Uber Rewards is eliminating a key redemption option

Editor's note: This story was updated to include a statement from Uber.

Back in 2018, Uber began rolling out it its loyalty program Uber Rewards. It was initially only available to select people in certain cities but has since expanded nationwide. Soon, it will see its first major devaluation.

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Background

Much like airline and hotel loyalty programs, there are two main aspects to the Uber Rewards: the ability to earns rewards and the ability to earn elite status. The earning rates are fairly simple:

  • 1 point per eligible dollar spent on UberPool and UberEats
  • 2 points per eligible dollar spent on UberX, Uber XL, Select and WAV
  • 3 points per eligible dollar spent on UberBlack, Black SUV and Lux

Initially, points were worth a flat 1 cent apiece toward Uber Cash credit — for every 500 points earned, you'd get a $5 Uber Cash credit. This credit could be redeemed toward future Uber rides and UberEats orders. Then in December, Uber began introducing new reward options, like discounts on rides, access to highly rated drivers, and meal donations through Feeding America, slightly adjusting the value you could get.

What's changed

Unfortunately, the $5 Uber Cash reward option will be going away soon. In an email to members, Uber shared that they will no longer see the option after this current rewards cycle. Some of the discounts are capped at $7, making them arguably more valuable than the credit option. But they require you to spend more in the first place to maximize them so the credit option still often made more sense.

Related: New Uber Rewards options

Bottom line

Losing the Uber Cash option is disappointing, but it makes sense given the company's struggling financial position due to the significant drop in demand for rides caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Uber will continue to add new reward options like promotions on rides and eats, unique experiences and exclusive partner offers to keep the program experience exciting. The program has previously partnered with P.F. Chang's to offer free dumplings as a reward option, so it's likely we'll see more partnerships like that in the future.

While the Uber Rewards program might be getting a bit less valuable for some members, there are still ways to save on your rides and eats orders. Check out our guide to the best cards for Uber and Lyft before booking your next ride-share trip to learn how you can maximize your return.

Note: After this article was originally published, an Uber spokesperson reached out to TPG to clarify that this decision was not tied to the company's financial position and provided the following statement: “After thoughtful consideration, we made the decision to sunset the $5 Uber Cash benefit in the U.S. starting in late 2019. Users told us that Uber Cash was a less popular option for every 500 points earned and that they wanted more choice, which is why we expanded to include ride and Eats discounts, partner benefits like access to Apple News, free food items, and a large focus on donations per these challenging times. We remain committed to Uber Rewards and recognizing riders for choosing our service.”

Featured image by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy.

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