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    If you’re an Instacart shopper, we have some good news to share with you today. The grocery delivery service company has just unveiled Cart Star, a new program designed to reward top shoppers with discounts and incentives, which are earned through a multi-level point system. 

    According to an Instacart spokesperson, the new Cart Star program was developed to celebrate and recognize top shoppers by delivering unique offerings, and in-app functionality to enhance their shopper experience.

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    What is Cart Star from Instacart?

    How Does Cart Star Work?

    The Cart Star program has three tier levels shoppers can work toward: Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Cart. Each time you fulfill an order, you will receive 10 points. You can then work your way up the tiers by accumulating points for each customer order you shop for or deliver to within the same three-month qualifying period.  

    Shoppers must earn 200 points to qualify as a Gold Cart Shopper, 1,000 points to qualify for Platinum Cart shopper, and 2,000 points to become a Diamond Cart shopper. In addition, you must also maintain a 4.7 average customer rating to have access to the program.

    What Do You Get When You Participate?

    Instacart is leaning heavily into the rewards part of its startup program. Instacart has partnered with third-party companies, such as Upside and CarAdvise to offer shoppers savings on gas and oil changes. 

    As an example, Gold Cart shoppers who use Upside, can receive up to 29 cents at participating gas stations nationwide, while shoppers who receive Platinum and Diamond Cart status can get up to 33 cents per gallon cash back. 

    By using CarAdvice, you can also get an extra 25% off an oil change as a Gold Cart Shopper, or an extra 50% off if you’re a Platinum or Diamond Cart shopper.

    In addition, Instacart has partnered with Care.com to provide shoppers with Backup Care for your loved ones when it’s needed. If you are a Diamond Cart shopper, you will have access to two days of Backup Care per quarter, for the cost of $1 per hour or $10 per day. Care.com can aid with unexpected caregiving needs for children, seniors, and pets.

    What higher-level tiers look like on Instacart’s new Cart Star shopper rewards program

    Show Me the Money

    All of this sounds good, of course, but we know what you’re really wondering is “how does Cart Star help me earn more money?” 

    The two biggest selling points for participating in the program are that Diamond Cart shoppers get priority access to batches when they are in close range of a store’s location (as shown by a highlighted area in the Shopper app). 

    And, perhaps more importantly, you also get exclusive early access to accept batches before a store opens. Both of these features should help savvy shoppers who have specific daily earning goals in mind and want to make the most of their day when shopping.

    The other part of the program that could help you earn more is that customers will see your top shopper badge when you are a Platinum or Diamond Cart shopper. Instacart states that during the testing process, customers who saw a top shopper badge in their shopper’s profile were more likely to leave a higher rating and higher tip when a shopper had a badge than they did for the shoppers who only had a regular profile.

    How Does Cart Star Compare to Other Reward Programs?

    Although it’s a good start, Cart Star isn’t quite up to par with the reward programs offered by some of the other delivery companies. For example, Uber Pro also has a tier-program, but it offers four tiers (Blue, Gold, Platinum, Diamond) as opposed to Cart Star’s three. As part of their reward programs, drivers can get reduced costs on oil changes and fuel just like you can with Instacart’s reward program, but you can also get free coffee, discount business services (Airtax, QuickBooks, and Optus), accident replacement vehicles, and even discounts on tires. 

    Meanwhile, DoorDash and Lyft also have their own reward programs, which offer more rewards to their drivers with things like $250 off for bodywork along with discounted or free roadside assistance. In addition, both offer similar rewards for discounted fuel and/or oil changes.

    Final Thoughts

    Cart Star is a little light on the rewards when you consider the number of orders you have to accept to qualify for the program. This is particularly true if you want to pursue the Platinum or Diamond levels. Where it is beneficial, however, is having early access to orders before stores open, and also the priority access to batches when you’re in proximity to a highlighted area where you already like to shop.

    While we probably wouldn’t focus too much on the reward program if you’re working multiple gigs, if Instacart is your primary gig, or you want to increase the amount you are already earning as a shopper with them, Cart Star could provide a nice opportunity for you to do it.

    What do you think of Instacart’s new shopper rewards program? Would you aim to get a higher tier level, like Platinum or Diamond?


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