Uber's co-branded credit card is undergoing an overhaul, and while the new version could be a lot more valuable for staunch Uber loyalists, its rewards will be a lot less flexible.
The most significant changes: The card will offer 5% back in the form of Uber Cash on all Uber purchases, including rides, Uber Eats orders, and Jump bike and scooter rides. That's a much higher rate than the card previously offered for Uber spending. But redeeming rewards for cash back will no longer be an option. (Uber Cash can be used only for Uber rides, Uber Eats orders and Jump rides.) For existing cardholders, the old benefits will stay in place until 2020, though the exact timing will depend on when you applied.
The new version will be known as the Uber Credit Card; the old version went by the name Uber Visa. The card's annual fee remains $0.
Before and after
The earlier version of the Uber card was a great cash-back card for restaurants, making it an oddly valuable card to carry even for foodies who rarely used Uber. It wasn't particularly rewarding for Uber rides, where it earned only 2% cash back. Here's how the old version compares with the new:
The idea behind the changes was to make the card more rewarding for Uber loyalists, according to Barclays, the card’s issuer.
"We want [the Uber Credit Card to be the best card for Uber loyalists and Uber users, which is really guiding a lot of the decisions that we’ve made for the values and features of the card,” says Nichelle Evans, the managing director of travel and affinity co-brand partnerships at Barclays.
The change follows the rollout of the Uber Rewards loyalty program, which launched earlier this year.
The card will still have the same sign-up bonus, although now it can only be redeemed for Uber Cash. And like before, the card offers up to $600 for mobile phone damage or theft protection if you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card.
Uber purchases earn richer rewards. The earlier version of the Uber card simply wasn’t the most rewarding credit card to use on Uber purchases. With the new rewards structure — 5% back in Uber Cash earned on Uber purchases — it is. For folks who order Uber Eats regularly or use Uber to commute to work every day, the new version of the card could be much more lucrative.
Rewards can no longer be redeemed for cash back. The new version of the Uber card allows you to redeem rewards only as Uber Cash, which can be used in the Uber app. You can no longer get cash back or gift cards. This change means the rewards are much less versatile, and potentially less appealing to people who don’t frequently use Uber. For Uber power-users, though, the difference might not matter.
Lower rewards for dining out. The 4% cash back at restaurants and bars made the previous incarnation of the Uber card one of the top dining cards on the market. Rewards for those purchases have scaled back to 3% in Uber Cash. The 2% rewards rate for online shopping and streaming services has also gone away.
The $50 statement credit offer is disappearing. This is a relatively minor change. Previously, you could earn a $50 statement credit to use on eligible digital music, video and shopping subscription services after spending $5,000 or more in total net purchases on your account each year. The new version of the card will no longer come with this perk.
What it means for existing cardholders
If you have the old Uber Visa, your card won’t change immediately. Here’s what to expect:
Cards will be updated in the first half of 2020. "All existing cardmembers will be notified on Monday [Oct. 28] about the change in benefits and what will be happening,” says Stephanie Melrose, senior director of the Uber Card Program at Barclays. She notes that the majority of cardholders will transition to the new product at the end of January. Cardholders who applied for the card more recently will transition later, in April or May.
The $50 statement credit offer is valid through the end of the anniversary year for current cardholders. If you already have the card, you can still reach the $5,000 spending requirement by your anniversary date and earn the $50 statement credit toward digital purchases through the end of this cycle.
It’s possible to update your card sooner, if you want. If you want to get the benefits on the new Uber Credit Card sooner, you can call the number on the back of your card and request them now.