Barclays and Uber introduced a co-branded credit card in late 2017 (almost two years ago to the day), and they’ve now announced a major refresh to the card. Whether these changes are good or bad depends on how you’ve been using this card. I will say that I think the changes are logical.
Historically the Uber Card didn’t actually offer a good return on Uber spending, which seemed counterintuitive. The Uber Card had as much to do with McDonald’s as it did with Uber (actually, it was more rewarding for McDonald’s spending than Uber spending). That’s no longer the case.
So let’s take a look at what’s changing with this card.
Uber Card Bonus Categories Are Changing
Up until now, the Uber Card has offered the following bonus categories:
- 4% back on dining, including restaurants, bars, and UberEATS
- 3% back on hotels and airfare, including vacation rentals
- 2% back on online purchases, including Uber, online shopping, video, and music streaming services
- 1% back on everything else
With the relaunch, this card will offer:
- 5% back on Uber, including UberEATS
- 3% back on dining, hotels, and airfare
- 1% back on all other purchases
So as you can see:
- This is a huge boost for Uber rides, since you’re going from 2% to 5% back (meanwhile for UberEATS you’re going from 4% to 5%)
- The dining bonus is being reduced from 4% to 3%
- The bonus for online purchases is being reduced from 2% to 1%
You Now Earn Uber Cash Instead Of Cash Back
The other significant change here is that the Uber Card will no longer offer actual cash back, as it did before, but rather will offer Uber Cash. In other words, the rewards offered by this card can be applied towards your Uber account.
There’s no minimum to redeem for Uber Cash, though when you accrue $50 in rewards it will automatically be converted into Uber Cash.
What’s Not Changing About The Uber Card
Most other things about the Uber Card aren’t changing:
- The card still has no annual fee
- The card still has no foreign transaction fees
- The card still offers up to $600 for mobile phone damage or theft when you pay your mobile phone bill with your card
What Happens To Existing Cardmembers?
While new cardmembers can now apply for the refreshed Uber Card, existing cardmembers will be converted to this product in the first half of 2020. You can expect to be notified of these changes soon.
My Take On The Uber Card Changes
The old version of the Uber Card was fantastic in the sense that it had no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and offered 4% back on dining. That was industry-leading for a no annual fee card.
However, it was bizarre how little the card actually had to do with Uber:
- Rewards weren’t in the form of Uber Cash
- You only earned 2% back on Uber rides, while you’d think the card would offer a compelling bonus category for Uber purchases
So these changes make perfect sense — the Uber Card now actually has something to do with Uber, which it didn’t before. This is now the best card for Uber purchases, though:
- The dining category was reduced from 4% to 3%
- On top of that, Uber Cash can’t be valued as highly as actual cash, so the value of the rewards has decreased as well on a per cent basis
From a branding perspective, these seem like smart changes, though personally I don’t find this card very compelling. I’ve written in the past about the best credit cards for Uber rides, and personally I still plan on using the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offers 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases (including Uber).
I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me, that’s like a 5.1% return on Uber spending.
What do you make of the huge changes to Barclays’ Uber Card?