Lyft Premier is Launching Soon in Select Markets

Harry here. Many drivers have been turning to Uber Select over the past year to try and make more money with less competition.  Today, RSG Senior Contributor Christian Perea shares some breaking news about the launch of Lyft Premier.

Want to sign up with Lyft?  Use our driver referral link here.

Lyft Premier is a new option centered around entry level (and higher) luxury vehicles. The service launched on July 7th in SF, LA, and NYC. Lyft is actively recruiting drivers who qualify for Premier.

Many drivers and passengers have long called for a premium option on Lyft, similar to Uber Select or Uber Black, as a way to get rewarded and to cover the cost of providing a nicer car and service. For Lyft, the premium market has previously been a tough and awkward segment to fill. The first rendition of Lyft Plus (Panda Explorer’s) did not work out too well.

Lyft Premier
Lyft Premier Vehicle

Now that Lyft has grown into a larger segment of the passenger population, they have decided to take what they learned from Lyft Plus and give a premium service another go-around. The service will is currently available in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, with a staggered roll-out to other markets expected to follow. Lyft intends to recruit a larger group of drivers onto the service who happen to meet the criteria, thus making supply readily available. Further, the list of available vehicles for Premier seeks to build out a service that doesn’t require too much from drivers (like financing a $45k Ford Explorer).

How Much Does Lyft Premier Pay?

At launch, Premier is paying the following rates;  (Updated 7/7/16)

  • SF: $2.77/mile, $0.48/min, $9.00/minimum, and $5.00 Base
  • LA: $2.39/mile, $0.39/min, $9.00/minimum, and $5.00 Base
  • NYC: $3.77/mile, $0.64/min, $15.00/minimum, and $7.00 Base

What is the Lyft Premier commission rate?

At launch, Lyft is stating they will keep commission to the same level as Lyft Classic and Lyft Line. However, once that “Special” ends they will charge 30% on each ride. This can be reduced to 10% if you get the full Power Driver Bonus.

My Take On Lyft Premier Pay:

Ride for ride, Lyft Premier is paying better than Uber Select. The rates are higher. So the real question will be whether or not there are enough requests to compete with Select if you are a driver. At least now if you have a nicer car you can at least catch a few higher paying rides on the Lyft platform and heavily reduce the commission that is taken from them since those 28% – 32% Select rates take a pretty big bite from earnings.


I handle my Uber Select calls just like my UberX or UberPool calls. Occasionally I will open a door for someone, but for the most part I do the same exact thing since I know it’s highly unlikely I will get a tip on Select. Since Lyft has a tipping option built into the app, there will be a reason to try a little harder to capture more in tip income. I imagine most passengers still won’t tip that much, but there will be a few opportunities to capture big tips from the few that do.


PT should be assessed in a similar manner as all of Lyft’s other services. So the Primetime that you see for Lyft Classic, Plus, and Line should all be the same. The heat maps are the same for all of the products. This means you won’t encounter Lyft riders who are trying to use Premier ONLY when the other services are surging. This is a strength for Lyft Premier over Select. Although you still can’t see the PT…. 🙁

Premier-Only Mode?

If you would like to accept only Lyft Premier requests, you can fill out this form and Lyft will create a separate profile for you to log into where you will only receive Premier requests. Just like you can do on Uber Select. This is a new thing for Lyft, hopefully it will translate over to Lyft Plus calls as well!

P.S. I have confirmed that the form is actually from Lyft and is legit.

How Can I Drive For Lyft Premier?

There are a few requirements to be eligible to drive for Lyft Premier. If you meet all of the requirements you should automatically begin to receive Lyft Premier requests. At launch, I received an email “Welcoming me to the world of Premier.” So if you don’t get that email you might want to confirm via support that you will receive those requests.

Related Article: The Best Ways To Contact Lyft Support When You Need Help

Lyft lists the following to qualify for Lyft Premier:

  • Must have done 50 or more rides.
  • Must have a rating above 4.7
  • Vehicle must have leather(ish) seats.
  • Vehicle must be from this list (the list is different for NYC drivers).

Does Your Vehicle Have Too Many Miles For Lyft Premier?

There is no mileage requirement, and they intend to keep vehicle quality high by restricting the make, model, and year of the vehicles available for the service.

How Is Lyft Premier Different from Uber Select?

Lyft Premier
Keith Maddock has been a Premier driver before Lyft thought it was cool…

For now this really looks like a slightly classier version of Uber Select. Basically Select with a glowstache and pink placard slapped on their car.

So perhaps the service will develop to be a little different from Select in the same way that a regular Lyft is different from UberX. Uber Select passengers are really a mixed bag of people. Most are great but the ones that are bad are pretty bad. I still notice a difference between my Lyft and Uber passengers as Lyft passengers tend to be a little more relaxed without treating drivers like an empty glass of water.

Business Passengers and Corporate Accounts

Lyft recently integrated Concur into the Lyft app so companies can expense their Lyfts for business. They also recently announced they are working on a way to allow Lyft passengers to schedule a ride in advance. Further, Lyft has a pretty large team targeting businesses to purchase credits en masse. When you combine all of these things, you can actually see a bigger picture: Lyft’s plan to compete with Uber on business trips and the corporate crowd, which is something Uber has had on lock-down for a long time now.

Since those things will make a compelling reason for companies to purchase Lyft credits, I would expect to see a lot of business passengers. Especially since Lyft will likely market this towards their business clients.

A lot of people may not know this, but one of Lyft’s biggest ways of recruiting passengers is through corporate accounts. They have a whole division devoted to getting companies to buy Lyft credits.

How Do I know If A Lyft Request Is For Premier?

The request should appear in blue instead of pink for Lyft Classic or Purple for Lyft Line.

What Cars Qualify For Lyft Premier?

Basically, any car that is an entry level luxury car and up. Other notable examples include the 2011 and above Chrysler 300, and 2008 and above Toyota Sequoia. So it actually seems like Lyft’s list of premier cars is a little wider when it comes to vehicles that are acceptable for Premier.

Full List: here.

My Take

I have been wanting an option like this for a while since many drivers invested in a nicer vehicle in order to stand out. I think there is a situational or niche market for these kind of fares, but I wouldn’t go out and buy a vehicle that applies for this unless Lyft really penetrates Uber’s share of the business market. Even then, sharing the requests with Lyft Line and Lyft Classic means that the lion’s share of your calls will pay out just like any old service. So don’t go trade your Prius in just yet.

It will be interesting to see how tipping plays out on Lyft Premier. Will the passengers tip more than usual? In higher amounts? Less since they are paying more? It is hard to say. Either way, I look forward to having this as an option and seeing how Lyft manages to differentiate this product from Select.

Want to sign up with Lyft?  Use our driver referral link here.

Drivers, how much do you think you will make off of Lyft Premier? Place your bets in the comments section! The winner gets bragging rights on the internet!

-Christian @ RSG