Starting your gig as a rideshare driver is exciting. You get to set your own hours, make tips and get paid to drive your sweet ride. But did you know that you have the potential to make extra money just for being a new driver?
That’s right: Most rideshare apps offer new driver bonuses, often called a Lyft Sign Up Bonus or similar name for other rideshare companies. These are low-hanging fruit for drivers, and with amounts as high as they currently are, it doesn’t make sense not to claim one.
At the time of publication, new Lyft drivers have the chance to earn a cash bonus, and it’s easier than you might think. So how do you get this coveted sign up bonus? Read on to find out.
Here’s a quick summary of what we’ll cover:
- Claiming a Lyft sign up bonus
- Bonus amounts by city
- Bonus requirements
- Why it makes sense to claim one
- Why Lyft bonuses are better than Uber’s
- Frequently asked questions
How to Claim Your Lyft Sign Up Bonus
Assuming your city does offer a bonus (you can check here), you may be wondering how to claim it. Getting your bonus is easy, and you can do it in one of two ways.
The first method, which we recommend, is to sign up through a referral link. We suggest this method because it ensures that you will be eligible to receive your bonus, without the extra work of putting in a promo code (which can also be easy to mistype).
The second method is to enter a promo code when you complete your Lyft application. We recommend you use the promo code RIDESTERLYFT (affiliate link disclosure) but any code will work.
1. Follow Our Signup Link
If you’d like to help support our site, you can claim your Lyft sign up bonus using our promo code. We’d greatly appreciate you using ours, since running a website providing free information to drivers is expensive.
All you have to do is click this link, then proceed with the next steps in the application. Once clicked, the link will automatically apply the code to your account, and you’ll be eligible for the sign up bonus once you finish applying.
If the driver invite code was applied to your account properly, you’ll see the code “RIDESTERLYFT” in the url at the top of your browser window, as well as a bonus callout at the bottom of the page. Your screen should look like the image below.
If your screen looks like this after clicking the signup link, the bonus has been properly applied to your account.
2. Entering Code Manually
We’ll just walk you through the first few steps, as the Lyft application process is an entirely different post in itself.
First, enter your phone number, agree to the Terms of Service, then click “next”.”
Enter more basic information, including first and last name, email address, and the city you’ll drive in.
Now comes the important part. Manually entering the code that will make you eligible for a sign-up bonus.
Enter your Lyft driver referral code “RIDESTERLYFT” in the box labeled “Promo/Referral Code (optional)”.
Note: The box says “optional”, which means it’s not necessary to enter in order to complete the onboarding process. However, if you do not enter a Lyft driver promo code in this box during this step, you’ll miss out on an easy bonus during your first rides.
Lastly, you’ll select the options that apply to you in the next step, then click “BECOME A DRIVER”.
And that’s all there is to claiming a bonus!
Why You Should Claim Your Lyft Sign Up Bonus
If you’re going to commit to drive for Lyft anyway, it makes sense to claim your bonus. The goal of the bonus is to encourage drivers to be available as Lyft expands its operations to new cities. Like any other app, the success of Lyft depends on the network effect: The more people use Lyft, the more useful Lyft is.
By meeting Lyft’s requirements to claim the bonus, you’ll also gain valuable driver experience that will help you learn the ins and outs of Lyft, ultimately boosting your future earnings in the form of tips and improved ratings. Like any other job, experience is key to success.
Finally, if you’re claiming a bonus that comes from the referral of another driver or an educational website such as this one, then you’re helping to support the broader ridesharing community and ensure that services such as Lyft become more accessible and higher quality.
Lyft Sign Up Bonus Requirements
In order to receive the new driver bonus, you first need to get a current Lyft driver referral code. These are available from a variety of websites, as well as other drivers, or you may receive it in a promotional email. Lyft’s official website offers bonus amounts of $50, $100 and $200. All you have to do is be a new driver, put in the promo code when you sign up (in the “Promo/Referral” space of your application) and meet the ride requirements.
What requirements, exactly? This varies with the nature of the promotion, but for the official Lyft driver sign up bonuses, the requirements are as follows:
- $50 bonus: Give 20 rides in your first 30 days as a driver
- $100 bonus: Give 50 rides in your first 30 days as a driver
- $200 bonus: Give 100 rides in your first 30 days as a driver
Additionally, you must meet the following conditions:
- No more than two Lyft rides given to the same passenger count toward your ride requirements. This prevents you from gaming the system.
- You must pass the background check and vehicle inspection, and have your driver application approved within 30 days of submitting your application.
- You must enter the Lyft promo code for the relevant bonus when you sign up.
