Connects are now needed to submit proposals for jobs you're invited to apply for.

At Upwork, one of our key goals is to provide a robust marketplace for freelancers and clients to connect with each other and build strong, productive relationships. As a freelancer or agency, you'll use Connects to reach out and let clients know you're interested in their project.

With Connects, you're not only marketing your services, you are also showing potential clients that you are serious about your business and invested in building a working relationship with them. Connects are an investment toward your freelance career.

Get Connects

There are three ways to get Connects on Upwork.

Monthly free Connects

Each month, freelancers may receive free Connects to help reach out to more clients.

Freelancer Basic active accounts may receive 10 free Connects each month. (To see if you get these, go to your Connects History).

Connects are given out each month on the first day of your billing cycle. To see when your billing cycle is, go here and view your "current billing cycle." The first date there is the date you will receive your monthly Connects. For example, if your current billing cycle is listed as Oct. 11, 2024 - Nov. 10, 2024, you will receive your Connects on the 11th of each month.

Buy Connects

Connects cost $0.15 (USD) each and are sold in bundles or a custom amount of your choice. To purchase additional Connects:

  1. Go to Settings > Memberships & Connects
  2. Choose Buy Connects

Once you’ve selected the bundle you wish to purchase, choose Add Connects, and we will automatically charge your account.

Here’s how billing works:

  1. We’ll first look to use any existing earnings balance on your Upwork account. But, if you don’t have enough of a balance to cover the entire cost, we’ll move to step 2.
  2. We’ll charge the billing method you have on file with us for the entire amount due. (In this case, if you haven’t set up a billing method yet, you’ll need to add one. Learn more about billing methods.)

Either way, you’ll be able to get the Connects you need. The key thing to remember is that we can’t split payments between your Upwork balance and your billing method.

Learn more about the billing methods you can use to purchase Connects.

Earn Connects

We like to help freelancers succeed on Upwork and one way is by occasionally rewarding free Connects. While we can’t share all the details of when Connects are given out (we don’t want dishonest people to “game” the system), here’s what we can share:

  • When you join Upwork, you need to either purchase 100 Connects or subscribe to our Freelancer Plus plan if you want to submit proposals. Once you choose one, we’ll give you a one-time bonus of 50 Connects to help get you started on Upwork
  • You’ll receive 30 free Connects if you earn a Rising Talent badge
  • You’ll receive free Connects (the number can vary) when you win an interview with an established client on Upwork. (To prevent gaming, we aren’t sharing all the details of what we consider “established.” In general, it’s a client who has hired and spent on Upwork in the past)
  • You’ll get a one-time Connects bonus if you complete an Upwork Skill Certification
  • If you've submitted a proposal, you may see opportunities to receive a one-time Connects bonus by completing educational content about trust and safety on Upwork. You’ll find these opportunities through banners on Proposals and offers > My proposals, when they're available

If you’ve been awarded Connects for winning an interview, you might notice some are issued as refunds. That’s because when you get the 10 Connects for winning an interview, some of those are the Connects you used to submit your proposal for the job. Those Connects are refunded and then we add the rest as awarded Connects. For example, if you used 8 Connects to submit a proposal and win an interview, you’ll see 8 Connects “refunded” and 2 “awarded.”

Redeem a Connects reward

From time to time, we will offer free Connects as part of a limited promotion. In these cases, you’ll receive a promo code to redeem the Connects. To use a promo code:

  1. Go to Settings > Memberships & Connects
  2. Choose Buy Connects
  3. Select an amount
  4. Enter your coupon or promo code
  5. Choose Apply

That's it! Enjoy your reward!

Use Connects

You can use Connects to let clients know you’re ready to work in several ways. You can:

  • Submit a proposal to a specific job post. Whether you find a job post or are invited to apply by a client, Connects are used to submit proposals. The number of Connects you need to use varies per job, and we consider various factors, including project size, scope, and market demand. There are some jobs where you won’t need to use Connects. We’ll show you the amount in the job posting so you’ll know how many Connects you use when submitting your proposal.
  • Boost your proposal to put it at the top of the client’s list. You can use extra Connects to make your proposal stand out more to clients and let them know how serious you are about wanting their specific project. You can choose the number of Connects to bid on, but the winning amount will vary because you’re bidding against other freelancers. Go here to learn more about how Boosted Proposals and the bidding process work. Note: Not all proposals can be boosted.
  • Turn on your availability badge. The availability badge lets clients know that you’re available right now for work. It is shown to the general marketplace when clients look for freelancers. The weekly number of Connects needed for the badge fluctuates based on demand. You can control the amount of Connects you use for the badge by setting the maximum Connects that you’re willing to use each week. Connects will be used in the order you get them and unused ones will expire after one year.

