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Hacking Uber: Earn Points, Cashback, and Credits Every Time You Ride 🚙

To disclaim up front, I have a difficult relationship with Uber. I don’t like how they treat their drivers, women in particular, and their company culture seems… toxic. For the longest time, you couldn’t even tip your driver, which is why I preferred Lyft.

However, I’ve been riding Uber more lately because they make it so easy to stack multiple offers when you ride.

earn points with uber

Oh, Uber. I am “getting there”

And, I’m hopeful they’re slowly but surely turning things around.

With Lyft, you can only earn 3X Delta miles – and 30 JetBlue points on airport trips. Which, meh.

I’d rather earn cashback and Drop points, use travel credits, and get Uber credits for shopping around town. And many times you can stack these deals. You know I love a good stack!

1. Easy win: $1 from Ibotta every time you ride

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Should You Dump Your Car If You Have Premium Card Travel Credits?

It occurred to me I only drive for a handful of reasons:

  • To go to the gym
  • To drop the dog off before I travel
  • Costco runs every ~6 weeks
  • To visit nearby places, like Fort Worth

Most of the time I walk or use Uber/Lyft. Because if I intend to drink, I don’t want to deal with parking (and possibly having to pay for it) or of course driving back unsafely. And I live so close to many of the places I frequent that I can walk.

I realized, surprisingly, there are lots of peeps in Dallas who don’t have cars. And I I was shocked by how extremely walkable certain parts of the city really are.

dump car uber lyft

Lookit all my Lyft credits

I’ve also been using the $325 travel credit from my US Bank Altitude Reserve card for Lyft rides lately (I prefer Lyft for many reasons). Then it hit me that I could subsidize $825 in Uber and Lyft rides thanks to travel credits of 3 of my premium cards. It got me thinking – are those credits enough to consider getting rid of my car?

$825 in Uber and Lyft rides from 3 cards

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Blue Business Plus Amex: New Card for Plastiq Payments?

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I’ve come out of my slough of despair (kinda slash not really) following the news that Citi AT&T Access More cards won’t earn 3X on rent and mortgage payments starting July 22nd, 2017. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve trick stopped working, too – although I’ve heard you can still make payments with it for 1X (AKA it does NOT code as travel).

In the midst of all this, Amex came out with a brand new card: the Blue Business Plus. And it holds some promise for payments with Plastiq. Of course, the numbers aren’t as good as they once were. But you can earn 2X on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year on the card.

Blue Business Plus Amex

Newest card

I got the card last week. And starting next month, it will be my go-to for Plastiq payments. Because I still want the points.

Here’s a look at how it works, by the numbers.

About the Blue Business Plus Amex

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Taking Stock: The 29 Credit Cards I Currently Have – and Why

Time for a credit card inventory. Over the years, my collection of credit cards has grown. I now have 29 credit cards to my name.

(I did have 30, but closed my Citi ThankYou Premier last week. Because the Chase Sapphire Reserve is better for the same 3X categories. And Citi is changing the Prestige and AT&T Access More cards next month – which is causing me to significantly rethink my relationship with them.)

Ah, but a small sample of the 29 cards I currently hold

And, I’m paying annual fees on many of my cards. So I thought I’d put the complete list together to take stock of what I have – and what I’m getting in return. I’ll write a little snippet for each card, but will try to keep it brief. 29 cards is a lot!

Let’s jump right in.

Amex

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Update: My Credit Score Is Recovering After Disputes With All 3 Bureaus

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Well, it’s been nearly a year since a $6 charge from Dollar Shave Club on an Amex card plunged my credit score over 100 points.

At the time, my credit score was 803 – the first time I’d ever gone over 800. I know it doesn’t intrinsically “matter,” because a score over 750 is as good as it gets. But I did have some pride at earning an above-800 score.

So I was pretty horrified when one stupid error brought me down to ~700. All the work I’d done to build my credit was instantly erased. And, Amex was totally clueless, unhelpful, and actually prolonged the repair process by saying they’d corrected it on their end when in actuality they hadn’t done anything.

I dragged my feet on filing a dispute with the 3 major credit bureaus because I knew it would be a slog – and it was. No sugar-coating that ish.

 

credit score recovery

Only 13 points to go before I get to 800 again

But, as of last month, my score is now above 780 across the board!

It’s not over 800 yet – I doubt that will happen any time soon – but I am happy my score is recovering. Here’s how it went down.

The long, long dispute process

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Still Available: Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card, $0 the 1st Year and 1.25 Points per $20K Spent

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I wrote back in November how you can get an Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card with a $0 annual fee the first year. The fee on all personal Amex Platinum Cards has since gone up to $550 – but this deal is surprisingly still kicking.

Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card

$0 the first year and 1.25 points on purchases

Even better, you get 5,000 bonus Amex Membership Rewards points for every $20,000 you spend on the card. You can earn 30,000 extra points this way – so it’s good for up to $120,000 in spending each calendar year. You also still get 5X points on airfare and travel booked through Amex.

Get the Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card while you can

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Don’t Miss Out: Free Museums, One Month for 5X, Hilton Surpass 100K

Happy Wednesday!

Here are some deals still on the go – snag ’em while you can!

Through May 31st (today!)

Hilton Surpass Amex 100K offer

Last call to earn 100,000 Hilton points with the Amex Hilton Surpass. Here’s why I took the bait with this truly best-ever offer. Not into Hilton points? Think again. I estimate this bonus is worth at least $1,000 if you plan carefully.

June 3rd and 4th

Free museums

Free museums if you have a Bank of America debit or credit card. Only good for the cardholder and doesn’t include special exhibits. That said, there’s a participating museum in nearly every state, so check it out if you want some free culture this weekend.

limited time deals

Check out the Denver Zoo this weekend for F-R-E-E

Through June 30th

Get your 5X!

