An Insider's Guide to Premium
If you keep up with the NC Mall Boards or know someone who is currently a premium member, then I am sure you have heard of The Neopets Team's (TNT) new addition to premium membership: the introduction of a monthly Neocash Collectible Series. While there were many premium members who were admiring the first awarded item and speculating over the ones soon to come, there was another group of non-premium members who were beginning to wonder if they should sign up.
Deciding whether or not to sign up for premium membership is a big thing... there are many factors involved, especially that of the use of real currency. Having made that decision for myself almost a year ago, I am now here to explain to you what premium is like from a member's perspective so that you will be informed enough to feel comfortable with making a decision of your own.
Membership Basics #1: Signing Up
Before TNT switched hosting services for Premium, it used to be that users wanting to sign-up would normally go through a friend with premium for a referral. However, since the switch last summer, it has now become easier- and simpler- for users to sign up. Located in the menu bar at the top of your screen, there is an option for Premium. Hovering over that option will lead to a drop down link that will take you to a Premium sign-up page.
NOTE: Before signing up for Premium, you MUST have your parent's permission or be over 18 years old. It is also important to remember that there are no refunds given for purchased memberships.
Membership Basics #2: Choosing the Plan Right For You
TNT has provided Neopians with three different options for your membership plan- a 1-month plan, a 4-month plan and a 12-month (1 year) plan. As with Neocash, the higher tier that you purchase comes at a lower cost- saving you more.
However, does that mean that the 1-year membership is right for you? Not necessarily. If you are simply curious about Premium, you have limited finances, or you may be getting busier later on in the year and will not be able to play Neopets as often, you may want to consider getting the 1 month or 4 month plan. If you do happen to want a longer membership than you previously enrolled in, you can always upgrade your membership plan later on through the "Manage Membership" option that TNT provides you.
I personally recommend the 4-month plan since it allows you room to cancel if life gets in the way of you enjoying your membership, and it does not cost too much more than the 12-month plan on a per-month basis. Like I stated before, though, everyone will have different circumstances and different preferences. You need to carefully decide what is best for you.
Membership Basics #3: Benefits
So- what exactly are the benefits that you will be signing up for with the purchase of your Premium membership? Here's what you can expect when you sign up for membership:
+ Weekly Space Faerie Scratchcards: These scratchcards, which are awarded every Friday to Premium members, award you with one of several prizes- including a random amount of Neopoints, Neocola Tokens (ranging from blue, red or green), a Mysterious Token, the Orbulon petpet and Space Faerie themed items such as the Space Faerie pen, Space Faerie Plushie, or Space Faerie Collectible Card. These scratchcards cannot be sold or transferred; however, they also do not expire. You will continue to get them weekly as long as you are a Premium member.
+ Monthly Premium Card: The monthly premium cards are special cards awarded and are displayed in your Premium NeoDeck Album. These cards cannot be traded or used; however, you can use them to show off to your friends or admire the wonderful pictures that adorn each one.
+ Monthly Premium Collectible Items: The newest addition to the list of benefits, the Premium Collectible Items are awarded on the 15th of every month. Similar to Neocash items, these collectibles can be traded, but require a Gift Box to do so.
+ 5th Neopet Slot: The 5th Neopet slot allows you to keep 5 pets on your Premium-subscribed account as long as you are a member.
+ No Ads Around the Site: This benefit either removes ads or replaces the ads around Neopets with various hand-drawn comics.
+ Access to the Super Shop Wizard: One of my favorite features, the Super Shop Wizard allows you to easily search for items (without even having to leave the screen you are on) and displays all items in order of price. Now you no longer have to ask the Shop Wizard 7 times just to find the cheapest item. However, it is important to note that there are some items that the Super Shop Wizard cannot search for. Likewise, you are also not allowed to use him to search for items when you are on a faerie quest. He can also tire out if you search for too many things at once, leaving you to wait for a bit so he can gain more energy.
+ Premium Featured Games with Double Neopoints: In addition to the normal Feature Games found in the Game Room, Premium members are also given a second featured game that will award them with double Neopoints for the day.
+ Use of the Premium Space Faerie Avatar: Previously only awarded to Premium members with a certain number of referrals, the Premium Space Faerie Avatar is now available to any member who has signed up for Premium. However- you will not find this in the Secret Avatar section, but rather, right above it.
+ Use of the Space Faerie Premium Site Theme: Premium membership will also allow you to use the exclusive Space Faerie Site Theme, instead of the usual Neopet ones. This site theme won't be counted in your count on your user-lookup, though.
+ Access to Premium-only Neoboards (and Charter Boards after 3 months): As a Premium member, you are also allowed access to Premium-only Neoboards where you can meet and talk with other Premium members. There are 6 total boards you can gain access to: 3 for Premium members, and 3 for Charter members- or Premium members who have had their membership for over 3 months.
+ Lucky Space Faerie Charm: This charm-, which will appear under your site trophies section-, is a beautiful item that can randomly fire when you are playing a game. If it fires after submitting a score, you will be awarded double the Neopoints for that score.
+ Premium-Only Random Events: Premium users can also experience Premium-Only Random Events. These random events are always positive, so you don't have to worry about Boochi or Pant Devil attacks. Just make sure that you look out for falling cookie jars!
Premium Basics #4: Life After Premium
I know what you're thinking- "All of these cool benefits are great, but what happens if you have to cancel your Premium for whatever reason? What will happen then?"
First- it's important to note that if you cancel your Premium subscription- you will still remain a Premium member until your previously purchased subscription is up. For example, if you cancel your 1-month membership after you have already been charged for January, you will remain a premium member until February.
As for the Premium benefits, most of them will no longer be available to you. You will still be able to keep prizes awarded to you from Random Events or scratchcards, as well as your Premium Collectible Item(s).
Most importantly, though, you will NOT be able to keep your 5th pet slot. Even if the sloth is occupied, you will be asked to transfer the pet elsewhere. You can also place your pet in the pound, where only you will be able to adopt it for 90 days. If those 90 days are up and you have not picked up your pet, though, it will become adoptable to others. So- if you do have a 5th pet and are planning on cancelling your membership, be sure you quickly act so that you do not lose your pet.
Premium Basics #5: Is It Worth It?
This is one of the most often asked question to Premium members. And while I personally believe it is (I love the benefits and knowing that I'm supporting a company that I love), I cannot speak for all of you. In the end, it is up to you to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of membership and decide for yourself. However, I do hope that this article has helped you understand more clearly what Premium membership is like.