Uber Pro – Uber’s Best Rewards Program Ever!

Finally!  Some good news for Uber drivers that looks like, really good news!

This is a first for me.  I’ve been writing about Uber for nearly five years now and this is one of the first times I’ve been able to write something positive and really feel good about it.

Uber has just announced that they are testing a new program in eight U.S. cities that has some benefits that will actually really help drivers.

This is What 180 of Change Should Have Always Been About

Uber says their “mission is to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.”  But this has not always meant igniting opportunities for drivers.  They may move the world but it has always been at the driver’s expense.

But now Uber says they are continuing the commitment that began with 180 Days of Change with a new benefits package they call Uber Pro.  And at long last it seems they have realized the need to reward the contributions of their most dedicated, hard-working and most highly rated drivers.

When I started with Uber five years ago the first year was pretty decent.  After that though, they began slashing rates and flooding the streets with way more drivers than seemed necessary.  I remember one particular day when I got really fed up and banged my hand on the dashboard exclaiming, “Why don’t they pay their best drivers a little more?”

What prompted that outburst was an email I had received the day before congratulating me on being in the Top 1% of drivers in New York based on my passenger rating.  The next day, when I went out to drive, however, that nice recognition didn’t go far as I sat for a whole hour after my last drop off waiting for another trip.  Forget the email congratulations.  We didn’t need that.  We needed more money.  We needed more trips.

That whole hour was wasted.  I made less than $0 because I was still driving around, consuming gas and incurring other car expenses, in a vain attempt to get another trip.

Many days I had hours like that and I just didn’t understand, if they really wanted us to put our hearts into it and give them our best, why in the world weren’t they rewarding those of us who were doing an outstanding job?

No other company would treat their best workers that way.  Most companies were smart enough to know that in order to keep their best workers they had to reward them in meaningful ways.  But in those early days Uber seemed completely oblivious to that fact of life.

uberOPPORTUNITY!

Well, finally Uber has seen the light and has created a program that has some real tangible benefits for drivers.  In announcing Uber Pro, Uber said, “Millions of people drive with Uber across the globe. They drive for different reasons and come from different walks of life: entrepreneurs, parents, immigrants, students. Some drive to earn on the side, while others drive to support their families, their ambitions, or both.”

And they have developed a genuinely solid program that will do just that – help people from all walks of life.  If you’re an immigrant, they have a lot of things that can help you.  If you’re young and trying to get ahead and want to further your education, they have a completely free college-degree program you can take advantage of!  And for immigrants, this program has English classes where you can improve your English no matter what level you’re starting at. If you’re older, as many drivers are, and don’t need or want a college degree, the free degree program is transferable to any of your relatives or dependents.  Imagine driving for Uber and being able to give your son or daughter a free college education!

Uber says, “Drivers have also told us they take tremendous pride in the work they do and the service they provide, because they know that in many ways their riders – and families – are depending on them. But we’ve also heard that they would like to be recognized for their commitment to quality service – and to Uber – by helping them build toward the future.”

And they have in fact, come up with a program that looks like it really could help drivers build toward the future.

Uber Pro Points Program

With the points program, drivers can “unlock rewards like higher earnings and savings” to help them make more every day.  And to help lessen some of the stresses drivers are always under.

Some of these rewards are a throwback to the Uber rewards programs of the past where they would make a big announcement about a new rewards scheme, but the rewards added up to no more than a few nickels and dimes here and there.  They still have those small rewards, but they also have some really nice ones – that will especially benefit full-time drivers.  In the end, these new rewards could add up to enough that it really will remove some of the stresses and strains drivers are under.One reward will give drivers up to 25% off on standard maintenance at 20,000 auto shops nationwide.  However, the key words here are “up to”.  You might read this and think, 25% off sounds great!  And it does.  But, remember when a company says “up to 25%” it usually means only a small handful of people at the top will reach the 25% level.  We have not yet seen the fine print so we can’t really evaluate the usefulness of this reward yet.

There is another gas reward, which looks pretty much like the old one.  They’re giving drivers up to 5% off cash back at any gas station for drivers s use the Uber Visa Debit Card.  However, “up to” probably means most drivers will get one or two percent off.  Even the 5% off will be hardly noticeable.  And who knows how many long hours and hundreds of trips you might have to put in to get the full 5% off.

Reward Levels

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 including: Partner, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.

