Paid Travel Subscriptions Need To Waive Fees For Several Months (Or Else You Should Cancel Now)

With so many people not traveling, they aren’t using services that normally make sense to pay for. Subscription revenue is great for a company, it’s a recurring income stream. The most important thing for them is to ensure customers do not cancel. Right now though it doesn’t make sense to pay.

And what happens when travel ramps up again? Services whose clients cancel won’t regain all of their customers. Some will defect to other services. Why give them the chance? It’s far better to keep customers locked-in.

Gogo inflight internet has a monthly plan. I pay them $50 per month for unlimited use on American Airlines domestically (and this gets me ViaSat internet access on domestic planes as well). That’s not going to be justified at the moment.

Similarly Expert Flyer is a paid subscription service that’s useful for seeing how full flights are, which ones have availability, for getting email alerts about award space opening up, and even for better seats on a plane. Several years ago I won a lifetime subscription after spending $500 in raffle tickets for a charitable event. Before that I happily paid $99 per year.

Suspending paid services like Gogo and Expert Flyer makes sense (HT: Loyalty Lobby). Don’t spend money on a service you aren’t using. Nothing we know of at this time will prevent you from re-starting your subscriptions later.

And from Gogo’s and Expertflyer’s standpoint, many people won’t restart subscriptions later. That’s why it’s in their interest to keep customers, not earn a few months of fees from the subset of customers who do not cancel.

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, 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. Agreed, thanks for the reminder. Just cancelled my expert flyer sub, as it is up for renewal in 30 days. Will resub once things return to normal.

  2. I have a slightly different take. If there are services provided by smaller companies that you highly value, and you have the financial means, I think it is best to keep paying for those services for a few months during disruption to help assure that those services come out the other side. For instance, my health club & pool is actually a non-profit that teaches thousands of kids every year how to swim, and has many other athletic programs for neighborhood schools. I plan to keep paying even while they are closed.

  3. Funny, but I had already made this decision last night. I cancelled two of the biggies this morning. If either had proactively offered a substantially reduced monthly renewal I would have taken it. They probably can’t do that though because their yearly subscribers would be furious and they maybe want to hang on to that money.

  4. Same with clear. Priority pass etc. I’ve cancelled two trips the last week. Who knows when We will be able to Travel again and use these services.

  5. Ditto for credit cards and annual fees. Why keep a card with an AF that you may not use for 6 months? If they won’t waive the fee, cancel it, and then get it back when you need it down the road. You have to be careful of Chase’s 5/24 rule but don’t pay for stuff you aren’t using.

    On a PR basis, I got an email from Cox where they are upping my Internet speed. For them it is positive PR and is unlikely to cost them anything. I have 30 Mbps and only 2 of us are using it and we don’t have 4K tv so that is plenty to stream 5-6 feeds at 5 Mbps (typical for a netflix movie). So giving me an extra 20 Mbps (upper it to 50 Mbps) isn’t really going to be used most of the day.

  6. What about the United Club membership I renewed a month ago? UA should extend everyone’s memberships.

  7. @David,
    I agree completely. I pay $99 for EF for a year. We last flew mid-Feb. While we will probably cancel our end-of-March trip, we’ll go again in mid-April. Happy to let them keep the two months’ worth of subscription ($16,50) to support what they do. I can afford that.

    As for cards with fees, I am getting all of my rebates/refunds this year (airline, resort, hotel stay spend), so nothing to cancel.


  8. I plan to support the organization I pay a fee to. I want them around when flying again becomes an option. Cancelling credit cards can really be foolish –

    1. You will lower your FICO score.
    2. You may not be able to get the card again.

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