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Upside App Review — the Best Way to Save on Gas?


FEATURED PROMOTION

Upside Logo

Our rating

3.8/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upReward variety
  • thumbs-up$10 redemption minimum for most rewards
  • thumbs-upComprehensive list of gas station partners

Cons

  • thumbs-downLackluster gas station coverage in some states
  • thumbs-downStill-expanding grocery and restaurant coverage

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It doesn’t matter if you regularly commute to work or just drive occasionally. Spending money at the pump is never enjoyable. And when you consider the rising cost of gas, it’s clear the cost of car ownership isn’t going to decrease.

But the good news is you probably don’t have to pay full price the next time you refuel. With the Upside gas rewards app (formerly known as GetUpside), you can save up to $0.25 per gallon and find the cheapest gas stations in your area. Plus, you can even snag dining and grocery rewards to save even more.

If you’re tired of painfully high gas prices, Upside could save you a lot of money. But how does it stack up to the competition? 


Features of Upside

Upside is one of the most popular apps for finding cheap gas. It’s mostly a gas rewards app. But the platform is growing into a robust cash-back app that lets you save on gas, groceries, and fast food.

Ease of Use

The app is free on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. To create an account, download Upside and sign up with your email address or Google, Apple, or Facebook account. 

Upside is currently available in thousands of participating gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores in the United States. Granted, the company is expanding, so some states have more Upside partners than others. Some of the most popular Upside states include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington, DC

But even in states with slightly less coverage, Upside does a good job at partnering with stations in larger cities, so there’s still a decent chance Upside works in your area.

Cheap Gas Finder

Upside’s most basic feature is its gas finder map. This search tool lets you compare local gas prices to find the cheapest gas station in your area. Enter your zip code to find nearby gas stations, and Upside displays the regular fuel price and the price after your savings with Upside for eligible stations.

Once you find a gas station with the best price, you can tap a directions button to open your phone’s default navigation app to guide you to that station.

Gas Rewards

Upside lets you do more than just compare gas prices. It also rewards you for using its partner stations, such as:

  • BP
  • Circle K
  • Chevron
  • Exxon
  • Marathon
  • Mobil
  • Phillips 66
  • RaceTrac
  • Shell
  • Sunoco
  • Valero

It’s not common to see $0.25-per-gallon savings, especially if gas prices are low and margins are tight for stations. But even if you save $0.05 to $0.10 per gallon on 10 gallons twice per week, that’s up to $8 in monthly savings, or $96 annually, just for using a free app.

Upside’s app highlights nearby gas offers that show how much cash back you can earn. However, there are two types of gas offers, each requiring different steps.

  1. Receipt Offers. Tap the Claim Offer button next to receipt offers on the in-app map. You then have up to four hours to fill up and 24 hours after that to upload a receipt showing the location, date, time, and total. These process in up to 10 days.
  2. Check-In Offers. If you attach a credit or debit card to your account, you can click the Check In button next to offers with blue badges on the in-app map. Select the card you wish to pay with, then fill up within 20 minutes. These typically process in two to four days but can take a week. 

Upside can’t guarantee its offers indefinitely, so taking too long to refuel voids your cash back. No matter which offer type you choose, you have to pay with a debit or credit card for cash back to credit. All other forms of payment, including gift cards, are ineligible. 

You can use other saving tricks, like gas station rewards or a station-branded gas rewards credit card, with Upside’s cash-back offer.  But doing so can reduce your Upside cash back to keep you from double-dipping. 

For example, if you’re using a high-paying gas rewards card like the BP Visa credit card, which pays $0.10 per gallon at participating BP and Amoco stations, Upside might not pay anything at all.

Additionally, receipts are usually ineligible for Upside if you also submit them to other reward apps, like GasBuddy or Checkout 51.

Also note that Upside offers are valid for up to 50 gallons of gas. However, you can claim as many receipt and check-in offers as you want per month.

Grocery Savings

With Upside, you can save on more than just gas. And it’s expanding its grocery partners. Currently, it works with partners like:

  • Cardenas Markets
  • Carlie C’s IGA
  • Gelson’s Markets
  • Lunds & Byerlys
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Vicente Foods
  • Woodman’s Market

Granted, these are lesser-known partners than you find with apps like Ibotta. Additionally, Upside is extremely regional. For example, Upside users can only get rewards at Cardenas Markets in Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.

To claim an offer, go to the Groceries tab to claim the offer, shop in-store for any products or brands, and upload a picture of your receipt to get paid. You have up to 24 hours to shop for groceries after claiming an offer.

You can claim up to two grocery offers per week. Like gas offers, you must shop with a debit or credit card to be eligible for cash back, and uploading the receipt to another rewards app may make it ineligible for rewards.

Offers vary, but you can expect around 3% to 5% or even higher depending on your location. Offers also state a minimum spend amount and maximum cash-back amount. For example, a retailer may offer 5% cash back, up to a maximum of $10, if you spend at least $20.

Upside’s grocery partner network and coverage still need to grow to compete with more popular grocery reward apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards. But Upside is more flexible since you can buy anything to earn, whereas other apps often require you to buy sponsored products and brands.

Fast Food Savings

As with its grocery offers, Upside is expanding its network of restaurant partners. You can earn cash back at chains like:

  • Dunkin’
  • Burger King
  • Qdoba
  • Papa John’s
  • Popeyes
  • Wendy’s

However, restaurant offers are also location-specific, so you can’t necessarily earn cash back by eating at Burger King in every city. On the plus side, Upside also has many non-chain partners, so you might find your favorite mom-and-pop restaurant using the app. 

