Uber and SPG in Dubai

Uber application on a smartphone

Uber application on a smartphone

Uber and SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) have partnered up for a unique service for their customers. Uber riders can now earn 1 Starpoint for every US$1 (Dhs. 3.70) spent on their Uber rides. Dubai is one of the five selected participating cities to serve this joined special service.

Uber taxi and SPG allow their customers to book their taxi and hotel rooms respectively online through their applications. SPG also allow their customers to check in to their hotel rooms using their smart phones using bluetooth technology for a keyless initiative experience. Both applications can be downloaded from Apple Store and Google Play store.

RTA taxi on Dubai roads

RTA taxi on Dubai roads

Moamin Elatawy, 25, a Senior HR Executive from MARKA stated that he has not heard of Uber Taxi. When told about what it was, he said that, “It might not be as safe and qualified as RTA taxis. RTA taxi drivers are trained straight from the Government.” Elatawy mentioned that he has heard of applications like SPG from different hotels, however, he feels that there won’t be much of a difference as UAE has a law of giving a copy of Emirates ID or passport upon check in. “It will be the same if you book from Booking.com.”, Elatawy said.

Dubai is a tourist destination and is a growing hub. Numerous hotels have popped up over the years in the city. Anina Georgieva, 25, Assistant Front Office Manager from Doubletree by Hilton said that she has not heard of Uber Taxi but has heard of SPG. She said that most hotels have their own services like limousines for their guests. She mentioned that SPG is not the first type of service introduced in Dubai.

SPG application on a smartphone

SPG application on a smartphone

Hilton Loyalty members have been getting a similar point system and have a special application called E-Check in. Hilton Loyalty members can download the application and can directly book from it and choose which particular room they want to book. The map of the hotel is available for the member to choose, similar to choosing a cinema seat when booking for an e-ticket online.

The technology of these two applications is great but getting the public to use it might be a challenge. As Georgieva said, “This type of service will only appeal to executives who travels a lot and not to the general public.” It may start slow now but in the future, specially as Dubai is gearing up for the Expo 2020, the Uber and SPG experience might be one of the most popular to use.

Have you used this service or similar before? What are your thoughts on this? Comment below.

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