SHAME: Uber Is Ending Its Rewards Program With Less Than 3 Weeks’ Notice

Uber is terminating its rewards program. They’re dropping elite status. Customers who earned benefits – even just earning them this month – won’t receive their promised extra points, better customer service, or priority on airport pickups effective September 1. In fact there won’t even be any more points-earning.

Already they’d largely gutted the Uber Rewards programs.

  • They’ve eliminated upgrades as a top tier elite benefit
  • They’ve eliminated ‘price protection’ (no surge) from a single favorite route as an elite benefit
  • They’ve devalued the currency. At a minimum you used to get 1 cent per point (so a minimum 1% rebate on spend, higher for more premium or better margin products). Now it’s tough to get that, with new redemption options that require higher point totals for lower values.

Now they will end the program entirely.

You will still earn points and enjoy Rewards benefits including Flexible Cancellations, Priority Pickups at Airports, and Highly Rated Drivers until the end of the month. And there’s still time to get all the rewards you’ve earned: just use your points by October 31. You can redeem them from the Account section of your Uber and Uber Eats apps.

Redemptions have two additional months’ of runway, but you won’t be able to add to your points total to reach an award level. And rewards are much costlier than they used to be, there’s no more ‘500 points for $5’ anymore (indeed very few redemptions come close to offering a penny per point).

Uber is trying to push their paid subscription program Uber One and offering some members 3 months free of the benefit. It involves paying up-front for a discount, hopefully locking you into using their service over competitors.

They are ‘thanking’ members “for being a loyal Uber customer” – by dropping their rewards for loyalty. And doing it with almost no notice. That makes it far easier to just use Lyft (which can be far more rewarding for Chase customers, anyway).

Uber once had a vision far beyond transportation. They’d be intimately involved in moving people and things around cities. That would put them at the center of peoples’ lives.

So it made sense when they launched a rewards currency and a co-brand credit card that they might succeed with their own digital currency that was interoperable, far beyond Uber’s own ecosystem. But they’ve given up on their credit card (which was the primary way the currency was created). And now they’re even giving up on a rewards program. No more loyalty marketing engine and no more currency at all. For a company that once has just grand ambitions this is sad to watch.

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