American Express cardholders who use that card to pay for their Uber ride will earn double Membership Rewards. This is just for American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards; cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express don’t qualify.
You can also redeem points to pay for your Uber ride at a penny a point. There are absolutely much better values out there but if you’re not a big collector of points this could be a good way to burn some up.
This announcement doesn’t shock me that much. I moderated a panel at the Global Flight conference held in conjunction with the Freddie Awards this past April. Alisa Tugberk, VP of Travel Partnerships at American Express sat on my panel and talked about how they had rolled out a test program with cabs in NYC allowing folks to redeem points for cab rides. This is such a great logical extension of that test.
I’ve held one card or another from American Express consecutively for 20 years now, and even though I choose to hold an SPG Amex right now, I’ve been tempted to add a Membership Rewards card back to my wallet. I had one for ages but transitioned to SPG. It’s smaller innovations like this (and my increased Uber usage) that lead me to think I should be considering a card again.
While I like redeeming my miles and points for big, aspirational awards, the reality is that most folks don’t focus as much as I do on the best ways to earn and burn. For them, more redemption options is likely better, in that they may find themselves in a place to realize value out of their relationship with their credit card company.
I’ve become more convinced that smaller awards are likely good for both sides of the equation. More ways to redeem for the cardholder and more affordable/predictable redemptions for folks like American Express. Contrary to what you might think, American Express wants you to redeem your points. In most cases, when you redeem points you become more loyal to them.
In the end, that may be good for everyone.