On July 7th, 2022, Instacart announced it’s launching a new rewards program called Cart Star.
Cart Star is designed to reward consistent Instacart Shoppers with great customer service skills with various perks and discounts.
This announcement is excellent news for Instacart Shoppers. It potentially means more gas savings, more orders, and ultimately more money left in your pocket.
The new rewards program is starting to roll out across the United States. Once it’s in your market, you get placed in different Cart Star tiers depending on how many batches you complete in a three month period.
Since gig apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats already have different reward programs and gas incentives, it’s great that Instacart is following suit.
Let’s dive into how Cart Star works and what perks you can get!
How Does Cart Star Work?
As you shop, you earn 10 points for every batch that you complete and work towards unlocking different Cart Star tiers. The higher your tier, the more perks you get.
There are three different Cart Star tiers: Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.
Here’s how the perks work for each tier:
The fact Gold tier only takes 200 points (20 batches) means you can earn bonus gas discounts with GetUpside and enjoy oil change discounts pretty quickly. You need to complete 100 batches for Platinum Cart and 200 batches for Diamond Cart.
The best perk by far for Cart Star is priority access to batches for Diamond Cart shoppers. These shoppers get priority access to batches if they wait closer to stores and also before stores open.
If Instacart is slow in your area and you’re not getting enough batches, this could be a real difference maker for your earnings.
Currently, Cart Star is rolling out across the United States over the next few months. According to Instacart, everyone should have access to the program by November 2022, at which time Cart Star will launch in Canada.
Also note that you need a minimum 4.7 star rating to be eligible for Cart Stars.
How Does Qualifying For Tiers Work?
Once you’re eligible for Cart Star, you have three months to earn points to reach the various tiers. This is known as the ‘Qualifying Period.’ Once you reach a tier, you immediately unlock its perks for the remainder of the Qualifying Period.
The points you’ve earned by the end of the three month Qualifying Period determine the tier you’re in for the next three months. This new three month period is known as the ‘Rewards Period.’
The result is that you have six month windows of qualifying for and maintaining Cart Star rewards. Also note that if your customer rating drops below 4.7 during the Qualifying Period, you don’t qualify for Cart Star.
Other Cart Star Perks
The main reason to be excited for Cart Star is the gas discounts and priority access to batches if you reach Diamond Cart. However, there are a few other perks and more on the way.
For starters, Instacart customers will now see your Cart Star status when you shop. It’s too early to tell if this will influence tips, but fingers crossed that customers feel more generous if a Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Shopper is handling their order.
Cart Star also provides discounted backup care for seniors, kids, and pets through Instacart’s partnership with Care.com. You get this discount every three months as long as you’re in the Diamond Cart tier.
Instacart also explains that it’s working on more rewards and that Shoppers should stay tuned for updates.
Pros & Cons
Right now, gas prices are up, and some Shoppers are wondering: is Instacart worth delivering for?
Reward programs like Cart Star are a step in the right direction for making Instacart an even better gig app. This is especially true since Instacart doesn’t pay for gas or cover expenses, so every little bit helps.
However, you have to work to get into this program, so it’s not without some pros and cons:
- Reaching Gold Cart only requires 20 orders
- Helps you save money on gas
- Diamond Cart means you get more batches and make more money
- The reward period only lasts for 3 months
- You need to maintain a 4.7 Shopper rating
- Reaching Diamond Cart tier takes 200 completed batches
I think the main risk is that accepting batches just for the sake of increasing your batch count means you’ll inevitably accept some batches that aren’t worth it.
This is the main problem Top Dasher suffers from for DoorDash since you have to keep your acceptance rate so high.
However, I do like that you can get gas and oil change discounts very quickly. Hopefully, you complete enough batches in your market so the six month window doesn’t feel too tight.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Do I Get Access To Cart Star?
Instacart began rolling out Cart Star on July 11th and plans to have it available across the United States by November 2022. You can check if Cart Star is in your area by looking for the reward tier status icon within the Shopper app under your profile.
What Happens If My Shopper Rating Drops Below 4.7?
If your Shopper rating drops below 4.7 stars by the end of the three month qualifications period, you don’t qualify for Cart Star. But if your rating drops below 4.7 during the qualifications period, you have until the end of the period to raise your rating to unlock perks.
In other words, you just need to ensure you’re at 4.7 or above by the end of the qualification period.
What’s Happening To 24 Carrot Club?
24 Carrot Club was Instacart’s old rewards program that sent Instacart Shoppers boxes of swag once they completed 1,000 batches. The main downside of this program is that it didn’t really help Shoppers save money; it just gave them random swag for working hard.
Thankfully, Instacart Star Cart is replacing 24 Carrot Club and is actually going to help Shoppers save money and get more batches.
Is Cart Star Worth It?
It’s a bit early to tell if Cart Star is worth it or if it will make a dramatic difference for Shoppers’ earnings. But if you can complete 200 batches in three months to reach Diamond Cart tier, I think Cart Star is worth it.
Getting access to batches means you make more money with Instacart overall. The only risk is that you accept low-paying batches to boost your numbers.
I think we have to wait and see just how good Cart Star is for Shoppers and their earnings. Until then, try to get to Gold Cart quickly for gas and oil change discounts and then see if unlocking Diamond Cart makes a difference for your earnings.
I hope this breakdown explains how the Instacart Cart Star program works, what perks it currently offers, and the pros and cons.
If you’re a serious shopper, I think getting to Diamond Cart tier could potentially make a massive difference for how much money you make. But time will tell what this program actually does.
For now, make the most of Instacart as a side hustle. As you complete batches, you can see how much you save and earn from Cart Star and decide which tiers are worth going for.
And if Cart Star isn’t in your market, don’t fret. You can still make money with Instacart in the meantime or explore other side hustles like DoorDash or the Steady app to make extra cash!
Looking for more money-making ideas? Checkout:
- The Best Apps That Pay You To Drive.
- The Best Jobs Like Instacart To Make Extra Cash.
- How To Make $3,000 Fast.
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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