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Rideshares like Uber and Lyft are available just about everywhere these days. While catching a rideshare is fairly easy, they can be expensive. Both Uber and Lyft are known for their dynamic or surge pricing (jacking up the price when the demand for rideshares is high). This isn’t much different than retailers that crank up prices on the hottest toys of the season simply because they don’t have enough for everybody to grab one.
Don’t worry though, just like we help you save money when shopping, we’re here to answer your questions about how to save money on Lyft and Uber, including when’s the best time to get Uber or Lyft cheaper, and where to find Uber and Lyft discounts. There’s even an offer right now where teens can get two free Uber rides, and we’re explaining how you can get it.
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1. Save up to 35% on Lyft and Uber during off-peak hours and seasons.
Let’s get the obvious savings tip out of the way first. Knowing what are the cheapest times for Uber and Lyft can save you up to 35%. However, your savings can vary based on things like your location, ride option, time of day and even the season.
The cheapest times of day to order an Uber or Lyft are between 9 a.m. and noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and after 6 p.m. (except on Fridays). During the weekends the cheapest time to get a Lyft and Uber is before evening when prices tend to surge due to people going out.
In addition to avoiding rush hour requests, if you live near an airport you may find rideshares are more expensive early in the morning due to business people catching flights.
Warmer months bring a higher demand and prices for Uber and Lyft, unless you live in a winter wonderland like Colorado. There you may experience higher prices during the coldest or snowiest months.
We compared how much money you can save by getting a rideshare certain times of the day. The ride options in the morning were limited, which is why we have them in the evening despite having other options available.
|Uber||7 a.m. Wednesday||6:23 p.m. Wednesday||Savings|
|Lyft||7 a.m. Wednesday||6:25 p.m. Wednesday||Savings|
Now, let’s get to those not so obvious savings for Uber and Lyft…
2. Compare Uber & Lyft prices with Ride Guru.
So, is Uber or Lyft cheaper? No need to do the math when you need to know which ride is currently the cheapest. Before you book a rideshare check prices between Uber, Lyft, other rideshare companies and the traditional Taxi service with the Ride Guru website or app.
3. 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. Plus, you’ll see the prices for each, the wait time, and you can share the route with anyone.
So, which is cheaper, Uber or Lyft? When we compared Uber and Lyft prices and wait times to a local airport in Google Maps, the numbers seemed fairly close. While their wait times were the same, Lyft’s average price was cheaper than Uber. Take a look:
UberX: $27.36 (5 – 7 min away)
Comfort: $31.84 (7 min away)
UberXL: $31.56 (10 min away)
Black: $53.90 (14 min away)
Black SUV: $75.73 (14 min away)
Average cost and wait time: $44.08 and 10 minutes
Wait & Save: $22.92 (15 min)
Lyft: $24.94 (12 min)
Lux: $43.47 (7 min)
Lyft XL: $33.10 (8 min)
Lux Black: $57.03 (9 min)
Average cost and wait time: $36.29 and 10 minutes
4. Know exactly what size of car you need when you request a ride through Uber or Lyft.
Don’t overpay for a car that’s too big for what you need (unless you feel like splurging). Whether you’re looking for a cheap standard car or need a vehicle for a bigger group Uber and Lyft both have several options to choose from.
Uber ride options:
Lyft ride options:
5. Save up to $10 on your first ride with Lyft promos.
If you are a first time Lyft user, we found a few codes on Lyft’s promotions page that you can try for a free ride:
- 50% off your first two rides, up to $10 per ride: RIDERDISCOUNT1
- 40% off your first three rides, up to $8 per ride: RIDERDISCOUNT2
- 30% off your first five rides, up to $8 per ride: RIDERDISCOUNT3
Unfortunately, Uber doesn’t have a page with promo codes. You’re free to try one of the many you’ll find online.
Related: Check out our list of free Uber Eats promos.
