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Uber’s next gambit to maintain your loyalty is a credit card

Uber’s next gambit to maintain your loyalty is a credit card
[Photo: courtesy of Uber]

Uber, in partnership with Barclays, is launching its own Visa credit card and loyalty program to better satisfy its customer base and keep them coming back.

It has been a tough year for Uber. A January campaign to #deleteUber accused the ride-hailing app of trying to capitalize on a protest at New York’s JFK airport by turning off surge pricing. Earlier in the day, a taxi union had asked drivers not to service JFK in response to President Trump’s ban on travel to and from eight muslim countries. Uber’s then CEO Travis Kalanick was also, at the time, on President Trump’s economic advisory council. The confluence of the protest and Uber’s waning brand reputation caused some 200,000 people to delete the app.

Uber execs are hoping the new card could revive interest in the company. Riders can sign up for the Visa in-app and if approved, can apply the card to their Uber account before it arrives in the mail. The card has no annual fee and benefits include 4% cash back for dining, 3% on airfare and hotels, 2% on in-app and online purchases, and 1% on everything else you use the card for. On top of that, Uber offers users who spend more than $5,000 annually a $50 credit that’s automatically applied toward subscriptions when the card is used for services like Amazon Prime or Spotify.

This is not Uber’s first run with loyalty programs. It has a partnership with Visa that allows users to turn points racked up through purchases at local businesses into rides. But the new branded card and attached loyalty program is aimed at showing riders that the company itself can deliver value daily.  Riders accrue points in real time rather than per statement period and can both track them in the Uber app and quickly cash them out for a ride.

For now the card will only be available to U.S. consumers.RR