- You must give the required number of rides within the specified time frame.
As you can see, the new driver bonuses are structured in order to encourage new drivers to give as many rides as possible.
Please note that the conditions to receive the bonus will vary. The conditions we’ve outlined above apply to the official Lyft bonuses, but there are also custom referral bonuses you can receive using invite codes from sites like ours. In some cases, these bonuses can be even better than the ones offered on Lyft’s website — read on to find out why.
Get Your Lyft Sign Up Bonus
Lyft’s standard new driver bonus is a great perk, but you can potentially earn even more with our custom referral code here at Ridester. When you sign up to drive for Lyft using our link, you can receive a per-ride bonus. Unlike the Lyft driver bonuses we describe above, you don’t have to meet a minimum number of rides. Instead, you earn a bonus for each ride you give in your first 30 days, up to a set amount.
The precise amount depends on your region and city; the bonuses can often be higher in newer markets in order to increase the number of new drivers and the availability of rides.
Here’s a breakdown of the new driver sign up bonus for a variety of cities:
|Salt Lake City (SLC)||30d||$100||$100||100|
|Las Vegas (LAS)||30d||$250||$250||125|
|Orange County (OCX)||30d||$350||$350||200|
|San Bernardino (SBD)||30d||$350||$350||150|
|Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)||30d||$500||$500||175|
|San Antonio (SAT)||30d||$500||$500||175|
|New Orleans (MSY)||30d||$500||$500||175|
|New York City (NYC)||30d||$450||$450||150|
|San Diego (SAN)||30d||$450||$450||150|
|San Jose (SJC)||30d||$550||$550||200|
|Washington; D.C. (DCA)||30d||$1,000||$1,000||400|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||60d||$900||$900||400|
|San Francisco (SFO)||60d||$750||$750||525|
How Lyft Sign Up Bonus Amounts Are Determined
Generally, the amount of the Lyft sign-up bonuses is determined by one major factors: how badly they need new drivers in a given market. The higher the demand from passengers and the lower the total number of drivers they currently have – the more likely the bonus amount will be very attractive.
They want to have more drivers than they actually need in order to ensure passenger demand doesn’t lead to shortages of drivers, and long waits for cars. That causes prices for passengers to increase due to PRIMETIME pricing. PrimeTime pricing is Lyft’s version of Uber’s “surge”.
In contrast to Uber, Lyft wants to offer driver bonuses that will actually be an incentive to bring new drivers in. Uber seems more interested in offering incentives that appear attractive, but when you take a second look, you realize that in a lot of cases they’re actually no bonus at all.
Lyft Driver Bonuses Are Stated In Post-Commission Terms
Again, unlike Uber, Lyft states bonus amounts in post-commission terms. This means the amount you see is the amount you get. (Uber states their guarantees in pre-commission terms, meaning you will get about 25% less than what they state).
Why Lyft’s New-Driver Sign-Up Bonuses are Better than Uber’s
Let’s say Uber runs a new driver promotion where they are guaranteeing new drivers that they will make at least $200 on their first 50 trips in 30 days. Lyft correspondingly might say, you’ll get a $200 bonus if you complete 50 trips within 30 days.
So, what’s the difference? The difference is, if you complete the required number of trips with Uber, and you earned $199 in the normal course of driving – Uber will only pay you $1 extra – to meet their guaranteed minimum of $200.
If you complete the required 50 trips with Lyft (in our hypothetical scenario), and you made $199 – Lyft will pay you an additional $200 on top of that for a total of $399. So, Lyft’s offer is truly a bonus that will be paid on top of whatever you earned. You could earn more than the bonus amount with Lyft and they’ll still pay you the bonus. In this example, you could earn $400 from your first 50 trips and Lyft would still pay you the $200 on top of that for a total of $600 on your first 50 trips.
Uber’s new driver guarantee is merely a minimum amount that they guarantee you’ll earn when you complete the promotion.
Another big difference is that Lyft has shifted from an Uber-like system of only paying out after drivers meet all the requirements, to paying on a per-trip basis.
For instance, if Lyft is offering $200 for 50 trips, they are in essence offering $4 per trip up to a maximum of 50 trips. So, if you only drive 20 trips – they’ll still pay you $4 extra on each of those trips – netting you a total of $80. And they’ll pay you this immediately. You don’t have to wait until the 30 days has ended to get your bonus. You’ll get parts of it every day you drive. If you drive 15 trips in a day, they’ll pay you $60 that day, if you cash out using their Instant Pay program.
