The partnership between Uber and Starwood was one of the best ways to earn SPG points on a day to day basis. When the partnership started, you could earn at least about 10,000 Starpoints per annum just for riding with Uber.
This year, however, saw a change of plan. Uber and Starwood decided to decrease the number of points to be earned on your rides. So it became:
- 1 SPG Point for 2 USD spent on Uber on an ongoing basis.
- 2 SPG Points for 1 USD spent on Uber when staying at a Starwood hotel.
Of course, this was a great way to earn points and helped me earn quite some points in the last year.
Uber & Starwood are discontinuing their partnership in December 2017
Overnight, Starwood has announced that their partnership with Uber would be discontinued as of December 17, 2017.
There is no reason being stated, but of course, there are many ways to look at it.
- Starwood has been going through technical issues for a while on their platform. The sweeps happen far lesser than they used to earlier. But I don’t think that is the top issue.
- Uber has been cutting their marketing spends as their scale increases. Come to think of it, they used to offer INR 600 as a ride referral in 2013 when they launched, and now, only INR 25. Also, drivers are getting much lesser incentives as they draw to scale. It could really be Uber moving towards profit and hence reducing some spending.
- It could be a part of 180 days of change at Uber which the company is underway now.
Of course, these are some guesses. As this partnership withdraws, Uber is focussing on its own co-brand card in the USA. But India being their second biggest market is not getting any love at the moment. We have to see what they do for India at the moment.
Ultimately, I feel cheated that this partnership lived so short, I could file it under a transactional partnership rather than a real one. And while so far I’d have not bothered looking out of Uber much, in spite of the fact that I’d have to pay higher sometimes and then rant with Uber on Twitter to get it solved, now it is an open market again and Ola has higher stakes in India than Uber at the moment.
What do you make of the Uber SPG partnership coming off?