Visa and Uber Dole Out Free Rides in Rewards Push

Visa Markets the Effort With Video Starring Actress Kaley Cuoco

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Visa aims to drive more retail loyalty through a new initiative with ride-hailing company Uber. The program, Uber Local Offers, allows consumers to earn points toward a discounted Uber ride when they use their Visa cards at select merchants. Riders earn one point for each $1 spent at an enrolled merchant—100 points lead to a $10 Uber discount.

"It's a way to effectively reward cardholders and loyal Uber riders," explained Terry Angelos, VP of offers and loyalty at Foster City, Calif.-based Visa. "Normally with a reward or redemption program, you have to have a coupon code or a QR code," he added, noting that this partnership simplifies the process and also helps build repeat customers for the hundreds of local merchants, including Barcito, Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ and Peet's Coffee, who have signed on. Since the program is performance-based, stores pay only when a customer buys something.

Rolling out in San Francisco and Los Angeles this week, the initiative follows several pilot programs Visa developed with Uber in recent months. The payments company developed a similar rewards program with Whole Foods earlier this year, for example, and created an Olympic-themed ride share during the games in early August.

To market the effort, Visa, which spent $61.9 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Ad Age's Datacenter, created a video with actress Kaley Cuoco. In the ad, Ms. Cuoco explains the program to diners and tries to rack up as many points as she can by buying squash blossoms and pies.

Visa worked with IMG and Haven Entertainment on the clip, which will air on social media.

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