According to a recent report in TechCrunch, Uber has launched a temporary promotion in Los Angeles that appears to double as a loyalty programme beta test. The programme is focused on UberBLACK customers, and appears designed to encourage more ridership in the company's luxury car service. Until July, at least, UberBLACK rides in L.A. have just become more rewarding.
The programme offers UberBLACK riders to earn 200 points per ride when they opt in with the promo code LOYALUBERBLACK. When riders reach 3,000 points earned, the programme auto-issues a $25 rider credit. As reporter Fitz Tepper points out in the TechCrunch report, the earn rate isn't bad:
"Let�s take a quick look at the economics, assuming your average UberBLACK ride is $40. Fifteen rides means you�re spending a total of $600; and you�re getting $25 in return � giving you about a 4% 'rebate' on Uber rides. Not bad, especially considering the alternative is nothing at all."
Uber has experimented with loyalty promotions before; in New York and Dallas, the company offers a "VIP" programme that provides soft benefits such as access to better cars, and the company has also partnered with Starwood to allow riders to earn Starwood Preferred Guest points.
The Bullet Point: Will the relatively rich 4% funding rate see UberX riders begin to upgrade their rides to UberBLACK? That's the question this programme seems designed to answer. We like the test, although we'd like to see Uber combine the hard benefit programme with the soft-benefit VIP programme to offer a truly compelling value proposition for Uber's uber-fans. Should we see the test extended past July or beyond L.A. to other Uber markets, that'll be a telling sign that the programme is changing customer behavior. Stay tuned.