Lyft is Jumping on the High Bonus Bandwagon

Lyft drivers – have you recently been offered a bonus to hit the road and drive? If so, you’re not alone. Senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins looks into the bonuses offered to Lyft drivers and why Uber and Lyft have increased these offers in certain markets.

Lyft drivers have seen an uptick in bonus offers, and some of these offers are higher than many of us ever remember! One driver received a notice saying he would receive a $75 bonus for giving 10 rides this week. Another received the following offer:

This is offering $250 for completing 20 rides this week.

One of our readers on YouTube commented, “This week $400 for 20 rides! 2 previous weeks $600 for 40 rides! No rides given on my end! I won’t drive for them until after Sep if at all!”

While some drivers said it was a ‘no brainer’ to accept these bonus offers, still others are skeptical or hesitant.

One reason to refuse these offers could be because drivers are able to collect unemployment benefits, including an extra $300/week from the federal government. As of right now, the unemployment plus $300/week benefits are being offered until September 2021.

Another reason? It’s not enough of a bonus! Some drivers are reporting the “normal” bonuses they receive from Lyft on a regular basis. One example is $153 for 95 rides in Dallas. Another mentioned on Facebook, “Yeah, $38 for 35 rides. Big deal.”

Stakes Continue to Raise

When we first published this article in early April, drivers were pretty excited for bonuses up to $500 – but now Lyft has raised the stakes even higher. Check out the two most recent offers RSG readers found:

lyft bonuses for driverslyft bonuses for drivers

That’s right, some drivers are being offered $6,000 in guaranteed earnings – roughly $60/ride guaranteed!

One question on many current drivers’ minds: why isn’t Lyft offering better or more bonuses to get existing drivers back on the road instead? It seems like the new driver bonuses/guarantees are better than the incentives for existing drivers. If you were offered $50 for one ride vs $6,000 for 100 rides, you’d probably choose the 6k!

Here’s what one existing Lyft driver, who hasn’t driven for the last year, received recently. Oh, wow, $25/hour… and no incentives… not exactly something that makes you want to jump up and start driving, right?

Right now, existing drivers’ best options are to go and sign up for DoorDash and Instacart. They’re currently offering bonuses to new drivers, and once you sign up, you can compare their offers to any incentives offered by Lyft or Uber.

What About Uber?

Yes, drivers are beginning to see new bonuses and incentives coming from Uber, too. Recently, Uber confirmed they’re launching a $250 million driver stimulus to boost earnings for drivers. Uber is going to release boosted incentives and guarantees to bring back existing Uber drivers and entice new Uber drivers to rideshare driving.

In addition, Uber shared what drivers are currently making in several cities – before tips – and before any new bonuses, incentives or guarantees:

You can read about Uber’s methodology for this data here.

What Drivers Are Saying About These Bonuses

Lyft isn’t the only company offering their drivers or couriers extra dough to get on the road. RSG contributor and driver Chris covers the bonuses being offered by both Uber and Lyft in his video titled Uber is Offering Old Drivers BONUSES To Drive!

He goes over the differences between guarantees, bonuses and promotions, so you’re certain of the terminology being used and what it means for you as a driver.


Chris’s theory is that with restrictions being lifted across the country, more and more passengers are requesting rides while drivers are still hesitating over getting back into the game. He also cites Uber and Lyft as saying that they are expecting there to be a driver shortage over the next several months.

This means it’s possible these bonuses will be sticking around for at least short-term.

These higher offers tend to be coming in for people who haven’t driven or delivered in a while. Redditors have also taken to posting about these bonuses. One said, “I got $300 for 20 in DC, two weeks in a row. I have similar promos from Uber.”

Another said, “I got a $900 bonus for 60 rides in DC. They’re getting desperate.”

Many are still skeptical that these bonuses are legit. One of our readers on Facebook called it “April Fools” since we shared the bonus on April 1, but as far as we can tell, these are legitimate and are not an April Fools joke.

Along with the skeptical drivers are those who are hopping on to take advantage of the bonus but then deciding not to go back on the app again unless a similar bonus is being offered.

Drivers are weighing all of their options. Is it more lucrative to accept the unemployment being offered or to aim for these bonuses?

The answer to this often seems to depend on the market, the bonuses offered and the driver themselves. I know some drivers are specifically waiting until they are vaccinated before getting back on the road to help ensure their own health and wellbeing.

Rideshare drivers aren’t the only ones seeing these bonuses either. DoorDash couriers are finding similar bonuses in their apps recently. Find out more about the DoorDash bonuses with a video created by RSG contributor Nuggs: Doordash is Offering Drivers BIG BONUSES to drive (+$500)!

In addition to bonuses offered to DoorDash drivers, it looks like DoorDash is upping the ante with opportunities to win $50,000:

doordash driver bonusWhy Do Uber and Lyft Need More Drivers on the Road?

According to this chart from Second Measure, both Uber and Lyft sales are rebounding after the low points of the pandemic. They need drivers on the road to match the demands of the increasing passenger ride requests.

On March 26, 2021, Journal Transcript posted an article written by Kyle Landeck stated:

“Rid-sharing companies were among the most affected companies following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the companies are starting to see a rebound from pandemic lows as vaccine campaigns rollout and states start lifting restrictions. This has led to more people feeling comfortable to return to work or travel, thus a surge in daily ride volume.”

It also highlighted that Lyft recorded its highest ride volume since the start off the pandemic a year ago.

One thing it’s important to point out? These bonuses and incentives won’t last forever. Much like the rideshare business itself, it’s great when there are few drivers on the road. Money is good and bonuses are common.

However, as more drivers get on the road, prices naturally decline and drivers earn less. If you’re on fence about driving, but feel comfortable and safe enough to do it, now is the time to hit the road.

Are You Staying Home – Or Heading Out to Capitalize on Bonuses?

Despite these bonuses, many drivers are continuing to stay home. Why is that? Several factors could contribute to this, including unemployment payments.

There are other factors that could be contributing to it as well. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are giving drivers money to substitute for their lower than average earnings from throughout the pandemic. Also, the most recent round of stimulus could play a factor as well. Individuals who received the $1,400 stimulus check might not find the need to get back on the road just yet.

While I think we can all agree that Uber and Lyft drivers and couriers should be considered essential workers, not all states have offered vaccines to drivers without them having underlying conditions or meeting other criteria. It’s possible that many drivers will wait until they are fully vaccinated before they’ll be tempted by any bonuses Uber or Lyft throw their way.

It’s possible that Lyft and Uber will have to up the ante before getting more drivers on the road. Who knows, maybe Uber and Lyft (and other food delivery companies) will continue to offer us bonuses to stay on the road!

Have you received any bonus offers from Uber, Lyft, DoorDash or other companies? Did you drive or not?

-Paula @ RSG