SPG & Uber Partnership Ending Soon: Optimizing Earnings w/Ride Share Apps

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Starwood Preferred Guest and Uber have had an ongoing relationship allowing SPG members to earn SPG points by tying their SPG and Uber accounts together. As of now, you can earn 1 SPG point per $2 spent on Uber for nothing other than linking your accounts. You can also earn SPG points for using Ubers when staying at SPG hotels at an elevated rate of 2 points per dollar spent. These points are separate/in addition to whatever bonus points you might earn from putting Uber spend on a credit card–like the Sapphire Reserve, for example, which earns 3 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on travel expenses (which Uber is considered to be by Chase).

SPG has announced the impending end of their partnership with Uber. As of December 18, 2017, you will no longer earn any SPG points via Uber (via normal rides or rides when you’re staying at SPG properties). To be clear, you’ll still earn 1 SPG point per $2 spent on Ubers and 2 SPG points per $1 spent on Ubers when staying at an SPG property through December 17, but after that you won’t earn any SPG points.

Note that you won’t earn these SPG points unless you’ve completed at least one qualifying stay at an SPG property during the calendar year. If you still haven’t linked your SPG and Uber accounts but want to reap what you can through December, you can do so here.

If you didn’t read my post from yesterday, you don’t know that Uber is coming out with their own co-branded credit card issued by Barclaycard. Perhaps this is one reason why SPG and Uber are ending their partnership… although the new Uber Visa doesn’t really offer any directly Uber related benefits. I find the card confusing, to be honest–but it does have great cash back rates of 4% for dining, 3% for travel, and 2% for online purchases.

Anyways, no more SPG points for Uber rides. Too bad, so sad…but there are other ways to garner rewards from your Uber and Lyft rides.

Uber and Membership Rewards

In June Uber announced that Americans with iPhones will earn 2x Membership Rewards when they pay with an eligible American Express card for Uber rides within the United States. They also announced the ability to use Membership Rewards to pay for your ride, but the only at the rate of 1 cent per point (which would be a  poor redemption when Membership Rewards can easily be redeemed as airline miles for 2 cents or more).

 

All you have to do is enter the payment information for your card that earns Membership Rewards into your Uber app and choose that card as the form of payment, and you’ll start earning 2x Membership Rewards per dollar spent on Uber rides.

The screenshot above is from my iPhone. I cannot currently earn (nor redeem) Membership Rewards for Uber rides because I’m not currently in the United States. If I was though, my Business Gold Rewards Amex is already registered as a form of payment so if I chose to pay with that card I’d earn 2x Membership Rewards.

When You Shouldn’t Pay with your Membership Reward Earning Card

There are credit cards that offer higher category bonuses and/or more valuable points for Uber rides, like the:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred – 3 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent, and we value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each.
  • maybe the Sapphire Preferred, depending on how you value Ultimate Rewards – 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent, we consider 2 Ultimate Rewards pretty much equal to 2 Membership Rewards.
  • Citi ThankYou Premier Card – 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent, and we value ThankYou points at 1.9 cents each.

Other Loyalty Program/Rideshare App Partnerships

Delta/Lyft

In May, Lyft announced the ability to link your account with your Delta Skymiles account to earn Delta miles. The promotion was only supposed to last through the end of August, but has continued as an ongoing partnership. Now you’ll earn 1 Delta miles for every dollar spent on Lyft, and 3 for every dollar spent on airport rides taken through November 1, 2017.

This bonus is in addition to whatever category bonus you’ll earn from your credit card, so make sure to optimize reward earnings by connecting a credit card to your Lyft account that earns a high category bonus for travel expenses like one mentioned above (but not a Membership Rewards earning card, as that’s specifically an Uber relationship).

On a personal note, I’ve tended to have better experiences with Lyft than Uber in general and patron their service when it’s available. You can read an interview I had with an Uber turned Lyft driver here.

JetBlue/Lyft

You can connect your JetBlue TrueBlue and Lyft accounts here to earn 750 points as a new Lyft user, plus 30 TrueBlue points for every ride you take. You’ll max out on earnings at 1,200 points).

Bottom Line

If you have completed one qualifying stay at an SPG property this calendar year, and have linked your SPG and Uber account, you can continue to earn SPG points for Uber rides through December 17, 2017. As of December 18, 2017, SPG and Uber’s partnership will end.

Lyft has similar partnerships with Delta and JetBlue, where you can earn miles and points for connecting your loyalty accounts to the app.

Whether or not you choose to cash in on these extra rewards by connecting accounts, you should always optimize which credit card you charge your Uber rides too–which should be the card with the highest category bonus for travel expenses (as long as Uber or Lyft is considered a travel expense by the respective issuing bank…if you’re not sure it is, Google can help you). Rewards cards with high bonuses for ride share apps include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Business Preferred, Citi ThankYou Premier, Chase Sapphire Preferred,and any Membership Rewards earning card (listed in descending order of their earning power).


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