If you have Chase Freedom, get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points and drugstores and supermarkets on up to $1,500 in spend. Can activate retroactively and still get bonus points. Easy categories here.

Activate your 5X – you have a month to max it out

With Discover It, get 5% back at home improvement stores and wholesale clubs on up to $1,500 in spend. Must activate BEFORE you shop. New cardmembers get their cashback matched after the 12th billing cycle, so it’s like getting 10% back. Discover is not accepted at Costco, but you can purchase cash cards online and use them in-store for a nice discount. Boom.

The Boxed deal is back

The Boxed deal might be in your Amex account

I wrote about how to save 50% on merchandise at Boxed with an Amex Offer. Instead of $15 back on $50+, it’s now $25 back on $65+. Still a dang good deal. Even better, you can tweet #AmexBoxed to add it to your synced card even if you weren’t targeted.

2X SPG points

Doctor of Credit has the details. You get 10,000 bonus SPG points for spending $10,000 on your Starwood business Amex through the end of June. So, 20,000 SPG points on $10,000 in spend = 2 SPG points per $1 spent. Great deal if you’re targeted – worth checking.

Bottom line

Get ’em while they’re around. Any other good ones to share? Let me know and I’ll add ’em!

Added My Brother as an Authorized User – His Score Went up 100+ Points in a Month!

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When my little brother (he’s 24) told me he wanted to get a place with his girlfriend – their own place – the first thing I asked was, “How’s your credit?” because I knew they’d check.

authorized user

Last month, his score was 586

He didn’t know. When we checked, his score was a dismal 586. It wasn’t because he had bad credit. But because he had no credit at all. Literally, zero accounts ever in his life.

I think I have 30 credit cards by now (?), a paid-off auto loan, and about to have two mortgages. With regard to my brother, hopefully I’ve helped create a path to his own points and miles journey.

But first things first.

Address matters when you add an authorized user

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Last Chance to Get the Hilton Surpass Amex for 100,000 Points (And Why I Got It)

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Through May 31st, 2017 (this Wednesday), the Hilton Surpass Amex has its best-ever sign-up bonus. Yes, it’s offered 100,000 Hilton points before. But this go-around, you also get a free weekend night certificate after your first cardmember year.

I wrote how 120,000 Hilton points can easily be worth over $700. But throw in the free night cert, and you’re approaching $1,000 in value from a single sign-up bonus.

hilton surpass amex 100,000

I used Hilton points to stay in colorful Colorado next week

Plus you get Hilton Gold elite status with the card which means… free breakfast! (My fave perk lol.)

I was low on Hilton points and am becoming intensely interested in a trip to Mexico City this year. There are lots of lower-category hotels there – and you get the 5th night free on any award stay.

In general, Hilton points go further at low-tier hotels. But it’s all about how you like to use them.

The Hilton Surpass Amex is worth it if you’ve never had it

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Easy Win: Do the Dollar Shave Club Amex Offer and Get Some Free Stuff

So there’s a semi-complicated new Dollar Shave Club Amex Offer that you can approach in a couple of different ways.

Whichever way you wanna slice it, it’s extremely worthwhile because you end up with free stuff. If you have this Amex Offer in your account, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t get in on this.

Dollar Shave Club Amex Offer

Shave wit me

I’ll break it down and help you decide which route you should go, should you be a human who removes hair with a razor or bathes, and have this Amex Offer. Even if you don’t, read on.

Dollar Shave Club Amex Offer

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I’m Over Cashback Cards and Into Starwood Points

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There, I said it.

In 2013, I famously said (typed), “I don’t care about Starpoints.” At the time, my grievances were:

  • 1 point per $1 spent was too low of an earn rate
  • You have to spend so much to earn a meaningful reward
  • The earn rate with other hotel programs is better, so why bother with Starwood?
Starwood Points vs cashback

I like you now and I’ll be sad when you leave

But a lot has changed since then. The merger with Marriott opened a few cool new opportunities, like:

Nothing's fine I'm torn

Nothing’s fine I’m torn

And, I’ve been putting a non-bonused spend on my Amex Starwood card, to the chagrin of my previously beloved Fidelity Visa. (Although I still use the mess out of my Discover it card cuz I want that sweet Dublin!)

In fact, I think I’m…. over cashback cards. For now, at least.

Drinking the Starpoints Kool-Aid

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It’s Back: 35,000 Points With Both Amex Starwood Cards

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Well would ya lookit that. I wasn’t expecting to *ever* see a limited-time offer on the Amex Starwood cards again. But now, you can earn 35,000 Starwood points on the personal and small business cards after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements through April 5th, 2017.

spg amex 35000

It’s back, like a heart attack

Marriott has agreed to leave SPG alone until 2018, but then get ready for a butchering. Realistically, Marriott has no incentive to keep the program as it currently is. But, I’m pleased Amex is giving peeps one more stab at this terrific offer.

I broke the seal with the business version of the card last time this offer came ’round in March 2016. Before it ended, I had both versions.

Little did I know I’d hoard the points like a squirrel or ferret until such a time as I’d use them for a Southwest Companion Pass. The hammer drops on that method on March 31st, 2017. But if you applied like *now* and met the minimum spending in short order before the statement closes, you could probably squeak by.

The huge caveat is the bonus on both cards is once per person, per lifetime (AKA 7 years). But if you’ve never had it… I highly doubt this offer will ever come back.

The short

Highest-ever offer returns. If you’ve never had the card, this is probably your last chance to get it.

The long

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