The ride-sharing industry has gotten more competitive in the past few years, and both Uber and Lyft will kick the rivalry up another notch with the launch of ride reward programs.
Uber announced its rewards program on Wednesday and said it will initially roll it out in nine cities across the U.S. The program is broken down into four tiers: Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Benefits and rewards increase each time a rider moves into a new rewards tier. Riders earn points for every dollar spent, which also corresponds with the ride-sharing service's products. Riders earn one point for an Uber Pool and Uber Eats delivery, two points for UberX, UberXL, Select, and wheelchair accessible rides, and three points for Uber Black and Black SUV rides.
The company said it takes 500 points to move from Blue to Gold, 2,500 points to jump from Gold to Platinum, and 7,500 points to reach Diamond status. Riders have a six-month period to bankroll their points, and a rider keeps their earned rewards tier for the rest of an earning's period plus the next six months. Then, a rider starts at zero in a new period.
Those who use Uber often should enjoy the benefits. Every 500 points add a $5 credit toward a ride or Uber Eats delivery. Gold members can cancel and rebook a ride without a fee, and they receive priority customer service support. Platinum status nets priority airport pickups and capped charges between two frequented destinations, too.
It'll take a lot of rides to reach Diamond status, but those who do will be treated quite well. They get 24/7 phone support, surprise Uber upgrades (like an Uber Black) at no extra cost, access to highly rated drivers, and no delivery fee for Uber Eats on three orders every six months.
Specifics on Lyft's rival program are slim, at least for now. The company will provide rewards to riders such as Lyft upgrades for a more luxurious ride and discounts on future fares. Lyft's program launches next month for select riders, and we'll surely know more details then.
Meanwhile, Uber riders in Miami, Denver, Tampa, New York, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Diego, and New Jersey can start earning rewards now.