IHG Hotels, which includes Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and related brands, announced a new partnership with Uber today.
That means Starwood, Hilton, and IHG all have Uber partnerships. But only Starwood’s is actually good. Although IHG has an interesting first-use bonus for Uber.
With Starwood’s tie-in you actually earn Starpoints for riding Uber.
- All members earn at least 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on Uber.
- If you’re staying with Starwood when you Uber you’ll earn based on your program tier: 2 points for general members, 3 for Golds and Platinums, 4 for 75 night Platinums and above.
Unlike some of the other partnerships, this one benefits all Starwood members and not just elites (although only after your first Starwood stay for the year).
And since this is based on linking accounts, and independent of payment method, this points-earning will be stackable with credit card earning (including category bonuses). That means a 75 night Platinum, staying at a Starwood property, could earn 4 Starpoints and two Chase points per dollar spent on Uber.
Three months ago Uber and Hilton launched a partnership but that was pretty weak sauce:
- Ride Reminders: Hilton will remind you to use Uber when you’ve told it in advance you’re going to need to do so. Of course the whole idea of Uber is on-demand, you don’t even need to schedule it. And when you need Uber do you really need a reminder? You just hit a button.
- Local scene:: The Hilton app will tell you what venues are most frequented by Uber riders, to give you an idea of things to do.
So what of IHG’s partnership?
- If you select Uber from the IHG App, your hotel’s address will be pre-populated. So you don’t have to enter the name of your hotel, or rely on your phone to accurately detect it.
- In early 2016 they’re going to offer ‘Ride Reminders’ like Hilton does. It’s a feature
so rich it’ll be worth waiting forthat adds almost no conceivable value.
- First time rider bonus: Instead of a standard $20 off first ride (which we’ve seen as high as $30), new Uber riders will receive $20 off their first ride and a digital voucher code from Uber via email to deposit 2,000 IHG Rewards Club points into their IHG Rewards Club account. I value that at ~ $12.
They have an interesting first-use bonus for Uber, though of course fewer and fewer people have never used Uber. Otherwise the partnership adds little of value. And it certainly fails to match what Starwood has done offering up to 10,000 points a year for riding Uber.
- IHG Rewards Club has an interesting first-use bonus
- Starwood offers the rewards on an ongoing basis
- Hilton offers access to potentially interesting data
It amazes me that Starwood didn’t get category exclusivity as the only chain partnering with Uber, but they might as well have because only their partnership is useful in an ongoing way. We can only hope it survives the Marriott merger.
For more on what Uber is all about, see:
- Why Taxis Suck and What You Can Do About It
- Uber’s New Plus Option Helps Explain Their Business Model and Where the Company is Going
- Uber’s Surge Pricing is Great Here’s Why You Should Love It