Taking an Uber and spending money at shops and restaurants apparently go together, to the tune of $2 billion a year. That’s how much Visa says its U.S. cardholders spend almost immediately after they take Uber trips — and this helps explain the new loyalty program launched by Uber and the credit card company.
“Local Offers” allows Uber passengers to rack up credits for rides by spending money at participating businesses. Customers get one “Uber point” for each dollar spent at the business; with 100 points, they’ll get a free ride worth up to $10.
And there’s no need to keep track of points, or keep a wallet full of loyalty cards. Passengers simply need to use the same Visa card registered to their Uber account at the participating businesses, and the points will accumulate automatically.
At this point the program is only available in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Uber hasn’t indicated if it intends to expand the program, but, given the company’s tendency to first test out new features in selected markets, it seems likely.
Local Offers is now built into the Uber app, above the “Promotions” section in the left-side menu.
Users can enroll in the program, view a list of participating businesses, and track their points. Riders can select from among the businesses, a list that Uber says is ever-growing.
Based on an early sample of participating establishments released by Uber, the offerings skew toward the dining end of the retail spectrum: Barcito, Delarosa, Ike’s, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, Mixt Greens, Peet’s Coffee, PizzaRev, Specialty’s Café & Bakery, Super Duper, The Pie Hole, Uno Dos Tacos, Veggie Grill, and Wurstküche.
These are the kinds of businesses that may already offer loyalty programs; time will tell if pricier clothing shops and the like — where one might drop a $100 at once — will join up.
This isn’t the first time Uber has partnered with credit card companies. Uber uses can use a Capital One card to earn credit toward riders. But the Visa partnership covers numerous credit card issuers like Capital One — and it allows Uber and local businesses to co-promote each other. And Uber, of course, has never been averse to promotion.