How To: Subscribe to Wine Spectator on the Cheap

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

With a readership north of 2.6 million, and a (probably debatable) position as the #1 luxury consumer magazine in America, Wine Spectator may be "the" wine magazine to get if you're going to get just one. However, it's not cheap. A quick check for subscriptions at shows that a 1-year subscription will run you $49.95:

"Sure," you say, "all magazines are expensive direct from the publisher. I can get it cheaper online." Not so fast. A check of some sources where I can normally find magazine subscriptions for a *fraction* of the cost from the publisher reveals that Spectator somehow does a very good job of maintaining pricing levels through their distributors: $49.95 $65 $49.95

So, what's the best way to get a subscription to the magazine on the cheap? Frequent flier miles. Using frequently flier miles for subscriptions to magazines that would otherwise be expensive is like killing two birds with one stone because it not only saves you cash, but it also triggers activity on your frequent flier account so that your miles don't expire. For this example, I'll use Delta SkyMiles- here's how you do it:
  1. Log in to
  2. Click on SkyMiles->Use Miles
  3. Select "Redemption Opportunities"
  4. Click "Click here"
  5. Scroll down to see Wine Spectator for 1,000 Delta SkyMiles:

Update (1/16/2009): I also did this through US Airways.

I've done this. It works. The nice thing about this subscription is that it plays nicely with existing subscriptions (ie, if you already have a subscription that's just about to run out, this subscription picks up where the other one left off.)

In my view, a frequently flier mile is worth about 1 cent (and getting worth less each day as airlines diminish the terms associated with their frequent flier programs). Therefore, 1,000 miles is worth about $10 and on Delta (an airline I don't fly regularly) I don't mind spending the miles at all. Compared to $49.95, 1,000 Delta miles is a smokin' deal. Think about it- for the price of one frequently flier ticket (~25,000 miles or around $250 per ticket) you could subscribe to the magazine for the next 25 years! (25 x $49.95 is $1,248.)

Now, for a little extra, you can tack on a subscription to Wine Spectator online which gives you access to all of their historical ratings both on your PC and on your iPhone/iPod touch/BlackBerry. Magazine subscribers get online subscriptions for half off (and you're a subscriber now that you got the magazine for 1,000 Delta SkyMiles, right?) Instead of $49.95 a year, your online subscription is only $25:

What a deal: $25 + 1,000 Delta SkyMiles for a 1-year subscription (print and online) to Wine Specatator. Enjoy!



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