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Something seemed rushed about Lyft’s loyalty program launch early last week. In a blog post sharing the news and in subsequent media outreach, the ridesharing service had few details about its program, like how rewards would be earned or which markets would launch first.
Now we know why. Later in the week, Uber launched a loyalty program of its own, flush (at least relative to its competitor) with information about how and when the system would work.
This isn’t to say that either program is a particularly screaming deal. Uber Rewards effectively boils down to a $5 return on $250 of spend, Lyft has revealed nothing and both programs claim vehicle upgrades as one of their prime selling points. Big deal.
If anything, last week’s activity shows how ferocious the battle is for dominance in the ridesharing space and how a two-day lead can be perceived as a competitive advantage. Now, we just need Airbnb to feel the same sense of urgency.
Separately, as the three-month milestone for Starwood and Marriott’s loyalty merger passed this weekend, we wanted to check in with legacy Starwood Preferred Guest members to see how consumer sentiment was stacking up. This week’s story on the plight of those members is well worth the read.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
Skift Stories and More Expert Insight
Capital One Adds Frequent Flyer Mile Transfer Option to Its Credit Cards: One of the more popular features among point-earning credit cards is the ability to transfer balances to a host of airline frequent flyer programs — creating, ostensibly, a virtual bank for points that can be disbursed at any measure. So far, American Express and Chase have been leaders in offering this option through a variety of credit cards. Now, Capital One is getting into the game with 12 airlines.
How’s Marriott’s Massive Loyalty Merger Going? We Asked 5 Starwood Members to Weigh In: Most Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest members enjoyed a seamless integration earlier this year when the two programs merged. For some, however, latent issues are still hampering the experience. We asked five Starwood members about their journeys.
What Lola’s Big Deal Means for Business Travel: Big news this week for keen watchers of the corporate travel sector as Paul English’s Lola has signed a partnership with American Express Global Business Travel to bring the service to more users.
Lyft Will Launch a New Loyalty Program Ahead of Sharing Rivals: On-demand transportation company Lyft is expanding its loyalty program to include all consumers.
When Airlines Auction Premium Seats, Some Passengers Win: Airlines are trying to monetize their best products. Imagine that. More and more, airlines look like a sustainable business. We’ll see if it lasts.
JetBlue CEO Defends Bag Fee Hike as Cost of Doing Business: Higher bag fees might just be the price passengers need to pay for free Wi-Fi and generous legroom.
China Southern Quits SkyTeam Airline Alliance: Asia’s biggest carrier is abandoning the SkyTeam airline alliance. China Southern Airlines Co. will exit the partnership in 2019, nearly two years after selling a minority stake to American Airlines Inc., which is a member of the rival Oneworld group.
Uber Launches Rewards Program for Most Loyal Customers: Uber Technologies Inc. is rolling out a new rewards program starting Wednesday, offering its most loyal users cash back on rides, priority airport pickups, and free phone support.
Regional Airline Flybe Puts Itself Up for Sale: Flybe Group Plc has begun takeover discussions with several parties as the rising cost of oil crimps earnings at Britain’s biggest provider of domestic flights and the company faces increasing financial stress.
Qatar Airways CEO Repeats Threat to Leave Oneworld Airline Alliance: Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker renewed his threat to abandon the Oneworld global alliance, citing a letter he said Australian partner Qantas Airways Ltd. had sent to staff attacking his carrier’s expansion there.
Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.