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Finally, some good news for Uber drivers.
This is a first for me. I’ve been writing about Uber for nearly five years and this is one of the first times I’ve been able to write something positive regarding Uber announcements 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: Uber Pro.
Uber Pro is a new rewards program (still in “Beta”) 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 benefits:
Sounds pretty great, right? But there is a small catch, Uber drivers need to earn this rewards through a points program. In order to reap all of the benefits, you’ll need to earn enough points to reach the “Diamond” tier. We’ll get more into the points section in a little bit.
And there’s one other catch, since Uber Pro is still in beta testing, it is only available in select cities.
- Introduction to Uber Pro
- Uber Pro Points System
- Uber Pro Rewards
- Free College Tuition
- Why Uber Pro is Neccessary
Introducing Uber Pro
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. 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 aren’t interested in 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!
“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.
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!
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. Here are the basic reward levels:
- Gold Rewards (600 points)
- Platinum Rewards (1,200 points)
- Diamond Rewards (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.
Uber says this will work best with drivers who put in 30 hours a week. On a busy day, you can usually do about two trips an hour so 9 trips would only take 4.5 hours. And you can see that you could easily work longer and get in a lot more than 9 trips per day.
Here is a chart showing dedicated 3-point hour times:
As you can see, you will need to complete a lot of trips to take advantage of the higher reward tiers, but if you’re a full-time Uber driver, this is definitely worth it.
Uber Pro 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. Here are how many points you need to reach each tier:
All Participating Cities: active driver partners invited to join the Program who do not meet requirements for Gold, Platinum or Diamond Tiers are placed into the Partner Tier.
Seattle, Chicago: 600 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period) New Orleans, Phoenix, Denver, entire state of New Jersey, Orlando, Tampa: 300 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period)
Seattle, Chicago: 1,200 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period) New Orleans, Phoenix, Denver, entire state of New Jersey, Orlando, Tampa: 600 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period)
Seattle, Chicago: 1,800 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period) New Orleans, Phoenix, Denver, entire state of New Jersey, Orlando, Tampa: 1,200 Points or more (in the applicable Program Period)
And here is what each reward tier gets you:
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.
Free College Tuition
Probably the most eye-opening reward 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 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!
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. And since it’s online instead of in-person, they may not have the persistence to follow through with it and complete the degree. ut 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!
Why Uber Pro is Necessary
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 highly rated drivers.
When I started with Uber five years ago, the first year was pretty decent. But after that, they began slashing rates and flooding the streets with more drivers than 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 my outburst was an email I 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, that nice recognition didn’t go far as I sat for a whole hour waiting for another trip.
Forget the email congratulations. We don’t need that. We need more money. We need more trips.
That whole hour was wasted. I made less than $0 because I was still driving around, consuming gas and incurring expenses, in a vain attempt to get another trip.
I just didn’t understand, if Uber really wants us to put our hearts into it 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 that way. Most companies are smart enough to know that in order to keep their best workers, they have to reward them. But in those early days, Uber seemed completely oblivious.
Unlike Uber’s promotions of the past, that have impossible requirements for very little reward, this one actually has easy requirements with great rewards!
We say you should take advantage of it if you can.
The only thing we’d like to see are health insurance benefits. 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.
Jonathan Cousar began driving for Uber in 2013 when the ride-hail company first began operations in New York City. He has booked more than 7,000 trips. In 2014 he created Uber Driver Diaries, which was the first blog by an Uber driver describing the highs and lows of driving as well as offering tips and tricks and information on the industry as a whole. In 2016 Ridester acquired the site, and Jonathan began writing full-time about the rideshare industry and the gig economy. He has also done extensive research into driver issues related to pay and working conditions.