Uber shuts down free loyalty programme to push subscription model

Monday 15 August 2022 11:37 CET | News

American ride-hailing operator Uber has announced it is shutting down its free loyalty programme, Uber Rewards, with plans to focus on its subscription-based Uber One membership.


Uber detailed in an email sent to its US customers that they can still earn points via the legacy rewards programme until the end of August 2022, and that they can redeem those points until 31 October. Uber Rewards will officially shut down on 1 November 2022, according to an update posted by the company, cited by TechCrunch.

The Uber Rewards programme enabled users to earn 1x point for every Uber Pool dollar spent, 2x for every UberX dollar spent and 3x for every USD 1 spent on Premium. The number of points accumulated would put members into different castes of loyalty, from Blue to Gold to Platinum to Diamond, the latter of which comes with benefits like access to highly rated drivers, free delivery on three Uber Eats orders, access to better customer service and free upgrades.

Uber first launched the rewards programme in 2018 as a frequent flyer scheme that allowed riders to earn points for every dollar spent on rides or Uber Eats deliveries. The points could then be used to get discounts on future rides or deliveries. As reported by TechCrunch, in November 2021, Uber began introducing Uber One, which, for USD 9.99 per month or USD 99.99 annually, allows members perks like 5% off certain rides or delivery orders and unlimited USD 0 delivery fees on food orders of over USD 15 and grocery orders of over USD 30.

American ride-hailing operator Uber has announced it is shutting down its free loyalty programme, Uber Rewards, with plans to focus on Uber One membership.


No rewards for users without Uber subscriptions

TechCrunch detailed the fact that phone support will continue for Diamond users. However, at present time, the only way to get additional perks with Uber will be to purchase a subscription. Existing Rewards members will get a free one-month subscription to Uber One, but then will be charged for access. 

Uber did not respond immediately to inquiries for clarity as to why it is shutting down the Rewards program in favour of the Uber One membership. TechCrunch speculated that Uber might not have seen the returns and user loyalty that was forecasted for the product and turns to a subscription model for a steadier stream of revenue.

Uber market strategy and recent product releases

The ridesharing company has been working on several strategies for growth this year, especially on an internal level, in what concerns the earning model of their drivers.

Uber recently launched a driver debit card in tandem with a checking account in a bid to expand its workforce. The new debit card comes courtesy of partnerships with Mastercard, Marqeta, and Branch, a challenger bank that caters to gig economy workers and contractors. The card offers Uber drivers up to 7% cashback on gas purchases when they achieve Diamond status as an Uber Pro driver.

Bank in March 2022, Uber had begun testing a new driver earnings algorithm in 24 US cities that allows drivers to see pay and destinations before accepting a trip. The algorithm also raises the incentives for drivers to take short rides in an effort to attract more drivers. In Brazil, the second-largest market for the application and where inflation and the price of gasoline have been putting pressure on the earnings of partner drivers, it is already common to see drivers choosing shorter trips at peak times, source Latin America Business Stories (LABS) explained at the time.

As explained at the time the changes are part of a wide-ranging updates to Uber‘s driver pay algorithm, at a time when Uber is attempting to win back drivers who left at the start of the pandemic.

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Keywords: ecommerce, mobile payments, loyalty programme, delivery, ride sharing
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Uber
Countries: United States
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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