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Can Lyft Premier Out-Luxury Uber Black?

In a move to please its customers and create more of them, ride-sharing service Lyft announced its Lyft Premier service tier yesterday (June 7). It's a competitor to Uber's high-end Black service, and it will provide rides in luxury-class vehicles that company promises will offer a consistent, high-end experience. But how far can Premier take Lyft?

Credit: EvrenKalinbacak / Shutterstock.com

(Image credit: EvrenKalinbacak / Shutterstock.com)

Lyft announced that Premier is for the "many Lyft passengers who [have] told us [they] want a more stylish arrival for business trips and special nights out," but it's easy to see that this is meant to attract Uber users away. This is most obvious because Premier rides will not feature ride-sharing, the receipt-splitting feature that made Lyft stand out in the first place, in an attempt to lure customers who will pay for privacy.

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Lyft looks to sway new users with a 20 percent discount off of their first rides with the code "LYFTPREMIER20." Premier rides are currently available in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as Los Angeles and New York City. The company says Premier will arrive in "more cities soon," though there's no clear time frame.

Premier rides will be in vehicles "like a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Lexus ES, or Cadillac Escalade" but its use of the word 'like' raises a red flag. if Lyft wants Premier to gain traction through positive word of mouth, Premier cars will need to constantly meet or exceed that bar. One viral tweet about a beat-up Kia showing up is all it would take to turn Lyft Premier into a punchline.

While a luxurious ride home from the end of a long day at the office or a longer night out on the town sounds good to me, I know plenty of Uber faithfuls who love the service because it lets them take the reigns of the car's speakers.

Not only does Uber's partnership with Spotify allow you to stream to a ride's stereo, but some Uber drivers will even pass the 3.5mm aux cable to passengers that don't use Spotify. Lyft ought to offer and promote similar experiences for Premier rides to ensure success.

So while Lyft Premier may offer something similar to Uber Black, it doesn't look to pack anything new. Aside from that 20 percent discount, dissatisfaction with Uber is the only reason why its current riders would want to download Lyft. The only thing that sounds top-tier about Premier is its name.