Does Uber Pro Work for Drivers?

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Uber is no stranger to incentive and driver reward programs.

As drivers, Uber incentivizes us to sign up for Uber with a sign-up bonus, we’re incentivized to drive where they want us to drive with surges, and we’re incentivized to drive when they want with quests.

And now Uber has rolled out a new incentive program called Uber Pro which they say is poised to reward Uber’s best drivers.

But is this new program actually good for drivers? What action does Uber want us to take with this program? And is this program going to be good for our bottom line as drivers?

In today’s blog post we’re going to take a deep dive into Uber Pro to understand exactly what the program is, what Uber is really aiming for with this program, and if the program is good for drivers.

Let’s get to it!

What is Uber Pro?

Introduced in beta 7 months ago and officially rolled out 2 months ago, Uber Pro was created to “reward the contributions of our most dedicated driver-partners, on and off the road.” says Uber. 

Eligible drivers who participate in this program are able to unlock rewards like higher pay and discounts on gas & car maintenance as well as decreased wait times for rides at the airport. 

While it sounds quite selfless of the company to incorporate a rewards program like this, we are not quick to forget that Uber does not do things just for their drivers, and this program is no different. 

So let’s be clear, this program is intended to incentivize drivers to stop cherry picking their rides, increase acceptance rates, and decrease cancellations. You can see why when you look at what you must do to become eligible for Uber Pro.

How to be eligible for Uber Pro

Wondering what it takes to become an Uber Pro driver? To be eligible, Uber drivers must meet the following requirements:

  • Reside in the United States and drive in one of the participating cities (see list below).
  • Maintain at least a 4.85 star driver rating. 
  • Have less than a 4% cancellation rate for all rides.
  • Accept at least 85% of all rides.
  • Have a driver partner account.

Participating cities:  

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Dallas
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Las Vegas
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Nashville
  • NYC
  • Orange County
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Sacramento
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Francisco
  • St. Louis
  • Los Angeles
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Richmond
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • D.C. 
  • Denver
  • New Jersey
  • New Orleans
  • Phoenix
  • Orlando
  • Seattle
  • Tampa

Eligible Uber drivers will receive a notification inviting them to participate in the program and, upon accepting, the program account will automatically link to your driver account and you’ll be ready to start earning points. If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you’ve already done this.

Once you’re in, you have the ability to earn points by completing specific actions, based on your city. Additionally, drivers who complete trips during peak hours (think business rush hours and leaving-the-bar-o’clock) will have the ability to earn more points for each trip.

  • Complete an Uber rideshare trip: earn 1 point, peak hours earn 3-5 points.
  • Complete an Uber Eats trip: earn 1 point, peak hours earn 3-5 points. 

Dangling that elite status in our faces, Uber Pro rewards are offered in tiers ranging from partner to diamond, dependant on your points earned. Points are earned within program periods of 3-month windows, with all drivers starting as a partner and moving their way up as they earn points:

Partner

All eligible drivers in all participating cities begin at the partner status once they’ve met the Uber Pro requirements. Once you’re in, this is where you’ll stay until you earn enough points to get to the next level.

Gold

To make it to gold, point requirements range depending on the city you are driving for. This ranges widely from a minimum of 200 points in places like Detroit and Orlando to a minimum of 1500 points in places like New York City.

Platinum

Platinum status earning is similar to gold with higher point requirements, ranging from a minimum of 500 points in places like Detroit and Orlando and a minimum of 2500 points in places like New York City. 

Diamond

Started as a partner, now we here.

Diamond is the highest tier of the program with the highest point requirements. To become a diamond Uber Pro driver, you must earn at least 1000 points in places like Detroit and Orlando to 3500 points in places like New York City. 

Sounds like a lot of points, huh? That’s fine, you average about 100 trips a month, so in 10 months you can reach diamond status, right?

Wrong. While you can climb into a new tier by reaching a goal within a program period, points expire at the end of each program term, so your status is based only on what you earn in that 3 month period. Your end-of-program number of points will determine your status for the next program, and you will maintain that status as long as you keep your quality standards (star rating, acceptance & cancellation rates) in check. 

What type of Driver Rewards does Uber Pro Offer?

Racking up 3500 points is no easy feat, but some of the rewards Uber is offering are actually pretty compelling. Keep in mind that Uber has created this program to get drivers to do what they want them to do, and each of these rewards come at a price, so before you get too excited about these incentives, you need to think about what being Uber Pro eligible means for your driving strategy.

Cashback on Gas Card

Eligibility: All Uber Pro tiers

Any Uber driver won’t hesitate to tell you that gas is one of their largest expenses. So Uber is offering drivers in all tiers a Visa Debit Card that will give them 3.5% – 6.5% cashback on their gas purchases at select stations, dependant on their tier. 

What are drivers saying? 

Does this reward sound familiar to you? That’s because simply having an Uber Debit Card will actually net you a 3% cash reward from Exxon gas stations and 1.5% from all other gas stations. So basically this program will extend this.

