Lyft has gone luxury. The second biggest ride-hail company in the United States announced a service called Lyft Premier today for riders who want something a little fancier than the average ride-hail ride. In this case, a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Lexus ES, or Cadillac Escalade.
Lyft’s decision to target an additional market comes amidst expansion and rumors that the company might be up for sale. Whether or not that is the case, offering a luxury option gives riders more options and drivers the possibility to earn more money. It also targets a section of the market that Lyft and the ride-hailing world’s biggest rival, Uber, dominates with Uber Select.
Which makes sense — according to Refinery 29, 60 percent of Lyft users requested an upscale ride for business and special occasions. Lyft tried an upscale service back in 2014 called Lyft Plus, but it has had a shaky reception. Premier appears to be something the people want, though.
Here is everything you need to know about Lyft Premier:
How To Choose Premier
Premier is currently only offered in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City. Other markets will be able to use the service “soon.”
In the first three areas, however, getting a Premier ride is just as easy as getting any ride from Lyft. Premier will be the fourth option below Line, Lyft, and Plus. There are fewer drivers with Premier vehicles, so the wait time is a bit longer. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem with scheduled rides.
Premier isn’t for populists. Along with scheduled rides, Premier is part of Lyft’s strategy to target corporate customers and special events. The price reflects that.
Premier costs double what the average Lyft ride costs. The higher price is solely for the nicer car. Lyft boasts style, consistency, and comfort in its announcement, which means that riders are really just paying for the bigger car, leather seats, and style points for showing up in a flashy ride.
For drivers that have an eligible car, the cost is a huge plus. Drivers giving premier rides earn a higher rate than drivers who give regular rides.
“You made an investment by choosing a premium vehicle,” Lyft writes on its driver blog, “and we want to say thanks with higher pay from passengers who request a premium ride.”
All that is required is an approved vehicle and a steady 4.7 rating (which can be boosted by offering riders perks such as phone chargers, water bottles, etc. that Lyft doesn’t expressly require). Additionally, since Lyft offers a tipping option, drivers will be encouraged to go above and beyond to stand out.
How Premier Compares To Uber Select and Uber Black
The biggest difference between Lyft Premier and Uber’s higher-end options is that Premier drivers will pick up both Premier and non-Premier riders. Uber Black drivers only pick up higher end customers.
It’s a plus and a minus for drivers. If there isn’t any demand for Premier, the driver can go ahead and pick up any Lyft rider. They won’t, however, get the same premium. The dual service could dim the appeal, though, due to the chance of regular riders getting a Premier ride without the Premier cost.
The other major difference is location. Uber dominates Lyft when it comes to where riders can use the service, and the same is the case for higher-end rides. Uber Select and Uber Black can be used anywhere, whereas Lyft Premium is (at the time being) only in three major markets.
Want to try it out for yourself to see if the cost is worth the service? Lyft is offering 20 percent off the first 10 premier rides with the code LYFTPREMIER20.