Ryan Um | 

19 Tactics to Get Cheap & Free DoorDash Delivery

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You can definitely get free DoorDash these days — but they’re not just gonna hand you these big discounts.

We’ve got more choices than we know what to do with these days when it comes to meal delivery services, but DoorDash delivery is the biggest player in the game. They offer a number of ways to get DoorDash coupons and free food, and we’ll introduce you to every single one of them.

Get ready to learn about why DashPass might be a good idea, how great their customer service is, how to get free DoorDash, and how to get at least a 5% discount on every DoorDash order.

For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, text HACKS to 57299.


1. Get a DoorDash DashPass free trial to get free DoorDash delivery for 30 days.

a person looking at the doordash website on their macbook

DoorDash’s DashPass is a $9.99/month subscription that lets you skip out on delivery fees. You’ll get free delivery on all orders of $12 or more, plus you earn 5% back in DoorDash credit on pickup orders by crediting your account for your next purchase.

You can try out the DashPass during their 30-day free trial (if you’re a first-time DashPass user). When you’re done, if you still aren’t sure about the service, someone else in your household (with a different name and credit card) can sign up for another 30-day trial.

If you don’t want to get charged the monthly fee, you can cancel your subscription by going to your account settings and clicking “Manage DashPass.” If you’ve already paid for a month of DashPass, you can still take advantage of your subscription until the end of the billing month. If you cancel during your trial, it’ll end as soon as you unsubscribe.


2. DoorDash has a lower minimum for their unlimited delivery subscription when compared to Uber Eats and Grubhub.

food delivery signs on window

DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub each have their own subscription service that each cost $9.99. However, only DashPass allows you to have free delivery when you purchase $12 worth of food (while Uber Eats and Grubhub require you to pay at least $15).

Want to know how to find out which third-party delivery service works best for you? We’ve figured out which is the cheapest third-party delivery service.


3. DashPass is only worth it if you use it at least twice a month.

A man delivering costa vida via door dash.

The standard DoorDash delivery fee is $5.99 nationwide, so the cost of two deliveries is the same as the $12/month DashPass fee. If you won’t use it at least twice in a month, skip it. The DoorDash delivery fee is subject to change depending on the time you order and your location.

TIP: Just about everything on DoorDash is eligible for DashPass, but a few things aren’t (like their nationwide shipping options or certain small businesses). To make sure you’re only seeing DashPass-eligible options, tap the gray DashPass button near the top of the home page in the app.


4. The Summer of DashPass promos almost always offer $10 off deals.

DashPass deals

Having DashPass will also give you access to exclusive deals, such as free food items when you spend a certain amount, coupons at restaurants and stores, and 10% off your next order.

The most consistent deal that DoorDash runs every year is the Summer of DashPass promo, which gives DashPass subscribers exclusive deals like $10 off on all pickup orders $20 or more or $10 off on all alcohol orders $40 or more. This replaced the Week of DashPass promotion they had before 2021.


5. Chase and World Elite credit card holders get free DashPass.

a person looking at the doordash website on their macbook

If you’re a Chase Visa cardholder or have a World Elite MasterCard, you can get a free DashPass subscription. The free subscription would be between three and 12 months, depending on which card you have:

All you have to do is link the DoorDash app to a qualifying Chase Visa by using it as your payment method. Once the subscription period ends, you’ll start getting charged $9.99 monthly.



6. Refer friends to DoorDash and get up to $250 in DoorDash delivery credits.

A man standing on a front porch delivering food in a doordash bag

In the DoorDash app, head to the “Account” section to find the offer: “Refer Friends, Get $10.”

Follow the link to send out invitations to your actual friends (no spamming websites with your code or DoorDash won’t pay you, since they track and limit those who post it online), and you can only refer up to 25 people — $250 max.

When your referrals place their first order of $15 or more through your code, DoorDash will add a $10 DoorDash coupon to your account and your friends will get $5 off their next three orders.

Uber Eats’ referral bonus will get you $15 per referral, and Grubhub will get you $10 per referral.


7. Never pay for DoorDash delivery when you order at new restaurants — no DashPass needed.

The DoorDash app displaying the Buffalo Wild Wings order page next to to go boxes and a delivery bag.

