Skip to Content

How GetUpside Referral Program Works (Beware the Danger in its New Terms)

GetUpside is a popular money saving app for gig economy contractors who drive a lot for platforms like Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Instacart, Uber and Lyft.

With GetUpside, you can earn cash back every time you put gas in your car. When higher gas prices make it harder for delivery and rideshare workers to be profitable, every little bit of savings helps.

Not only does GetUpside offer cash back for your gas purchases but their referral program gives you other opportunities to increase your rewards. It's this use of Get Upside Promo codes that has made this app very popular with several gig workers.

However you may not have noticed that GetUpside made some changes to the program. They updated their terms and conditions on November 12, 2021 and many of those changes related to the referral program. If you aren't careful, those changes present a danger in your ability to continue to utilize GetUpside's savings.

We're going to dive deeper into the referral program and then look at the changes and how they can affect you. Read on as we cover:

  • An overview of the GetUpside App
  • How the GetUpside Referral Program works
  • Variations of the GetUpside Program
  • GetUpside's recent changes in their terms of service and how they impact the referral program.

Generating revenue as a concept illusrated by money falling from the sky around a gold human figurine.

An overview of the GetUpside App

GetUpside is an app that was developed to help stores find more customers. They started out primarily with Gas stations, with the first gas station joining them in May of 2016. A year later, they added restaurants, and then a year later, grocery stores joined up.

GetUpside's product enables people to get more value from their purchases and measurably improves the profitability of businesses, so communities grow stronger.

From the GetUpside About Us page.

Because most of my audience is made up of gig economy delivery and rideshare drivers, I'm going to focus mostly on the gas station benefits of the program.

Upside Services, Inc. (the company that runs the app) has negotiated cash back deals with several gas stations. Users get cash back for fuel purchases of up to 25 cents per gallon of gas.

Ultimately, it's a marketing program for local businesses. Gas stations pay to be listed on the app. That payment funds the cash back incentives. Rather than spending the money on advertising, the idea is to send the money to customers as an incentive for purchasing from the store. That provides a win for the gas station and the customer.

You can read more about how it works in my review of the GetUpside app. I wasn't as kind to the app as some other reviews I've seen. There are times you can pay more because of how the app works, which you can read more about in the Getupside review.

The thing to remember is that it's not a savings program. You pay full price for your purchases, and receive cash back later. I'm not as high on the app as some. However, I do find that GetUpside can be good for helping with the bottom line.

And a lot of that is because of the referral program.

How the GetUpside Referral Program works

First you have to understand how cash back works on the app.

You can open up a map in the app and see a layout of participating gas stations and convenience stores. The map displays the effective price (after cash back) for each station. It also shows how much cash back each offers. This helps you see where the best deals are for nearby gas stations.

Screenshot of a GetUpside map showing several participating gas stations and the deals available. On each station, a price is shown as well as a price per gal cash back amount.

This was one of my issues when I reviewed the app. The price shown is not what you actually pay. For example, we'll look at one Conoco station. It's to the right and center of the screenshot above. It says $3.15 Regular. The price you pay is actually $3.27 ($3.15 plus $0.12 per gal).

Close up of one station shown on the GetUpside map that shows a Conoco station at $3.15 / Regular 12¢/gal cash back.
The actual price for gas at this station is $3.27/gal of gas, not the $3.15 listed. $3.15 is only the effective price after you have received your cash back (typically 3-4 days later)

You pay full price for your gas when using GetUpside. It's only after you buy the gas, pay for it, and GetUpside is able to confirm the purchase, that you receive your cash back reward.

In the example above, it says gas is $3.15 with 12 cents per gallon cash back. Say you fill up your tank with 15 gallons of gas. You will pay $49.05 (15 gallons at $3.27). In a few days, you will notice that your Cash Back balance has now increased by $1.80 (15 gallons at twelve cents a gallon).

My experience has been that the cash back offers have only been between $0.03 and $0.12 per gallon. I rarely see the “up to 25 cents” great deals that GetUpside promises.

The only exceptions are when I get additional bonuses from the referral program.

