For Uber and Uber Eats drivers, Quest, Boost, and Surge bonuses can help your earnings climb into the upper tier—$25+ per hour.
But without bonus promotions, a day out driving for Uber & Uber Eats might not be as profitable as it can be.
Targeting promotions is an important strategy to maximize your earnings, so read on to learn how the Uber bonuses work and what you can do to get more.
How to see the promotions that are available to you
There are several ways to find promotions in the Uber driver app: In the Opportunities menu, the Earnings area, the home screen of the app, and your messages inbox.
The best way to see every available promotions is in Opportunities. Tap Menu (☰) > Opportunities, then tap different days of the week to see promotions available on future days.
Not getting promotions on Uber? Here’s why
Why do some Uber drivers get promotions when others don’t? Promotions are created dynamically, and they depend on the city, the week, and the individual driver.
If you aren’t getting any promotions, the most likely reason is that Uber doesn’t need to incentivize more drivers to get out on the road.
Uber doesn’t say precisely how the promotions system works, only that they are deployed based on predicted supply and demand.
In other words, Uber offers promotions if they anticipate a spike in order demand or a drop in driver supply.
It makes sense that Uber uses promotions to incentivize drivers to get on the road, but nobody knows why two drivers in the same city or area get different promotions.
Your driving history may determine whether you get a promotion or not, but for now, all we know for a fact is that promotions are mainly based on broader market forces.
There is one typical theory: Many drivers believe they received more promotions when they first started driving or after returning from a long period of not driving.
How can you get more promotions?
Currently, there is no reliable way to guarantee that you will get more promotions. Check the app regularly and turn on all notifications so you don’t miss any opportunities.
Promotions are more common in larger, busier cities. So if you’re in a smaller city, don’t be surprised if you don’t see many opportunities.
Quest: Bonus for reaching rides or delivery goals
Quest is a bonus for reaching ride & delivery goals within a period of time. An example of a Quest: “Earn $8 extra by completing 4 deliveries between 5 and 9 PM.”
Uber adds the bonus to your earnings after you complete the required number of deliveries within the time period.
You can see available Quests and track the progress of your existing Quests by going to the Promotions area of the driver app.
Trips do not have to be consecutive to count toward a Quest, so you can decline or cancel rides and still complete a Quest. That distinguishes Quests from streak promotions, which require you to accept every request.
Sometimes you will see a long list of Quests in the app: “$2 extra for completing 1 trip. $4 by completing 2 trips. $6 by completing 3 trips.”
These Quests are not additive. If you complete 3 trips, you won’t receive $2+$4+$6. You will only receive $6.
Quests can be big or small. Sometimes they are for a few dollars to do a handful of orders. Other times, a Quest could be for hundreds of dollars to complete hundreds of trips.
If multiple Quests are available, you can select which Quest you want to work toward.
In the example below, Uber offers two large Quest options to choose between.
Here’s an example of a really strong Quest. $30 for completing 13 trips is a $10 bonus per ride. These are rare!
Here’s another unusually generous Quest. $100 for 5 rides, and $150 for 10. That’s more than a $16 bonus for each ride.
But not all Quests are worth taking. The Quest below is an example of a bad Quest—a $10 bonus for 50 trips. That’s only $0.20 extra per trip! Drivers are not going to go out of their way to do this.
Some Quests can look impossible to complete. Quests are generated algorithmically, and sometimes the system makes mistakes.
In the Quest below, Uber offers $64 extra for completing 16 trips in 3 hours. Experienced drivers know that 16 trips in 3 hours is nearly impossible.
Read closely to make sure that a Quest is actually doable!
Boost: A multiplier added to orders
Boost is an earnings multiplier added to orders that begin and end within a designated area on the map. Boost payouts are included in the up-front payout estimate you see before accepting an order.
For deliveries, the multiplier is added to the base fare of an order, not the trip supplement or tips. For rides, the multiplier is added to the trip fare.
Check the home screen of the Uber driver app to see Boost zones, or look for Boost in the Promotions menu.
Boost is an automatic promotion, so you don’t have to opt into it or accept it in the Promotions area of the app.
