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Uber offers ride discounts for merchant buys

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Uber Offers kicks off nationwide with a Mother's Day flower discount

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Buy Mom flowers, get a free Uber ride. Sound good? The next time you take a ride, check your phone screen. There may be a coupon that offers you a discount on your next ride if you shop at a specific store or online service, according to a report in TechCrunch. After testing Uber Offers with different promotions in several cities, this week Uber is offering up to $20 off on your next ride if you order flowers from ProFlowers and have them delivered by May 6.

You won’t see the offers until you’re in an Uber car and you can’t apply the discount to your current ride. When you accept an offer during a ride, you’ll have a specified number of days to go to the offer site, either a brick and mortar location or online, and make the required purchase. You’ll then be notified of a statement credit against your next Uber ride on the card you use with Uber. If you use different cards for different purchases, such as a business card for work-related Uber rides and a personal card for drinks with friends, the offer won’t work, as the same card, the one you have registered with Uber, must be used for the offer.

Related: So is Uber going to replace surge pricing or not?

Right now the merchants making the offers are paying for the Uber discounts, according to TrialPay. TrialPay is a Visa spinoff that hooks up merchants willing to offer discounts with app developers. A TrialPay spokesperson said Uber does not get a cut from the riders’ purchases. The purpose of the program, which is still in early days, is to offer something for all parties: the Uber rider, the sponsoring merchant, and Uber. The rider saves money, the merchant gets a customer it might not otherwise have, and Uber gains a rider with financial motivation to take another Uber ride.

As the Uber Offer program develops, it’s conceivable that one day you may be able to ride free all the time, leapfrogging from one offer to another. Of course, then you’d need to do a lot of shopping.