Chase / Lyft partnership confirmed; starts 1/12

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Lyft today has announced what has been rumored for a couple of days: they are indeed partnering with Chase to offer select benefits and up to 10x on Lyft rides depending on which Chase card you use to pay for your ride. While this seems pretty exciting on the surface, and it will change my behavior starting in late February, my excitement is tempered — more on why below.

Earnings

Beginning on January 12, 2020, Chase cardholders will enjoy the following earnings rates on Lyft rides:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 10x total points on Lyft Rides

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire, Ink Business Preferred, and Ink Plus: 5x total points on Lyft Rides

  • Chase Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited: 5% (5x) total cash back on Lyft rides

  • Chase Ink Cash and Ink Business Unlimited: 5% (5x) total cash back on Lyft rides

Keep in mind that while cards like the Chase Freedom and Ink Cash are marketed as earning cash back, they really earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Those points can be redeemed for $0.01 each for a statement credit or can be moved to other Chase cards to enable transfers to partners or better redemption options.

Additional benefits for Chase Sapphire Reserve Cardholders

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders (and JP Morgan Reserve holders) get an extra benefit: one free year of Lyft Pink, the new monthly membership program. That includes some of the following benefits:

  • 15% savings on all car rides

  • Complimentary bike and scooter rides

  • Priority airport pickups

  • Surprise offers and upgrades

  • Relaxed cancellations

  • Waived lost & found fees

  • “Exclusive partnership benefits and surprise offerings to come”

This free year membership will not auto-renew (the terms state that you’ll have the chance to opt in to renew if you’d like). According to the terms, it looks like this benefit ordinarily costs $199 per year.

Is this a big deal?

For some, this will obviously present a lot of value. Earning 10x Chase points on an expense you were already incurring is really nice. Keep in mind that it’s really an extra 7x points since those purchases would ordinarily earn the 3x travel bonus. That’s undoubtedly a huge category bonus; earning 10x at a specific merchant is an exciting return.

However, because of the timing, I find these returns feel underwhelming. My opinion may change in a month, but with the SoFi Money debit card currently earning 20% cash back on Lyft rides, I’m less enthusiastic about 10x than I otherwise would be (and much less about 5% / 5x). The cap on cash back on the SoFi Money debit card is $1,000 back and the deal ends on 2/18/20. At that point, getting 10x via Chase will certainly be the best option…unless the SoFi deal gets extended. I don’t have any specific reason to think it will apart from the fact that Lyft is obviously looking to strategic partnerships and has inked a long one with Chase. On the other hand, earning 10x feels much less like a premium credit card benefit when a 20% return has been available on a debit card attached to a fee-free account. That’s a short-term hit for SoFi, so this partnership with Chase may certainly be decent long-term, it just doesn’t jump out of the gate at the top.

Another thing that tempers my enthusiasm for this deal is that we often see ride share gift cards (more commonly Uber gift cards) go on sale for 10-20% off of face value. I’d take 10x Chase points over 10% off in gift cards (and I’d definitely take it combined with the 15% discount on rides for Sapphire Reserve holders). I’d probably be less enthused about 5% or 5x. When gift cards can be purchased for a greater percentage off, I may be more likely to buy the discounted gift cards and eschew the extra points.

Furthermore, many of the Lyft Pink benefits are pretty wishy-washy. What are “relaxed cancellations” and “surprise offerings”? Are “priority airport pickups” going to get you out of LAX faster than some of the folks we saw in pictures last month? Those things don’t feel meaningful to me without more teeth.

The 15% savings on all car rides is the one benefit that when combined with 10x looks big to me. Getting that much of a discount and 10 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar is what will get me to delete the Uber app from my home screen and just have Lyft. That benefit is only being offered for the first year (whereas the 10x / 5x earning structures are being offered through March 2022). That makes sense — Lyft is betting that after a year they will have you trained to use their service, and I’m not convinced they are wrong. But if we’re going to see the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve increase to accommodate benefits like this, I think I’d have to see this as an annual benefit to entice me to keep the CSR. I personally don’t use rideshare enough for this benefit to move the needle, but some obviously do.