Below is an example of what Boost looks like on the driver map. Notice the outlines designating the areas where the multiplier is in effect. It also happens to be an example of an unusually big Boost, up to 2.8x
Below is what Boost looks like when it is listed in the Promotions area of the app. 1.4x is good, but 1.1x might not be worth going out of your way.
Boost+: A bonus for each trip during
Boost Plus is a promotion that pays a bonus for each trip completed in an area during a specific time. Boost+ is offered directly to individual drivers, and you must sign up for the Boost+ offer in the driver app to be eligible.
The significant difference between Boost and Boost+ is that you have to sign up for Boost+, and regular Boost is applied automatically if you’re in the correct area.
Example of a Boost+ promotion: “$3.50 on every trip between 6 pm and 7 pm on July 1st in Los Angeles”
Boost+ will appear on the home screen and in the Opportunities area of the app.
For a ride to be eligible for the bonus, you or the rider must be in the selected zone, and you must accept the request during the stated period.
Surge: Another multiplier similar to Boost
Surge is another earnings multiplier or flat-rate bonus that Uber can add to orders. Surge turns on and off dynamically during periods of high demand. Check the map in your driver app to see if surges are live.
What’s the difference between Boost and Surge?
Boost is typically offered in advance, while Surges happen dynamically based on demand. Surges appear on the map as shaded zones, while Boosts appear as specific outlined shapes.
If Boost and Surge are active when you get a ride or delivery request, you will receive whichever pays the most. Like Boost, Surges are applied automatically.
Surge is a flat-rate amount in most cities. So if the map in your driver app shows dollar amounts, it’s a flat rate surge. Otherwise, you’ll see a multiplier (1.2x, 2.1x, etc).
Does Uber reduce trip/delivery requests when you’re close to finishing a promotion?
Drivers sometimes say that when they get close to completing a Quest, order volume suddenly drops off and makes it impossible to complete the Quest. Is there something sinister going on?
There is no conclusive proof that Uber reduces the volume of trip requests when you’re getting close to earning a Quest.
One explanation is that many drivers can be working toward the same Quest, so it’s possible that a sudden surge of drivers sign on simultaneously to complete a Quest. As a result, order volume will appear to decrease when so many drivers suddenly sign on.
How bonuses work when you drive for both rideshare and delivery
If you do deliveries and ridesharing, Uber offers bonus promotions that may be for one service type, or both.
For example, the driver below was offered one guaranteed earnings promotion for rides only, and another for deliveries only.
But for the Quests below, both rides and deliveries count toward the bonus.
Over time, Uber may ask you to choose between delivery or rideshare promos.
Uber sends an email and app message letting you know which promotions you will receive based on your recent activity.
So if you’ve been doing more deliveries, they will only send you delivery promotions. There is an option to continue to receive whichever promotions you are currently getting.
Some drivers say that the delivery Quests are worse than rideshare Quests. It seems like Uber tries to push drivers into delivery promotions even if they do an equal balance of rideshare and delivery.
Keep an eye out for messages from Uber, and make sure to select the category of promotions that are more valuable to you.
Related: How Uber Eats Drivers Can Do Uber Ridesharing
The Quest widget – See Quests on your home screen
Uber created a Quest widget to track Quests on your phone’s home screen. The benefit is that you don’t have to open up the Uber driver app to see your Quest progress.
To add the Quest widget on iPhone: Tap and hold the home screen until the icons jiggle. Tap the + button in the upper corner, then search for “Uber Driver” and add the widget.
Quest and Boost Strategies
Getting Quest and Boost offers is mainly a matter of luck. But when the Uber algorithm finally gives you a promotion, there are things you can do to maximize your earnings and avoid unprofitable trips.
You mainly want to look at the actual additional earnings offered and when they are offered.
The optimal Quest strategy is to target short trips to complete the Quest as quickly as possible and to maximize the bonus per mile.
Do the math and see how much of a bonus a Quest really offers. For example, if the Quest only offers an extra dollar for each trip, it might not be worth going out of your way to do it.
Check the dates and times of the Quest. Many Quests want you to drive during an inconvenient time.
