NEW YORK (AP) — Uber is partnering with hotel chain Starwood to give riders a bit more incentive to choose the ride-hailing service over a taxi.
Uber passengers can now earn one Starwood rewards point for each dollar they spend on a ride in a car found through the San Francisco-based company's mobile app. Guests spending the night at one of Starwood's 1,200 hotels will earn two to four points per dollar spent, depending on their level of status with Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood. Points can't be earned until the Uber passenger spends at least one night during the calendar year at a Starwood hotel.
Free hotel nights start at 3,000 points for the lowest tier of hotels, like the Four Points by Sheraton Tucson Airport in Arizona, and can be as high as 35,000 points a night for properties like the St. Regis Princeville Resort in Hawaii.
This is the first global deal where ground transportation passengers can earn hotel points for trips.
This potentially helps Uber in big cities such as New York, San Paulo, Brazil and Bangalore, India where it's going head to head with established taxi companies and car services.
Some airport car services do offer passengers airline miles for their trips, but those programs are open to a number of airlines. This new Uber partnership is exclusive to Starwood. Neither company would disclose the terms of the deal.
The hotel company, known for its Sheraton, Westin and W brands, already has similar partnerships with Delta Air Lines and Emirate Airline.
"Our guests get to us in many different ways," says Mark Vondrasek, Starwood's senior vice president of loyalty and partnership marketing. Through these partnerships, "we're trying to get members to concentrate their stays with us."
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.