Partner Rewards

  • These are for everyone, regardless of whether or not they’ve achieved any higher levels;
  • 5% cash back on gas at all gas stations;
  • 3% cash back on gas at Exxon and Mobil stations. However, since these are two of the most expensive refueling spots in the nation, you’ll still do better just by going to less expensive stations;
  • Discounts on car maintenance;
  • Consecutive trip promotions

Gold Rewards

  • 3% cash back on gas at all gas stations when using Uber’s Visa debit card;
  • 5% cash back at Exxon and Mobil;
  • Discounts on car maintenance
  • Consecutive trip promotions
  • Recognition in the rider’s app
  • Better Quest promotions
  • See trip duration when it’s a long trip and the direction the passenger is going in
  • Priority support
  • Free 24/7 roadside assistance

Platinum Rewards

  • Earn 3% more on time and distance rates!
  • 4% cash back on gas at all gas stations when using Uber’s Visa debit card;
  • 5.5% cash back at Exxon and Mobil;
  • Discounts on car maintenance
  • Consecutive trip promotions
  • Recognition in the rider’s app
  • Better Quest promotions
  • See trip duration and direction on all trips
  • Priority support
  • Free 24/7 roadside assistance
  • 100% college tuition coverage (with Arizona State University’s online program)

Diamond Rewards

  • Earn 6% extra on time and distance rates!
  • 5% cash back on gas at all gas stations when using Uber’s Visa debit card;
  • 6.5% cash back at Exxon and Mobil;
  • Discounts on car maintenance
  • Consecutive trip promotions
  • Recognition in the rider’s app
  • Better Quest promotions
  • See trip duration and direction on all trips
  • Priority support
  • Free 24/7 roadside assistance
  • 100% college tuition coverage (with Arizona State University’s online program)
  • Faster pickups at airports!
  • Free dent repair!

We’re delighted to see some really decent rewards here.  We’ve highlighted the ones we think are especially awesome in bold.  As far as day-to-day earnings go, the faster pickups at airports on the Diamond level is a huge benefit.

In addition to earning 6% extra on time and distance rates with the Diamond level, you’ll also get faster airport pickups and that could add up to a lot of extra earnings.  Imagine being able to swing into the airport and get a pickup within just a few minutes.  And to know it’s guaranteed – removing all the doubt about wait times that drivers suffer through now. And 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 hours 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!  That’s a really powerful perk!  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 though with a free education is that people may not fully appreciate its value.  And since it’s online instead of in-person, they may not have the persistence to follow through with it and complete the degree.  But if you have the drive and desire, Uber is going to make it very easy for you.

We see this perk as especially awesome for immigrants who want to integrate and work their way up out of low-skill jobs.  And we see it great for all the retired drivers who may have family members it would be a huge benefit to that they could transfer this reward to.

We love the free dent repair reward as well.  If you drive enough, you will eventually get a few dents on your car.  And there’s nothing more annoying than having little dents and dings that cost a fortune to repair.  Most drivers can’t afford to fix them so they resign themselves to driving around in a less-than-pristine vehicle.  With free dent repair – you’ll be able to get all those fixed up!

How it Works

To get rewards, drivers will need to maintain at least a 4.85-star rating and have a cancellation rate of just 4%.  (That means don’t cancel)!  You’ll earn points on every trip during “fixed 3-month periods”.  The points you earn in one period will go toward unlocking status and more rewards in the next three months.

Uber Pro is designed to recognize drivers’ commitment and high-quality service. To unlock rewards, drivers need to maintain at least a 4.85-star rating and a low cancellation rate. Drivers earn points on every trip during fixed 3-month periods, and the points they earn in one period go toward unlocking status (and more rewards) in the next.

Eligible drivers can learn about Uber Pro, see available rewards, and track progress toward their goals directly in the rewards section of the redesigned Driver App. While the Beta is live in 8 US cities to start, we plan to refine and improve Uber Pro together with drivers, with the goal of rolling it out to more people in the months ahead.

You earn rewards by meeting the star-rating and cancellation requirement and by collecting the right number of points over a 3-month period.  You earn 3 points for each trip you take.  We’re not sure yet, if you’ll earn an additional 3 points on Uber Pool rides when another passenger is picked up.

To win Gold status you need 300-600 points.  For platinum you’ll need 600-1,200 points and for diamond you’ll need 1,200 to 1,800 points.

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 you say you take two days off each week and drive the other five.  That’s approximately 25 days off and 65 days on.  To reach Diamond status, then, you’ll need to earn 1,200 points in 65 days of driving.

1,200 points converts into 400 trips which comes to just over 6 trips per day.  That is totally doable!  Uber says this will work best with drivers who put in 30 hours a week and it looks like they’re just about right.  On a busy day you can usually do about two trips an hour so 6 trips would only take 3 hours.  And you can see that you could easily work longer and get in a lot more than 6 trips per day.

Right now they’re rolling out the program on a test basis.  It is currently available to the following:

  • 100% of drivers in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans and Phoenix.
  • 50% of drivers in Denver, New Jersey, Orlando and Tampa

Our Take

Unlike Uber’s promotions of the past, that have impossible requirements for very little reward, this one actually has easy requirements with great rewards!  So, we say you should take advantage of it if you can.

The only thing we’d like to see and are a bit mystified as to why it’s not part of this program, is a health insurance benefit.  How about offering health coverage to drivers who don’t have any need or desire to take advantage of the college degree program?  Hopefully they’ll get to that on the next round.