In brief: Amazon's Flex delivery drivers are taking quite a risk by delivering electronics, groceries, and other goods to customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and that's something their employer seems to have recognized. Today, Amazon launched a rewards program for its contractors, allowing them to earn various perks in exchange for their hard work.
The Rewards program is described in detail over on Amazon's Flex website, but we'll cover some of the basics here. For starters, Amazon is rolling out the Flex Debit Card, which gives drivers up to 6 percent cash back on all fuel purchases, two percent back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
None of those figures are particularly amazing, but they're still better than nothing; especially the returns on fuel purchases. Amazon Flex drivers are expected to manage all of their costs -- including vehicle maintenance, fuel, and insurance -- themselves, so even that six percent could go a long way over time.
By advancing in the Amazon Flex Rewards program, drivers will eventually unlock access to something called "Preferred Scheduling." In short, this tool gives reliable drivers the ability to claim reserved shifts, so they don't have to compete with Amazon's thousands of other drivers quite as often.
The more a driver "levels up," the more reserved shifts they'll gain access to. Amazon says these shifts will be "customized" based on each driver's preferred working days, times, and "delivery stations," though it's unclear if the customization process is automatic or something that can be altered manually.
Finally, Flex Rewards gives drivers access to certain Stride features, such as exclusive discounts on thousands of products and services (including entertainment, clothing, auto repairs, and more) and tools to help them manage health insurance, expense tracking, and tax filing.
All things considered, Flex Rewards is a slightly underwhelming rewards program. Preferred Scheduling could be a game-changer for some, but that depends on how it's implemented, and how many reserved shifts are offered on a weekly basis.
Still, what is included in Flex Rewards might just be enough to entice some contractors to use it over competing services (such as Uber or Postmates); some of which don't have any driver incentive programs at all.
Masthead credit: Money