Uber enthusiasts in Los Angeles are getting to take part in a temporary promotion that looks suspiciously similar to a loyalty program.
According to an email that went out to L.A. area riders yesterday (May 24), UberBLACK rides will net users 200 points. Once users have 3,000 points, they will be gifted a free $25 Uber ride.
Or, broken down by math: Buy 15, get one free.
Loyalty plays are not entirely foreign to Uber. VIP programs have gotten test runs in New York and Dallas, but those programs were more focused on upgrading services — better cars and special events for frequent riders — rather than offering free services.
So, why the move toward loyalty in the traditional “buy X get X free” model?
Well, the margins work in its favor. Fifteen UberBLACK rides will run a customer about $600 — $25 back is about a 4 percent reward. But the hope is that it will boost rides on UberBLACK (not reward for UberX and its low-priced rides), which has seen falling ridership as consumers flock to its lower-cost cousin. In some cities, like Philadelphia, the situation has started boiling over. UberBLACK drivers have actually started protesting against UberX.
Perhaps, if this works in L.A., it might just roll out to Philly and restore peace among the Uber drivers.