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Not everyone owns a car, and when you live in a big city with a good public transportation system, you really don’t need to worry about having a card handy. But, occasionally a pair of wheels other than a bus can really be helpful when you need to get some place quickly.
That’s when you can look to Uber for getting a ride from Point A to Point B. Uber is essentially a taxi service, but a lot more convenient as it comes with a nifty app that you can link with your credit card and never have to worry about counting out cash for a cabbie.
Uber has fairly competitive pricing, especially compared to other taxi programs out there. Plus it’s free to sign up and within just a few moments you can have an active account and snag your first ride.
What makes Uber so great are the many ways you can save money. Below I’ve listed 17 ways on how you can save money on Uber. If you weren’t using Uber before, maybe these tips will help want to try Uber out.
The first thing you want to have readily available when you download the Uber app and set up your account is a promo code. First time users can basically enjoy a free ride, as Uber will give you $20 to use toward your ride when you first sign-up.
In most cases this $20 is enough to cover one ride depending on where you’re going and how far your destination is.
Ibotta is an awesome receipt scanning and cash back app that lets you save money not only at grocery stores, but with companies like Uber as well.
When you first register with Ibotta, you can get a $10 sign-up bonus after scanning your first receipt. From there you can start earning cash back from shopping online through Ibotta’s affiliate links or shopping at the grocery store and scanning receipts.
Occasionally you’ll see Ibotta partnered up with Uber and offering cash back on rides. Most recently they had a deal where you could earn a $1 cash back on every Uber trip booked. Unfortunately this deal is no longer available and Ibotta doesn’t currently have any deals with Uber.
But, I would still check the app frequently as deals like the one mentioned do pop up and you won’t want to miss out, especially with the holidays coming up, when you’re likely traveling around a different city and need access to transportation.
It can be a really great thing when two companies team up together and Uber and Facebook make a pretty good team when it comes to helping Uber users save money on rides.
In order to take advantage of this, you will need to download the Facebook Messenger App. Once complete, you can start a new message thread and click the “more options” section located in the bottom corner of your phone. From there you can select the “transportation” tab and link your Uber account.
If you are a first time rider, you’ll get a $20 credit as noted in the first tip above. After that it’s super easy and convenient to request, view and pay for your rides, or even share travel details with coworkers and friends.
If you’re hanging out with friends this weekend and need to take an Uber, you should take advantage of the Split Fare option so that you can save money and not end up with the entire Uber bill (I mean, unless your friends make up for it with a drink or two later).
Split Fare allows you to do just as the name suggests; split the fare between you and your fellow riders. Once you select a ride, you’ll want to select split fare at the bottom of your screen and then input the names or phone numbers of the other riders. The other rides will need to have active Uber accounts.
You can only select to Split Fare before a trip and if your friends don’t accept the option to split, the Uber cost will fall on your shoulders, so make sure to discuss with them before moving forward.
If you didn’t know this already, you can in fact carpool with Uber. UberPOOL matches you with riders heading in the same direction as you so that you can split the cost of the ride. This little feature can really help keep the cost of your Uber down if it’s something you use regularly, like as a ride to work.
If you opt to use UberPOOL, you’ll want to make sure you are ready to go and outside waiting a minute or two before your Uber is expected to pull up so that any riders already in the car don’t have to wait.
Also, just because you select UberPOOL doesn’t necessarily mean you will for sure be sharing a ride with someone, you could essentially luck out by getting in the car as someone was just dropped off or get out before the next person is picked up. It’s a chance worth taking for money saved.
6. Create More Than One Account
There’s nothing wrong with creating a new Uber account just to take advantage of the first time sign-up bonus offer of $20. You may feel like you are cheating the company a bit (and you just might be) but when it comes to saving money, I think this option is worth it. Especially if you don’t use Uber all that often anyway.
To create a new account you’ll need a separate email. Once you’ve earned and used your free ride you can opt to cancel your account (if Uber lets you) or go back to using your regular account and let the second one go dormant.
I’ve definitely taken advantage of Uber’s Refer-A-Friend option and literally referred every friend and family member I could think of. Worst case scenario they will tell you no thanks, but in the best case scenario they’ll sign up and use your promo code, which will give you extra money to put toward future rides.
Everyone who has an active Uber account will have a specific code that they can use to send and share with friends, family and coworkers. My app offers me $5 for every referral, but this number will vary by user as I think people who use Uber more often will have a higher referral payout such as $15 or $20.
To earn this, the invitee will need to enter the offered code before they request their first trip. Sometimes as an added bonus, you can receive more cash when that new user completes a certain amount of trips after using your referral code.
8. Avoid Surge Pricing When You Can
If there’s one thing worth complaining about with Uber (beyond the potential for a bad driver or ride experience), it would be the surge pricing. Surge pricing is when rates are higher due to high demand, i.e. a high traffic area or prime pick-up times, which is generally on the weekend and in the evenings.
Surge pricing can be as much as double or triple the normal fare price during these popular hours. To avoid this, sometimes waiting just a few minutes can let the inflated surge pricing pass.
In really popular areas, you may have to wait up to half an hour. Just keep checking the app regularly for changes in pricing before selecting a ride.
