Uber follows Lyft in announcing a rewards program — here's how it works

  • Uber has launched a four-tier rewards program that lets riders earn points for ride credit, free deliveries and more.

  • Anyone can enroll in the program in select cities starting Wednesday, with plans for international expansion. Rides from the past six months will earn points as well, if you're already a regular rider.

  • Lyft also announced plans for a rewards program earlier this week, but offered no details.

Uber is launching a rewards program that lets riders rack up points for discounted rides, free Uber Eats deliveries and more, the ride-hailing company announced Wednesday. News of the program comes just days after its biggest competitor, Lyft, announced plans for a similar program that will launch next month.

Here’s how the four tiers of Uber Rewards work, similar to the levels of an airline miles program:

  • Blue: Earn $5 of Uber Cash for every 500 points earned

  • Gold (500 points): Priority support with faster service, and more flexible cancellation policies: no fee if you re-book within 15 minutes.

  • Platinum (2,500 points): Guaranteed "price protection" on a saved route, like from home to work or the gym, regardless of surge pricing or traffic, and priority airport pickup.

  • Diamond (7,500 points): Three free Uber Eats deliveries every six month,, special access to highly-rated drivers, and a dedicated 24/7 support line.

For now, the program is live in nine locations: Miami, New Jersey, Denver, Tampa, New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, and San Diego, with plans for expansion. When you opt-in from the main Uber app, you'll be rewarded for the past six months of purchases.

"The goal was to develop a more one-on-one relationship with our customers," Holly Ormseth, a senior product manager on Uber's rider team, said in an interview. "We're investing in people, and want to connect people with benefits that fit their needs."

Read more: Two of Uber’s most popular services are joining forces as the company races toward an IPO

Eventually, you'll earn points across any Uber service, from bikes, to cars, to eats, and more. It's part of the company's push to be an entire ecosystem, regardless of where you're going (or eating). Last week, for example, Uber Eats joined forces with Uber for Business to let employees expense meals.

Lyft announced plans (but no details) for a similar program on Monday. The company, which already allows riders to earn Delta Sky Miles through Lyft rides, currently has a market share of about 35% in the US, with much less focus on international markets than its competitor.

The coinciding announcements are the latest of Uber and Lyft's neck-and-neck race to win the ride-hailing market ahead of imminent public offerings. Both companies had similarly coincidental announcements earlier this month, when they announced unlimited similar subscription ride packages in the same week.

Uber's considerably larger international footprint has helped it target public valuations as high as $120 billion as it guns for an IPO next year. Lyft, meanwhile, is said to be eyeing a public valuation about one-fifth the size of Uber, at around $20 billion.

"Uber today looks a lot different than when we launched back in 2009 with a high-end black car product," said Ormseth. "There’s a variety of affordable transportation options at your fingertips - from sharing rides, to bikes and scooters - and the ability to get the food you want, at the tap of a button."

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