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8 min read

    8 min read

    Lyft is expanding their Lyft Rewards program, which launched in late 2019. Since then, the program has greatly expanded, both in scope and in availability for drivers. Senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur outlines the Lyft Rewards plan, what the rewards are, and whether or not drivers will benefit from this program.

    In late 2019, Lyft announced a new rewards/loyalty program called Lyft Rewards. Originally launched in just 11 cities, Lyft has learned from and tweaked the program in response to driver use and feedback. In August 2020, Lyft announced an expansion of the Lyft Rewards program.

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    Below, I will break out the details of this program and offer some analysis based on my experience driving for Lyft and Uber.

    Where Is Lyft Rewards Being Offered?

    As of August 2020, Lyft Rewards is now available in more than 250 markets in the US. Originally, Lyft Rewards debuted in October 2019 to eleven cities. It’s clear the Lyft Rewards program was successful, with enough positive driver feedback, to expand into many more cities.

    Not sure if Lyft Rewards is in your city yet? You should receive an email about Lyft Rewards, so make sure to check and check your spam folders as well.

    lyft rewardsWhat Are the Lyft Rewards Tiers?

    There are three tiers

    • Silver
    • Gold
    • Platinum

    The tiers provide access to a variety of driver perks. To reach the Gold and Platinum Tiers, a driver will need a rating of 4.90+. To access trip details before accepting a ride, you must have a ride acceptance rate of at least 90%.

    The biggest changes to Lyft Rewards since its October debut include:

    • Providing drivers with the ability to unlock additional Destination Mode filters in the Gold and Platinum tiers
    • Removing cash, Lyft credit and Openbay credit redemption and incremental gas cashback discount

    Personally, the removal of the cash bonuses isn’t a big loss to me, as I didn’t find it that enticing in the first place. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an avid user of the Destination Mode, and so the ability to unlock additional Destination Mode filters is a bigger draw!

    Drivers will continue to be able to unlock rewards including:

    • See trip details before accepting a ride — on every ride

    • Free or discounted 24/7 Allstate roadside assistance

    • Discounts on auto maintenance and repairs with Openbay

    • Free or discounted tax services with TurboTax Self-Employed

    How Do Drivers Qualify for the Lyft Rewards Tiers?

    To participate in the program, all a driver needs to do is drive during their market’s busy hours, which are found in the Lyft Driver app. Busy hours and the number of points need to qualify for each tier will all vary by market. These can be found directly in the Lyft Driver app.

    What Does Lyft Rewards Offer To Drivers?

    Here is an overview of the perks that can be unlocked at different Lyft Rewards tiers:

    • See trip details before accepting a ride — on every ride
    • Extra daily uses of Destination Mode, helping you earn on your own schedule
    • Free or discounted 24/7 Allstate roadside assistance
    • Discounts on auto maintenance and repairs with Openbay
    • Free or discounted tax services with TurboTax Self-Employed

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    What I Like About Lyft Rewards

    I already am more of a fan of Lyft than Uber, and I typically drive during busier hours as it is. Personally, I like getting access to more destination mode filters, so this is a big plus for me. I’m also happy it’s now rolling out to more cities so more drivers can try this out and see if it works for them.

    This could be a very good strategy on the part of Lyft. They’ve removed some of the less enticing parts of the Lyft Rewards program and added some things that drivers really want – namely, the ability to see trip details before accepting a ride and having access to more destination filters.

    What I Don’t Like About Lyft Rewards

    In order to get many of these rewards, you will need to maintain a 4.9 or higher rating and a 90% or higher acceptance rate.  Those are some stringent requirements.

    You can find your current numbers by logging in to the Lyft app and going to the Dashboard. There you can see your acceptance rate (98%) and rating (4.93).  Are you at the required numbers to qualify for all of Lyft’s benefits?

    I will be curious to see how Lyft handles a rating that goes from 4.91 to 4.88 and then back up to 4.93 within a few days. If you are a professional driver, you should have little problem maintaining the acceptance rate and rating requirements.

