Uber has something in common with credit card companies: both businesses face a lot of competition from nearly identical services when it comes to attracting and keeping customers using them. In a bid to kill two birds with one stone, Uber is launching a new feature called Payment Rewards. The transportation giant will team up with specific credit card companies — starting first with Capital One and its Quicksilver brand — to pay for rides, and if you pay for enough of them — nine, to be exact — you get one ride worth up to $15 free.
Uber says the service will be live for U.S. cardholders first. It will also include more payments companies over time.
Uber been experimenting and rolling out different versions of loyalty schemes of late, and this is not the first time that it’s teamed up with third parties to do it.
Among them, in May, the company launched Uber Offers, which gives users rebates of between $5 and $20 at Uber when they shop at participating stores.
Just weeks after that, we discovered that Uber was running a test in LA where users were rewarded with free rides after they accumulated a certain number of points from previous rides. (This latter offer appeared to work out to one free ride in every 15, so a little less rewarding than Payment Rewards.)
It has also worked with Capital One on past short-term promotions (this latest one will continue through March 2017).
And Uber is also part of a new Commerce Network started by Visa to encourage more shopping (and swiping of its own Visa cards, of course).
The Payment Rewards service is interesting in that it opens the door a little wider to how Uber ties itself in with card companies.
And, depending on how many card partners Uber decides to sign up, this could also potentially be a useful sales channel for those card companies. (Want free Uber rides? Sign up to get and use one of our credit cards!)
What’s interesting is that once you can track reward payments inside Uber’s own app, it opens the door to Uber positioning itself as a mobile wallet of sorts, to manage other places where you might use and redeem those rewards. Given that Uber has been tying up with other businesses through delivery services, this could open the door to further ways for Uber to sell particular services. The company has raised billions of dollars and is valued at over $60 billion, but is falling well short of that when it comes to revenue. Services like this could be one way to offset that.
We asked, and Uber declined to comment on whether Uber or Capital One paid each other as part of the Rewards partnership, nor if there are plans to add more services or rewards into the mix.