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How to Send and Redeem a Lyft Gift Card

Last updated: January 8, 2020
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Lyft is a ride-hailing app that lets you book rides directly from your smartphone. It’s quickly become one of the biggest players in the ridesharing space, competing with Uber as the app of choice for people who need to get a ride quickly.

If you have a friend or family member who loves using Lyft, a Lyft gift card can be a great way to keep them moving. Lyft gift cards are ideal for college students, city dwellers, or anyone you want to make sure has a safe ride home.

In this article we’ll walk you through how to give the gift of Lyft, and show you how to redeem a gift card. We’ll also look briefly at the history of the company, show you how to create an account if you’re new to the app, and answer some frequently asked questions about the service.

A Brief Guide to Lyft

Lyft is an on-demand ridesharing app. It lets you book a car, track in real time as your ride meets you for pick-up, then pay through the app once you’re dropped off at your destination.

Founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer, the company first launched on college campuses as a carpooling app that connected people who knew each other on Facebook. It was originally called Zimride and allowed students to split rides to the grocery store, the mall, or even into the city for the weekend.

In May 2013, the company rebranded as Lyft and changed its business model to make it something consumers would use daily, as opposed to a couple times a month. It quickly picked up a ton of users as a direct competitor to Uber. The two companies have been locked in a business battle ever since, not only competing for riders but drivers as well.

In 2018, millions of Lyft rides drove record earnings for the company — the company reportedly passed $2 billion in revenue for the year.

How to Send a Lyft Gift Card

Lyft gift cards can be purchased either directly through the app or by visiting lyft.com/gift. You can send the gift card immediately to a friend or, if you want to wait, you can send it to yourself and then forward it to your friend whenever you want.

Lyft gift cards are sent via email delivery, and only digital gift cards are available for purchase online. (We’ll get to physical gift cards in a moment.)

Sending Via the App

Open the Lyft app and sign in. From the homepage, tap on the icon in the top left corner, which looks like three horizontal lines on top of one another. This will load up your menu.

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Once the menu is loaded, look down and find “Promos.” Tap on that.

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Here you’ll see a place to enter promo codes for Lyft. (Read our article on Lyft promo codes that can help you save money.) If you look down below, however, you’ll see where you can “Give Lyft to friends.” Tap on that.

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On the next screen you’ll have the option to give a gift card in four different values: $10, $25, $50, or $100. You’ll also be able to enter a recipient’s name, email address, and include a personalized note.

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On this page you can choose how you’ll pay for the gift card. The app will automatically load your default payment method (usually a credit card) here, but by tapping on “Payment” you can select from different payment options. You can select a different credit or debit card, or pay via Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal.

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Once you’ve finalized your gift recipient, included a message, and selected the right payment method, you’re all set. Send away!

Sending Via the Website

To send via the website, first go to lyft.com/gift. From there you can either buy a gift card or follow instructions on how to redeem one. To buy one, first tap on “Send gift card.” You’ll then be prompted to sign in to your account. Enter your phone number, then confirm it’s you by providing the code the app texts to you. (You might also need to confirm your email address to log in.)

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Online, you’ll notice that you have a few more options in regard to gift cards. For one, there are multiple card designs that aren’t available on the app.

You also have the ability to send gift cards in denominations other than $10, $25, $50, or $100 by selecting “Other” from the amount section.

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From there you enter the recipient’s name, email address, a personalized note, and tap “next.”

On the next page you’ll confirm details and choose the payment method you want to use. To change your Lyft default payment setting, tap on “Payment” and add a different credit card. (Apple Pay and Google Pay are not available for use on the website.)

Physical Gift Cards

Unfortunately, physical gift cards for Lyft are not available for purchase online. Although they do exist, you’ll have to locate one at a participating store. Some Starbucks locations carry Lyft gift cards, as do many Kroger stores.

Unfortunately, you can’t purchase Lyft gift cards on Amazon, though you can purchase Uber gift cards through Amazon.

Redeeming a Lyft Gift Card

Redeeming a gift card is easy, and usually just requires following the link that is emailed to you. That said, it will only work if you have an active Lyft account. If you want to redeem on your phone, you’ll need to have the Lyft app installed.

New customers can download the free Lyft app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

Note: Even if you plan on only using your gift card balance, Lyft requires a default payment option before using the app. As such, you’ll need to provide a credit card number or link your PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay account.

Enter Gift Card Number Manually

Some people will print out e-gift cards and give them to you directly, or give you a physical gift card to be redeemed. With no link, you’ll need to enter the code manually to redeem the gift card. Luckily, this process is easy.

Just open the app, then:

  1. Tap the account icon in the top left corner
  2. Select “Promos” from the menu
  3. Enter the 16-digit code from the email or gift card directly into the “Enter promo code” box
  4. Tap “Apply”

Your funds will be automatically credited to your account.

How to See Your Gift Card Balance

After you’ve redeemed your gift card, you can check the balance at any time in the Lyft app.

The process is simple:

  1. Open the Lyft app
  2. Tap the account icon in the top left corner
  3. Click “Promos”
  4. Your gift card balance will be there, written in bold

Using Gift Card Balance on Rides

When you redeem a gift card, your balance will be automatically entered as a “payment option” that you can use when booking rides with Lyft. You can use your balance right away, or save it for special trips as you see fit. This also gives you the flexibility to use a company credit card for business trips, then use the gift card balance for personal rides.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve covered Lyft, and everything you need to know about sending and receiving Lyft gift cards. Let’s get to some frequently asked questions.

1. What if my friend accidentally deleted the gift card email?

If you sent a gift card and the email didn’t arrive or was deleted, your friend should first check all spam folders. If it still can’t be found, no big deal. You can access the gift card code at lyft.com/gift/history. Give your friend the 16-digit code to manually enter it in the app to redeem.

2. What if I send the gift card to the wrong email?

Once a Lyft gift card has been redeemed, Lyft can’t help. But you should be fine as long as the person you accidentally sent it to didn’t redeem the gift card.

If you send a gift card to the incorrect email address, Lyft asks you to go to lyft.com/gift/history and find the 16-digit code. If you send Lyft the code via their Help Center, they can investigate if it was delivered — if the card hasn’t been redeemed, they can send you a new one.

3. Can I tip Lyft drivers with my gift card balance?

It’s great to want to reward the people who drive you, but unfortunately gift card balances don’t go toward tips. If you want to tip your driver (as you should), the tip will be charged to your default payment method.

Giving the Gift of Lyft

Lyft gift cards can be great gifts for anyone in your life you want to help get around. They’re easy to purchase online, customizable, and simple to redeem. We all need rides from time to time, and Lyft gift cards can make it easy for your friends and loved ones to get those rides with a simple tap of an app.

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