Uber

What Is Uber VIP?

Uber-VIP

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Uber and use them all the time. They’re a great way to reliably get around major cities where public transportation is otherwise limited. Uber has a great referral program whereby you can get a free ride of up to $20 when you sign-up through a referral link, and the person doing the referring gets the same.

On top of that, Uber and SPG have a partnership, so you can earn bonus Starpoints for your Uber rides (you can earn even more points if you’re using Uber in conjunction with a hotel stay).

Aside from that, though, Uber is pretty egalitarian, in the sense that they don’t have any elite status. Or so I thought…

I just received an email from Uber indicating that I’m now Uber VIP for being one of their “top riders” (ahem):

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Uber Has Launched In Las Vegas

Las-Vegas-101

After a huge battle which has lasted for almost a year, Uber has finally, officially, legitimately launched in Las Vegas.

Last October, Uber unofficially launched in Las Vegas. When I say “unofficially,” I mean just that — they showed up, turned on the app, and basically decided they’d start giving people rides until they were told otherwise. Within hours of launching, Uber was shut down.

Then after months and months of politicking, the Nevada Legislature finally approved a bill making Uber & Lyft legal in Nevada. Of course nothing happens overnight when the government is involved. But the time has finally come — yesterday Uber officially launched in Las Vegas! For the time being there’s just UberX in Las Vegas, and not UberBLACK yet.

Las Vegas has one of the most corrupt taxi mafias out there, so the market couldn’t be disrupted fast enough.

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Getting Around New York… In 2015

AirTrain JFK

Once upon a time not too long ago, there were only a few ways to navigate around New York as a tourist:

— The subway (and bus system)
— Taxicabs
— Walking

What’s more, as recently as 11 years ago, your practical options getting to and from JFK Airport were really limited to taxis, since there was no possible way of getting to the terminals via train from the city. Since 2003, there’s now AirTrain, which connects JFK with the Jamaica and Howard Beach subway/train stations in Queens.

Though my past experiences in New York largely relied on the reliable subway/cab/walking paradigm, on this trip I ended up not only using AirTrain in conjunction with the subway to get from JFK to Manhattan, but also two much more recent game-changers for getting around the city: Uber and Citi Bike.

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Hilton & Uber Announce A Partnership… Sort Of

Hilton-Uber

In many ways, Starwood has been the industry leader when it comes to launching partnerships with other travel providers, for the purpose of benefitting frequent users of both companies. This sort of cross-loyalty marketing is brilliant, whereby you’re giving members an incentive to not just be loyal to your brand, but also your partners’ brands (hopefully that works both ways).

In early 2013 Crossover Rewards was launched, whereby SPG and Delta members began receiving reciprocal points and benefits. On the airline front that was later extended to Emirates with the introduction of Your World Rewards. Starwood also has a partnership with Caesars in Las Vegas (though really they were following Hyatt there, who first introduced a more impressive partnership with MGM). And most recently Starwood announced a partnership with Uber, which has been a huge hit with members.

I was a bit surprised this morning when I saw the headline indicating that Hilton and Uber are launching a new partnership. While I get that companies can have multiple partnerships, you’d think there would have been some sort of exclusivity agreement between Hilton and Uber.

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Free Uber Rides In Downtown Seattle This Weekend

Mad-Max-Uber

I’m a fan of Uber, and use the service quite a bit. I don’t really drive much/at all when I’m home, but if I do have to take a longer trip UberX is nearly always cheaper than any alternatives besides the bus. Internationally, it’s a no-brainer in many cities, especially when I’m traveling solo. Uber also has a pretty lucrative referral program, whereby you can get a free ride of up to $20 by being referred.

One of the things that I appreciate about Uber on the business side are the quirky/wacky promotions they often have. Here in San Diego we’ve had days where you can summon a kitten to snuggle, have ice cream delivered, or have your thrift store donations picked up.

The latest fun offering is taking place this weekend in Seattle:

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Uber Will Officially Be Allowed At LAX Within Weeks

Star-Alliance-First-Lounge-LAX-01

In mid-July, Nick wrote about how the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved UberX and Lyft to pick up passengers at LAX as soon as late August. Previously neither service could pick passengers up at LAX, though UberBLACK and UberLUX could pick up passengers at the airport.

That being said, the details of the new access were still being figured out, especially when it comes to background checks, fingerprinting, green-fleet requirements, and disability access. All of which are reasonable things to discuss, in my opinion. And they were the topic of conversation at an LA City Council meeting yesterday, discussing UberX and Lyft expanding to LAX.

The good news is that a vote to reject the airport’s agreement with Uber and Lyft was shot down, and a subsequent motion to approve the motion passed:

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$50 Rebate On Uber For Business

Uber-Business-Amex

Uber is pretty popular here at OMAAT, primarily due to the convenience factor. While there are other great ridesharing apps as well, Uber is my go-to.

In addition to the normal system that we all use and love, Uber launched Uber Business last year. I’m surprised that we haven’t written about the service previously, and as there’s currently an opportunity for a $50 rebate from American Express OPEN, this seemed like a good time.

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LAX Will Allow UberX And Lyft!

UberX

It’s no secret around these parts that we here at OMAAT love us some Uber (even if Russell Brand does not share our views).

Yet while Uber is one of the best ways to get a dropoff at an airport, many major airports prohibit UberX and Lyft from picking up passengers there. (UberBLACK, which employs licensed livery drivers, is typically allowed to do pickups.)

At LAX, this has meant in practice that your options arriving at the airport are:

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