9. Hail an Uber from a Different Location
Similar to above, you can avoid surge pricing by walking to a location that is less high traffic or less popular for pickups during peak surge hours.
This could mean walking several blocks to a new spot before you’ll see a price drop, but if you are really focused on saving money, the extra cardio shouldn’t be a problem (unless you’re wearing heels…ladies, I feel you).
10. Choose the Cheapest Ride
This one may be a no-brainer for some, but I’ll put it out there anyway. When you first try out Uber you will see that there are several available car options that vary in price. Here’s a brief breakdown of the different rides you can select starting with the cheapest and going to the most expensive:
- UberX: Your typical sedan for groups of 4
- UberXL: For groups up to 6
- UberSELECT: Fancier than the first two, generally has a leather interior and spotless exterior, and is mid-size to full-size
- UberBLACK: A car that is 2012 or newer and has an all black leather interior and black exterior
- UberSUV: a combination of UberBLACK and UberXL
Pricing between UberX and UberXL or Uber Select can jump by $5 or $6 but between UberXL and UberSELECT there isn’t much of a different, maybe as much as $1 or $2. UberBLACK will cost you a lot more than all the others, but you will definitely be riding in style as these cars tend to be luxury brands.
11. Get an Uber Subscription
Since Amazon has shown major success with their Amazon Prime subscription, Uber has opted to try something similar and offer Ride Pass, a subscription plan at $14.99 (24.99 if you are in L.A.) a month. While this won’t give you free rides, it will offer you better deals and discounts on your rides with Uber.
Ride Pass can save Uber users up to 15% on their travel costs. Currently Ride Pass is available in Los Angeles, Austin, Orlando, Denver and Miami, but is expected to open up to more cities in 2019. One perk of the subscription is that you won’t have to deal with surge pricing.
12. Make Your Complaints Known
If you’ve used Uber or even a regular taxi service before, you know that rides and drivers can be unpredictable. Thankfully Uber has a great customer service team that want to make sure you have the best experience possible.
If you ever have an unsafe ride, late pick-up, or just a really bad experience overall, be sure to let Uber know as they will likely make a note of the experience and offer you credits toward another ride in the future.
The same goes for if you are ever overcharged for a ride. Be sure to let Uber customer service know as soon as possible so that the extra cash spent can be credited back into your account.
Uber is really doing the most right now and offering a credit card just means business must be good. If you sign up now, you can earn $100 after spending $500 in the first 90 days of signing up.
The Uber Visa Card isn’t just a way to save extra on rides, you’ll earn 4% cash back on dining purchases and that includes UberEATS, but also 3% cash back on hotel and travel, 2% for online purchase (this includes your Uber rides) and 1% on everything else.
The money earned from using the Uber Visa Card can be used as credits on future rides, cashed out as a gift card or redeemed as cash back in your bank account.
14. Use a Rewards Credit Card
If you don’t want to take advantage of the Uber Visa Card and instead already have a credit card that offers cash back rewards on your purchases, make sure you link this card with your Uber account. That way you can be sure to earn some cash back for every ride you take.
If you’re interested in signing up with a rewards credit card, consider one of these options:
- Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card – $500 sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. (If you can, throw your monthly rent on there to help).
- Capital One Quicksilver Card – $200 when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited – Earn $150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
Uber partnered with Capital One Quicksilver before and it could very well happen again.
15. Keep An Eye Out For Promotions
Sometimes you’ll see Uber partnered with other companies. Recently they were partnered with the Capital One QuickSilver Visa where they offers Uber user 2% cash back on their rides. They’ve also partnered with Lays Potato Chips.
While you’ll only see that initial sign-up bonus only once (twice if you make a second account), you can occasionally snag some discounts on Uber when they offer special promotions. Check in with Uber regularly to stay up-to-date on their latest deals and ways to save.
Shop Your Way is an excellent website and app to check out when you want to save money and earn some cash back. To sign up is free and when you connect your Uber account, you’ll start earning cash back points when you take a ride with Uber, though the point amount will vary from city to city.
New Uber riders earn $5 cash-back in points for their first Uber ride, then another $15 for their first Uber ride after downloading the app. This offer is solely for Shop Your Way members who create an Uber account through the Shop Your Way website.
New Uber riders and existing Uber riders will earn $2 cash back in points for every completed Uber ride and up to $5 during special promotions (think major holidays). Also, you’ll want to make sure you use and redeem your points within two months or you may lose them.
Shop Your Way also works with UberEATS.
I’m putting this one out there because Uber isn’t the only taxi service available on the market and may not always be the one to offer you the best deals and prices on your rides.
What’sTheFare (sometimes pops up as What’sMyFare on IOS) is an app that allows you to compare prices between Lyft and Uber. You’ll be able to use the app to call your car of choice from the company of choice without need to log into a different app.
It’s a great way to save money on any ride you need, without feeling like you need to stick with just Uber or Lyft. Both have their perks and as we’re all about saving money on this site, that’s really all that matters in the end.
Hopefully some of these tips will start helping you save more money on your Uber rides. If you weren’t an Uber user before, now you know how to keep some extra change in your pocket when you do happen to use it.
If you’ve taken advantage of some of these tips, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!