Using a promotion code gains you an additional cash back bonus.

If you sign up using someone's referral or promo code on GetUpside, you will usually get a bonus cash back amount that applies to the first time you fill up using the app. Usually that is an additional 15 cents per gallon.

We'll go back to the Conoco example that I told you about. Gas there is $3.20 and normally they offer 10¢ per gallon cash back. However, since you just signed up, the GetUpside map is telling you that the price is $2.95 per gallon and cash back is now 25 cents/gallon.

Again, you will still pay full price and for the sake of discussion, you get ten gallons of gas. You still paid $3.20. The way it works is, GetUpside verifies that your credit card or debit card was used to pay for a purchase. A few days later, when they've verified your purchase, you see that $2.50 was added to your Getupside balance (ten gallons at 25¢ each).

The next time you get gas, you will be back at the normal cash back amount for each station (often 3 to 12 cents). That 15 cents bonus was a one time deal.

This is why you want to use a Promo Code when signing up with GetUpside

I'm sure the story is different in other areas. However, my experience has been that the usual cash back amount isn't enough to get me to buy gas at a typical participating gas station.

That's because at least in my market, the Getupside partners tend to charge a lot more for gas than the stations that I usually use. Even once I get that ten to twelve cents per gallon of gas I'm still paying more than at my usual station. This is an important thing you need to think about when deciding if GetUpside is worth it.

However, the ADDITIONAL fifteen cents per gallon of gas that new members get when using a promo code (sometimes more) makes it a little more worth trying out, in my opinion.

If you're not using a Getupside referral code or promo code when signing up, you won't usually get that additional bonus. Instead you may be underwhelmed at what the app has to offer. The good news is, that for at least one fill-up the promo code bonuses make it worth at least getting a feel for if GetUpside is a good fit.

If you are not on the GetUpside app, I really encourage you to find a friend or family member that uses the app and use their code. That helps your friend out and it helps you. That's where I'd encourage you to go first.

If you don't know someone whose code you can use, I have an affiliate link that you can use. If you click that link, download the app, and use promo code AFF20, you can get a 20 cent bonus on your first fill-up. This is a bit different than a referral code (I'll get into that a bit more in a bit).

You can get additional cash back bonuses if someone else uses your referral code.

If you look at your profile in the app, you'll see that you have a promo code. That code is unique to you.

If someone gets the GetUpside app and uses your code, they will get that same 15 cent per gallon cash back bonus that you received when you first signed up. It works the same way for them.

But here's where the referral program really starts to work. Once they've had their first use (a purchase of $10 or more), you now get a 15 cent per gallon bonus added which you can claim the next time you fill up with gas at a participating store.

If you have several friends or family members who sign up using your referral code, those bonuses stack up. For instance, you might see that you now have 45 cents in bonus cash back rewards, because three people have used your referral code to sign up for GetUpside.

And that means your next ten gallon fill-up will add $4.50 extra cash back added to your cash back bonus, on top of whatever the gas station was offering.

As more people sign up with your referral code, you can earn more cash back.

GetUpside then pays you for every gallon purchased by someone you refer.

They take things a step further, giving you a continuing source of cash.

It's not a lot of cash, but it's ongoing, as long as the people you refer keep using the app. You get a penny added to your cash back balance for every gallon that has been purchased by someone you referred.

Screenshot of a home page from the free GetUpside app that displays participating gas stations, and at the top right shows the GetUpside balance which is the accumulation of cash back that is available.
At the top left of this screenshot of the GetUpside home screen, you can see the GetUpside balance. This is where the money accumulates from your cash back for purchases and from fees accumulated for your referrals.

It doesn't stop there. If the friends and family that you referred refer someone else, you get a half penny for every gallon purchased by those referrals.

I know what you're thinking: “Wow. A half penny.”

I know someone who made $44.23 in the last month just off their referrals getting gas. That's a lot of gallons of gas. I'm sure I know some who are making a whole lot more than that.

Those pennies add up. Especially when you know a lot of gig workers who drive a lot. Gas fillups become like everyday purchases for them.

