The New York Times recently reported on “How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks’ To Push Its Drivers’ Buttons.”
Some of the techniques detailed in the Times’ report included Uber’s use of video game-like motivational tools, used to encourage drivers to behave in very specific ways. For example, a graphic showing an earnings goal when a driver attempts to go offline encourages that driver to stay online and reach a specific earnings threshold.
But there’s more, if you’re an Uber driver in a larger market, you may have noticed some features in your app called Quest and Boost. Those video game buzzwords, “Quest” and “Boost,” are incentives for Uber drivers that can translate to real money and increased earnings.
So as a driver, I’m going to walk through exactly how to take advantage of these opportunities and earn some extra cash with Uber Quest.
What Is Uber Quest?
Uber Quest is a driver incentive that pays a reward when drivers complete a certain amount of earnings within a tier.
Here’s an example of how Quest goals and bonuses work in the Uber app:
Uber also appears to auto-generate your earning tiers for days you don’t normally drive based on other drivers’ average earnings.
How Does Uber Quest Promotions Work
This is how Uber Quest works:
Quest promotions offer you the opportunity to earn extra money for reaching certain earning amounts.
If available, you can view details about your Quests in the Driver app by following the steps below:
- On the home screen, tap the menu button in the upper-left corner.
- Tap either “Promotions” or “Opportunities” (experience may differ by user).
- You should be able to see active and upcoming Quests, which you can tap for more details.
Which Drivers Receive Quest Offers?
Like many driver promotions and incentives, Quest is offered primarily in larger Uber markets, where the demand for rides is strong and rideshare companies are constantly competing for drivers’ services.
If you live in a city with Quest, you should automatically see any available incentive offers displayed in your driver app. Simply tap “Earnings” from the main menu and then click on “Promotions” to see what’s available.
If you’re a driver in a smaller market, incentives like Quest might not be available to you, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to maximize your earnings.
The Difference in Uber Quest Promotions
But there appears to be more to the system that assigns these offers.
After comparing the Quest incentives in my app with other drivers in my city, I realized that we were all being offered different bonuses based on their earnings.
And just like Quest incentives vary from one driver to the next, they also vary based on the city you drive in.
For example, here in LA, I’ve seen Quest bonuses as low as $25, while drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area are regularly extended Quest incentives that can top $400-$500 per week!
What Are The Requirements?
When it comes to driving for Uber, it’s always a good idea to look at the fine print. Keep in mind that these requirements may vary slightly depending on your market.
- Time Period: Each Quest incentive will have a specific time period in which the required trips must be completed. Normally each week there will be an incentive period for weekdays that goes from 4 AM Monday to 4 AM Friday. Come the weekend, there’s then a second incentive period from 4 AM Friday to 4 AM Monday. I usually receive an email from Uber the night before the incentive period starts, urging me to check my app for the latest offers.
- Trip Types: Uber Quest includes Uber rides and Uber Eats deliveries, but the offers vary depending on whether you’re driving or delivering.
- What’s Included: Quest goals include fares, surge pricing, and Boost+, but tips don’t count toward your goals. However, tips do count on Uber Eats deliveries. Uber also notes that only cancellation fees count from cancellations.
Uber Quest Strategies, Tips, Tricks
When it comes to thinking of Uber Quest strategies, the first things I’m going to look at are the overall bonus amount and the bonus per ride.
1. Look for Tiered Offers
Sometimes Quest offers to include a second threshold to unlock a larger bonus.
For a full-time driver who’s going to drive a substantial amount anyway, it’s probably worth it to be sure to meet all the requirements and take home the extra $100.
2. Pursue Quest and Boost Promotions at the Same Time
One strategy I’ve had success with is pursuing both Quest and Boost promotions simultaneously.
For example, on New Year’s Eve, I was able to earn Boost fares as high as 3.5x, while also getting an additional $10+ per ride from Quest for the 12 trips I completed.
Note these bonuses came from the old Uber Quest structure, where tiers were based on the number of rides you gave rather than your earnings.
3. Multi-Task with Uber Eats and Uber
Another strategy I like to use is focusing on UberEATS trips while going after a Quest goal.
UberEATS trips work great with Quest for a number of reasons: while the distance and time of an Uber passenger ride can be unpredictable, I find that most UberEATS trips are only a few miles and can usually be completed in 30 minutes or less.
This means I can generally reach my Quest incentives quicker and more predictably by delivering for UberEATS instead of driving for UberX.
Additionally, since most UberEATS trips are short, this allows me to easily stay in a Boost zone and thus pursue BOTH Quest and Boost promotions simultaneously.
A ride may pull me far away from my Boost zones, but a food delivery generally will not. This allows me to work most efficiently in unlocking the bonus and maximizing my earnings per ride at the same time.
This is actually one of the hidden benefits of doing delivery in general. Delivery companies like Caviar tend to operate in a smaller area, which keeps the miles off of your car.
When you end up breaking that down by the total dollars earned per mile driven on a given day, the earnings often beat out UberX since you don’t end up with long trips that force you to drive unpaid miles.
Maximize Uber Quest Earnings
One of the most valuable things I’ve learned from my experience as an Uber driver is the importance of understanding how I’m paid and how I can maximize my earnings.
While Uber’s transition from basing Quests on the number of rides you complete to the amount of money you earn limits you from only accepting short rides, it has its advantages.
The higher the fare is, the more efficiently you reach your quest goals. It should take way fewer rides to reach your goals and get a Quest bonus now.
Quest is one of many tools that Uber offers that allows me to earn some extra cash while completing rides. So if you’re in a market where Quest is offered, be sure to evaluate the incentives on a regular basis, determine if they’re worth pursuing, create a plan and then go out and execute!
Uber Promotions & Incentives Over Time
Over my three-plus years as an Uber driver, I’ve seen various incentive offers from the company but this was the one that really caught my attention.
This was in March 2016, as Uber was just beginning to experiment with these types of weekly incentives in Los Angeles. Wow!
$500 extra just for completing 75 rides? This offer created quite a buzz here in the L.A. Uber driver community, as folks were scrambling to complete the required trips and cash in.
Soon enough, these types of incentives were being offered to drivers on a regular basis in Los Angeles.
By the fall of 2016, they were even given catchy names (Quest and Boost) and integrated into the driver app to allow a driver to track his or her progress in real-time.
The Quest payouts also decreased considerably from the initial $500 you see above.