Upside Review: How Much Can You Save On Gas? (2024)

Upside is a legit app that offers real cashback on your gas purchases. I’ve been using Upside since 2019 to earn thousands of dollars in cash back, just for filling up my car at the same gas stations I typically visit.

There’s no catch or “gotchas” to using Upside. They make money by partnering with gas stations so there’s no cost to the end user. I’ll show you why this free gas app is something you should start using immediately in my full review below.

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Upside

Pros

  • Gas station partners
  • Referral program
  • Nationwide footprint

Cons

  • Bonuses vary

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What is Upside?

Upside (formerly GetUpside) is a gas app lets you earn up to 25¢ cash back per gallon at over 26,023 gas stations across 49 different states. All you have to do is check in to the gas station you’re about to use before you fill your tank.

You can enjoy cash back at at many big gas station brands when you use Upside, including Exxon, Mobile, Shell, Sunoco, BP, Valero, Citgo, Marathon, E-Z Mart, 7-Eleven, Circle K, and many more.

New to Upside? Sign up with the Upside promo code NINJA30 and you’ll earn an extra 30¢/gal bonus the first time you use the app to buy gas.

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Using the Upside App at Gas Stations

Ok, so here’s how it works. Upside allows gas stations to compete for your business. By offering cash back on your purchase, they’re hoping you’ll chose them next time you need to refill your gas.

You can start earning cash back in 3 easy steps:

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Step 1: Claim An Offer At A Gas Station Near You

The main screen of the app will show you a map of your surrounding area (make sure GPS location is turned on) with all the nearby participating gas stations listed. Pick the station you plan to visit and claim the offer by pressing the orange button.

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You have 4 hours to get gas once you tap the claim button. If you clicked it by mistake, don’t worry, you can claim a new offer by unclaiming the one you pressed by accident.

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Step 2: Fill Your Car & Pay Using A Credit or Debit Card

Fill your gas tank up at the gas station you claimed and pay with any credit card or debit card. Remember to get a receipt at the end. If a receipt is not available at the gas pump, you can ask for a copy inside the gas station.

Ninja Update: As of February 2020, Upside has introduced a new “check in” feature that lets you skip taking a receipt at over 4,000+ gas stations! When you see a blue “check-in” badge at a gas station, it means you’ll save a step from not having to do Step 3 below!

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Step 3: Snap A Picture Of Your Gas Receipt

Take a picture of your gas receipt and go back into the Upside app to upload it. A green box confirming receipts submitted will be shown.

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The receipt confirmation also states you’ll get your cash back within 2 to 4 days, but from my experience it’s been much faster than that.

Expanded Use at Restaurants and Grocery Stores

While Upside launched with just gas station partners, they’ve recently expanded to restaurants and grocery stores, which is great for users. That means there are even more opportunities for us to earn cash back.

The process works exactly the same way as gas stations – simply claim the offer, use a credit or debit card connected to your account, and you’ll earn cash back automatically after you pay your restaurant bill/grocery purchase.

Like gas purchases, the cash back offered varies depending on the place and the time. To give you some examples, here’s what I see when I search the Washington, D.C. area on Sunday afternoon:

  • &pizza = 25% cash back
  • Primrose = 11%
  • BGR = 6%
  • Chick-fil-A = 5%
  • McDonald’s = 5%
  • Glo Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant = 20%
  • HalfSmoke = 10%
  • IHOP = 6%

There’s a good mix of fine dining and casual fast food restaurants. The higher cash back offers seem to be reserved for sit-down establishments, but getting 5% back at McDonald’s is nothing to sneeze at.

Having said all of that, if you live in Boston, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C., I’d recommend the Seated app instead. Seated focuses exclusively on restaurants and has a lot more options to choose from. The rewards percentage are generally higher too.

I’m not going to cover grocery stores just yet, as Upside is not consistent enough to gain a meaningful opinion on the pros and cons. Some days, I see a handful of grocery stores and supermarkets pop up on the app, and on other days, they disappear entirely.

My recommendation is aligned with how I personally use Upside – it’s an excellent app for getting gas and that should be your main focus. I’d use Seated before Upside for restaurants unless you don’t live in one of the cities that Seated is currently available in.

Cash Back Withdrawal Options

You can cash out of your Upside cash back earnings whenever you want. There’s no minimum threshold.

Get money sent directly to you via PayPal or bank transfer. Upside at one point would also mail a physical check to your home address upon request, but that’s no longer available. Another option is to redeem your earnings for digital gift cards from brands like Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber.

Redeeming for gift cards is on a 1:1 basis. That means if you have $100 in cash back rewards sitting in your Upside account, you can convert it for a $100 gift card for any brand.

I always choose cash because nothing is better than actual money, and you’re not tied to a single retailer.

Upside Sign-up Bonus

If you’re new to this app, enter the code NINJA30 during account registration and you’ll get an additional 30¢/gal cash back bonus on your first fill-up. This is on top of the 1¢-25¢ per gallon cash back offered at gas stations. That means in total, you’ll receive up to 55¢ per gallon on your first use of Upside!

Step-by-Step Guide to New User Bonus:

  1. Open the app to get to the main menu and click the “Profile” option
  2. Select “Edit” next to the “Promo Code” section
  3. Enter NINJA30 and press “Submit”
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Once you do that, you’ll automatically get a $0.30 per gallon bonus on your first gas purchase.

Upside Referral Program

Upside has a pretty cool referral program. Users have access to their own referral code that they can share with friends and get rewarded each time a person joins.

For every person you refer, they’ll get an extra 15¢/gal cash back on their first use. You’ll also earn an extra 15¢ per gallon cash back for each successful referral, defined as someone who joins Upside using your link and uses it to purchase gas for the first time.

This referral bonus is on top of what you normally earn AND it’s stackable. Let’s say you refer 10 friends – those 10 referrals at 15¢ each gets you $1.50 per gallon in cash back.

For a car with a 15-gallon capacity, that’s a savings of more than $22!

To find your personal referral code and start sharing it with friends and family, tap the “Invite Friends” section under the main menu of the Upside app.

Ongoing Referral Bonuses

Unlike most referral programs where they give you a one-time referral reward, Upside will give you bonuses for every gallon of gas your referrals (and their referrals) buy in the future.

  • 1¢ A Gallon: Every time one of your direct referrals buys gas in the future, you’ll earn a 2¢ per gallon bonus deposited into your Upside account.
  • 0.5¢ A Gallon: Every time one of your indirect referrals (your referral’s referrals), you’ll earn a 1¢ per gallon bonus deposited into your Upside account.

There’s no limit to how many people you can refer or how much you can earn!

Best of all, these ongoing bonuses don’t require you to buy gas to get cash back. It gets deposited directly to your cash balance on Upside, so you can withdraw them for cold hard cash!

The Bottom Line

Upside is a fantastic app because it lets you make money back every time you buy gas. You’re getting paid for something you’re going to do anyway. It’s absolutely free with no catch or “gotchas”.

There are so many mobile apps now that it’s hard to decide if a particular one is worth it. Upside definitely is.

I have a special “cashback” folder on my phone to organize the best rewards apps like Upside, Ibotta, Receipt Hog, Shopkick, Fluz, and Seated. I consider these my day-to-day apps that I use all the time and having them together in one folder makes it more convenient to access.

Upside Review: How Much Can You Save On Gas? (2024)
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