Uber VIP is an American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders-only program that offers benefits that regular Uber riders don’t have. It has similar benefits to Uber Diamond like high-rated drivers and high-quality vehicles but it’s not quite the same.
In this article, I will go into details about the Uber VIP benefits like better drivers, better vehicles, and how to be Uber VIP. Then I will compare Uber VIP to Uber Diamond and also cover some FAQs about Uber VIP.
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What is Uber VIP?
Uber VIP is an elite-like program where riders can take advantage of highly-rated drivers and receive superior service and/or better vehicles.
Started in 2015, Uber introduced a frequent rider program called Uber VIP in select cities for highly rated riders and drivers. Yet, Uber VIP for the general public was discontinued back in January 2019 and is now only given to American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders as a benefit. Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders are automatically made Uber VIP when they add their card into the Uber app.
You can read more detail below.
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How to be an Uber VIP rider
It’s pretty simple to become an Uber VIP rider. All you need is an American Express Platinum or Centurion card.
Just add your card to the Uber application. Once added you receive Uber VIP benefits whenever you select Uber VIP in select cities.
How to link your Amex Platinum or Centurion card to Uber
To receive Uber VIP benefits and other Amex Platinum and Centurion card benefits, you need to add your card as a payment method on Uber. Here’s how you can do this.
When opening your app, you will want to go directly to the payment page.
From the payment page, you will see the cards you have added and saved on your Uber account. You will also see other sections like ride profiles, credits, promotions, and vouchers.
When you have added your Amex Platinum or Centurion card, you will see under credits that you will receive an “Amex Benefit.” Amex benefits that come with the Platinum and Centurion cards are $15 a month credits ($35 in December) and Uber VIP.
When you see Amex Benefit in your account payment page, you will be able to use Uber VIP benefits in select cities within the USA. (Uber credit is available anywhere in the USA and can be used for UberEats.)
Amex Platinum Card
The American Express Platinum Card goes a long way in the name of benefits. You can access the Amex Global Lounge Collection, and get other perks like hotel elite status, an incidental airfare credit, and Uber and Uber Eats credits.
The American Express Platinum Card has one of the most valuable welcome bonuses out of any travel credit card. The standard offer is 60,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first three months. By comparison, its competitor, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, only offers a bonus of 50,000 points after hitting the minimum spend. If you value Membership Rewards at 2 cents per point (a little on the higher side), that’s $1,200 worth of value!
What are Uber VIP benefits?
Uber VIP doesn’t offer much in terms of benefits, but Uber VIP does provide a little more quality control when you have selected an Uber VIP ride. Here’s what you can expect with Uber VIP.
- VIP Drivers only (drivers with a 4.8 rating or above)
- High-quality Vehicles
- Exclusive giveaways, special discounts for local attractions, and advanced notice of upcoming Uber-related promotions
- Note: Uber VIP bookings are the same price as non-Uber VIP bookings
To the casual Uber rider, these benefits might actually be worth something. Higher ratings and slightly better vehicles can make a ride in an UberX or Uber Black far better.
The downside of Uber VIP is the fact that it’s only available in Uber VIP selected cities. (You learn about Uber VIP cities down below.)
For me, the benefits are worth it in Uber VIP cities. I look at Uber VIP as giving the rider slightly more confidence in the driver he or she will be matched with. It could mean a driver that actually helps with your luggage versus a driver that doesn’t flinch as you struggle to get your luggage into the car. (We all have been there once in our life.)
Does Uber VIP guarantee Uber Black service in an UberX ride? No, but it could mean Uber Select service in an UberX ride. Uber Black VIP could also mean slightly better service and better vehicles that are somewhat more luxurious, making it similar to a limousine service.
How to use Uber VIP
Using Uber VIP is as easy as selecting any Uber option from the app.
Once you have set your destination and pickup point in an Uber VIP city, you will see UberX VIP and Uber Black VIP. Notice how both are the same price as non-Uber VIP options.
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Uber VIP versus Uber Diamond
This might be a slightly unfair comparison, but Uber Diamond is better than Uber VIP.
Uber Diamond is part of Uber Rewards and requires the user to ride enough to obtain Uber Diamond status. Uber Diamond comes with Uber VIP benefits, but it isn’t limited to select cities. Uber Diamond or any other tier is suitable for any city that Uber serves.
Uber Diamond comes with complimentary upgrades when selecting UberX, highly rated drivers, premium support, price protection on two favorite routes, priority pickups at airports, flexible cancellations, and three free deliveries with Uber Eats. The only benefit that is similar to Uber VIP is highly-rated drivers.
So, in this case, Uber Diamond benefits outpace Uber VIP benefits.
That all comes with a cost. Uber Diamond requires the rider to gain 7,500 points every six months to keep Uber Diamond. For Uber warriors that rely on Uber as their only mode of transportation, then Uber Diamond isn’t hard to obtain.
However, for casual Uber riders, it will be much harder to obtain Uber Diamond status. So, Uber VIP does come out on top for easy to gain benefits as all you need is an Amex Platinum or Centurion card.
The plus side about Uber VIP and Uber Rewards is the fact that you can double-dip on your benefits from both programs. So, any tier of Uber Rewards will be able to receive Uber VIP benefits and Uber Rewards benefits at the same time.
Uber VIP locations
Uber doesn’t publish a list of Uber VIP locations. From my knowledge of using Uber VIP across the country and what we pulled from sources like Uber press releases, Uber VIP is available in:
- New York, New York
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Denver, Colorado
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Dallas, Texas
- Washington D.C.
Unfortunately, Uber isn’t prioritizing the expansion of the Uber VIP program to other cities or countries. While Uber makes the claim that will expand to other markets, Uber VIP hasn’t been introduced into any new markets that we are aware of. Maybe that will change later this year or next year, but Uber hasn’t said much about the Uber VIP program recently.
In fact, Uber is promoting Uber Rewards on their Uber VIP FAQ page and making it more clear that Uber VIP isn’t their priority.
Uber VIP FAQ
Yes! You can use Uber VIP and Uber Rewards on the same ride using your benefits and earning points together. It’s basically double-dipping your benefits.
The only requirement for an Uber VIP rider is holding and linking your American Express Platinum or Centurion card to your Uber account. Once linked, you have Uber VIP available in select cities in the USA.
No, Uber VIP will be the same price as non-VIP rides.
No, once you have added your Amex Platinum or Centurion card to your Uber account as a payment method, you are good to go, and you’re able to use any card to pay for your Uber rides.
Uber VIP might be a niche benefit of Amex Uber benefits, but it does serve its purpose to filter out drivers that have lower ratings. So, next time you are using Uber, check if Uber VIP is an option as it might provide a more consistent experience.
This article was originally published by Steve Smith.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.