No registration required

For those curious as to how this works, it’s pretty simple: just set your eligible Chase card as your default payment method and you’ll earn at the increased rates through March 2022.

Those with the Sapphire Reserve should get the Lyft Pink membership just as easily according to the Lyft announcement.

To activate the Lyft Pink membership, set your Chase Sapphire Reserve card as the default payment method in the Lyft app (not available for business profiles) by March 2022 and in-app messaging will guide eligible cardmembers through the complimentary enrollment.

I have not yet tried this as the partnership isn’t set to begin until January 12th.

Bottom line

I’m always happy to earn more points. Since we have a Chase Sapphire Reserve in the household, the combination of 15% off on all rides and 10x Ultimate Rewards points means that I will in fact replace the Uber app on our phone home screens with Lyft for the time being (truthfully, the main reason Uber had been the app of choice had been longstanding habit, though Uber is also more widely available overseas in my experience). If I had any other Chase card, I’d stick with SoFi Money for the time being since the SoFi Money debit card offers 20% cash back through 2/18/20 (up to $1K back). Overall, I’m glad to see Chase expanding partnerships, but less enthusiastic about the impending increased annual fee.

You can find the full announcement here and frequently asked questions and terms here.

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Captain Greg
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Captain Greg

I wonder if you can set the default payment to the CSR to get Lyft Pink then go back to using sofi for another month for a total of ~35% off?

Ed. C
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Ed. C

I use Lyft maybe 4 times a year. I’ll take my $100 back, please.

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Sue
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Sue

We took an uber at LAX last Sunday night between Christmas and New Years and it was a great experience and super quick. So things have calmed down there and got organized. However, the employees there direct you to a specific line of cars waiting based on what kind of uber you have or lyft. So, I don’t think the Lyft benefit could help you there since it is set up so that you take the next car waiting in a line and then you give the driver the special code from your phone that they plug into their machine and then they know where they are going and it tells them your name. So how would this benefit help? I haven’t taken Lyft there yet.

dbeach
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dbeach

I personally benefit from this, at least for the duration of the free year of Lyft Pink, but I’m not a fan. I don’t understand the philosophy of offering a temporary benefit. It feels cheap for a supposedly premium card, and I feel that way even more strongly about the Doordash credit (TBF, this version is less annoying than the monthly credits on the Amex Gold, which are so ridiculous I don’t even like thinking about them).

All that said, I just checked and I spent $881 on Lyft in the past 12 months, so the combination of 10x and 15% off (for the first year) not only pays for the increased annual fee, it almost pays for the net fee all by itself. (At only 1.5 cent value for UR points, that’s a savings of $132, plus an extra $72 in UR points compared to the former 3x regime.) And that’s without considering the possibility of shifting some spend from taxis or Uber over to Lyft.

Steve Lewis
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Steve Lewis

Well, my Sapphire Reserve is already my default payment source for LYFT. I assume that I will hear directly from LYFT regarding my LYFT Pink registration, though I have never experienced their “in app messaging” capability. Their Pink site still references the $19.99 per month fee, so I guess we just need to wait (at least until 1/12) to see how this all comes together.

YoniPDX
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YoniPDX

I’m curious is the 15% off the full ride or like many promos up to $6-10 off max and doesn’t apply to tips, fees, etc.

As we mainly ride share to/from airport in the US and normally with DW it interesting to see that they do game the system with almost what I would term “fake” discounts – while my experience is anecdotal – seems like the algo’s give and take away to make the ride price about the same with/out promos.

So the Lyft~DD adds will truly be YMMV –

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[…] coming to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. We now know more about the details of those changes. See this post for more on the Lyft benefits, and this post for more about the DoorDash […]