Why does Uber hate me so? Let me count the ways.
Actually, there’s only one way; Uber Rewards.
At the end of 2018, Uber announced the launch of their points and tiers loyalty program. Starting with nine cities in the US, they extended to the entire country in early 2019. This was followed by launches in other countries, including Australia in Nov 2019.
Uber Australia initially limited access to Uber Rewards via invite-only. Those few lucky invitees (including Loyalty & Reward Co Marketing Director, Stacey Lyons and COO, Max Savransky) were thrilled to be chosen, and spent much time discussing their incredibly rewarding experiences at length in sizeable groups of people predominately comprised of non-members.
Despite Uber announcing the program would be ‘available at scale for Uber customers inside their app across Australia by early 2020,’ many local members never received their invitation to join.
One of the unlucky victims was me. While I smiled encouragingly whenever my staff members talked about yet another reward they’d accessed, inside my heart broke. I often tapped the hamburger menu in the Uber app, thinking to myself ‘maybe, just maybe, today it will be there.’ But the Uber Rewards link never appeared.
Imagine my delight, when last week I received an email from Uber titled ‘Uber Rewards: You could have earned points today.’
‘Could it be?’ I thought,’ Is this the moment?’
I opened the email to find, ‘Philip, your rewards are waiting. Join Uber Rewards, our new loyalty program, to start earning points with every eligible dollar you spend on rides with Uber and orders with Uber Eats.’
Finally, the prize was within my grasp. Clicking the ‘Join for free’ button was as exciting as unwrapping my first ever Christmas present. And it took me to . . . nothing. A dead end. No membership, no link, no rewards. An empty void of unsatiated craving.
A week of misery and introspection followed. ‘Was it me? Did I do something wrong? Perhaps I clicked the link too hard?’
And then, when all was hopeless, another email invite. ‘Uber Rewards: Every meal and ride could earn you points.’ But no membership, no link, no rewards. Just psychic pain and a steady dissolving of my will to live.
I am Tantalus, the ancient, tortured Greek king of Sipylus. He was punished by Zeus in Hades, where he was unable to eat or drink for eternity; the water from the lake dried at his lips, and the fruits in the trees crumbled into dust at his touch.
Why, Uber, why? Why would you torment me so? I have a rating of 4.86. And once, I even tipped a driver. What have I done to make you hate me so? Please let me join Uber Rewards. I beg you.
Philip Shelper, CEO of Loyalty & Reward Co, has many years experience within the loyalty industry, including roles at Qantas Frequent Flyer and Vodafone. Loyalty & Reward have consulted to over 50 major brands in the past seven years.
Phil is a member of several hundred loyalty programs, and a researcher of loyalty psychology and loyalty history, all of which he uses to understand the essential dynamics of what makes a successful loyalty program.
Phil loves Greek and Roman history.