Just another ride home from the airport: Triple stacking an Uber promotion

No, unfortunately, it wasn’t me heading home from the airport.  Full disclosure…I haven’t gotten time to travel since exploring Chicago this past October.

I know!  I’m getting restless, but don’t worry.  I do have a few travel ideas coming up in the next couple of months.

I happened to have friend flying into Boston last week though, and that flight just happened to land after the public transportation system had shut down for the night.

Hey, did you know you could request an Uber ride for a friend?

Well,  I didn’t, but I started poking around, hoping to take advantage of a recent Uber and American Express promotion.  From certain airports, you could get $65 off a ride home.  Luckily,one of the airports listed was Boston Logan, so I got to work.  As long as you entered the promo code in your Uber app, and paid with an American Express card, the ride was on them (up to $65).

How could I get the most benefit out of this – for myself and my friend?

Well, his was easy.  It just so happens that my place is about $65 from the airport on Uber Black.  A free Uber Black from the airport home?  Not bad!

I had to look at it a bit more closely for my own benefit, though.  Truth be told, the free ride for my friend was enough, but I caught the scent of a deal, and I had to dig deeper.

The AmEx Uber Promo Code

This promotion was all over the internet, so it wasn’t hard to find information.  (Here’s a link from Nerdwallet, for example.)  I already outlined the terms of the deal above, and there really isn’t much more to it than that.  Type in the promo code, book a ride from the airport, and pay with your American Express.  I happened to choose my Premier Rewards Gold Card, for reasons outlined below.

I’ll spare you the details on actually ordering the Uber for my friend.  It involved two phones, a bit of confusion, and a very understanding driver.  I made sure to select the actual Terminal at Boston Logan, hoping that would ensure the promotion worked correctly.

Anyway, by the time they got back to my place, the ride totaled $66.53.  The promo kicked in, and I paid a whopping $1.53 to get my buddy home, without every leaving the house!

Double Membership Rewards on Uber

Easy.  American Express partnered with Uber earlier this year (featured image) to offer double Membership Rewards on Uber rides.  On the flip side, you can also use your Membership Rewards points to pay for your Uber ride (though I wouldn’t do that).  The card itself has to be part of the Membership Rewards family of cards, so I pulled my AmEx PRG out of my wallet, typed the info into the Uber app, and saved the card.

Sure enough, double Membership Rewards points showed up in my account a few days later!

AmEx Points Summary.png

Remember, those 2 points are just the bonus.  The normal 2 points from spending $1.53 (rounded up) will be included in my typical Premier Rewards Gold card monthly statement.

Linking Starwood and Uber

Not to be outdone, Starwood also has a deal with Uber.  Earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on Uber every day, and earn bonus Starpoints during your SPG stays, as outlined below.

SPG Uber.png

Here are the only two things that really matter in the fine print:  One, you can only earn on up to $10,000 of Uber spend in a calendar year.  Two, you must complete a qualifying SPG stay within the calendar year to earn any Starpoints.  There’s no way I’m spending over $10,000 on Uber in a year, so I’m not worried about that.  I already knocked the second requirement off too, with my Westin stay in Cancun a few months ago.

I hadn’t linked my accounts previously because, believe it or not, I’ve never actually used the Uber app!  Linking the accounts was easy though, and Uber will definitely come in handy on some of my travels.

So, I earned Starpoints on that Uber ride.  Question is, how much?

Logically, I’d earn 1 SPG/$, since I wasn’t staying at an Starwood property at the time.  I only spent $1.53, so one Starpoint, right?  Two if they’re rounding up.  But I didn’t earn 1 or 2.

I earned 67 Starpoints!  They rounded wayyy up!

SPG Points Summary.png

In reality, it wasn’t rounding.  Uber just reported the full fare of the ride, so I earned Starpoints on the full cost!

You can even see that the full fare value was rounded up to $67, and reported to Starwood for the points value.  The promotional savings wasn’t included!  Even just on those Starpoints, I would have at least broken even on the $1.53 I spent.

The Math

My favorite part.  For this evaluation, I’m not even going to include the savings on gas, mileage, and my time.  Those numbers are kind of flexible, so it’s hard to get an accurate representation, but I will include the airport tolls!  Those tolls are cold, hard cash that comes out of my pocket anytime I drop someone off at the airport.  Lucky for me, my place is the perfect distance from the airport for friends and family to crash for the night before an early flight, or leave their car while they go on vacation.  Guess who gets to drive them to Boston Logan every time?

I’ve already outlined the SPG and Membership Rewards points I earned on the ride.  I value SPG at 2.5 cents per point, and American Express Membership Rewards at 1.9 cpp.  When comparing the Uber Black ride to picking them up from the airport myself, my total net gain would be the sum of the points earned and the money saved on tolls, minus the cost of the ride.

Net Gain = [SPG points + MR points + Toll Avoidance Savings] – Cost of Uber

Net Gain = [(67 Starpoints x 2.5 cpp) + (4 MR points x 1.9 cpp) + ($4.70)] – $1.53

Net Gain = [$1.67 + $0.07 + $4.70] – $1.53

Net Gain = [$6.44] – $1.53

Net Gain = $4.91

I earned $4.91!  I didn’t even leave the house, I got my friend home, and I basically made money doing it!  Might not be a high dollar value, but definitely a great travel hacking win!

You still have a few more days to use this promotion, so add it to your accounts if you’ll be at the airport!  Even if you can’t use this one, Uber offers a lot of promotions throughout the year, so be sure to check for ways to save money on your Uber rides.  If it’s your first time using Uber, there are always “x dollars off your first ride” promotions.

Plus, go ahead and link your AmEx cards and Starwood account, to take advantage of the extra points!  You can also earn Shop Your Way Rewards points (Sears/Kmart) and there are rumors of Uber starting it’s own loyalty system.  Maybe buy a discounted Uber gift card, or pay for it with the MPX app to save some more?  I’ve also added my Uber referral code to the referrals page, so if you feel like helping out the blog, be sure to check it out!

There are tons of ways to save on Uber, and Uber’s only too happy to let you ride with them, sometimes for free!

By the way, just wanted to share that this is my 100th post!

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