American Express Introduces Earn and Burn Points With Uber

I’m a big Uber fan (“Why Taxis Suck and What You Can Do About It“), although I’m skeptical of their $18 billion valuation.

But they’re clearly a big deal. And they’ve now done a deal with American Express: redeem Membership Rewards points at 1 cent per point, or earn 2 points per dollar spent.

Existing eligible cardholders will be able to sign up directly for the program within the Uber app with a single tap.

…Once they hook up their accounts, users can toggle between either using points or earning points on each ride.

This functionality will roll out initially only to the iPhone app and only for US customers. It will be some time before I can try it on Android. I’ve reached out to American Express to clarify:

  • Whether points-earning is available only when paying for Uber with a Membership Rewards-earning American Express card?
  • Whether the 2 points per dollar are in addition to the 1 point earned from regular spend (in other words, if it’s just marketing hype to call it 2 points, and is really an extra 1 point per dollar spent)?

These questions are key of course because you already earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on Uber when paying with a Sapphire Preferred card.

Do you have to give that earning up and pay with an Amex? (Perhaps an Amex Everyday Preferred Card which will earn 1.5 points per dollar anyway if you use it 30 times in a month.)

And if you do, is that worthwhile, i.e. are you trading 2 Chase points for 2 Amex points (which I probably wouldn’t do).

Devil will be in the details. And of course it goes without saying, never redeem your Amex points at just a penny apiece. Too many great things to do with those, like:

  • British Airways points transfers, I regularly redeem 4500 points each way for $300 short haul domestic tickets.
  • Singapore Airlines transfers, fantastic award availability in premium cabins for Singapore Airlines flights.
  • Air Canada Aeroplan transfers, since 45,000 points still gets you one-way business class between the US and nearer Europe.

The new program is in addition to Uber’s own loyalty program, currently in beta in Phoenix.

(HT: @p_brady)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary,

    Do you see more than 2 seats on the A380 Singapore flights? Alternatively is it possible to get 2 FC and 2 Biz tickets?

    – Narayana

  2. Nice to see any 2x rewards on amex. Some useful MR transfer partners but I never rack up that many people because of lack of double (or more) rewards.

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