No Connects are needed when a client purchases your Project Catalog project.

Manage Connects

Connects are a valuable resource. Before using your Connects to submit a proposal, we recommend that you:

  • Carefully review the job post to make sure it matches your skills and availability
  • Make sure you have enough time to submit a quality proposal
  • Check to see if the client has hired anyone yet — sometimes clients don’t close a job right away after hiring
  • Review the client’s history — do they usually hire right away and have previous freelancers enjoyed working with them?
  • Consider the number of freelancers who have already submitted proposals and whether the client is interviewing others yet. While you can still submit to a project that already has many applicants or is in the interview stage, it may be more difficult to get the client’s attention

Returned Connects

Applied for a job and it's no longer available, wasted connects on job proposal, lost connects on missing job proposal, missed connects on job application

Sometimes, a project may get canceled or a job may be removed from Upwork without a hire. In the following cases, these Connects will be returned:

  • If a project is canceled by the client before a contract is made, Connects you used on that proposal will be returned. This does not apply to expired job posts
  • If we remove a project’s post because we believe it violates our Terms of Service, Connects you used on that proposal will be returned

If you have applied for a job and it’s no longer available because of a violation or you used Connects on a job proposal that turns out to be fraud, we will return them. In these cases, Connects are credited back to your account for reuse — not for a refund of their cash value.

PRO TIP: When you use your Connects, you are investing in the opportunity to promote your services to prospective clients. Your Connects are not returned if the client chooses another freelancer, lets the job expire without hiring, or if you withdraw your proposal from a project. Think carefully about a project before reaching out!

Connects balance and limits

To check your Connects balance, go to Find Work. Your balance is shown on the right.

To help you review and manage your monthly Connects use, we provide a report of your Connects transactions for the past 7, 30, and 90 days. To view your history, hover over the Reports tab on your home page and choose Connects History.

Each month, your unused Connects will roll over. Connects will be used in the order you get them and unused ones will expire after one year.

A Note on Prorated Connects

If you choose to upgrade your account from Basic to Plus, your free Connects will be prorated. This means that we'll allocate them based on time, or specifically, on how many days have already passed during your billing cycle.

By prorating free Connects, we can be sure that you always get a fair amount, no matter when you make changes to your plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I see the Connects required to submit a proposal and how do you determine how many are needed for a job?

The Connects required to submit a proposal can be seen on the project details page. Required Connects is shown at the top-right under the Submit Proposal and Save buttons. The number of Connects you need to use varies per job and we consider a range of factors, including project size, scope, and market demand. 

Can I buy as many Connects as I want?

Yes, you can purchase or earn an unlimited amount of Connects. Remember, Connects expire after a year without use, but we’ll notify you before your Connects are due to expire. You can’t return Connects for money back, either.

Can I use a combination of my earnings balance and my billing method to purchase a membership or Connects?

No, you can use either your earnings balance OR another billing method to pay for a membership or Connects. You can’t combine payments from each to make one purchase.

Do I get free Connects for being invited to a job?

No, we are not awarding Connects in cases where you are invited to interview for a job post without submitting a proposal first.

If I am part of an agency, do I get the interview reward Connects or does the agency?

The Connects reward for winning an interview go to the entity that submitted the proposal. If it was submitted under the agency, the reward goes to the agency. If it was submitted under an individual freelancer account, then the free Connects are awarded to the freelancer.

On what day of the month do I get my free, monthly Connects?

If your account is active, you'll get your free Connects each month on the first day of your billing cycle. To see when your billing cycle is, go here and view your "current billing cycle." The first date there is the date you will receive your monthly Connects. For example, if your current billing cycle is listed as Sept. 21, 2024 - Oct. 20, 2024, you will receive your Connects on the 21st of each month. We will send you an email and an Upwork notification once they are applied to your account.

How many Connects can I rollover each month?

All of your Connects will rollover (unless they expire). There is no limit on the amount of Connects you can hold.

Do Connects ever expire?

Connects expire one year from the date of issue.

How many Connects can I buy at one time?

For freelancers, Connects are sold in bundles of 10, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 150, 200, 250, or 300. Agencies have the option to buy those bundles, as well as bundles of 150 or 300 Connects. If you’d like to purchase a specific amount not offered in a bundle, you can also use the custom input field. You can’t purchase less than 10.

Do I need to use Connects to accept an invitation?

Yes. Currently, freelancers will be charged with Connects when applying for an invitation. As an option, setting up a Project Catalog won't require Connects and it's a great opportunity to start earning.

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