What Are Upwork Connects (And How To Use Them Wisely?)

New freelancers on Upwork often grapple with the mechanism of Upwork Connects when applying for jobs. Since its introduction, Upwork Connects has attracted controversial discussions on social media and Upwork’s community itself.

To further complicate the matter, Upwork is continuously changing how freelancers can earn and use the Connects on the platform. You may find yourself running empty of Connects if you don’t know how to use them smartly.

In this article, I’ll explain Upwork Connects in detail. More importantly, I’ll show you how you can maximize their value on Upwork.

What is Upwork Connects? 

Upwork Connects are virtual credits given to registered freelancers on the Upwork platform to apply for jobs.

It was introduced to the Upwork platform in 2019 as a digital token freelancers on Upwork need to cash in to bid for a gig on the site. Now it is a significant feature in Upwork, as it helps freelancers to build their careers on the platform.

The number of Connects required by a freelancer to apply (bid) for the job is shown along with the job listing.

A freelancer might be required to use between 4 – 16 connects to bid for a job, depending on the nature of the job. 

Specialized, technical, and high-paying jobs cost more connects because clients are on the lookout for skilled freelancers with a solid portfolio and proven work experience. Increasing the amount of Connects needed naturally draws applications from seasoned and skilled freelancers.

Are Upwork Connects Free? 

Yes, to an extent.

There are standard ways to get free Connects, but they are limited. In the past, freelancers could easily earn free Connects.

Back then, you could get free Connects if

  • a client responded to your proposal,
  • you accepted an interview,
  • you pass the readiness test.

But this is not the case anymore. Some freelancers abused the privilege by applying and responding to interviews for scam jobs, so Upwork reviewed the terms for free connects. So, you can’t get free Connects with the above-mentioned ways anymore.

At the moment, Upwork still provides free Connects, but limited to:

  • Registration – Every freelancer gets 40 free Connects upon registering on Upwork. 
  • Profile Completion – you get a specific number of Connects once – for completing your profile on Upwork.
  • Rising Talent – You’ll receive 30 free connects if you earn a Rising Talent badge as a new freelancer on Upwork
  • Winning Interviews – You’ll receive ten free Connects or more when you win an interview with an established client on Upwork. 
  • Monthly Connects – Every month, freelancers on Upwork receive ten free Connects. Those with Freelancer Plus accounts receive 80 Connects (10 are free) monthly.  All active freelancers on Upwork get these Connects on the first day of their billing cycle.
  • Upwork Skill Certification – You’ll get a one-time Connects bonus if you complete the Upwork Skill Certification. This option is available once you are a Top-rated freelancer on Upwork.
  • Redeeming Connects reward – Periodically, Upwork sends promo offers for free Connects via email, at events, or through partnerships as part of a limited promotion. In these cases, you redeem the Connects with the promo code you got. 

How to get more Connects

Asides from earning or winning Connects, you can get Connects through the following ways:

Buy Connects

You can purchase Connects at $0.61 (USD) each. It is sold in bundles of ten. So 10 Connects is $1.61 (USD). You can also buy a custom amount. To purchase additional Connects:

  1. Log in to Upwork
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Go to Membership & Connects
  4. Click on Buy Connects

Select the bundle you wish to purchase, and click Buy Connects. You can also purchase Connects with your available earning on Upwork. 

Note: You can only use Visa, Discover, Mastercard, and American Express debit cards. Upwork does not accept Verve, virtual cards, or gift cards. Also, you can not use prepaid cards for Membership plans.

Upgrade to Freelancer Plus

Upgrading to Freelancer Plus for USD14.99 a month gives you access to 80 Connects monthly and other juicy perks unavailable to freelancers on the Basic plan.

Tips For Using Connects Wisely On Upwork

Connects are key to growing your Upwork career, and since they are like digital currencies, you should manage them properly. Here are some helpful hints on how to use your Connects wisely on Upwork.

  1. Stay focused. Submit proposals to jobs that are specific to your area of expertise. This increases your chance of getting hired.
  2. Sharpen your proposal writing skill. Bidding for a job on Upwork requires your ability to interpret a potential client’s request, address their pain point, and offer your services to help solve the problem. Your ability to sell yourself in your proposal is a determinate factor in getting a job on Upwork. Study materials on copywriting and send only quality proposals.
  3. Boost wisely. Upwork allows freelancers to boost proposals to be at the top of the client’s list using extra Connects. While this is a good feature, avoid excessive boosting. A quality proposal would attract your potential client, even if it’s not boosted.
  4. Do not apply for a job if the client already hired their desired number of freelancers.
  5. Stay away from scam jobs. They are a waste of your Connects.
  6. Review the client’s history before applying for a job. Watch out for red flags, such as poor communication, vague requirements, or frequent disagreement.

Bottom line

Upwork is no longer as generous as it was in dishing out free Connects. Yet, this digital credit remains an important element in winning jobs on the platform. I hope that the tips I shared help you build a sustainable career on Upwork without spending too many Connects.

Here’s another article to help you with your journey on Upwork.


  • Kenny Lee

    I'm an engineer-turned-writer who helps tech businesses increase online visibility with SEO-optimized content.

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