Uber now lets your company pick up the tab for business travel
By Caitlin McGarry
PCWorldJul 29, 2014 8:56 am PDT
High-powered executives have always loved Uber. Taking a sleek black car to a meeting and avoiding the cab line at the airport are just two of the ways the car-hailing app has ingratiated itself with the business set—and now, that appeal is getting more formal with Uber for Business.
Uber on Tuesday launched an initiative that makes taking and paying for cars more seamless for business travelers and the companies footing their bills. Now instead of printing out receipts for Uber trips, execs can expense their rides on corporate accounts. A company can set up an account with Uber, complete with corporate payment info, then invite employees to join the account.
If you already have a personal Uber account, you’ll now have two options for payment: your own card and your company’s. All you have to do is verify your work e-mail address and then toggle between options depending on the purpose of your ride. (We don’t recommend expensing personal trips, because Uber’s analytics will make it very easy for employers to catch you.) According to Bloomberg, Uber’s services will cost the same no matter who’s picking up the tab.
Uber is also using its existing relationship with American Express to sweeten the deal for business customers. This fall, corporate cardholders will be able to use their points to pay for Uber trips and earn double points for every ride. Uber rolled out the same benefit for individual AmEx cardholders last month.
For 25 million people working for more than 20,000 corporations (including some Fortune 100 companies), Uber’s integration with business travel management firm Concur will make expensing those business trips even easier. After Concur users link that account to their Uber account, Uber will send all business-related travel receipts directly to Concur. Concur announced similar integration with Airbnb on Monday, turning the feel-good, peer-to-peer model touted by many sharing economy cheerleaders into a more formal arrangement.
A handful of early Uber for Business partners include major names in fashion and finance. Those industries, centralized in New York City, have not surprisingly glommed on to Uber. If you’ve got the money, having a black car at your fingertips is preferable to and much faster than taking the train. Barclays America, Deutsche Bank, and e-tailer Gilt are all sending their employees around town in Ubers. Tesla Motors and Salesforce.com have also joined the program.
Uber has cars on the road in more than 150 cities around the globe, including major markets like London, Dubai, Tokyo, and Shanghai. Once Uber for Business is available in all the cities where the company operates, Uber is poised to become the transportation mode of choice for international road warriors.