Both have rewards programs. But in the case of Lyft versus Uber, which is better?
When it comes to rideshare apps in the US, there are two that stand apart from the rest: Uber & Lyft. Uber has been around longer and is probably more well-known. With that said, for the traveling consultant, we believe that Lyft is the clear winner. Let’s breakdown why you should pick Lyft.
We’re going to put the perks aside for this article (priority pick up, free cancellation, etc.), and only talk about the actual rewards you’ll receive from either program. For the most part, both of these reward programs have the same perks (either through Lyft or Uber status) so as you gain priority status, you’ll receive these perks.
Alright, let’s say you’re on a consulting project in which you travel every week and use a rideshare app for every commute. You’re away from the city in which you reside every Sunday through Thursday, meaning you’ll be using Lyft/Uber for five days.
Let’s breakdown each day of the week (with rough $ estimates):
- Sunday: $50 to your departure airport / $50 from your arrival airport to your hotel
- Monday: $15 to your client / $15 from your client to your hotel
- Tuesday: $15 to your client / $15 from your client to your hotel
- Wednesday: $15 to your client / $15 from your client to your hotel
- Thursday: $15 to your client / $50 to your departure airport / $50 from your arrival airport to your home
That’s an estimated $305 in transportation costs. Again, the numbers don’t matter as much, but we’ll use them as basis for both reward programs.
Let’s move on to the rewards you can get by using each rideshare app (with the estimated $305 spend for each week).
With the Uber rewards program, you’ll earn points for the following rides:
- 1 point per eligible dollar spent on UberPool
- 2 points per eligible dollar spent on UberX, Uber XL, Select and WAV
- 3 points per eligible dollar spent on UberBlack, Black SUV and Lux
But how much are the points worth? Points are worth 1 cent apiece in Uber credit — once you’ve earned 500 points, you’ll get a $5 Uber Cash credit, which can be used toward future Uber rides and UberEats orders. For every additional 500 points you earn, you’ll receive another $5 credit.
What this essentially equates to is 1% back in Uber credit on UberPool rides and UberEats orders, 2% back on Uber’s flagship UberX product and 3% back when taking rides in high-end vehicles like UberBlack.
Recently, Uber launched 2x points for business rides, so for the regular consultant (using UberX – you’ll get to partner someday!), you’ll earn 4 points per eligible dollar spent.
Let’s now break it down in terms of weekly travel (with the $305 in costs we detailed earlier). You’ll earn approximately 1220 points per week. That equates to $10 in free credits (to use on personal Uber rides or UberEats), with 220 remaining points.
As of 2020, Uber does not have any partnerships with any hotel chains or airlines, so you’re effectively only earning Uber credits every week.
With Lyft, as of yet, they do not offer any ‘Lyft points’ but instead, have partnered with other companies to provide benefits. It seems that Lyft has targeted professionals that have some aspect of travel in their role, as these rewards are quite literally perfect for a consultant. Let’s breakdown the rewards program.
- 1 Delta SkyMile per eligible dollar spent (2x on airport rides)
- 3x Hilton Honors Points per eligible dollar spent
- $5 in personal credit for every 5 business rides taken
- $.25 in Rakuten cash-back
If you’re unfamiliar with these reward programs, we’ll discuss them briefly below.
1 Delta SkyMile per eligible dollar spent (2x on airport rides)
Lyft partners with delta, to allow you to earn bonus SkyMiles for all rides. You’ll need to register at this link first. You only need to register once, after which you’ll receive an additional 1 mile per dollar on all U.S. rides, and 2 miles per dollar on all airport rides.
If you fly Delta consistently, this is quite possibly the best rewards perk. Even if you don’t fly with Delta frequently and don’t use Lyft often, it’s worth signing up for this promotion. Registration is free and there’s absolutely no harm in signing up. You’ll rack up miles with no work (after the one-time registration which takes 5 minutes).
3x Hilton Honors points per dollar
Lyft also partners with Hilton, and again you’ll need to register one-time with this link. After registering you’ll earn up to 3 Hilton points per dollar on Lyft rides, though shared rides only earn 2 points per dollar. You also have the option to redeem your Hilton points for Lyft credits, though this usually represents a pretty poor value. We recommend you keep the Hilton points for hotel stays.
Rakuten has an app that’s primarily used for in-store and dining cash back, but you can also use it to earn $0.25 on all Lyft rides. 25 cents seems like a pretty small amount, but this can end up being a large return if you’re taking multiple Lyft rides per week. Unlike the first three deals on this list, this is one that you’ll need to remember to activate every time you order a Lyft. All you’ll need to do is open the Rakuten app, and clicking the Lyft icon. It’ll then open your Lyft app, and you’re good to go.
Breaking down Lyft Rewards
Now let’s breakdown Lyft rewards with our original $305 estimate per week as a traveling consultant.
- Delta SkyMiles: 4 airport rides @ $50 each + 7 client rides @ $15 each = 505 Delta SkyMiles
- Hilton Honors Points: 915 points
- Rakuten: $2.75 in cash-back
- Personal Lyft Credit: 11 rides / 5 = $10 in Lyft personal credit, with 1 ride rolled-over for your next week’s travel
Adding it all up
Neither Lyft nor Uber are perfect, but we’ve found that it’s generally much easier to interact with Lyft, and more pleasant to use. In terms of personal credit, you’ll receive $10 per week for both rideshare apps (although for Uber, you can use that personal credit toward UberEats). Unless you’re an UberEats addict, you’ll earn bonus rewards with Lyft (quite frankly, all are amazing for a traveling consultant). Uber has been called out on multiple occasions for customer service mishaps and app errors. So, for us, it’s a no brainer to stick with Lyft.