Cashing out on the accumulated referral fees.

To summarize, you receive the referral fees in two ways.

On one side, bonus cash back of $0.15 per gallon can be earned when you fill up after someone uses your referral code. Once you get your next fillup, the additional cash back is added to your cash back balance.

The other thing that happens is the recurring bonus (penny per gallon) gets added directly to your cash back balance.

Either way, the money still sits in your Cash Back balance. You don't actually have the money yet.

GetUpside has a few options where you can receive your accumulated cash back options. You can cash out with a variety of digital gift card options from restaurants, theatres, and other national merchants. With a lot of these digital gift cards, you don't usually have to wait until you reach a certain amount to cash out, as long as it's in full dollar increments.

Screenshot of the GetUpside Cash Out screen with several of the available digital gift cards that you can transfer your GetUpside balance to.

Cash outs can also go to your Paypal account or to a direct deposit to your bank account. I kind of prefer that option, as it just feels a lot more tangible getting actual cash.

Variations of the GetUpside Referral Program

The 15 cent bonus cash back is the standard way that people get rewarded for referrals. However, GetUpside has been known to change things up or add features for some users.

In fact, on the home page for their referral program, they say this: “Like GetUpside offers, our referral program is peronalized to you – look in the app to see today's offers.”

Screenshot of the referral page for GetUpside where they state that our referral program is personalized to you.

The following screenshots show differences between two different accounts.

The first one is typical of the reward program as described above.

Screenshot of one user's referral screen offering a 15¢/gallon one time bonus on next offer.

For contrast, here's a screenshot for a user who has been active in the referral program for awhile.

Screenshot of another GetUpside user's referral offer where they receive a $5 bonus for each user who signs up on their referral code.

For this particular user, they get a flat $5.00 added directly to their cashback bonus. They don't have to wait until they buy gas in this instance.

GetUpside has also been known to have challenges. Here's a screenshot of an offer where they offered $100 in cash back if you had five friends sign up within a certain time frame. (That's $20 per referral)

Screenshot of GetUpside email offering a $100 cash back bonus for five successful referrals in a given time frame.

The bottom line is, GetUpside is very aggressive about encouraging referrals. This fits into their business model, in that the more users there are, the more people that can be drawn to partnering merchants.

And as they said in the screenshot of their referral page, “people who refer others make twice as much as those who don't.”

GetUpside's recent changes in their terms of service and how they impact the referral program.

If you read my review linked above, you know that for a variety of reasons, I felt that the GetUpside program wasn't that great at saving gas for you in and of itself. I mentioned some issues in this article, and there are some others.

The most redeeming thing about the app, in my opinion, is that their referral program. It can be a good money maker.

In fact, it's been such a good money maker for a lot of people (Youtubers and bloggers in particular) that they had to make some changes to the program.

On November 12, 2021, it seemed like GetUpside tried to put the brakes on a lot of the referral opportunities out there. Without any warning they sent out an email that they updated their terms of service including “Updates to define the terms of our Referral and Affiliate programs.”

If you are very active in promoting GetUpside or getting people to use your referral code, you should pay careful attention to the new terms of service.

GetUpside's terms related to the Referral and Affiliate Programs (bold print/emphasis mine):

“GetUpside offers you the opportunity to earn additional Cash Back rewards through its Referral Program, by recruiting friends and personal acquaintances to join GetUpside. You can earn a referral bonus when a new user creates a GetUpside account using your personal referral code and subsequently claims a GetUpside offer that we are able to validate. The Referral Program is only intended for referrals to friends and personal acquaintances. You are prohibited from (i) sharing your personal referral code on a website or blog, except as specified herein; (ii) purchasing advertisements featuring or promoting your personal referral code; (iii) posting your personal referral code at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, or other participating establishments; and (iv) otherwise disseminating or publishing your personal referral code for widespread public use. You may share your personal referral code through your own personal account(s) on social media, provided that you have fewer than 2500 followers.

