Earlier I wrote about the new Uber Visa Card that’s being introduced next month, which is both different and more compelling than I was expecting. The card will have no annual fee, offer 4% back on dining, include mobile phone theft and damage protection, won’t have foreign transaction fees, and much more. The one thing that surprises me is that it only seems loosely connected to Uber, as you only earn 2% back on Uber rides, and you can earn cash as a reward rather than Uber credits at identical rates (in which case that’s a better option). Typically co-brand credit cards offer extra benefits for those loyal to the brand, though we’re not seeing anything like that here.
The New York Times Associated Press story about this new card has an interesting detail that I wasn’t expecting:
Customers will be able to redeem their points for Uber rides using a standard penny-per-point redemption rate, or just have the points converted to cash and deposited back into their bank accounts. Barclays and Uber said point transfers to airlines will be coming in 2018.
Could the Uber Credit Card really offer points transfers to airline partners? If so, this has the potential to be huge, as earning four airline miles per dollar spent on dining could be the best reward on dining out there.
On the surface I wouldn’t be surprised to see Barclaycard introduce some kind of transferable points currency, given that Amex has Membership Rewards, Chase has Ultimate Rewards, and Citi has ThankYou Rewards, while as of now Barclaycard doesn’t have any sort of a transferable points currency.
However, I’m somewhat skeptical, and I’m concerned that what they really mean is that in 2018 you’ll be able to redeem your points through some kind of a portal towards the cost of airfare. In other words, you’ll be able to redeem your rewards at one cent per point towards the cost of an airline ticket, rather than just towards a statement credit, Uber credit, etc. If that’s the case, it doesn’t really add much value.
Personally I’m inclined to be somewhat skeptical here. I could see Barclaycard eventually introducing a credit card with airline transfer partners, though I’d be a bit surprised if the card with which they choose to do that is a no annual fee co-branded Uber Card, rather than a premium new card that isn’t part of any co-brand agreement.
Do you think we could see the Uber card offer airline points transfers, or are they referring to something else?
(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)