“It’s a nice bonus, but doesn’t work out to anything huge.” Says Aaron J, a driver out of Chicago. “I don’t really notice a huge difference so it’s not really a game-changer for me.”

ASU Tuition Coverage

Eligibility: Gold, Platinum, or Diamond who have completed 3,000 lifetime Uber trips.

In a time where almost every recent college grad has some type of student loan, Uber is smart to try and offer tuition coverage. Yes, you read that right: tuition coverage for online courses at Arizona State University. 

Eligible drivers who’d like to take advantage of this benefit will need to submit an application to ASU and FAFSA, and be accepted to the school while maintaining their Uber Pro tier. Participants will be able to take courses working towards a bachelor degree (up to 135 credit hours) or continued education programs (up to $3000 in course expenses) and have the ability to transfer the reward benefit to a family member up to 2 times.

While tuition and course fees are covered, this type of income is still taxable and things like textbooks are not included. 

What are Drivers saying? 

This is a really cool bonus IF you were already thinking of going back to school. I imagine for the vast majority of Uber drivers this isn’t going to be that useful.

@wasnotwas says:

CarAdvise Maintenance & Repairs

Eligibility: All Uber Pro tiers, must have completed at least 25-lifetime trips and signed up for CarAdvise.

Hitting that 3,000 mile mark comes a lot quicker when you’re driving for Uber, and oil change fees can add up fast. Uber partnered with CarAdvise to offer drivers an average of 25% off select services at participating auto shops. And, once you make it to the diamond tier, you can unlock further CarAdvise rewards like free dent removal. 

What are drivers saying? 

We talked to a significant number of drivers about this reward and did not find anyone that really utilized it. Not to say it’s not valuable, but it may not provide a ton of savings.

Roadside Assistance

Eligibility: Gold, Platinum, or Diamond tier and signed up for urgent.ly. 

No one likes to break down, especially if you’re in the middle of a rideshare trip. Eligible drivers can now get roadside assistance included for free up to 4 times per year and towing services up to 25 miles.

What are drivers saying? 

Roadside assistance is always nice, but again, we could not find a driver that had a significant amount of experience using roadside assistance.

Airport Priority

Eligibility: Diamond tier drivers

On the surface, airport priority seems like an amazing benefit. I mean, not having to wait long in the airport queue would be amazing. However, it’s unclear how the benefit actually works. Some drivers are even confusing the airport priority with Uber’s rematch program, which allows drivers with quick rides from the airport to come back and pick up another passenger without the wait. While rematch is open to Uber drivers in general, it is only good for one return trip, then it’s back into the queue you go.

What are drivers saying? 

Drivers are a bit torn about this feature since it’s difficult to see the benefit. “I can’t really tell how much time it’s saving me”, says Jeff U from LA. “It could be helping but it’s not like I’m first in line every time.”

Trip Duration and Trip Detection

Eligibility: Gold, platinum, and diamond tier drivers who have maintained an acceptance rate of 85% for 30 days – participating cities only.

Drivers who have unlocked this reward are now able to see the details of a trip before accepting it. While this is great to understand, keep in mind that to maintain pro status, drivers must keep an acceptance rate of 85% or higher. Very sneaky, Uber – but at least you’ll be able to selectively turn down a few rides that aren’t worth your while.

What are drivers saying? 

For drivers, this is THE feature that we all want, so on the surface it’s a great reward. Drivers tend to speak pretty highly of this one.

Earnings Reward 

Eligibility: Platinum and diamond tiers – participating cities only.

Earning extra cash? Now we’re talking. The earnings reward allows drivers to earn extra money for completing flat fare trips. Platinum drivers will receive an extra 3% compensation while diamond drivers will receive an extra 6% compensation for completed trips.  

What are drivers saying? 

Is this nice? Of course, and every driver understands this. But is an extra bonus worth accepting almost all of the ride requests you get? Some drivers think so.

“I make a few extra bucks from quests, like $10 or so, but it’s nice,” says James in Atlanta. “Nothing game changing but a nice bonus.”

So… is Uber Pro worth it?

While each reward sounds great at the surface, keep in mind that this program is designed to benefit Uber more than the drivers. Increased acceptance rates and decreased cancellation rates are two areas they’re looking to improve, and the fact that drivers need to maintain specific rates for each to be an Uber Pro driver is a perfect example of this incentivization. 

So before you decide to go all in on Uber Pro, think long and hard about how that will change your driving strategy. If you naturally don’t maintain a low cancellation rate and high acceptance rate, then this might not be the program for you.

While some drivers seem excited about benefits like tuition reimbursement and airport priority, others think the program is turning drivers into ‘marching ants’ who must work ridiculous hours to maintain their status. 

One thought seems unanimous, though:

@LiveNLearn says:

Have you tried Uber Pro? Was it worth it? What did you like/dislike about the rewards system?  Let us know in the comments below!

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