simply doesn’t reflect the product provided. Even so, I still don’t have sympathy for people who agree to a fare and then complain after the fact.

Interestingly Uber has devised a plan to make you look at surge pricing differently… or ideally forget about it altogether. They’re very much taking this technique out of the Delta SkyMiles playbook. Delta SkyMiles doesn’t publish award charts anymore. They’re taking a “what you see is what you get approach,” and claiming that people just want to directly be told how much a ticket will cost, rather than having to refer to some chart.

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Disgusting: 50 Taxi Drivers Assault A Single Uber Driver In Malaysia

KL-Petronas-Towers

Uber has faced a lot of opposition with their growth, both on a government level and also on an individual level. While we’ve seen some peaceful protests from taxi drivers and their supporters (Russel Brand is among them), we’ve also repeatedly seen horrible violence against Uber drivers.

Well, the latest story of violence against Uber drivers comes out of Kuala Lumpur, and is one of the worst I’ve heard yet, since it seemed to be targeted against one specific driver. More than 50 taxi drivers attacked an Uber driver with a passenger, to the point that the passenger had to go to the hospital.

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Uber Launches Loyalty Program For Capital One Customers

Capital-One-Uber

Uber has a few partnerships with different companies. To me, the most interesting one is their partnership with Starwood, as you can earn bonus Starpoints for Uber rides.

However, from April 2015 until April 2016, Uber had a pretty awesome partnership with Capital One. Those with the Capital One Quicksilver or Capital One Quicksilver One could receive 20% of the cost of their Uber rides back as a statement credit, as long as they were charged in USD. There were no limits, so it was essentially a way to get a 20% discount on all Uber rides.

I didn’t sign-up for a Capital One card, since I didn’t see much value in the card otherwise, and didn’t want a credit inquiry just for the Uber discount (though now that I look at how much I’ve spend on Uber in the past year, maybe I should have).

While the 20% statement credit promotion has ended, it looks like Uber and Capital One have partnered to form a loyalty program. I wrote in the past about Uber testing out a loyalty program concept in Los Angeles, though it was of limited use. This partnership has the potential to be a lot more interesting.

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Following Lyft’s Lead, Uber Will Soon Let You Schedule Rides As Well

Uber-Rides

A couple of weeks back I wrote about how Lyft was testing out allowing people to schedule rides through the app. It’s an interesting progression of on-demand ridesharing services, given that one of the selling points has long been that you can request a ride on the spot, and have someone pick you up within minutes.

A lot of people said the scheduling feature would be useful in cases where you need an early morning ride to the airport, etc. However, I’m not sure I really see the upside:

— The app will basically just automatically request a car a few minutes before your ride was requested for, so if there aren’t any cars available, I imagine you’re still out of luck
— You’re not actually locking in pricing, so can still be subject to surge pricing

Well, it looks like Uber is now following Lyft’s lead, as Uber will soon let you schedule rides as well. Here’s a demonstration of how it works:

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Uber Is Testing A Points Based Loyalty Program — Here Are The Details

UberBLACK

For many of us, ridesharing has almost become a necessity (as many living in Austin can attest to, given that Uber and Lyft both recently pulled out of the market).

While we’ve seen a ton of money spent on marketing from ridesharing apps, interestingly we haven’t seen a full out loyalty program yet. As of now there are a few ways riders are being rewarded:

— You can earn Uber credit for referring friends (for example, you can get $20 off your first Uber ride if you sign-up through my link, and I get the same reward)
— In select markets Uber has a VIP program, though it’s quite useless, as it simply matches you with “the best drivers,” which often requires a longer wait
— You can earn Starwood Preferred Guest points for Uber rides, for the first $10,000 spent per year with Uber (I’m guessing only very few people spend more per year on Uber than that); you earn one Starpoint per dollar spent, and even more points if you’re using Uber in conjunction with a Starwood stay)

Per Doctor Of Credit, Uber is testing a loyalty program in Los Angeles for a limited time. Here’s how it works:

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