$1 Buys Both 1000 American Miles and Long-term WSJ.com Access

About five years ago I took advantage of a free 6 month trial subscription to the Wall Street Journal. I have no interest in a paper copy, but I do value access to articles behind their pay wall. And I still have that access.

That’s because I suspend paper delivery of my subscription. You can do that for two months at a time. When they aren’t delivering the paper they aren’t decrementing the remaining days on your subscription you still have full access to website content.

Many people are more interested in the miles offered for trial subscriptions, and take advantage of various shopping portal signup offers. Right now for instance Frequent Miler points to a $1 offer for a two month Journal trial that earns 1000 American AAdvantage miles.

This offer should be around through Monday, October 15. The $1 isn’t refundable and you cannot cancel for at least 45 days — but as I say if you value website access you won’t want to. At the end of the trial they’d start charging you for a monthly subscription but why let yourself get there?

I’m not a daily Journal reader. There are myriad papers I’ll read a few articles a month from, largely linked via Google News which I check many times each day. I would be happy to support good journalism. The New York Times can sell enough subscriptions on its own to survive. However I wouldn’t mind paying a modest fee for the occasional article from smaller outlets.

  • I hate recurring charges. I don’t want to build up expenses and I don’t want to track them.
  • It’s not worth subscribing for just a few articles a month.
  • The transaction costs to buy a single article are too high.

I suspect there are a lot of people like me who would pay for content if the transaction costs were lower, if it wasn’t so much of a pain. I come across local stories all the time I’d like to read but that are behind a pay wall. Local papers should be able to sell more effectively to the broader world.

Cable companies bundle channels effectively, but newspapers haven’t figured that out.

  • Maybe you value CNN at $100 per year and ESPN at $10 per year.
  • And your neighbor values ESPN at $100 per year and CNN at $10.
  • If the cable company sold each channel for $99, they’d earn $99 from each of you and you’d each get one channel.
  • But by selling a bundle of CNN and ESPN for $109, the cable company gets $10 more dollars from each of you and you each get two channels.

Someone needs to figure out a way of bundling access to newspapers in a single subscription with single sign on. Until then I’ll keep taking great mileage signup offers and accessing content free even though I’d be willing to pay. Whomever does figure this out should do very well for themselves and could potentially save journalism at the same time.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks for the tip – so – what should I do to get this “long term access”? Before the end of 45 days tell them I want to suspend?

  2. While we’re on the subject of paywalls, it would help your blog readers if you could indicate in your posts when a link goes to a paywall’ed article. I know I get annoyed every time I click a link in one of your posts, only to get to a WSJ or other site article I can’t read.

  3. If you use Firefox, you could simply just download the “Bypass Paywalls” addon which gives you access to most of the paywalled sites – and save yourself a $1 while your at it.

    Most business sites including WSJ, Forbes, Bloomberg, etc, Economist, Wired, and a ton of Newspaper sites.

  4. Given I needed something to keep my tiny AAdvantage account alive, this worked fine. Thanks!

    (I used to dump my WS flying there before they cozied up to DL)

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