    However, I don’t like the rigorous requirements because many drivers will fall below either one of those numbers and lose their benefits. It just takes a few ornery passengers to knock your rating down.  Some of the rating calculation is out of the drivers’ hands and depends a bit on luck. I have had bad passengers in my car and there is no way to get a 5 rating out of them. I still marvel that any passenger gives me a 1 rating.  But it happens!

    Key Takeaways

    It is good Lyft is offering a program for loyal drivers who drive during busy times of the day. For those drivers, it is a win-win. If you don’t like to drive during busy times of the day contending with traffic, then this program won’t do you much good.

    Lyft Rewards is a transparent program to move Lyft drivers to the busy times of the day when drivers are most in demand.  Are the rewards worth it for drivers to change their driving behavior? With the new Lyft Rewards program, the answer could be a strong ‘yes.’ It all just depends on whether or not you personally want to maintain a 90% acceptance rate.

    FAQ for the Lyft Rewards Program

    These responses were provided by Lyft, and we will add more information to them as we are able to test out the program.

    Q:  How long does my tier last? What’s a qualifying period?

    Your tier at the launch of the program will be yours for the current qualifying period and the next qualifying period, as noted in your Lyft Driver app. After the date noted in your app, you’ll need to earn points to get status. Moving forward, once you get enough points to unlock a tier, you’ll keep it for the current qualifying period and the next qualifying period. You must maintain all eligibility requirements (including maintaining the minimum required driver rating) in order to keep your tier.

    Lyft Rewards qualifying periods are fixed 3-month periods:

    • Spring qualifying period: February 1 through April 30
    • Summer qualifying period: May 1 through July 31
    • Fall qualifying period: August 1 through October 31
    • Winter qualifying period: November 1 through January 31

    Tier-qualifying points, which are points that count toward your tier status, reset at the end of a qualifying period, so you’ll need to rebuild points before your status ends in order to keep your tier. Even though qualifying points reset, you still keep these points in your points bank as redeemable points, and you can cash them in at any time — for cash (at Gold and Platinum) or credit to take Lyft rides (at all levels). In the Lyft Driver app, you’ll find both the points you need to qualify for your next tier, as well as the points you’ve “banked”, which you can redeem at any time when your balance is at least 500 points.

    Q: How do I maintain my current tier?

    To keep your current tier, you must meet the minimum tier qualifying points. For Gold and Platinum tiers, you must also maintain at least a 4.90 driver rating. You can always track your current tier and progress to the next tier (and see your driver rating) in the Lyft Driver app.

    Q: When Lyft Rewards launches, do I get credit for recent driving?

    Definitely. When Lyft Rewards launches in your market, we’ll award you tier-qualifying points based on your recent driving in the current qualifying period. Those points will decide your tier status, but you will not be able to redeem them for cash or ride credit. If you’ve qualified for a tier based on your recent driving, we’ll let you know in your Lyft Driver app — and with an email. Your earned tier will be valid for the current fixed 3-month qualifying period and the next fixed, 3-month qualifying period. And when you have access to the program, you’ll start earning points during busy hours, which will count toward getting you to the next tier. And once you’ve earned enough points, you can redeem those points for rewards including cash and credit for Lyft rides. Redeeming points will never affect your tier standing.

    Q: How do I know if I’m included in the program?

    You’ll get an email from us letting you know that the program is available to you, what your current tier is, and how to get the most from Lyft Rewards. If you have access to the program, you’ll also be able to see ‘Lyft Rewards’ in the menu within your Lyft Driver app.

    Q: How does ‘seeing trip information before a ride’ work?

    This feature provides you with trip information, including cardinal direction and estimated trip duration in minutes, before you accept the ride. This feature is only available for Gold and Platinum Tier Drivers and requires a 90% or above ride acceptance rate.

    Drivers, does the new Lyft Rewards program excite you? What are you looking forward to the most or the least?

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    -Jay @ RSG

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur, a graduate of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, is a full-time driver with over 26,000 rides. Jay has a driver-focused podcast: Rideshare Dojo with Jay Cradeur. When Jay isn’t writing articles or making videos, he is traveling the world. You can see what Jay is up to at www.nomadjay.com.