In this weeks article, we are digging deep into Uber’s new rewards program. Is it what Uber says it is? What are the true benefits and drawbacks as far as the drivers are concerned? Or is it the usual PR campaign like the 180 days of change from last year, a lot of noise but no substance?
Millions of people drive for Uber across the globe. They drive for different reasons and come from different walks of life, entrepreneurs, parents, immigrants, students etc. Some drive part time to earn extra cash, while others drive full time to support their families, their ambitions, or both. Finally, some good news for Uber drivers. I’ve been writing about Uber for nearly four years and this is one of the only times I recall writing something positive regarding an Uber announcement. Uber has instituted the Uber Pro program throughout the US, granted not everyone is eligible for it, however, most drivers should be able to participate in the program at different levels.
Uber Pro is a fairly new rewards program that is designed to help Uber drivers earn more money, save money on gas, and even cover college tuition! Here’s a basic breakdown of the original benefits and the changes since it was announced. Sounds pretty great, right? But there is a catch, it is not given to all drivers, drivers need to earn these rewards through a points program. In order to reap the most benefits, a driver needs to earn enough quarterly points to reach the top “Diamond” tier.
Drive to earn points. Some trips may earn you more points than others. Each driver will be awarded up to 3 points per ride, the point values vary when and where the drivers conduct their business. For most drivers, morning and evening rush hour rides are of higher value. Give great service and in addition to earning points, maintain the following: keep your star rating at 4.85 or above, your cancellation rate at 4% or below, and your acceptance rate at 85% or above to earn Gold, Platinum, and Diamond rewards. The higher the status you earn, the more rewards you unlock. Your status is determined based on your points and quality ratings over a fixed 3-month period.
You’ll be able to track your progress and see what level you’ve reached so far in the rewards section of the driver app. Uber will also begin displaying your level to passengers after you’re matched with them. There will be four levels of Uber drivers and three reward levels, Blue (originally Partner), Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Here are how many points you need to reach each tier:
Blue (Partner) Level
All active driver partners invited to join the Program who do not meet the requirements for Gold, Platinum or Diamond Tiers are placed into the Blue (Partner) Tier. Below are my numbers, I am a very selective driver, I don’t think I will ever make to another level.
Let’s take a quick look at how many trips that translates into per day. First, there are 12.85 weeks in 90 days. So, let’s say a driver takes two days off each week and drives the other five. That’s approximately 25 days off and 65 days on, to reach Diamond status, a driver needs to earn 1,800 points in 65 days of driving. 1,800 points converts into 600 trips (if they work only during 3-point times) which comes to just over 9 trips per day. That’s totally doable! Although Uber says 80% of its drivers are part timers (less than 20 hours a week) this new rewards program seems to be geared for more full time drivers. Uber admits that this will work best with drivers who put in 30 hours a week or more. On a busy day, a driver can usually do about two trips an hour (depending on the city), so 9 trips would only take 4.5 hours, and you can see that a driver can easily work longer and get in a lot more than 9 trips per day. You’ll be able to track your progress and see what level you’ve reached so far in the rewards section of the driver app.
Here is a chart showing dedicated 3-point hour times for Los Angeles, your city may be different:
Probably the most welcoming part of this new rewards program is the free college tuition. To put that free college tuition into perspective, ASU’s online estimate tool puts full-time tuition and fees for an undergraduate degree of 12 units per semester between $12,480 – $17,472 per academic year for non-Arizona residents. That’s between $49,920 – $70,000 for a four-year degree!
And the best part is, in case you don’t need it or want it for yourself, you can transfer it to someone else. A brother or sister, son or daughter, mom or dad, and any legal dependents – even if they’re not related to you! There are more than 80 undergraduate degrees to choose from and the school is online. So you will not only have flexibility in your working time but in your class time as well. The big problem with free education is that people may not fully appreciate its value, since it’s online instead of in-person, they may not have the persistence to follow through with it and complete the degree. If you have the drive and desire, Uber is going to make it very easy for you, albeit with certain caveats, as we all know, nothing in life is free!
Is this program available in my area?
Currently, the program is available in all cities throughout the US!
How is my star rating calculated?
Driver’s overall star rating is an average of individual ratings provided by riders from your past 500 trips. If a driver receives a rating of 4 stars or below on a trip for a reason that is out of their control, like a bad GPS route or traffic, the rating will be excluded from your overall rating.
What happens if my ratings go down?
If you are a driver with Gold, Platinum, or Diamond status and your star rating falls between 4.75 and 4.84, you won’t be able to reach a higher status by earning more points. You will maintain your current status and have access to your current rewards. If your rating falls below 4.75, you will lose access to your rewards immediately. To earn back your status and rewards, your rating must return to 4.85 or above.
What happens if my cancellation rate goes up?
If you are a driver with Gold, Platinum, or Diamond status and your cancellation rate rises to between 4.01% and 10%, you won’t be able to reach a higher status by earning more points. You will maintain your current status and have access to your current rewards. If your cancellation rate rises above 10%, you will lose access to your rewards immediately. To earn back your rewards, your cancellation rate must return to 4% or below.
What happens if my acceptance rate goes down?
If you are a driver with Gold, Platinum, or Diamond status and your acceptance rate falls between 75% and 84%, you won't be able to reach a higher status by earning more points. You will maintain your current status and have access to your current rewards. If your acceptance rate falls below 75%, you will lose access to your rewards immediately. To earn back your status and rewards, your rating must return to 85% or above.
How do I get my Status?
You earn points during fixed 3-month periods. At the start of a 3-month period, your status is determined by the points you earned in the previous 3-month period. At any time, you can move up tiers and unlock more rewards if you earn enough points for the next status and maintain high ratings, acceptance and cancellation thresholds.
Do I get points for UberEats deliveries?
Drivers who also deliver with Uber Eats will earn points for delivery trips. Delivery partners who only deliver with Uber Eats are not eligible for Uber Pro. Trip duration viewing rewards are not available on Uber Eats trips.
When I started driving for Uber four years ago, things were great, but over the past two years, Uber began slashing rates and flooding the streets with more drivers than necessary. I always asked myself why Uber doesn’t pay their best drivers a little more? Then I received an email from Uber congratulating me on being in the Top 1% of drivers in Los Angeles based on my rating. Forget the email congratulations. We don’t need that, we need more money! I just don’t understand, if Uber really wants us to put our hearts into this gig and give them our best, why in the world aren’t they rewarding those who are doing an outstanding job? No other company would treat their best workers this way. Most companies are smart enough to know that in order to keep their best workers, they have to reward them with higher pay, not in useless smoke and mirror perks!