American Express cardholders spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Uber per year, according to Leslie Berland, who leads digital partnerships and development at American Express.
Now the two companies are pairing up, allowing people who use both to earn Amex loyalty points by riding with Uber and to pay for Uber rides with points as well. For example, a $20 Uber ride will cost 2,000 Amex points — or a $20 Uber ride will earn 40 points. And these are not Uber-specific points — they’re tied into the overall Amex loyalty program.
It’s the first time Amex has combined “the ability to earn points and burn points together,” as Berland put it. That’s possible because of the simplicity of the Uber payment interface, for which Berland had high praise. Existing eligible cardholders will be able to sign up directly for the program within the Uber app with a single tap.
At first, this will only be available for Uber users in the United States on iPhones. Once they hook up their accounts, users can toggle between either using points or earning points on each ride.
Last year, American Express partnered with payment device company VeriFone to let cardholders pay taxi fares with their Amex reward points in about half of all New York City yellow cabs.