Lyft taps Delta as a new rewards program for riders

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Lyft is teaming up with Delta Air Lines to offer you more reason to hail a ride.

Starting Wednesday, Lyft users can earn SkyMiles (Delta’s airline miles program) for every ride they take. For a limited time, users can earn extra miles when they travel to and from an airport no matter which airline they’re taking.

Lyft users will earn one mile per dollar spent on rides and can earn an unlimited number of miles. They will earn three miles for every dollar when they go to or from any airport. New Lyft users can get a $20 credit through this program.

Lyft earned the designation of “exclusive rideshare partner” for Delta, meaning it’s just another reason to choose Lyft over Uber (aside from the whole Uber having a toxic workplace environment, subverting the U.S. government, and allegedly stealing Google’s self-driving car technology).

“We care deeply about our passenger experience and this was a first of a kind partnership together. We both share a desire to really create these wow experiences and memorable experiences and really reward passengers for their travel,” said David Baga, Lyft’s chief business officer.

Delta offers another SkyMiles rewards program with Airbnb, the home and apartment rental service, but this is it’s first and only ride-hailing partnership. Lyft has worked with many other major brands on similar deals, such as free coffee with Starbucks and free rides from Anheuser-Busch.

What do these brands have in common? According to Baga, Lyft only looks to partner with brands that are customer-focused and employee-centric. While airlines have gotten a bad rap as of late, Delta remains one of the best, especially with that mission.

“It’s hard to miss that Delta has won the best airline for business travelers six of the last seven years in a row,” Baga said.

That doesn’t mean Lyft is just hoping to tap into those business travelers that Delta is known to service, but it is an added bonus.

“This is for any user on Lyft or any Delta SkyMiles member,” Baga said, “So its a tremendous opportunity to reach millions of people in both of our customer bases. Our passenger base is growing more and more quickly especially as more business users and travelers are switching to Lyft.”

Switching refers to those passengers leaving Uber, Baga admitted when asked, as well as those opting for a ride-hailing service instead of driving their own car to the airport or asking a friend. It’s not just about competition in the ride-hailing industry but also awareness of the option to travelers who are used to renting a car.

Both Delta and Lyft will be promoting the partnership on their social media channels, in email marketing, and with outdoor advertisements. “We think it’ll be hard for Delta customers to miss,” Baga said.

The partnership with Delta isn’t Lyft only big news of the week. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Lyft is partnering with Google on their self-driving car initiatives. Baga wouldn’t share many details but said there will be more shared in the coming weeks.

“At this point all I can tell you is really excited to work with Waymo,” Baga said. “As you can imagine Google is a tremendous brand and Waymo is recognized for being the leader in self-driving technology.”

“This will advance [Lyft cofounders] John and Logans vision for this transportation evolution. We certainly need tremendous hardware manufacturers and engineering talent to make our vision a reality,” he said.

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