Uber card “refreshed” (big devaluation)

10

The Uber credit card got “refreshed” today, which is a nice way of saying that they completely slaughtered its value for most readers. The card will keep its cell phone insurance benefit, but new cardholders will now be earning Uber Cash instead of cash back and bonus categories are changing (existing cardholders will get the “refreshed” version in the first half of 2020). While I’ll concede that the changes “make sense” from a marketing standpoint, that’s little consolation to those who burned a 5/24 slot on a card that goes from being excellent for a no-annual-fee card to the circular file for most.

Old earning structure

Here are the old card details for those who previously opened their accounts (again, these cardholders will be switched over to the “new” version in the first half of 2020 and will receive notice of those changes soon):

  • 4% back on dining
  • 3% back on hotels and airfare
  • 2% back on online purchases, including Uber, online shopping, and mobile payment platforms
  • 1% back everywhere else

Note that the above returns are in cash back.

New earning structure

Unlike the cash back earned previously, the “new” benefits offer Uber Cashnot cash back. Uber Cash can be redeemed to your account at your leisure but will automatically be deposited every time you reach $50 in Uber Cash.

Here are the new card details:

Uber Visa Card

FM Mini Review: The refreshed version of this card (as of 10/28/19) no longer earns cash back. Instead, it earns Uber Cash. This card only makes sense for the most die-hard of Uber fans.


Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Visa Platinum or Signature

Base
Travel
Dine
Brand

Earning rate: 5% Uber Cash for Uber spend (including UberEATS) ⚬ 3% Uber Cash for dining, hotels, and airfare ⚬ 1% Uber Cash everywhere else

Big spend bonus: ⚬ Annual $50 subscription credit when you spend $5,000 in a year (good for things like Netflix, HBO NOW, Amazon Prime, etc) — note that this benefit kicks in during the second year if you spend $5K in year 1)

Noteworthy perks: Up to $600 mobile phone insurance against theft or damage when you charge your total monthly bill to the card ($25 deductible) ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

As you can see, the card now offers its leading category bonus on Uber, including Uber Eats. While that kind of makes sense given that it is an Uber credit card, the truth is that you can often buy discounted Uber gift cards for at least 10% off (sometimes more), so I don’t really value this as a bonus category at all.

Dining, which offered a terrific return for a credit card with no annual fee, gets downgraded to 3% back. However, that’s a bigger devaluation than it seems: the new card terms offer rewards as Uber Cash, not cash back. That means your 3% back can only be spent on Uber and UberEATS. Again, you can often buy Uber Gift Cards at a savings of at least 10% off the face value, so you can’t really value the return here at greater than 2.7 cents. That’s a disappointing change.

While the bonus categories here still eclipse the return on many no-annual-fee cards if you really value Uber credit, the cash back enthusiasts who were excited about this card will likely be pretty disappointed by these changes.

Those looking to earn cash back with no annual fee would likely be better off with a 2-card strategy: the Costco Anywhere Visa for 4% back in gas on up to $7K per year and 3% on restaurants and travel) complemented by the Citi Double Cash for an effective 2% back everywhere (that could be transferable to ThankYou points and potentially used for even better value if you so choose in the future).

H/T: One Mile at a Time

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