With Lyft’s new bonuses – you’ll always make something even if you don’t make the maximum possible. You’ll make something for each and every trip you take up to the maximum number of trips available in their offer. With Uber – you won’t make anything unless you complete all of the required number of trips.
However, with both companies, if you don’t complete the required number of trips within the required timeframe you won’t get anything. For instance, if you complete 49 trips instead of 50, you’ll get nothing extra.
In the case of Uber, you don’t get anything extra anyway. Uber simply guarantees that you’ll make a minimum after you drive the total number of required trips. Lyft on the other hand, will pay you the bonus for each and every trip you take – up to the maximum number allowed. This is money on top of whatever you already made on those trips. And the bonus money will be available to you immediately after completing each trip!
In those two respects the Lyft bonuses are definitely more generous than Uber’s.
In the screenshot above, Lyft clearly displays to drivers the requirements of and their progress in completing any and all bonus promotions they’re eligible for. In this case, for the Power Driver Bonus, drivers are required to accept at least 90% of the calls they get. You can see the driver above has accepted 100% so he’s doing great. They must give at least 10 Peak Rides, which means rides at designated hours that Lyft chooses. And in the above promotion drivers must complete at least 50 total rides. The driver in the screenshot has completed 16 so he still has a ways to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions new Lyft drivers have about the Lyft sign up bonus:
Does Lyft allow retroactive sign up bonuses?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. In order to claim your sign up bonus, you need to enter the promo code as part of your driver application. To avoid this issue, we recommend signing up using a referral link. When you sign up using this method, you’ll be automatically eligible to receive the bonus.
What are Lyft Driver Bonuses?
Lyft Driver Bonuses are a way to ensure that drivers make a premium on each of their first certain number of trips. Lyft will tell you how many trips it is available on for your city.
If drivers meet all the requirements listed for the bonus, Lyft will pay the bonus as stated.
The best way to think about bonuses is that Lyft wants to get you started off on the right foot. They want your first 30 or 50 or 100 trips to be enjoyable and they want you to feel confident that the amount you earn will make it worth your time.
Is the Lyft Bonus Amount in Addition to What I Earn on the Trips?
Yes. And this is where Lyft really differs from Uber and does a much better job for its drivers. If you met all requirements of the Bonus program, you drove as many of the allowed trips as you could within the required allotment of time, Lyft will pay you a pro-rated amount for each trip that you drove. So, if they’re offering a $500 bonus for up to 100 trips, that means they’ll pay you $5 extra per trip on top of whatever you earned on the trip itself.
If you’re only able to drive 20 trips, they’ll still pay you $100. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t drive the full 100 trips. But, obviously if you do drive the full 100 trips, then you’ll get the full bonus of $500 in addition to whatever you made on the trips themselves.
Will Lyft Pay me the Bonus Amount Per Trip?
Yes. That’s exactly how Lyft’s bonuses work – in contrast to Uber’s guarantees. Lyft will pay you the bonus amount for every trip you drive – up to the maximum number of trips allowed in their bonus promotion in your city. As long as you drive those trips within the timeframe they specified (15 days, 30 days, 60 days or whatever number of days they tell you).
When will I receive my bonus?
Lyft states, “Bonuses for qualifying applicants are paid 1-2 weeks after promotion ends.” In general, this means that you’ll receive the bonus around a month and half after you signed up to drive, since most promotions require you to give a certain number of rides within the first 30 days of signing up.
How will I receive my bonus?
Assuming you meet the requirements, the bonus will be paid within the Lyft app and available for withdrawal just like any other payment you receive for giving Lyft rides.
How do I know if I’ve qualified for the bonus?
Once you sign up and Lyft has approved your application, you will receive an email stating the amount of the bonus, the ride requirements you must meet to receive it, and the deadline by which you must meet the ride requirements.
Can I receive a partial bonus?
You may be familiar with Uber’s sign up bonus program, where drivers receive a guaranteed “amount per trip” provided they give a certain number of rides within a set amount of time. This policy is meant to provide drivers with a more stable income and encourage them to stick around.
Provided that you use a third party sign-up link such as ours, the Lyft program is similar. You receive a flat bonus per ride given in the first 30 days, up to a set amount. The precise amounts vary, but this program is far better than the referral you’ll receive if you go through Lyft’s website, which are flat amounts for a given number of rides.
Start Your Lyft Driver Journey Today
We hope you now have a better understanding of the value of signing up to drive for Lyft using a referral link, as well as how to claim your new driver bonus. To learn more about driving for Lyft, we recommend checking out the following guides:
- Your Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming a Lyft Driver
- Your Complete Guide to the Lyft Background Check Process
Happy and safe driving!