Uber Visa card from Barclays review

Uber Visa card from Barclays review

Published: November 15, 2017
Ratings Policy
No Annual Fee Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.9
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The Uber Visa card lets you earn a great rewards rate on restaurants and travel purchases without having to pay an annual fee.

Rewards Rate

  • 4 points per dollar on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS
  • 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
  • 2 points per dollar on online purchases, including Uber, online shopping, video and music streaming
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • $50 credit for online subscription services each year you spend $5,000

Sign-up Bonus
$100 if you spend $500 in first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$339

APR
15.99-24.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No limits on how many points you can earn
  • Use points for Uber credits, cash back and gift cards
  • Cash back is valued at 1 cent per point
  • You can apply other promotions on top of your Uber credits

Cons

  • Can’t redeem points for travel or merchandise
  • Can’t transfer points to other accounts
  • You can’t get higher values on your points – all redemption options are worth 1 cent per point
  • 2,500 minimum for cash back and gift card redemptions
  • 5,000 minimum for Uber credit redemptions
  • 50,000-point daily limit for Uber credit and bank account redemptions

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fees, $600 mobile phone insurance, exclusive events and offers, $0 liability

Rewards Rating:
3.5 rating
3.5 rating
3.5 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.5
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

Designed for ease-of-use and instant gratification, the new Uber Visa card’s most compelling feature is not rewards on Uber rides, but rather its unparalleled 4 percent rewards rate on dining out.

Rewards Rate

  • 4 points per dollar on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS
  • 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
  • 2 points per dollar on online purchases, including Uber, online shopping, video and music streaming
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • $50 credit for online subscription services each year you spend $5,000

Sign-up Bonus
$100 if you spend $500 in first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$339

APR
15.99-24.74% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No limits on how many points you can earn
  • Use points for Uber credits, cash back and gift cards
  • Cash back is valued at 1 cent per point
  • You can apply other promotions on top of your Uber credits

Cons

  • Can’t redeem points for travel or merchandise
  • Can’t transfer points to other accounts
  • You can’t get higher values on your points – all redemption options are worth 1 cent per point
  • 2,500 minimum for cash back and gift card redemptions
  • 5,000 minimum for Uber credit redemptions
  • 50,000-point daily limit for Uber credit and bank account redemptions

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fees, $600 mobile phone insurance, exclusive events and offers, $0 liability

According to Uber’s press release, their new Uber Visa card is designed with their “riders in mind.” From the card’s detail page, it does appear that Uber and Barclays have indeed gone the extra mile to tailor a unique list of benefits ideal for a rabble of ride sharers. Cardholders not only earn a 2 percent bonus on Uber purchases, but they earn bonuses on other purchases that really count for an on-the-go audience, including restaurant, travel and online purchases.

And, fitting for a mobile audience that prefers everything on their phones and at their fingertips, Barclays has designed the card to be exceptionally seamless – you can apply for the card through your Uber app and have it activated and earning rewards with few extra keystrokes required.

Rewards for mobile users

The Uber card offers generous points on categories that are likely to appeal to frequent Uber users: You get four points per dollar on restaurant, takeout and bar purchases, three points per dollar on travel purchases –  including airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals – two points per dollar on online purchases – including Uber, online shopping and music streaming – and one point per dollar on everything else.

An unlimited 4 percent rewards rate on restaurant purchases is exceptional – at a value of 1 cent per point, it amounts to the highest amount of cash back on dining purchases for any of the cards we’ve reviewed, period. The card’s 3 percent rewards rate on travel purchases is also unusually high for a card with no annual fee.

The two points dollar that you earn on Uber purchases is less impressive, but here’s another nice twist: The 2 percent category also extends to other types of online purchases, including online shopping with retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. This means that the Uber card is a good go-to card for online shopping, since it is rare to find a card that lets you earn bonus points on online purchases.

When you add all the bonuses together, this amount to a very high rewards rate – especially for a card with no annual fee.

So-so sign-up bonus

The sign-up bonus for the card, on the other hand, is less impressive. You get 10,000 bonus points (worth $100) for spending $500 on the card within the first 90 days. If you’re looking for a card with a large sign-up offer, you should peruse our cash back category. There are several cash back cards with bonuses of $150 and greater. Also, you should check out the Discover it card, which doubles all your rewards in the first year. 

Instant access to rewards

Barclays and Uber have clearly put some thought into the Uber card’s user experience, because they’ve made it very easy to sign up for and use the card. You can apply for the card through the Uber app and start using it to pay for rides and earn rewards the moment you’re approved (a physical card is mailed to you at a later date). Points post to your account within a day, and – once you have enough points – you can redeem them through the app for gift cards, statement credits, deposits into a checking or savings account or for Uber credits, which you can use toward rides and UberEATS orders.

On the downside, there’s a pretty high redemption threshold for Uber credits – you need at least 5,000 points to redeem them. By our estimates, it will take most cardholders two to three months to accumulate enough points for Uber credits. Cash back and gift cards have a much lower 2,500-point redemption threshold, but Uber users probably prefer to use their rewards for Uber services.

Straightforward redemption value

The card offers a value of 1 cent per point for all its redemption options, which is both a benefit for cardholders who want to keep things simple and a drawback for those who want to maximize their rewards value. Your points are always worth 1 cent – no more, no less.

If you are truly interested in playing the rewards card game, you should take a look at a flexible points card. The Chase Preferred, for example, gives a large variety of ways to redeem points, including transfer to several airline frequent flyer programs, to get much higher values than 1 cent per point.

Amazon Prime users take note: $50 annual credit

The card awards you a $50 credit for online services each year that you spend $5,000. The credit mostly applies to movie and music streaming services, such as Pandora and Spotify, as well as Hulu and Netflix.

However, hidden in the fine print is the fact that the credit also applies to Amazon Prime membership. In other words, Amazon Prime users who meet the threshold can use the credit to take 50 percent off their Prime membership each year.

A Few other useful card perks

The Uber Visa card is sparse on other types of benefits. It lacks the usual purchase and travel protections that come with most cards, such as extended warranty and free car rental insurance. However, it has a couple of very noteworthy benefits.

Most notable is that the card doesn’t charge a fee for foreign transactions, which means that you can use the card while traveling abroad without racking up charges. This benefit is usually reserved for premium cards with annual membership fees.

Also, the card offers up to $600 worth of cell phone coverage. If you transfer your monthly phone bill to the card, all of the lines listed on your account are covered for theft and damage, for a maximum of two claims per year and a maximum of $600 per claim.

Why get the Uber Visa card?

  • You are a frequent Uber user.
  • You eat out frequently and want to earn the highest rewards rate possible on your restaurant purchases.
  • You want a rare credit card that lets you earn a 2 percent bonus on your online purchases.

How to use the Uber Visa card:

  • Apply for the card from your Uber app and start using it instantly to make Uber purchases, earn rewards and purchase rides with Uber credits if you’re approved.
  • Use the card for all your restaurant, travel and Uber purchases, since the bonuses on these categories are very high.
  • Spend at least $500 in the first 90 days to earn a $100 statement credit.
  • Spend at least $5000 on the card each year to earn a $50 credit for online subscriptions, including Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Prime.
  • Transfer your phone bill to the card to take advantage of the card’s $600 cell phone coverage.

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