You never know what you’ll get when you open up the Instacart app for a day of shopping.
Earnings for shoppers can vary wildly: You might earn $1,000 one week, only to strike out the next week with a string of low-paid batches.
One way to boost your earnings—or at least level them out—is to take advantage of earnings promotions from Instacart.
You might see a guaranteed earnings offer or a bonus after each batch.
Shoppers love promotions when they’re good, but get frustrated when they are inconsistent or hard to achieve:
“I got that $90 for 5 batches promotion🔥. What kind of promotions do you guys get?”
“Does anyone else never get guaranteed earnings promotions?”
“I need 3 more batches to complete this stupid promotion. I’ve been waiting for THREE hours. Nothing.”
“Does anyone else see a significantly less amount of orders when you have a promo available?”
Great promotions can make or break your week, so read on to learn more about how promotions work, and how to get more.
How earnings promotions work for Instacart shoppers
There are 3 types of earnings promotions that shoppers can get: Guaranteed earnings, a bonus for completing batches, and a referral bonus.
You can find promotions in the earnings area of the app, and Instacart will also send emails and text messages about upcoming promotions.
Different shoppers in the same region can get different promotions. Instacart doesn’t say exactly how they determine which shopper gets which promotion. So you have to wait around and hope they come your way.
The shopper app will track your progress on the home screen when you are working toward a promotion.
How to find which promotions are available to you
In the Shopper app, tap on the $ in the bottom menu, then scroll to find Promotions at the bottom of the page. That’s where you’ll find current and past promotions.
Instacart may also send you a text message or email about upcoming promotions.
Guaranteed earnings promotions guarantee that you will earn a guaranteed minimum amount by completing a number of batches within a period of time.
If your batch earnings don’t meet the guaranteed minimum, Instacart will send you a bonus to make up the difference. Tip earnings do not count ward the guaranteed earnings amount, only batch earnings and Peak Boosts.
An example guarantee: “Earn $90 by completing 5 batches on 2/8”
From the example above, if you completed 5 batches on 2/8 and your batch earnings from Instacart were $60, you would receive a $30 bonus so that your total earnings reach the $90 guarantee.
You don’t receive any extra promotional money if you earn more than the guarantee.
Another rule is that double and triple batches don’t count as multiple batches for earnings guarantees. If you need to do 5 batches for a guarantee, a double batch only counts as 1 batch toward the guarantee, not 2.
The Shopper app will track your progress toward the guaranteed earnings reward, and you will get a notification when you successfully complete it.
The notification will let you know how much you earned from the batch pay and how much you received as a ‘top up’ to meet the guaranteed earnings amount.
Here’s how it looks when Instacart gives you a bonus for an earnings guarantee.
The shopper below took a $450 guarantee for 30 batches. Their batch earnings were $230.74, so they got a $219.26 top up to match the $450 guarantee.
In the photo below, the shopper was on a $190 guarantee. Their batch earnings were only $68.05, so Instacart sent a $121.95 bonus to meet the $190 guarantee.
Here’s an example of a great guaranteed earnings promotion. $120 for 6 batches means you’ll get at least $20 for each batch, which is quite a bit higher than normal batch pay.
Here’s a not-s0-great promotion. $30 for 3 batches is only $10 per batch. That’s barely above base pay, which is around $7.
Extra bonus for completing batches
This bonus is more self explanatory: Instacart pays you a flat bonus for completing a certain number of batches.
For example, “Complete 7 batches, get $50 extra,” or “Complete 6 batches, get $16 extra.“
Sometimes Instacart will offer a bonus for each batch completed during a short time frame. Example: “Earn $5 extra per batch between 10 am and 3 pm”
These bonuses are typically less common than guaranteed earnings promotions.
One smart way to evaluate these promotions is to divide the bonus by the number of batches to see how much additional pay you will get for each batch.
$50/7 batches is an extra $7.14 per batch. That’s a solid bonus that is worth chasing.
$16/6 batches is only an extra $2.66 per batch. You might not want to go out of your way for that.
Referral bonus for inviting new shoppers
Instacart will pay you a referral bonus if you refer a friend to the app using your invite code.
An example: “Make $300 when your referral signs up as a Full Service Shopper and completes 30 batches in their first 30 days.”
To invite a friend, go to the earnings area ($) of the app and tap on the “Invite friends, make up to $x” section. You can copy your code and manually send it to your referral, or use the Share Invite feature for more sharing options.
You and your referral must comply with several rules to earn the bonus. Your shopper account must be in good standing, and you need to have completed at least 40 hours of active work on Instacart in the last 6 months.
Your referral must complete the bonus requirements within the time frame stated on the invitation, and they must complete the batches in the region that they signed up in.
If you know someone interested in shopping, this can be easy money.
It’s best to treat promotions as a surprise extra on top of what you ordinarily earn. You might end up worse off if you specifically craft your strategy around gaming promotions.
Let’s say you’re on a guaranteed earnings promotion, so you intentionally take smaller, lower-paying batches to quickly do the required number of batches without having to do as much work.
That might work out, but if you can’t complete the promotion, you’ll earn less than if you had just done your batches as usual.
But if it’s the end of the day and you only have one batch to go on your promotion, it’s smarter to take any batch you can get so that you don’t miss out.
Do the math to determine whether the bonus is worth it. An extra dollar or two per batch may not be worth chasing if it forces you to change your shopping strategy significantly.
Is there a way to get more promotions?
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything shoppers can actively do to get more promotions. Instacart doesn’t share exactly how they decide to offer promotions, and different shoppers in the same area can get different promotions.
The promotions you get may be determined by the number of batches you’ve done recently, or it could be completely random.
Because there’s no way for you to know how to get more promotions, it’s better to shop as you normally do and hope that promotions come your way.
Why aren’t you getting any batches while you’re on a promotion?
Some shoppers notice that the availability of new batches seems to slow down when you’re on a promotion. Is Instacart throttling batches just to avoid paying you a bonus?
The more likely answer is that other shoppers nearby are also going for a similar promotion, resulting in too many shoppers online and not enough batches to go around.
You have to remember that Instacart doesn’t offer promotions just because they feel like paying shoppers more money. Promotions are designed to get shoppers to go online when there is high order demand.
If too many shoppers go online or the increased demand doesn’t happen, you may have a slow day and miss the promotion.
Instacart didn’t pay your bonus? What to do
If you didn’t receive a payout and you believe you should have, contact Instacart shopper support. The Help section of the app will link you to chat with Instacart Care, where you can describe your issue.
Generally, the Instacart system accurately tracks your promotions, so it’s unusual not to be paid for one. You may need to support your case with screenshots and additional written details.
More for Instacart Shoppers
- The Highs (and Lows) of Instacart Pay
- Are Double and Triple Batches Worth it?
- Multiple Store Batches: 2 Stores, One Batch
- Is the Instacart Rating System Fair? How it Works
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