Invest in customers, and “customer will continue to invest in us”
Nundu Janakiram, the Director of Product at Uber has told media recently that Uber has waited a long time to release their new rewards program which has just hit the US.
They were diligent in their research to ensure they could make the program as beneficial for the customers as they had envisioned it. “A rewards program has to deliver benefits. We wanted to get it right,” says Janakiram.
Uber’s move in the rewards space has been timed well with an upcoming IPO later this year as well as increased competition from other market entrants such as Lyft.
— Uber (@Uber) February 19, 2019
Why Uber Rewards?
The main objective of the program, according to Holly Ormseth, a senior product manager at Uber, was to “develop a more one-on-one relationship with our customers”. “We’re investing in people and want to connect people with benefits that fit their needs,” said Ormseth.
The company’s ultimate goal is to create an entire ecosystem where people can earn points through any of the services it provides.
Lyft, Uber’s rival, is also expected to go public this year, which might be the reason it announced a loyalty program, as well.
The details of Lyft’s loyalty program, however, remain unrevealed.
“We’re also exploring how we can keep making Lyft Rewards better over time. We hear you: Passengers want perks like ride upgrades, access to more-experienced drivers, and double-points days – so we’ll continue to listen to your rider feedback as we fine-tune the Lyft Rewards program,” wrote Lyft on their blog.
Uber Rewards will of course continue to change and evolve according to the feedback received from customers in the nine cities it is currently available in. “Along the way, we’ll be listening to our customers and evolving the program as needed,” said Ormseth, in a post on the company’s website. As of now, it is unclear how long it will take for Uber to introduce this program in other cities and countries.
Not Uber’s first attempt at loyalty & rewards
This isn’t the first reward program Uber has rolled out.
In 2016, Uber announced they were doing a promotion that was akin to a loyalty program. It allowed people to earn free rides. However, the program was only for UberBLACK.
Uber experimented with another loyalty program in 2017 for which they partnered with Visa. Both of these programs were only available in a few select cities around the U.S. Uber Rewards is the first reward program that Uber plans to launch across the entire U.S (and eventually, other countries, as well).
How does Uber Rewards Work?
The new rewards program is divided into four categories: Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. For every dollar you spend on UberPool and Uber Eats, you will get one point.
You will earn two points for Uber X, Uber XL, Select, and WAV. And lastly, three points for Black and Black SUV. Irrespective of what tier you are in, you will get $5 Uber Cash for every 500 points you earn. These points can be spent on either food delivery or rides.
How does each tier work?
Blue is the first tier and it allows you to gain points on the Uber app. You become a Blue member as soon as you sign up for Uber Rewards on the Uber rider app. Once you’re a Blue member, you can start earning points by using Uber’s services. To reach Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels, you need 500, 2500, and 7500 points, respectively. Gold members can cancel their rides without having to worry about being charged a fee. Moreover, rebooking a ride within 15 minutes will allow users to have the cancellation fee refunded.
Reaching the Platinum level will give users all of the benefits of Gold level, and two additional features. Users will have the option to lock in prices between two locations, enabling them to avoid surge prices. This will prove to be very beneficial for people who use Uber for their daily commute to or from work. The second feature Platinum tier offers is priority pick up at airports. With the help of this feature, users won’t have to wait as long as they normally have to for their rides to arrive.
The fourth, and also the highest, tier is called Diamond. Diamond membership will give users access to all of the features of both Gold and Platinum levels, along with a number of other features. Features exclusive to the Diamond level include 24/7 dedicated phone support, surprise complimentary upgrades from UberX to premium products such as Uber Black without any extra cost, an option in the app that will connect users to highly-rated drivers, and zero delivery fee on three Uber Eats orders every six months.
Marketers will be watching closely as this program will provide another great case study for growing interested in the rewards and loyalty space. In our eyes, Uber Rewards is a positive step forward for Uber cementing their position in the ride share market.
Not only will this create a point of difference in market, it will also promote cross brand category usage on Uber Eats.
We’ll be watching closely to ensure Carrots Plus technology continues to develop and offer new trends in the rewards and loyalty space.