Clark Howard

Going Just Announced a Big Change to Its Free Membership

A website that money expert Clark Howard and Team Clark use for some of the best travel deals recently announced a change that has one of its membership perks going, going (and about to be) gone!

Going.com (formerly Scott's Cheap Flights) says it will no longer include international deals in its Limited (free) membership tier.

Going’s Free Membership Perk: Going, Going …

The change means that if you want to see the best deals for travel abroad, you’ll have to upgrade your membership plan.

Here’s the message that Going.com recently sent out:

“At the end of the month, (Limited) free memberships will no longer include international deal alerts. Instead, you will gain access to all domestic deals across the continental US from the airports you follow…

"Upgrade to Premium by January 31st to enjoy full access to domestic and international economy deals for just $24 your first year (that's over 50% off). Plus, get all the perks of Premium, like Mistake Fares and deal alerts to specific destinations on your Watchlist."

Screenshot via going.com

As explained in our Cheap Flights Guide, Going has three membership tiers:

  • Limited (Free): You get the best cheap fares from up to five airports you select.
  • Premium ($49 per year): You get the best economy class deals and mistake fares from up to 10 airports.
  • Elite ($199 per year): You get the best deals from an unlimited number of airports including cheap fares in business and first class.

The Freemium Business Model: On the Way Out?

The change means that Going, like Amazon, Mailchimp, Aura, Peacock, and many other companies, is scaling back on its “freemium” business.

In a recent podcast, Clark talks about the end of the freemium era, which we are seeing more and more:

“For a long time we were in the land-grab phase of technology, where people were trying to stake their claim and build market share and then own a segment of the technology market,” he says, referring to companies offering freebies.

“But now, investors are like ‘What a minute. We’ve never made a penny on this product in all these years. We’ve got to see some return on our money.’

“Now they’re trying to wean people off things that were free to the end user and people are like ‘What? You want me to pay?’”

Clark says you can expect more companies to scale down or discontinue their freemium plans.

“The unofficial contract that we’ve had with the technology industry for an entire generation is ending. We’re going to have to make decisions when we buy something: Do we want to pay for it ongoing?” Clark asks.

Final Thoughts

It remains to be seen how the pending change to Going’s Limited plan is going to affect its subscriber base and ultimately its bottom line.

One thing we do know is that Clark is a big fan of Going.com as he typically uses a combination of email alerts and websites to find great travel deals.

"Far and away my favorite for finding airfares is Going.com," Clark says. "Going is fantastic if you love to start your trip planning by following wherever the deal is. That's my whole thing. I look for the deal. Then I figure out where I'm going from there."

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