I’ve found several ways to get my average ride cost basis down pretty low, and in many cases I pay less than I would to own a car to use Uber services. Here’s a list of easy things I do to save money on Uber rides:
1. You definitely need to sign up for the Sears Shop Your Way Rewards program, and link your Uber account. Sears is a hot mess of a corporation and they will literally pay you hundreds of dollars in rewards points for riding in an Uber for, well, no clear reason. Riders get paid $2, $4, or $5 in points for every ride they take, depending on how Sears is feeling at the time you take the ride. These points are provided without regard to how much your ride actually costs, so when they run a $5 in points promo, like they did for Valentines week or the Super Bowl, you can actually ride at an effective profit!
The best thing about SYW points is they come off the bill before tax, so you can literally get anything sold by Sears for $0 out of pocket. It’s super fun. There’s no limit to how much you can earn by riding, so just link up and enjoy the free money. Sears has given me over $1500 of free stuff just for riding in Uber!
Link your account here: https://www.shopyourway.com/uber/
2. You can get a $1 rebate per Uber ride you take if you launch Uber from the Ibotta app. Here’s a link to download the app, if you haven’t already: https://ibotta.com/r/pjnfwlq
3. If you use the Acorns Investment App, you may or may not be able to get 50 cents by clicking a button before you request an uber ride. It’s in the found money section of the app. I don’t recommend using Acorns for your investments more generally, since they charge monthly fees, but if you’re already on it there’s no reason to pass this up. Details here: https://www.acorns.com/foundmoney/terms/uberdriver-09222017/
Acorns often regularly runs very lucrative referral bonuses where they pay you a lot to refer people to the service. In January and February they had one to invite 10 friends and get $1000 in bonus money for the referrals. Obviously this is not easy to do, but if you can pull it off it’s a good way to make money off the whole thing. You have to be a member of the app to invite others, which is why I have it despite not being a huge fan of the fees.
If you would like the new member $5 referral bonus and somehow haven’t signed up for Acorns yet with all your friends shilling it, and 50 cents a ride is like super exciting to you, consider using my link lol: https://www.acorns.com/invite/QJUPU2
4. You can buy Uber gift cards for less than face value to pay for your rides. They often go on sale for 10-15% off if you look around.
5. Uber’s algorithms charge what they think you’ll be willing to pay for a ride, not what the base ride costs. You can exploit their pricing behavior to get lower prices. For example, before calling an Uber ride form your home or workplace, drag the pin a couple blocks down the street and get a price quote. Compare it with the price quote from your location. Uber typically marks up the fare by $2-3 if they see you often travel to/from that location.
6. Uber has removed surge information from the app, and only sometimes lets you know that prices are higher due to a surge (not always!). Surge information is still provided in the Uber API. You can generate a developer token and access surge info that way if you’re so inclined. This helps me avoid surge zone pricing more easily. Unfortunately I cannot make a public app to do this, as Uber would just disable it for breaking their API access terms. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it though…
7. Uber Ride Passes (in LA at least) aren’t the deal they used to be. It was possible to take unlimited 10-30 mile UberX rides for $5-7 total in all of LA county for most of 2017, by paying a $15/month subscription fee upfront, but Uber has decided to stop losing money on me on that one. The new “Route Pass” charges the same and gives a mediocre price point for a route you choose (higher than lowest normal price, so only worth it in a surge area) and 15% off rides in other areas. It makes most sense to place the route pass on a location you never go, as the 15% off is more valuable. It’s not really worth your time anymore though, but keep an eye out in case that changes!
8.) I will update these lists as I come up with more ways to work the system. Cheers.