Sometimes you need a ride to your rental car pickup location, and other times it may make sense to get around town by catching rides with taxis or other services.
The country's most popular ride-sharing companies are now competing for your affection—and that's really good news for consumers. In the same week last November, both Uber and Lyft announced loyalty programs aimed to earn your devotion. Here's how these programs line up:
How Uber Rewards Works: Blue > Gold > Platinum > Diamond
Uber Rewards operates with a six-month earning period. Once you achieve status, you stay at that level for six months, after which time you are reassessed.
You rack up points with every dollar you spend with Uber or Uber Eats. With UberPool and Uber Eats, you earn one point per dollar. With UberX and UberXL, you get two points for every dollar spent. And when you choose Black and Black SUV rides, you can get three points per every dollar you spend.
As you rack up points, you level up to different tiers. Regardless of your level, you get $5 in cashback to spend on Uber rides for every 500 points you earn.
Everyone starts out in Blue until you earn 500 points and advance to Gold level, which brings flexible cancellations—no penalty if you cancel a ride within 15 minutes—and faster response times if you call support services.
At 2,500 points, and you move up to Platinum level, which means you get priority pickups from the airport and a price lock for getting between your two favorite places on UberX, even during heavy traffic periods.
When you hit 7,500 points, you graduate to Diamond level. At this top echelon, you get surprise complimentary upgrades like UberX to UberBLACK and access to highly-rated XDiamond drivers. Also, if you order food with Uber Eats, the delivery fee will be waived on three orders every six months.
Redeemable points are non-transferrable and expire (if not converted to Uber Cash) in monthly batches on a rolling 12-month basis. For example, points earned in March 2019 will expire on April 1, 2020 if not converted to Uber Cash. Level-qualifying points are also non-transferrable and expire at the end of each six-month window.
How Lyft Rewards Works
Lyft Rewards was announced in November and expected to launch in December and then roll out more widely in 2019. As with Uber Rewards, you'll be able to earn points for every dollar you spend with Lyft and unlock rewards such as an upgrade to Lyft Lux or discount on future rides.
While complete details have yet to be announced, the company said perks might include access to the app's best drivers and special days where you can earn double points for all rides.