Why are Lyft (and Uber) referral credits so weird plus the fight for new riders and drivers!

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lyft 50 percent off in la

Uber is the 500 pound gorilla. You think of ride sharing and most people think Uber. As an SPG user you think of Uber. There are lots of other startups and regional competitors coming online. Even smart taxi companies are trying their own apps to compete and join the 21st century (about time). But you also have the pluckey rival to Uber, that is, Lyft.

I find a great number of Lyft drivers also drive for Uber and there is nothing stopping them from doing so and both companies offer some kind of bonus for new drivers. I tend to use Uber over Lyft for a bunch of reasons. They are:

  • Uber referral credits do not expire in 30 days!
  • Uber is in many more markets than Lyft.
  • I like the Uber app much more.
  • Uber is, well, not Lyft 🙂

Now that is not to say I will not use Lyft. I used them exclusively in LA on my recent trip because, hello, they were offering 50% on each ride (LOL about 1000 rides max)! They have done similar promotions in other cities and it really is worth firing up the app when you land in any city just to see what is going on with them wherever you happen to be. But,

old uber credit for dave

My friend Dave, better known as Texas Yankee, had never taken a Lyft ride. So, he signed up with my link and he also, once registered, got the 50% off notice for LA rides. With Uber I get notice instantly when someone has used my referral link. I was expecting the same with Lyft, but Dave’s came in a few days later. Rats! I wanted to use that one on the way to the airport the next day. Ah well, I now have to find a place to use the credit before it expires in 30 days (most of my Lyft credits expire before I can ever use them, sad to say)!

uber referral credit from rene

But even with Uber there is another complaint about their referral credits. “Back in the day”, when Uber started up, you got “cash type” credits. That is, say you got $20 and only used $10. Then you would have $10 for the next ride. Now, like Lyft, you take a ride the entire credit is gone for that one trip no matter what the price (unless it is more then you pay the difference).

The one thing I really like about Lyft, that I so wish Uber would add, is built in tipping in the app. I do tip most times I use Lyft and have never had a bad ride. I like not having to get a few bucks out and hand them to a driver. Heck, most times, I just don’t use cash and I want to get points for anything I spend anyway (don’t you?)!

I guess in the grand plan of things none of this really matters. I love ride sharing and it is SO much better than any taxi to me. I really dislike all taxis and avoid them at just about all costs. I am happy to use any ride share app that offers me safety, value and good service. Both Uber and Lyft do that for me! – Rene


  1. The one biggie for me, Uber over Lyft… with Uber, you can easily get an estimate for the ride WITHIN the app; with Lyft, you have to go outside the app to find an estimate.

  2. I would love to try one of these ride sharing deals, but I just can’t get past how unfair it is to the taxi drivers who have often saved for many years for the license/medallion/etc. and are so heavily regulated. I think if ride sharing puts taxi services out of business, we’re going to pay a very heavy price–literally and figuratively. Letting a driver choose whether or not to pick someone up (time, location, wheelchair, etc. factoring in) is a very slippery slope, as we are starting to see as the dirty under-belly of uber is being revealed.

  3. Uber has more cars than Lyft and another thing I prefer Uber is that when I tried to buy $25 gift cards apply to my account, Uber will combine the credits and Lyft leaves them individualized. So if you take a Lyft ride that cost $$35, and you have applied 2 $25 gift card to you account, Lyft will charge you $10 and apply a single $25 gift card where Uber will just $35 from your ride credits since they combined them. This work great when using Arrival points to purchase ride credits on Uber but not on Lyft.

  4. I’m still new to uber. I’ve never tipped because I thought that no tipping was part of the premise. I always leave a couple of dollars each day for housekeeping, for instance, so it’s not a matter of being cheap. Is tipping your uber driver the norm?

  5. I only know what I do, I can’t keep track and I’m too old anymore to care what the rest of the world does eg re “the norm”. I do not tip Uber drivers unless something extraordinary occurs.

    In DC the price difference between Uber and Lyft is rather significant, which makes Uber normally a no-brainer. Course when Uber goes crazy with their surge pricing, suddenly the good ole “taxi” becomes a no-brainer…

  6. Use Uber all the time and had never used Lyft until a week ago when I landed at MSP and they do not allow Uber X to pick up at the airport. Thus, I used the Lyft app and got a driver in less than 5 minutes. Problem is that during the entire trip the driver (who also drives for Uber) was complaining about Uber and how they explore them, how they take most of their money, how they do not treat them fairly, bla bla bla.. I was at a point to start a discussion with him but thought it was not worth my time. It amazes me how people complain about something they are not forced to do. You don’t like Uber, just do not work for them. Oh, and when we were very close to my destination he started to say that while Uber does not allow passengers to give tips Lyft allows that and you can do in the app. Unbelievable!!!

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