Ok, so, here is a thing that happened in the last couple of days: Barclay annouced a new Uber-branded Visa credit card, called, creatively, the Uber Visa Card. Who the fuck cares, you ask? I don’t, really, because it’s a cash back card rather than a transferable travel points card, but it’s still kind of interesting, even if you never ride Uber. And why would you? The fuckers used to track you for five minutes after you get out of the car. They know what kind of massage you like to get.
Before I engage in a thoughtful bit of analysis, you know what? Fuck Uber. Not only because good ol’ CEO TK was a raging dickbag, and 2 rapes per month was permissible according the company handbook, and that they have no problems sharing your visit to the (fill in the blank) and chuckling about it with their buds, and they don’t treat the drivers fairly or whatever, and they subvert law enforcement, and la di da. The thing that really grinds my gears was that they tracked you for five minutes after you got out of the car. I know Apple/Facebook/Google/Amazon/Microsoft know everything about you, but is nothing sacred? Can’t you make your heroin pickup in privacy?
Anyway, it’s all water under the bridge now, right? TK’s filed for unemployment and new leadership and better driver treatment and blah blah blah. Gotta move on. But I got used to hating Uber, and when you’ve decided to be a decent person in the world, it costs you something. To survive, you need to have harmless pockets of irrational hatred. So I still like hating Uber. It doesn’t hurt anyone. I first use taxis, Lyft, or Via. I use Uber when they’re obviously cheaper or have an obviously shorter wait. One time I got from LAX to Santa Barbara for $99 on Uber. Can’t argue with that. And, I’ll give them credit: they had a pretty fucking good idea that needed to happen because taxis in cities other than the one in which I live are ghastly and useless. Still. Fuck Uber.
Anyway, here’s what’s interesting about the Uber Visa Card: it’s got almost nothing to do with Uber. Sure, you can use its points towards Uber rides, but at the same rate you can convert to green cash, so why not do that? You barely even get anything special by using it with Uber.
I’m gonna compare the Uber card to the Citi Double Cash, which has no annual fee, no bonus, and 2% cash back on everything, because it’s the closest card to compare. The Uber Visa has no annual fee, and gives you $100 for signing up. Not bad. Here’s where it gets good: It gets 4% on restaurants (which is pretty stunning), 3% on airfare and hotels, 2% on online shopping including streaming services, and 1% on everything else. If you eat out all the time or fly a lot, you might even come out ahead of the Double Cash. But fuck it, they both don’t cost you anything, so you could just use the Double Cash for everything that isn’t dining, airfare, or hotels, and you’ll end up with 2%-4% cash back for all your expenses. Since you’re pretty happy to get 3%-5% for your spending when you get a points/miles ticket…it’s pretty compelling for those who like to keep it simple.
(But for expensive tickets it’s another story. If an international biz class round trip ticket is $7,000, and I can have it for 110,000 points, that’s 9.5%-19% if earned the points at 1.5 to 3 per dollar spent. Same story if I need a last minute domestic economy ticket that’s $1,200 round trip, or 25,000 points — 7%-14%. That’s why I’m still collecting transferable points rather than cash back.)
The Uber card has a couple of unusual treats that the Double Cash doesn’t have — it has no foreign exchange fee, it offers $50 credit per year towards streaming services (if you spend $5,000 on it during the previous calendar year), and it offers $600 insurance towards phone theft or damage (in the year following the calendar year that you first pay your cell phone bill with the card). Bet it’s fun and productive filing that claim, though. There’s even rumors that there will be point transfers to airlines, but I’ll believe that when I see it.
Anyway, that’s that. Interesting card. I’ll stick with what I got, but anyone doing cash back ought to take a look at it. I mean, the best you used to be able to do on dining was 3.5%, and that required a $95 annual fee and $100,000 in assets with Bank of America. Uber just drove over that.
By the way, I have no idea whether to say Barclay or Barclays or Barclay’s or Barclaycard in any given moment. I’ve standardized on Barclay. It’s not my fault they have shitty messaging. Fuck them, too, while we’re at it. But this card looks pretty solid if you want a cash-backer.