by Alex Palmer | August 15, 2016

Ridesharing company Lyft, which marks its drivers' cars with pink "glowstaches" and is Uber's top competitor, is now offering its gift cards at participating Starbucks stores throughout the U.S. To motivate customers to buy the $20 cards, each purchase will include a $5 Starbucks gift card.

 In addition to the gift card promotion, the two companies have partnered on related promotion that offers Lyft drivers gold level status in Starbucks' My Starbucks Rewards (MSR) loyalty program, and allows both Lyft drivers and customers to earn MSR loyalty Star points, Starbucks said in a statement. Beyond that, Lyft riders will be able to digitally tip drivers with Starbucks gift cards. 

"Last year when we announced our collaboration with Starbucks, we were excited about all the ways we could bring together our two vibrant communities through great experiences," Lyft said in a statement. "We've still got some fun surprises brewing for the future, but we're happy for these gift cards to make their debut."

The cards, patterned in the companies' familiar pink logo design, are now available at Starbucks stores in Lyft's 20 biggest cities. The cards work the same as Lyft credits, which can be redeemed through the company's app. Recipients can add the gift card to their account and it is automatically applied to the ride by opening the app, scrolling down to the "Payment" section, and entering the unique gift card code into the "Add credit code" field. It can also be used for split rides.

If a recipient loses their card, they can send Lyft the 16-digit code from their receipt and the company will check to see if the misplaced card has been redeemed. If it hasn't, it can manually add it to the recipient's Lyft account.

The new offering reflects the potential for gift cards from merchants in the fast-expanding sharing economy. The offering also shows the potential of gift card incentives that use the appeal of more than one merchant to entice customers, particularly when one of those is a gift card powerhouse like Starbucks.