Users who want to promote GetUpside beyond their friends and personal acquaintances are invited to apply to join GetUpside’s Affiliate Program. You are not permitted to participate in both the Referral Program and Affiliate Program and/or claim referral bonuses through both Programs. GetUpside reserves the right in its sole discretion to change the terms of its Referral and Affiliate Programs at any time, including the amount and frequency of referral bonuses.

Referral and Affilate programs section in GetUpside's recently revised terms of service (as of November 18, 2021)

Comparing this to their previous terms

With thanks to Google's Wayback Machine, we can see the previous terms of service. There is only one reference to the referral program that says “Because our service generates rewards offers that are personalized, as well as bonuses to incentivize referrals, creating multiple accounts is prohibited and considered fraudulent activity.”

That's it. There were no stipulations about how the program could be used.

The support page did have further information about the referral program including some frequently asked questions. You can see the May 28, 2021 version of the support page as shown by the Wayback Machine here.

GetUpside made some significant changes

A large book with several pages labeled Terms and Conditions.
Sometimes we avoid the terms and conditions because it's like reading a huge book. If you benefit from the GetUpside referral program it may be worth spending time reading up.

In the support documents, GetUpside highly encouraged using social media. They are now placing limits.

They also actually offered to print up cards that display your referral code. Now they prohibit “posting your personal referral code at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores.”

I know that a lot of referral programs have language that limits the program to friends and family. For that reason, because at the time I was posting my referral link on this site, I reached out to GetUpside to ask if it was okay. The response was that there was no limitation, nor was there a limit to how many direct referrals one could receive.

I also asked if there were an affiliate program for content creators. The response: “about the content creators, we will get back to you the soonest possible time.”

Several days later, I received another email that said “About the affiliate program for content creators, we are still looking into it.”

I guess the good news is, they finally came up with a program.

Why do I say there's a danger in these changes?

If you are receiving much income from your referrals, you need to be aware that this change has been made.

Because of the prohibitions of posting your referral code for widespread use, continuing to do so could jeapordize that income. It could also lead to losing the ability to save money through their cash back program in the future.

I don't know whether GetUpside will crack down on these new terms, or how quickly they will do so. I received my email about the new terms at about 1 AM on the 13th. It said the terms were effective November 12. For whatever reason, they decided to inform me of the changes AFTER they went into effect.

I'm not sure why the changes were so sudden and without warning. In fact, as of November 17, 2021 (five days after the changes went into effect) GetUpside has not changed their support FAQ's to reflect the changes.

That makes me think they weren't totally ready to make this change. I would imagine there has been significant abuse of the program and they want to just get things under control.

But there is an alternative for those who want to promote GetUpside at a larger scale.

GetUpside did set up an affiliate program through Commission Junction. This is something new.

As I mentioned, when I asked about an affiliate program a few months ago they weren't ready to respond.

As a content creator myself, I find that affiliate programs are a better deal than personal referral programs. I mentioned earlier that most referral programs are intended for promoting things to friends and family. An affiliate program is a more formal marketing arrangement where commissions can be earned for promoting a product or service.

From everything I've seen, the affiliate program seems pretty favorable. If you put out much content or want to promote GetUpside at a wide scale, I recommend you look into that.

Final thoughts on the GetUpside referral program.

One thing stands out: GetUpside has been very aggressive at promoting their app. It's a more generous program than about anything I've seen out there.

I wonder if that will change.

I can think of another app that was offering generous commissions for those who signed up. It too was a free app. Only recently, they made some significant changes to their program.

I don't need to name that app. Instead, it's to point out what could be a trend when it comes to promoting apps. The idea is to be extremely agressive in promotions, and maybe throw a lot of money at those promotions as part of growing their audience of users.

It makes me wonder if GetUpside is getting closer to a point where they're ready to slow down their program.

I couldn't blame them if they do. Let's be honest – it's pretty nice to get paid money for convincing someone to sign up for a free program like GetUpside. The time may come where it makes sense to start spending their marketing money in other places.

In the meantime, if you want to get the most out of the cash back opportunities offered by GetUpside, you might start looking into how you can take advantage of their referral program. Just be careful not to cross the lines set up in their new terms.

And enjoy that referral based cash back while you can.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.