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Uber and Lyft are convenient, quick and cost-effective.
Here are the best ways to save on a ride home or to the airport. Or wherever.
1. Order a ride through Facebook Messenger.
Bet you didn’t know you could get an Uber or Lyft through Facebook Messenger did you? Just go to your messenger, type in either Uber or Lyft, click on the blue plus sign in the bottom left corner, and click “rides.”
If you’re a new Uber user, you can get your first ride free (up to $20) when you sign up and create an account. And if you’re a new Lyft user, you can get a $30 ride credit.
2. Compare Uber prices with What’s the Fare.
I always find myself wasting time checking prices to see who is cheaper between Uber and the traditional Taxi service.
I stumbled upon What’s the Fare — it’s a site that compares prices for you!
Now before I go out, I always check What’s the Fare first to see which is cheaper before I decide which to use.
3. Send the babysitter home in an Uber.
I’ve done this many times. I promised to give the babysitter a ride home but I was just too exhausted. Uber to the rescue.
I got an Uber to our house, sent our babysitter home, and paid for their ride!
4. Or… order a ride through Google Maps.
It really works. If you don’t have it already, download the Google Maps app (Android and iOS) — then you can find the destination you want to get to, and under the transportation tabs, choose the icon of a guy with a bag and his arm up.
This will allow you to choose an Uber or Lyft. You’ll see the prices for each, the wait time, and you can share the route with anyone.
I tried this out to compare which was cheaper, and for me, prices were really close. Lyft seems cheaper overall, but a longer wait. Take a look:
Wait time: 2 minutes
Wait time: 16 minutes
5. Know exactly what size of car you need when you request a ride through Uber or Lyft.
Uber has a few options to choose from when looking for a ride. Most of the time, I take the uberX which is the standard ride. But there are other times when we have a bigger group and need an uberXL. Check out all their options:
uberX – Individual drivers using a 4-door personal vehicle (2005 and newer) and can take up to four passengers
uberXL – Larger vehicles, can accommodate up to six passengers
uberSELECT – A luxury sedan that can fit up to four at affordable prices
uberBLACK – Limo or livery companies driving a luxury sedan or SUV with professional drivers
uberSUV – A luxury SUV that can hold up to six passengers
uberPOOL – This is a shared ride that can seat up to four passengers
uberWAV – Wheelchair accessible vehicles
Lyft has almost as many options:
Lyft – Sedan that fits up to four passengers
Lyft Line – This is a shared ride that can fit up to four passengers
Lyft Plus – Supersized ride that can fit up to six passengers
Lyft Premier – High-end luxury ride that can fit up to four passengers
Lyft Lux – Ultimate luxury ride with professional driver that can sit up to four passengers
Lyft Lux SUV – Luxury ride with professional driver and sits up to six passengers
6. Find out your Uber rating.
After every ride, you have the option to rate the driver — but did you know that they rate you too? It can potentially affect whether or not a driver chooses you in the future.
To find your rating through Uber, click the three lines in the top left-hand corner. Right under your name, you’ll see your rating. It’s based on a 5-star system. You have to take at least five trips before you’ll see a rating displayed.
For Lyft, you’ll be rated by drivers, but you cannot see what that is… yet. Lyft is in a testing phase where they’re notifying riders when they get a 5-star rating after a ride.
7. But your rating doesn’t really matter… like at all.
Having a 5-star rating doesn’t ensure better service or faster pickup times.
Most of the time, drivers don’t even look at your rating before accepting you as a passenger. A ride equals money, and they have a short time to accept the ride before it gets passed to the next closest driver.
How you rate the drivers, on the other hand, does matter, and if the driver rating approaches the minimum for their specific area, they will start receiving tips on how to improve. If the average continues to decline after that, their account may be deactivated.
8. Save $20.00 on your first ride.
If you are a first time Uber or Lyft user, there are endless promo codes out there to get your first ride completely free.
Try Uber out for the first time, and get a free ride with these codes:
- First ride free (up to $15.00): HITTHEROAD
If you’ve never used Lyft before, try these codes to get a free ride:
- $20.00 credit ($2.00 credit per ride for ten rides 2OLYFTPROMO)
- $10.00 credit ($5.00 credit per ride for two rides NEWUSER10)
- $9.00 credit ($3.00 credit per ride for three rides LYFTCOUPON9)
9. Earn free rides when you refer all your friends.
Both Uber and Lyft allow you to refer your friends, and you both benefit from it. When your friend takes their first ride, you’ll be rewarded with free credits — which equal free rides for you!
When using Uber, every time a new user signs up with your personalized invite code, they’ll get $5.00 off each of their first four rides, and you’ll get your next ride free (up to $10.00).
When using Lyft, you can refer a passenger and earn $20.00 in ride credit when they take their first ride (they get $5.00 off next four rides).
RELATED: Top 9 Apps That Pay You to Refer Your Friends
10. Earn free airline miles when you link Lyft and Delta SkyMiles accounts.
You can actually link your SkyMiles and Lyft accounts and earn miles on every Lyft ride. Earn one mile per $1.00 spent on Lyft rides, and through November 1, 2017, you can earn three miles per $1.00 spent on airport rides. What’s even better is that the Delta miles you earn won’t expire, and you can earn unlimited miles.
Before you can link your SkyMiles and Lyft accounts, you’ll need to sign up for Delta SkyMiles if you haven’t already. After that, just link your accounts.
You can easily keep track of all your Delta miles. On average, it takes 24-48 hours for your miles to show up.
11. Get unique discounts and travel perks through JetBlue.
By linking your JetBlue and Lyft accounts, you can earn TrueBlue loyalty points on any Lyft ride to and from any airport. You can earn up to 1,200 points a year.
Lyft is now integrated into the JetBlue app, so there’s no need to switch between apps when you’re on the go. If you’re new to using Lyft through JetBlue, you’ll receive an automatic $15 ride credit or the option of 750 TrueBlue points. You will also have access to discounts through in-flight and digital promotions.
12. You get a 2-minute grace period before you start getting charged.
We’ve all been there. You order your ride, they show up, and as you’re walking out of the house, you remember you didn’t take the dog out and need to run back in.
Luckily, you have two minutes free when Uber arrives. After that, you’ll get charged a small amount depending on your area.
13. Let Alexa order your next Lyft ride for you.
Say “Alexa, ask Lyft to call a ride” to request Lyft rides. Ask for estimated time of arrival and more.
Check out all the commands Alexa can do through Lyft:
- “Alexa, ask Lyft to call a ride” — Request an original Lyft to your home
- “Alexa, ask Lyft to call a line to work”— Request a Lyft Line from home to work
- “Alexa, ask Lyft where my ride is” — Get your ride ETA
- “Alexa, ask Lyft how far the nearest Plus is” — See how far the nearest Lyft Plus is
- “Alexa, ask Lyft how long a Line to work will take” — See how long a Lyft Line from home to work will take
- “Alexa, ask Lyft how much a ride to work will cost” — See how much a Lyft ride from home to work will cost
- “Alexa, ask Lyft if there is Prime Time” — Check if there’s currently Prime Time
- “Alexa, tell Lyft my driver was great” — Rate your driver 5 stars
- “Alexa, ask Lyft to tip my driver 3 dollars” — Tips your driver $3
You can do the same for Uber, although Lyft definitely has more commands. Through Uber you can ask:
- “Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride.”
- “Alexa, ask Uber to request an UberX.”
- “Alexa, ask Uber where’s my ride?” — Get your ride ETA
RELATED: 11 Simple Alexa Hacks for Moms
14. You can schedule rides 7-30 days in advance.
With Lyft you can schedule a ride to pick you up at a certain location at a certain time, and you can schedule that 7 days in advance.
I love this feature for when I need a ride from an airport I’ve flown into. Uber offers the same feature, but you can schedule up to 30 days in advance!
Scheduled rides are available at all times of the day.
15. Use UberPool to share a ride (and share the cost).
If you live in a metropolitan area, you may take public transportation or carpool to work.
With UberPOOL (not available in every city) you can match with a rider who is going in the same direction you are so you can share your ride and your cost.