6. Earn $10 in ride credits when you refer someone to Lyft.
Lyft allows you to refer your friends, and you both benefit from it. When your friend takes their first ride, you’ll be rewarded with $10 in free credits.
When using Lyft, you can refer a passenger and earn $10 in ride credit ($5 off your next two rides) when they take their first ride (they get $10 in ride credit as well).
What about Uber? They got rid of their rider referral program back in 2020.
Related: Check out the top apps that pay you to refer your friends.
7. Earn free airline miles when you link Lyft and Delta SkyMiles accounts.
Delta SkyMiles members can link their account with their Lyft account and earn one mile per $1 spent on Lyft rides. You can also earn two miles per $1 spent on rides to an airport. What’s even better is Delta miles don’t expire, and you can earn unlimited miles. You can also get 50% off (up to $10 per ride) each of your first two rides. Lyft will automatically apply these perks once you link your accounts.
On average, it takes 24-48 hours for your miles to show up.
8. Use Raise to get a 3.5% discounted gift card.
To get a cheaper ride with Uber or Lyft use a discounted gift card from Raise to pay for your rideshare trips. It’s not crazy savings, we’re talking up to 1.5% off a Lyft discount gift card and 3.5% off (that’s an extra 2% savings over Lyft) an Uber gift card. But, it can still save you a few bucks. Remember those prices from earlier? Here’s how much you could save using discounted gift cards.
Uber 3.5% discounted card
UberX: $28.74 ($1.01)
Comfort: $33.64 ($1.18)
UberXL: $32.72 ($1.15)
Black: $55.12 ($1.93)
Black SUV: $76.55 ($2.68)
Lyft 1.5% discounted card
Wait & Save: $22.92 ($0.34)
Lyft: $24.94 ($0.37)
Lux: $43.61 ($0.65)
Lyft XL: $33.16 ($0.50)
Lux Black: $57.21 ($0.86)
Lux Black XL: $76.49 ($1.15)
9. Sign up for Uber One if you spend $140 – $200 on Uber rides and Uber Eats delivery each month.
For those who prefer Uber and regularly order food delivery an Uber One membership ($9.99/month or $99.99/year) may be a good option. Membership offers perks for Uber and Uber Eats, with some Uber riders get 5% off rides, while other members earn 6% back in Uber Cash (which you can use on Uber or Uber Eats). You’ll have to spend about $170 – $200 a month on Uber rides and/or Uber Eats, this membership can pay for itself. Paying annually for Uber One will save you $19.89 over the monthly subscription and lower your monthly spend need to $140 – $170 (depending on whether you get 5% discount or 6% Uber Cash).
Right now, you can save $15 off your first 20+ Uber Eats purchase when you use the promo code KCLEATS156J2M during checkout in the Uber/Uber Eats app.
10. Get Uber One for free until Nov. 14, 2024 with select Capital One cards.
If you have one of the following Capital One cards you don’t have to pay for Uber One ($9.99/month), well at least until Nov. 14, 2024. In addition to getting your Uber One membership paid for (in statement credits) until almost the end of next year, you’ll earn 10% cashback on Uber and Uber Eats when you use your Capital One card to pay for the monthly Uber One plan.
- Capital One Savor
- SavorOne Student
- Quicksilver Student
The deal isn’t quite as sweet for Quicksilver, QuicksilverOne and Quicksilver Secured cardholders. But, you can still get six months of Uber One for free when you use your Capital One card to pay for the monthly membership. You must start your six months before June 14, 2024 (to get your full six months in).
Although you won’t get the 10% cash back, you will earn 5% plus no delivery fees on Uber Eats orders of $15+ from participating restaurants and $30+ from participating grocery stores.