Just head to the Restaurants tab to see what’s available near you. If you see an offer you like, tap the Claim button. You have up to four hours to dine, pay, and upload your receipt. 

In addition to requiring you to pay with a debit or credit card, you can’t use any coupons. Upside also doesn’t pay you for food delivered from companies like DoorDash or Uber Eats. You have to dine in or pick up the food yourself.

Restaurant cash-back offers vary in terms of how much they pay. You can save up to 35%, but don’t expect that much at every chain. That said, even if you save 5% to 10% on a $40 meal, that’s up to $4 in free money.

Extensive Rewards

Many reward apps only let you redeem cash back for free gift cards. Popular apps like Ibotta and Dosh also have high redemption minimums of $20 or more.

Upside is more flexible. It lets you redeem your cash back for:

Gift card rewards are redeemable at $10 and include companies like Amazon, Best Buy, Dunkin’, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Starbucks, and Target. Other methods don’t have a minimum withdrawal amount. 

But there’s a $1 fee for PayPal redemptions under $15 and bank account withdrawals under $10. That makes gift cards or direct deposit payments of at least $10 the fastest and most cost-effective methods to enjoy your cash back.


Upside Referral Program

Another notable Upside feature is its two-tier referral program.

You can find your Upside promo code under the Free Gas tab. You share your code with others through text, social media, or email. When your referral signs up, there are two tiers of rewards:

  1. First-Purchase Bonuses. If your referral claims an offer and spends $10 or more at the pump, you both receive a referral bonus. Bonuses vary by market and current cash-back rates, but you often find $0.10 to $0.20 per gallon. They stack with regular rewards, so you can score $0.35 to $0.45 per gallon.
  2. Per-Gallon Earnings. You also earn extra cash back for every gallon your referrals purchase. Plus, you earn smaller cash-back bonuses for their referrals — typically $0.02 per gallon for your referral’s purchases and $0.01 per gallon for their referrals.

Plus, if you refer someone and they redeem an offer, you don’t pay the $1 fee for low direct deposit or PayPal redemptions, so you can cash out whenever you want.


Advantages of Upside App

Upside has quickly become one of the most popular gas rewards apps out there. Its expansion into groceries and fast food are also promising signs for the future. Overall, there are several advantages to using Upside.

  • Multiple Ways to Save. Gas is where Upside shines, but with grocery, food, and referrals, there are numerous ways to earn cash back.
  • Extensive Gas Station Partners. Upside partners with some of the largest gas stations in the U.S. If it has decent coverage in your city, you can likely find a major gas station on the list.
  • Reward Variety. Enjoy free gift cards or real cash to spend your cash back however you prefer.
  • Redemption Minimums. Many reward apps require $20 or $25 to redeem rewards. Upside isn’t the lowest in the business (that honor belongs to Swagbucks, which lets you redeem at just $1), but $10 is still quite low.
  • Referral Program. The two-tier referral system helps everyone save money on initial gas purchases and keeps paying you bonus cash for active members you refer.

Disadvantages of Upside App

Upside has only been operating since 2016, and features like grocery and restaurant cash back are newer. That means that while Upside is becoming a more robust app, there’s still a long way to go. Related and unrelated disadvantages include:

  • Weak Coverage in Some States. It has extensive gas station coverage in several states and decent coverage in about a dozen. But some have under 100 partners. For example, North Dakota has under 30 partners, and Utah only has around 10.
  • Grocery and Restaurant Partners Need Work. If you do your grocery shopping at chains like Kroger or Walmart, you’re better off with other apps. Similarly, restaurant offers are still expanding, so you might live in an area that’s sparse on food offers.
  • Stacking Issues. You can use a gas rewards credit card with Upside, but doing so usually lowers your Upside earnings. Plus, Upside doesn’t usually work if you also upload receipts to other receipt-scanning apps. 

How Upside Stacks Up

Upside’s biggest competitor is GasBuddy. While both apps offer savings, you may find that one is better for you than the other.

UpsideGasBuddy
CostFreeFree or paid
CoverageStill spotty in some areas95% of U.S. gas stations 
Savings Per GallonUp to $0.25 $0.05 (free version)
Referral ProgramYes, and you get cash back for your referrals’ referrals Yes, but not as generous as Upside
Non-Gas RewardsLimitedSubstantial
Cashing OutGift cards, PayPal cash, or direct depositSave directly with special card

Final Word

Upside has quickly become one of the most popular gas rewards apps. Considering its network of partners, reward variety, low redemption minimums, and lucrative referral program, that’s unsurprising. But Upside is just one tool you should use to save money on gas

Other habits are likely more impactful. Think regularly servicing your vehicle or taking on DIY repairs to keep your car running smoothly. You can also use apps like Waze to avoid traffic congestion that forces you to idle, wasting time and money.

Finally, don’t rely on Upside for grocery and restaurant savings if it has few partners in your area. Instead, turn to grocery reward apps and the right cash-back credit card to save on food. Upside still deserves a spot on your smartphone, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.

Upside Logo

Our rating

3.8/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upReward variety
  • thumbs-up$10 redemption minimum for most rewards
  • thumbs-upComprehensive list of gas station partners

Cons

  • thumbs-downLackluster gas station coverage in some states
  • thumbs-downStill-expanding grocery and restaurant coverage
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Tom is a freelance writer originally from Toronto, Canada. Tom's passion for finance and discovering methods to make money originally sparked in college when he was trying to make ends meet on a tight budget. Outside of freelance writing, Tom also manages the blog This Online World - a personal finance website dedicated to helping young adults make and save more money.

FEATURED PROMOTION