As the end of the year rolls around, Garmin has updated its subscription plans. There has been an increase in the annual cost of the Freedom Subscription Plan in particular. Here’s an update to the Garmin InReach Subscription Plans – updated for 2021.
On the 4th of December, Garmin sent out the following note to subscribers in North America:
We are writing to inform you that, effective Jan. 4, 2021, the price of your Annual Program Fee will increase from $24.95 to $34.95. The Annual Program Fee is charged yearly upon the anniversary of your subscription activation date.Garmin, December 2020
These increases seem to be worldwide, with different increases reported in different countries. It’s a pretty hefty increase so what does this mean for us Garmin subscribers. To recap, there are basically two types of plans.
The freedom plan allows you to run your Garmin month to month. When you don’t need your device you can turn it off, typically in the winter months. So your commitment is only 30 days. For the privilege of being on a month-to-month plan, there is an annual fee of, now, $34.95.
If you want to keep your Garmin on all year round, there is a lower-cost subscription. The annual plan has a $19.95 activation fee. The main difference is you are committed to a twelve-month period. If you take the ‘Safety’ plan, this would mean your minimum commitment is around $144.
Within the Freedom and Annual Subscriptions, there are 3 levels of plan, Safety, Recreation, and Expedition.
|TRACKING INTERVALS||10 min+||10 min+||2 min+|
|SEND/TRACK POINTS||$0.10 ea||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|LOCATION REQUESTS||$0.10 ea||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|BASIC WEATHER||1 text message ea||1 text message ea||Unlimited|
|PREMIUM WEATHER||$1.00 ea||$1.00 ea||$1.00 ea|
|PREMIUM MARINE WEATHER||$1.00 ea||$1.00 ea||$1.00 ea|
For most recreational backpackers the choice is between the Safety and Recreation packages. And for most folks it seems to come down to whether they want to use their Garmin for SOS and two-way communication, then the Safety plan is good, or to continuously send tracking points, in which case the Recreation plan is better.
With the changes in pricing to the Freedom Subscription cost this year, I think Garmin is pushing people more towards their annual plans. I understand why this makes sense for Garmin, it creates a more predictable revenue stream for them. As a subscriber, it means that if you plan to use your Garmin device for more than 7 months in the year, you are better moving from Freedom Plan to the Annual Plan. Garmin confirmed that if you switch from the Freedom Plan to the Annual plan there is no activation fee to pay and with both plans, you can switch between the tiers as necessary.
I’ve used the InReach mini for a while and am quite happy with it. Here’s a quick review of how it performed on trail.
Do you know if the $20 activation fee for Annual plans is a one-time charge or also annually? The language on Garmin’s site seems to suggest it’s just a one time charge. Basically, is it $20 one-time activation and then $144 every year after or is it $20 + $144 = $164? Thanks for the write-up!
Never mind to my previous comment. I think I figured it out:
Annual Plans are only charged the initial activation fee, and for as long as you continuously renew, there are no additional activation fees.
Correct – also if you are currently on the Freedom plan there is no charge to change to the Annual contract plan.
I think that is outrageous that Garmin raised the price such an amount ., so much for admin…. .
Especially now that globally there are more mobile connections available.
They will a lose of customers because of the rise of price …
So Garmin inReach have been digging there own grave ….
especially now that travel is limited x
To pay 110$ per year for the yearly prescription is absurd .
What is the difference between Tracking Points and Location Pings? I have had the recreation plan and just turn on the device when hiking or skiing, which might be 6 or 8 hours. The Mini sends out a tracking “something” every 10 minutes. If I switch to the Safety plan, will that cost me $3.60 for a 6-hour activity?
Hey Richard – Tracking points are like breadcrumbs – they are sent automatically and leave a log of your where you have been. You can change the interval that the tracking point is set to. This is you leaving your location – and as you point out depending on the plan you have their might be a cost to this. Location pings are the opposite where someone can request your location (you have to set this up and give them permission). Folks with that permission can then request your location from mapshare – and as long as your InReach is on it will return your location (again there is a cost to this on the Safety plan).
Personally I use neither of these – and just send one of the preset messages at various times to let family know everything is going ok or not.
So the price has doubled since last year? I just received one and price is now $34.95 annually plus the monthly plan.
Hey Chris – sounds like you signed up for the Freedom subscription which is $34.95 annual fee and then whatever plan you want on top of that. The last price increase was at the end of last year – so i don’t think prices have changed since then. What they really did was to push people towards the annual subscription (which only has a one time activation fee) and then the plan costs.
New to inreach…
If I went with the Annual/Recreation option how much would this be monthly? I get there is an additional cost on the set up, I was just trying to get a ballpark of the yearly cost.
Hi there – the annual /recreation plan is going to be $24.95 plus a small amount of corporate tax – so just over $25 per month. I have the annual / safety plan which is $11.95 (plus an additional $0.07 in corporate tax) for a total of $12.02 per month.
For a difference between the safety and recreation plans: