We haven’t really seen all that many innovative partnerships between ridesharing apps and other logical partners. Uber has partnered with Starwood to give riders bonus Starpoints, and Uber has recently launched a loyalty program for Capital One customers. However, other than that we haven’t seen much more than integration of ride reminders.
Well, Lyft and Starbucks have just announced more details of their innovative new partnership. On the most basic level you can receive Starbucks bonus gift cards when you purchase Lyft gift cards, and you can earn bonus Starbucks Stars for your Lyft rides.
For now this partnership consists of a few different things:
- Customers using Lyft for the first time will receive 125 Stars after linking their Starbucks Rewards and Lyft accounts
- Existing Lyft riders with linked Starbucks Rewards accounts will then receive 5 Stars for each ride taken during their morning commute, Monday through Friday from 5AM until 10AM (maximum of once per hour, valid through November 9, 2016)
- $20 Lyft gift cards can be purchased at Starbucks stores in Lyft’s 20 largest markets, and you’ll receive a complimentary $5 Starbucks card with the purchase (limited supplies)
- Lyft drivers will receive automatic Starbucks Rewards Gold status
- Lyft riders with their Starbucks Rewards accounts linked will be able to tip their drivers using Starbucks gift cards through the Lyft app
While the execution doesn’t seem terribly consistent at this point (it’s limited time, bonus Starbucks cards are only available in select markets, etc.), I like the idea they’re getting at:
- Given how many free credits Lyft gives out, I’m not sure if it’s worth buying $20 Lyft cards at face value in order to get a $5 Starbucks gift card; I guess this could be worth it if you value Lyft credit at more than 75% of face value
- While getting 125 Starbucks Stars (worth ~$5-7 to most people) for your first Lyft ride might sound compelling, I suspect this would be in place of another referral credit with your first ride, so probably isn’t worth it
- I like the concept of being able to tip Lyft drivers in a non-cash form; I’ve long said that I feel guilty about some of the prices Uber/Lyft charge (at least in LA), so being able to tip in a non-cash way provides a way to show gratitude without totally changing the essence of how the app works
- 5 Starbucks Stars per ride isn’t life changing (as a Gold member you need 125 Stars to get a free beverage or snack, meaning 25 rides gets you something for free), but I love the idea of being rewarded in a partner currency for ridesharing, much like we’re seeing between Uber and Starwood
I love how they explain the overall idea behind the partnership, which I think rings true:
“There are two things most of us do every morning: get a cup of coffee and commute to work. Together with Starbucks, we can make both a friendlier, more enjoyable experience,” said John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. “Lyft and Starbucks share a lot of the same customers and importantly we share a commitment to doing right by our customers and our people. In the days, months and years ahead, we will launch exciting programs for loyal community members, and new products that will change the way we move around our cities.”
What do you make of the expanded relationship between Lyft and Starbucks?
(Tip of the hat to Doctor of Credit)