You can now earn Qantas Points for every Uber trip, but there’s a catch
Uber Rewards will convert to Qantas Points, but earn rates for trips are being cut.
Previously, you could only earn Qantas Points when booking an Uber trip to or from the airport in major Australian cities. How much you earned depended on your Frequent Flyer status. You couldn't earn points when using Uber at any other time.
That basic scheme for earning on airport trips remains in place, but now you'll also have the option of converting points from Uber's Uber Rewards points currency into Qantas Frequent Flyer points. Uber Rewards launches officially in Australia in early 2020.
You can earn Uber Rewards from Uber rideshare services both in Australia and internationally, as well as Uber Eats food deliveries. Each 750 Uber Rewards is worth 200 Qantas Points (and you can only convert in blocks of 750). So in effect, you can earn Qantas Points on every trip you take, not just airport runs. And on airport runs, you can double dip, scoring both Uber Rewards and the bonus points, Qantas has confirmed to Points Finder.
That's the good news. The bad news is that Qantas is flattening the existing earn rates on Uber trips to and from Australian airports from 13 December 2019.
Now, every trip to an eligible airport will earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent with Uber, regardless of your tier. Previously, Silver passengers got 2 Qantas Points per $1, while Gold, Platinum and Platinum One passengers scored 3 Qantas Points per $1.
A second annoying catch is you can only start converting Uber Rewards points to Qantas Points once you've reached Uber Rewards Gold (or higher) status. That requires earning 1,200 Uber Rewards, which equates to $600 of regular Uber X travel, $300 on Uber Premium or $1,200 on Uber Eats.
The Uber X goal is probably achievable, but equally not something you'll hit in a short period of time unless you have a tragic Uber habit. As well, you only hold that status for 6 months, unless you spend enough on Uber in the meantime to jump to the next tier.
If you're taking an Uber anyway, the option of some points is better than none. But the cut to the earn rates for higher tiers is going to lead to some complaints, I predict.
Qantas has done a lot of tweaking to its Frequent Flyer program this year, with a massive mid-year update that made Business and First redemptions more expensive. It's also planning to introduce a Points Club to reward members who earn lots of points from non-flight activities.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.