Picking other riders up might add a couple minutes to your overall ride time, but you’ll always know your estimated time of arrival to your destination.
You can find the same feature for Lyft called Lyft Line.
16. Create an event to make rides available for guests.
Maybe you’re planning a wedding, and it’s not convenient for all guests to drive to, or the venue has limited parking.
You can create an event through Lyft or Uber, set your location, set the time, have a special credit available for your guests, and set a budget.
17. Use Raise to get a 5% discounted gift card.
Through Raise, you can get a Lyft gift card up to 5% off and an Uber gift card for up to 2% off.
18. Get Starwood points by using Uber.
If you’re a Starwood Preferred Guest credit card holder, you can link your account with your Uber account to get free Starwood points every time you take an Uber, as long as you stay in a Starwood hotel once every year.
No need to pay with your Starwood card.
19. Split your fare on Uber or Lyft.
I use this feature all the time, and it’s seriously so convenient to split rides with friends.
On both apps, you can split the cost of the ride with as many people that rode with you.
Once you’ve requested a ride, click the arrow next to the driver’s information, and select “split fare.” Choose the friend you want to split the trip with and then hit send. You’ll both be billed for half the cost of the trip.
20. Share your ETA with anyone through Uber and Lyft.
The “Share ETA” shows exactly where your loved one is, when they will get to their destination, and that they got home safely.
21. Create a family profile.
You have the option to set up a “family profile” through Uber, which lets you add up to 10 individuals to use your payment info. This is great for when you can’t make it to the airport to pick up someone like you planned to. Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure you have the latest version of the app
- Go to the menu and choose settings
- Scroll down to “Add a Family Profile,” and select the people you would like to add
- As soon as the Family Profile rider accepts the invitation, they can begin requesting rides from their own phone using the Family Profile as their payment method
- The cost of the trip will automatically be billed to the Family Profile, and the organizer will receive a receipt for every ride
22. Use Lyft and get a taco-themed car and a free Doritos Locos Taco on the way to your destination.
Taco Bell and Lyft have teamed up to roll out in 2018 a “taco mode.”
To use the “taco mode” you select just that in your destination options, and your driver will stop at the nearest location on the way to your final destination.
Or ask your driver to take you through a drive-thru on your way home.
RELATED: Your Month-to-Month Guide to Getting Free Food at Restaurants
23. Become an ambassador for Lyft and get $10 per passenger referral.
If you become a Lyft ambassador, you can earn $10 per passenger referral, up to $750.00 for each driver referral, opportunities to work events and earn an hourly wage, cash bonuses, marketing materials, and swag.
To sign up, go to their website and log in with your phone number. You’ll need to verify your account, and then you can fill out the Ambassador Application with your name, email address, phone number, city and university (if you are attending one).
24. Check for promotions — like $5 off your next ride — on social media.
Occasionally, Lyft and Uber will run promotions with a brand where you can get a few bucks off your next ride.
Since most promotions are for new customers, sometimes you’ll get lucky enough to see a promo that applies to everyone.
Uber teamed up with Lay’s Potato Chips not too long ago where you could get $5 off your next ride.
During the Super Bowl last year, Uber, Tostitos and MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) teamed up to give any football fan $10 off their Uber ride on Sunday.
25. Always dispute cancellation fees, because Uber and Lyft might waive them.
You have a short window of time to cancel your request before Uber and Lyft charge a cancellation fee. Normally, I can cancel before there are any charges.
But sometimes the driver takes much longer to arrive than the estimated time, or you have trouble communicating with the driver, and you cancel.
If that happens, head to the “Help” section of the Uber app and dispute the fee. Uber will almost always waive it.
With Lyft, if you think you were wrongly charged, use the “Ride History” tab, and then tap “Get Help.” You can explain the problem, and they will review.
26. Use an app like Surge to avoid spikes in prices.
If you’re out late on a Friday or Saturday night, prices will be significantly higher.
With Surge, you can check to see where the prices are higher, and you can walk a couple blocks to avoid a higher price, which in turn saves you some serious cash.