You can decline or cancel orders or trips during a Quest, so you don’t have to adjust your normal criteria to complete most Quests.
There isn’t much extra strategy to doing a Quest other than making sure it’s at a convenient time when the volume will be high enough to accomplish the Quest.
Boost and Surge strategies
“Don’t chase the surge” is advice that you will hear from many veteran Uber drivers. Why? Surges can disappear before you get to the zone, and Boosts can lower the volume of new orders.
Surges appear when passenger demand is higher than driver supply, so the surge will end when enough drivers enter the zone. There’s a good chance that you’re wasting unpaid miles to enter a surge zone that could go away before you arrive.
And for Boosts, all drivers in the zone compete for the same orders. So even if you’re getting 1.5x per ride delivery, you might not get enough volume to make it worth your time.
The best strategy is to use your normal criteria for accepting a ride or delivery and be happy if it happens to be in a Boost or surge zone.
More reading for Uber Eats drivers
- Real Data: How Much Uber Drivers Make
- What it’s Like to Be an Uber Eats Driver
- Drivers Are Frustrated about Tip Baiting on Uber Eats
Keith T says
I’m very frustrated with UberEats. I don’t believe they are paying the correct boost bonuses. For ex. 1.8 multiplier paid $.70. Do the math, 1.8 X x = $.70; the fare would have to be $.39. So, $.39 x 1.8 = $.70 boost bonus. We all know there are no base fares of $.39.
Uber support tells me they don’t have the details to calculate the boost bonus. They see what is in the app. Any insight?
Doug H says
Can you share an example screenshot? You can comment with an image link or email the picture to me at doug (at) ridesharingdriver.com. This is something that people have reported on and off over the years
Mustaqur rahman says
Hi sir, its really full of important information. I am a uber eats driver only (bicycle). My colleagues are getting bunch of quest promotion while I got none from 6 to 8 months means from my starting I only got boost and surge but never ever I got any quest. Did I have done anything wrong or missing any trick?
Sometimes if you are a driver for passengers and deliveries, you can get Quest for only one and not the other. But if you are only an Eats driver, I’m not sure what the problem is. Try to contact Uber and ask.
Amy Isaacs says
I was getting the quest 80-90 rides extra 290$. Then all of a sudden I have no promotions at all. They said do you want Uber eats or driver promotions. I said I want the promotions that gives me the option to do a certain amount of rides for extra money. They said they don’t know which one offers that promotion. Do you know if that promotion is for rides or deliveries?
It sounds like you want to do the Quest driver promotions. Quest can be for rideshare or delivery. If you let them know you want rideshare promotions, Quests that you get in the future should be for rideshare. But it’s also possible that you stoped getting quests for other reasons, like your market slowed down. That’s common in the winter
I received an email from you asking me if I want to start taking delivery promotion rather than UberX promotions , I clicked on “ opt in” by mistake. I would like to keep the delivery promotions for the moment and not changing them .
Try to contact Uber to change it back
Hi, I have a question. My uber quest says “*Trips must begin in the Inland Empire”. I did a few in the IE then decided just to go to LA, and my quest trips were raising and were counted towards completing the quest. Will they count if I complete the quest? Is it EACH trip that must begin in the IE or just the starting point going into the quest? Thanks
Typically each trip must begin in the stated area. So you may be getting lucky, or there could be problems with the Quest down the road. You can try to contact support for more detail but your quest might be over by the time you get a real answer from them
Hi there, really helpful post! I was wondering how Lyft weekly bonuses are determined. In my market (LA), I have a list of options where I can choose the Uber quest I want to do – 30 trips, 40 trips, etc. But Lyft will just send one like do 40 trips and get $100. Do you have any insight into how Lyft determines the bonus they offer? Does it depend on your level of driving activity? thx!
Nobody really knows exactly how they determine what your bonus is. Some people think it’s based on your driving history. A top theory is that they offer more bonuses to less active drivers. But nobody really knows, and knowing these companies it might be highly experimental and random.
David T. says
yea that is a fact. drivers who are less active they give bonuses but lyft in NJ isnt worth very low pay per trip.