Here's how you can unlock Uber's secret VIP program

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On Thursday morning, I woke up to an email from Uber in my inbox. The subject line: "Congratulations, you're an Uber VIP!"

It turns out that there's a little-known perk that regular Uber customers can unlock — once you take 100 rides, you become an "Uber VIP."

Here's what it looks like when Uber emails to notify you of the distinction:

uber VIPScreenshot

What are the perks of being a VIP customer?

When you open your app, you see a VIP option along with UberX, UberBlack, and the other Uber features available in your city. When you select it, you'll only be given drivers with 4.8-star ratings and "high-quality cars."

Here's what it looks like in your app:

uber VIPScreenshot

Uber VIP isn't an option that's available everywhere — it's only available in certain areas, like New York City, Washington DC, and Denver. Its market-specific nature may be why the company doesn't advertise it like its other features.

A VIP trip costs the same as a normal UberBlack ride. Unfortunately, Uber says, there are fewer VIP cars on the road — presumably because the quality is higher, and you're getting only the top-tier drivers — so you may be stuck waiting a bit longer for your car.

Aside from better service, there isn't much upside to Uber VIP to differentiate it from Uber's other services. It's a loyalty program for its customers that might remind you of Uber's earliest days as a company, when the service was marketed as a way for people to feel like "ballers" when they needed a lift.

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RELATED: See how much Uber drivers make in cities across the country

16 PHOTOS
How much Uber drivers make in different cities
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Here's how you can unlock Uber's secret VIP program

1) New York City: $29.34 per ride

(Patrick Batchelder / Alamy)

2) Pittsburgh: $14.84 per ride

(Getty Images/Brand X)

3) San Francisco: $14.65 per ride

(Shutterstock / Stefanie Schoenebein)

4) Phoenix: $14.36 per ride

(Alamy)

5) Miami: $14.38 per ride

(Shutterstock)

6) Salt Lake City: $13.86 per ride

(Getty Images)

7) Austin: $13.67 per ride

(Getty Images)

8) Seattle: $13.17 per ride

(Shutterstock / Jeffrey T. Kreulen)

9) Cleveland: $13.02 per ride

(Henryk Sadura)

10) Atlanta: $12.93 per ride

(Getty Images)

11) Boston: $12.80 per ride

(Getty Images)

12) San Diego: $12.60 per ride

(Getty Images/Imagebroker)

13) Baltimore: $12.21 per ride

(Getty Images)

14) Washington: $12.17 per ride

(Getty Images)

15) Denver: $11.70 per ride

(Chris Rogers)

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