Turns out that Uber has a loyalty program for some of its regular customers, but only in select cities. Despite being around a few years, it has gone mostly unnoticed aside from errant tweets and personal blogs, because the company never officially announced it.
Individual Uber market managers decide whether or not to introduce it to their area. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago aren’t on that list, which perhaps explains why no tech blogs have written about the product. New York City, Washington D.C., and Denver are some of the cities that do offer a VIP feature. Since it’s a local initiative, Uber didn’t have a readily available list of all the VIP markets.
Below is an example of the email users receive when a market launches. Hat tip to my Twitter follower Tom Maxwell for noticing Uber just rolled it out in Denver.
Here’s how it works. If you’re in one of these cities and you take more than 100 Uber rides, you’ll be upgraded to VIP. You’ll see a “VIP” option in your Uber app alongside UberBlack, UberX, UberTaxi and the other products. If you request a VIP car, you’ll only be matched with drivers with a 4.8 rating or above and “high quality cars only.”
There’s only one downside: You pay an UberBlack fee when you request a VIP ride. That might not bother regular UberBlack passengers, but for those who stick with the cheaper UberX option, VIP might not feel so special.
It’s a feature that harkens back to Uber’s earlier days, when the brand was all about being a baller. It rewards Uber’s most loyal customers by making them feel distinguished, and it doesn’t cost Uber anything. If people actually use it, it would generate Uber even more money since it’s the black car rate.
I’m sure there’s a certain class of people who are happy to pay for white gloved treatment and that “very important” caché .