When you order from a restaurant on DoorDash for the first time, you won’t have to pay for the delivery fee. So even if you don’t have DashPass, you can escape delivery fees. There’s no minimum order amount for these, but you may have to pay a small order fee ($2), depending on the order. Generally speaking if you order at least $8 – $10 worth of food, you’ll avoid the small order fee.

My “First order, $0 delivery fee” list had 19 of my favorite restaurants like Applebee’s, Cheesecake Factory, Panda Express, and more. Download the DoorDash app to see which restaurants offer free delivery in your area.


8. Or skip the DoorDash delivery fee entirely when you pick up instead of delivering.

online order pickup and doordash area at subway

DoorDash does give you the option to pick up your food instead of getting it delivered, and you’ll save on the DoorDash delivery fee of around $5.99. Not all restaurants offer pickup, so if you want to look at pickup-specific restaurants, you’re going to have to switch the toggle to “Pickup only.”


9. If you’re ordering pickup, avoid ordering through DoorDash to save 30%.

a person wearing a doordash t shirt holding up a mcdonalds bag

If you’re ordering pickup from a restaurant, you should avoid ordering through DoorDash. DoorDash will charge you service fees and upcharge their food, which adds up to around 30% of your order.

For example, I could order a Bigger Plate from Panda Express for pickup and pay $13.65 with DoorDash, but placing the same order with Panda’s app will cost me just $10.90. If I’m driving either way, why would I pay an extra $2.75?

The only reason to ever pick DoorDash over a restaurant’s app for pickup orders is if you get a really good coupon from DoorDash.

We know all the restaurant apps you should download to get the cheapest pickup prices.


10. Order from multiple stores at a time without paying an additional delivery fee with the DoorDash store delivery.

a person looking at the doordash website on an iphone

DoorDash has a feature where you can order items from nearby convenience stores — like 7-Eleven, Walgreens, and Wawa — after you place your restaurant order. Just look for the DoubleDash option on the map and add items to your order. There are no additional delivery fees or minimum order sizes. On average, it takes around 10 minutes more than a regular DoorDash order.

If you’re looking for a specific item, you can click on the category that you’re searching for such as “Retail,” “Flowers,” or “Gifts.”

TIP: According to DoorDash representatives, the best time to order DoorDash is 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., since more Dashers are working during those hours.



11. DoorDash can ship you your favorite food from faraway restaurants — but it ain’t cheap.

DoorDash and Caviar's advertisement for nationwide shipping of local foods

DoorDash has opened their delivery to nationwide delivery for certain restaurants. Delivery takes around one to two days, depending on the restaurant you’re delivering from and how far you live from the restaurant.

It’s expensive to get these foods, though; famous Philly bagel shop Kismet Bagels charges just $24 for a baker’s dozen to their regular customers, but you’re going to pay nearly double that ($42, before sales tax) to get them shipped through DoorDash. (And it’s just for a dozen, so you’re getting one fewer bagel.)

You can even send food as a gift or preorder it for three months out for special occasions. For a full list of restaurants and instructions for each menu item, check the DoorDash website.


12. DoorDash is pretty good about refunding money if something is wrong with your order. Here’s what to do:

Doordash app open on iphone in front of a pizza

One of my recent DoorDash orders had one missing item, and once I reported it to DoorDash, they gave me a full refund for the order in the form of DoorDash credit.

I’m not sure every complaint will score you a refund, but missing items, cold/late/low-quality food, and no delivery at all certainly will.


Here’s how to submit a complaint via DoorDash app:


A screen shot of the doordash main app page, with a circle around the bottom right hand icon that says Account.

1. Tap “Account” in the DoorDash app.

A screenshot of the door Doordash app account page with a box highlighting Delivery Support.

2. Tap “Delivery Support.”


A screenshot of the door Doordash app order page with a box highlighting a Blaze Pizza order.

3. Select the order in question.


A screen shot of the Doordash app order page, with a circle around the top right corner icon that says help.

4. Tap “Help.”


A screen shot of the Doordash app order help page.

