Uber Will No Longer Pay Passenger Referral Bonuses

An important part of treating your rideshare work as a business is diversifying your income. Passenger and driver referrals have always been a great way to add extra cash to your rideshare income, but a recent change by Uber has removed one of our options for earning extra cash.

Mark, the Youtube creator of Uber Hints, made a video announcing a big change to the referral program that all drivers should be aware of. Take a look at Mark’s video, and scroll to the video transcript below to see all of the points he covers.

Uber no longer wants to pay you for referring riders

Hi everybody, Mark here from UberHints. Did you get the same email I did? Uber just announced they are no longer going to pay cash referrals for referring riders, which means one of those steady streams of income that we used to get would be eliminated.

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If you followed any of my videos and my advice, passing out some of those cards that had the rider referral number on it with your referral code would get that extra money. No more. What Uber said they’re going to do instead is give you ride credits, which means that you can still refer people, but instead of getting money for doing so, what you’re going to get is credit on a future ride with Uber if you want to take a ride with Uber.

Passenger referrals are now paid in ride credits instead of cash

Now, I don’t know how many of you ride with Uber. For me, it’s not that big a deal. I take occasional rides. But I wonder are those credits going to expire? How many credits are they going to be? Is it going to balance out getting cash? I’m guessing most of you do this for cash. Now, most of you looked forward to that extra little bonus when you referred somebody, and you could get cash.

Is this change good or bad for drivers?

Now, granted they are letting us know in advance, but there’s something fishy about this. Think about it. I mean it’s a win-win for them. On the front end they’re not paying us cash any longer, and on the back end who is paying for the referral? We are because we’re the ones providing the ride.

Now, I know we’re getting paid for the ride, but you’re getting paid at a percentage rate. They’re still giving the same free ride or the first ride for $15, whatever it is in your market. That is still consistent. But they’re no longer paying cash. So on the back end of that deal, it’s the same thing.

Let’s say the cash bonus is worth $10. I think it was $5, the referral. Let’s say you get $5 for referring a rider. Now instead you get $5 credit for the ride. You know that as drivers, Uber takes a chunk of that $5, so are we really getting the same value? What if I want to spend that $5 on something else other than an Uber ride? I can’t do that any longer.

A theory on why Uber is eliminating cash referrals now

The other thing I wonder about is why now? They want to go public, right? So what they’re trying to do is keep as much cash in the coffers as they possibly can. I’m not sure that I thoroughly analyzed this enough yet to really figure out what the end game is other than they’re trying to have less cash outflow. The easiest way to do that is do a barter, do trading, and the barter is going to be drivers will give you a free ride. Once again, who is it affecting? It’s affecting drivers.

Now, this came to my driver account. Now, it came to me and it said, “You can still refer good drivers like yourself and we’ll still offer a cash bonus to finding good drivers like yourself,” but what’s the cash bonus going to be? Because we’ve seen those cash bonuses getting pared back. I wonder is this the same deal now for riders. I have not yet gotten this on my rider app, so I don’t know if they’re going to say riders now can only get a free ride out of this. Because it used to be as a rider I could refer to someone and get that five bucks or 10 bucks or whatever it was as well.

What are your thoughts on this strange turn of events? Why do you think that Uber all of a sudden decided to stop paying a cash bonus and are giving a credit bonus instead, a barter system bonus? Do you think the timing is relevant? And what impact do you think this is going to have on us? If you’ve never gotten a lot of referrals anyway, you’re going to say, “Ah, I’m in different to it. It doesn’t really matter.” But in the big picture, what do you think the impact is? Why do you think Uber’s doing it? I’d like to hear from you. As always, I’d like you to leave your comments on the video. Please share and like the videos. If you haven’t already, please subscribe. I’m Mark with UberHints.

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