11. Get up to 10X Chase credit card rewards when using Lyft.
When you pay for (eligible) Lyft rides with a Chase credit card you can earn up to 10X Chase Ultimate Reward points or 5% cash back. Here’s the breakdown:
Earn 10X Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- J.P. Morgan Reserve
Earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Ink Business Preferred
- Ink Plus Business
Earn 5% cash back:
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Ink Business Cash
- Ink Business Unlimited
- Ink Business Premier
12. Sign up for Lyft Pink to get 5% off rides and free Grubhub+.
Competing with Uber One is Lyft’s Pink subscription ($9.99/month or $99/year). As a member you can enjoy perks like 5% off Standard Lyft, Preferred (currently a pilot program in select cities), XL and Lux Lyft rides, a free Grubhub+ subscription, and 12 free bike and scooter unlocks (view your city’s web page for availability) per year. Like Uber One, you’ll have to spend $200 for your Lyft Pink membership to pay for itself. You can get a free one-month trial in the Lyft app in the main menu under your profile.
13. Opt for Lyft Pink All Access if you near a city with an ebike program to save at least 25% off your ride.
In addition to the Lyft Pink perks, the $199 a year (breaks down to $16.58/month) Lyft Pink All Access membership includes 10% off Lyft Lux, Lux Black, Lux Black XL, unlimited 45-min classic bike rides, unlimited scooter and ebike unlocks and discounted scooter and ebike rates. Plus, you’ll get three bike or scooter guest passes per year.
We found the discount on ebikes is at least 25% off local rates. For example, in New York the regular rate is $0.26 per min, with Lyft Pink All Access the rate is $0.17. You can find these ebike benefits in the following cities and applicable program/company:
- Chicago, IL (Divvy Bikes)
- Columbus, OH (CoGo)
- Denver, CO
- New York City, NY (Citi Bike)
- Portland, OR (BIKETOWN)
- San Francisco Bay Area, CA (Bay Wheels)
Not ready to spend $200 on this membership? Our next tip will show you how to get it for free.
14. Get free Lyft Pink All Access membership for two years (reg $398) when you pay with a Chase Sapphire Reserve or J.P. Morgan Reserve card.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve or J.P. Morgan Reserve card you can get even more perks like a free membership to Lyft Pink All Access for two years ($199/year). After that, you’ll get 50% off for the third year. That’s a total savings of $497.50! The fourth year, your membership will adjust to the current All Access rate until you cancel. You must activate this deal with your card before 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 31, 2024.
15. 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 (about $10). Here’s what you need to know about Uber and Lyft cancellations:
You may get charged a cancellation fee if you cancel a ride with Lyft:
- More than 30 seconds after a driver accepts your ride.
- When your driver should arrive within 5 minutes (of original estimated arrival time)
- Three or more rides in a 15-minute timeframe
You may get charged a cancellation fee if you cancel a ride with Uber:
- Shared Rides: If you cancel more than two minutes after a driver accepts your request OR your driver cancels after waiting for you at least two minutes at your pickup location.
- UberX Economy Rides: If you cancel more than two minutes after a driver accepts your request OR your driver cancels after waiting for you at least five minutes (10 minutes for Comfort rides) at your pickup location.
- Black or BlackSUV Premium Rides: If you cancel more than five minutes after a driver accepts your request OR your driver cancels after waiting for you at least 15 minutes at your pickup location.
But sometimes the driver takes much longer to arrive than the estimated time, or you have trouble communicating with the driver, and you cancel.
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.
16. Reserve your Uber or Lyft in advance and get free cancellation up to 60 minutes prior to your trip.
If your trip isn’t last minute, reserve your Uber up to 90 days in advance, Lyft up to 30. When you do book ahead you get a better grace period for free cancellations, 60 mins before your trip. Always booking ahead could help you save typical cancellation fees.
17. So, is Uber or Lyft Cheaper?
In the moment, either Uber or Lyft can be cheaper depending on several factors, including location, time of day, etc. Which rideshare is cheaper over the long run depends on things like how often you use the services, whether you have a membership, and if you use Capital One or Chase credit cards. In the end, there’s nothing better than enjoying the convenience of a rideshare while keeping money in your pocket.