American express strives mightily to position itself on the cutting edge of all things travel. And there may be no company that better combines cutting-edge cool with financial clout than Uber, the high-tech ride service recently valued at $18.2 billion—almost as much as Hertz and Avis combined.
So a partnership between the two companies seemed almost inevitable. What was surprising, however, was the extent to which Uber has integrated American Express Membership Rewards earning and redemption into its payment system.
Effective immediately, Uber customers can earn two Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on Uber rides, or redeem their points to pay for Uber rides. When redeeming, points are worth 1 cent apiece, so a $25 ride would cost 2,500 points.
To participate, Uber users must first enroll their eligible American express cards within the Uber app. (Only the iOS version of Uber’s app is currently supported. Presumably support for Android devices is in the pipeline.) Then, when paying for an Uber ride, cardholders either pay with the enrolled card, or tap “Use Points” to pay with points. If a user’s account doesn’t have enough points to cover the cost of a ride, the fare is automatically billed to the card.
There may be better values available when it comes to redeeming Membership Rewards points. But the simplicity and seamlessness of the earning and redeeming modules make this an eminently usable combination.
Reader Reality Check
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This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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