While Uber is busy selling its operations in China for billions and billions of dollars, its main rival here in the U.S. is taking care of something a little more critical: unveiling pink gift cards.
Lyft today announced that you can now purchase gift cards redeemable in the company’s ridesharing app at participating Starbucks stores. The gift cards will be made available in Lyft’s 20 biggest markets.
The gift cards, valued at $20, can for now only be purchased at Starbucks stores and can only be redeemed in the Lyft app. Once added to the app, the money works like Lyft credits, automatically applying to ride fares. There’s no limit to the number of gift cards that can be added and, just like Lyft credits, they can’t be used to pay tips.
To promote the new offering, Starbucks is also giving out a $5 Starbucks gift card to every customer who purchases one of the Lyft gift cards.
This isn’t the first partnership between Lyft and the world’s most ubiquitous coffee chain. Last summer, Starbucks kicked off a multi-year deal giving Lyft drivers the option to become members in the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program. Both drivers and riders would also be able to earn "loyalty Stars" that can be redeemed at Starbucks locations.
It looks like this isn’t the end of their partnership either, according to the Lyft blog:
“Last year when we announced our collaboration with Starbucks, we were excited about all the ways we could bring together our two vibrant communities through great experiences. We’ve still got some fun surprises brewing for the future, but we’re happy for these gift cards to make their debut.”
In more recent partnership news, Lyft doubled down on its partnership with rental car company Hertz, enabling drivers to rent vehicles from Hertz at dedicated off-airport locations. The program expanded the offering from Las Vegas and Denver to Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a national rollout in the works. Unlike the Starbucks deal, the partnership with Hertz wasn’t exclusive to Lyft; Uber also participated.
As far as technology, there is a feature newly launched by Lyft that Uber doesn’t offer yet. Previously, if you were in the car with a friend and wanted to drop the friend off at a different location from yourself, you’d have to discuss with the driver or (worst-case scenario) initiate an entirely new trip. Now, Lyft lets you add extra stops right from the app so that dropping off your friend is as seamless as hailing the ride in the first place.