Many of us rely on ridesharing services to get around. It’s pretty crazy to think how much the “sharing” economy has changed our behavior, both when at home and when traveling. While Uber has had its fair share of issues the past couple of years, it continues to be the biggest ridesharing service in the world.
As a result, those who use it should make sure they’re maximizing the points they earn for Uber rides.
In this post I wanted to look at a few strategies to save money and maximize points with Uber.
Get a $200 annual Uber credit
One of the unique benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee) is that it offers a $200 annual Uber credit. This benefit is only available on the personal version of the card, and not on the business version.
The way it works is that at the beginning of each month you get a $15 credit posted to your Uber account, and in December you get a $35 credit posted to your Uber account. As long as you spend at least $15 per month on Uber (and $35 in December), I’d say this benefit is worth pretty close to face value.
To take advantage of this benefit you’ll have to add your Amex Platinum Card to your Uber account. You don’t actually have to use the card to pay (and as I’ll explain below, you shouldn’t), but rather it just has to remain linked for the benefit to be triggered.
This is only one of the many benefits of the card, as it also offers a $200 annual airline fee credit, $100 annual Saks credit, Amex Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership, access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta, Hilton Honors Gold status, and more.
Like I said, don’t actually use The Platinum Card® from American Express for your Uber spend. Rather consider one of the below cards (they don’t have foreign transaction fees, unless otherwise noted, so they’re ideal whether you’re paying for an Uber in the US or abroad).
Best personal credit cards for Uber rides
If you want to use your personal credit card for your Uber rides, which is best?
Chase Sapphire Reserve® ($450 annual fee) — 5.1% return
The Sapphire Reserve offers triple points on all travel purchases, and that includes ridesharing. I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of a 5.1% return on Uber purchases.
Citi Premier℠ Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year) — 5.1% return
The Citi Premier Card offers triple points on all travel purchases, and that includes ridesharing. I value ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of a 5.1% return on Uber purchases.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year) — 3.4% return
The Sapphire Preferred offers double points on all travel purchases, and that includes ridesharing. I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of a 3.4% return on Uber purchases.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card ($95 annual fee) — 3% return (or more)
The World of Hyatt Credit Card specifically offers double points on ridesharing services. I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of a 3% return.
Keep in mind that you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt, so why would you use this card over the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve? Specifically, it could make sense if you’re going for one of the bonuses on spend that this card offers:
- You earn two World of Hyatt elite nights for every $5,000 spent
- You earn a Category 1-4 free night certificate when you spend $15,000 on the card in an anniversary year
So when you add up those perks, it could make sense to use this card over some of the others, even if the return is lower on paper. It depends on how much you value that free night certificate, and also how much you value the additional elite nights.
Best business credit cards for Uber rides?
If you want to use your business credit card for your Uber rides, which is best?
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card ($95 annual fee) — 5.1% return
The Ink Preferred offers triple points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases every anniversary year on travel (including ridesharing), shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of a 5.1% return on Uber purchases, as long as you don’t exceed the $150,000 limit on combined purchases.
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express (no annual fee) — 3.4% return
The Blue Business Plus offers double points on all purchases, for the first $50,000 spent every calendar year. That’s an incredible return for a no annual fee card. So while there’s not even a bonus for ridesharing or travel, as long as you’re within the first $50,000 of spend in a calendar year, this is the best Amex card for ridesharing purchases.
Juste note that this card does have foreign transaction fees, so you’ll only want to use this for Uber purchases within the US.
What about the Uber Visa Card?
In 2017 an Uber Visa Card was introduced. The card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, though I find the rewards structure to be odd.
The card offers 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotels and airfare, 2% back on online purchases, and 1% back on everything else. Uber qualifies as an online purchase, so you’d “only” earn 2% back.
It’s odd to a see a co-brand card that doesn’t even have a compelling bonus categories for purchases with that company, so I don’t recommend using the Uber Card for Uber purchases.
Save money with Uber Cash
A few months ago Uber Cash was introduced, which allows you to add funds to your Uber account upfront. It’s intended to create a seamless payment experience across Uber’s services, including Uber rides and Uber Eats.
What makes this interesting is that you get a discount when you add money to your balance:
- Get a 2% discount when you add $25
- Get a 3% discount when you add $50
- Get a 5% discount when you add $100
Loading your Uber Cash balance qualifies the same as any other Uber purchases for the purposes of your credit card, so you might as well stack a 5% discount with the rewards you earn through your credit card, plus an additional 5%+ return.
Don’t forget about buying Uber gift cards
While Uber Cash is a good backup option, sometimes it’s possible to buy Uber gift cards for even more than 5% savings.
Uber sells gift cards through many retailers, and sometimes there can be value in buying gift cards from them. For example, earlier this year Amazon had a ridiculous promotion where you could save a significant amount on virtually any purchase when redeeming one Amex or Chase point, including the purchase of Uber gift cards.
So keep an eye out for gift card deals, since that could save you a lot on Uber purchases.
My personal Uber strategy is to use The Platinum Card® from American Express monthly Uber credit.
Then I buy Uber Cash using my Chase Sapphire Reserve®, so that I receive a 5% discount plus three Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent. However, I think the Citi Premier℠ Card offers just as valuable of a return, and otherwise any of the above cards are great options.
On top of that, I take advantage of any gift card deals I may see.
What’s your credit card strategy for Uber purchases?