5. Choose your delivery issue to get refund.


Here’s how to submit a complaint via the DoorDash website:

  1. Click on the three lines on the top left of the website
  2. Click on “Help”
  3. Choose the delivery issue to get a refund


13. Pay for DoorDash using gift cards you bought from Target using RedCard — you’ll always get 5% off.

A hand holding a target red card in front of a computer screen showing DoorDash email gift cards on Target.com

The Target RedCard is a branded debit card that connects to your checking account, and when you use it at Target and Target.com, you’ll get 5% off your purchases. That includes gift cards — DoorDash gift cards. This is just one of the many benefits of having a Target RedCard.

TIP: You can also get free DoorDash gift cards from Swagbucks. It’ll take you about a month to accumulate the necessary points. Points are obtained by playing games, searching the web, and answering surveys.



14. You can’t earn rewards points from restaurants with your DoorDash orders.

a hand holding a to-go Chick-fil-A bag that says thank you

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get rewards points from your DoorDash orders, and DoorDash doesn’t have a rewards program for their customers. So if you want to earn your McDonald’s rewards points or Chick-Fil-A rewards points, you’ll have to order through their app or website.

Not sure if your restaurant has rewards? We’ve listed the best restaurant rewards programs you should join.


15. DoorDash prices are around 20% higher than ordering in restaurants.

Doordash delivery person delivering a pizza.

In order to curb DoorDash fees, restaurants increase their menu prices by around 20% on every item. We researched the McDonald’s menu and saw that prices were at least 17% higher than when you go to the restaurant. The highest we found was a 26% price increase for small fries.


16. Get DashPass for $4.99 if you’re a student.

college student sitting in grass on campus on laptop

While DoorDash doesn’t have any student discounts for restaurants, you can get a DashPass student discount for only $4.99. Occasionally sites like StudentBeans will give out DoorDash promo codes like 25% off your order. However, you’re out of luck if you’re looking for specific discounts and freebies.

We know all the best discounts for college students to help you save on a budget. And although DoorDash doesn’t have any military, senior, and teacher discounts, we know plenty of places that do.

TIP: At Grubhub, you can link your student meal plans with Grubhub. This depends on your university and their participation in the program. Just one of the ways Grubhub can work for you.


17. Become a Dasher as a side hustle to get discounts on car maintenance and 2% cash back on gas.

a person walking up stairs with a doordash bag

There isn’t any employee discount if you’re a Dasher, but you’ll be able to get several discounts on programs like TurboTax, Macco, and GoodRx Gold. Plus you’ll get 2% cash back on all your gas purchases made while dashing.

Dashers typically make $2 to $10 per delivery depending on the restaurant and distance driven.

If you’re looking for the best employee benefits around, we know all the best employee discounts from national brands.


18. You can order alcohol through DoorDash if you upload your ID to DoorDash — in most states.

A man delivering wine via doordash.

You can get alcohol from DoorDash in Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

When you check out with alcohol in your cart, DoorDash will prompt you to upload your government-issued photo ID to verify your age. The Dasher will only see your photo and date of birth.

Depending on the Dasher, you might need to present your photo ID when you receive your order, so make sure you have it handy.

Make sure you’re totally sure you want the alcohol before you order it. If you cancel your alcohol order at any time, DoorDash will charge a $20 restocking fee.


19. DoorDash fees are, on average, cheaper than Uber Eats but more than Grubhub.

person carrying doordash bags in city

DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub … These days, there are so many different food delivery services for you to choose from, but how do you know which one is right for you? Here are some of the main differences for you to consider:

  • Service Fees: DoorDash is typically 10 – 11%; Uber Eats is typically 15%; Grubhub has a flat fee of $3.99.
  • Delivery Fees: DoorDash’s standard is $5.99; Uber Eats is typically $7.99; Grubhub is typically $5.49.
  • Small Order Fee: DoorDash is $2 for orders under $8 – $10 depending on the restaurant; Uber Eats is $2 for orders under $10 and $3 for orders under $15; Grubhub is $2 for orders under $10.

If you’re looking for more ways to save while using Uber Eats and Grubhub, we know all the tips and tricks you need to know to save on those delivery services.

TIP: DoorDash’s customer service is much better than Uber Eats’ and even a little better than Grubhub’s. If you ever need a refund (see Tip #8), they’ll do their best to make things right.




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