Netflix is removing its cheapest ad-free plan and there’s nothing you can do about it

Christopher Baggett
A promotional still for Netflix content

If you’ve been a long-time Netflix user but haven’t upgraded from the Basic plan, you may be in for a rude awakening.

In a January 2024 letter to shareholders, Netflix revealed it would be phasing out its original Basic plan. Basic is a holdout from Netflix‘s earliest streaming offerings and gave subscribers ad-free, HD access on one device for $9.99/month.

Netflix has since eliminated that plan as part of their ongoing changes to pricing structure. It replaced Basic with two new plans: Standard (currently priced at $15.49/month) and Standard w/ Ads (currently priced at $6.99/month).

Basic subscribers who were previously grandfathered in are now being prompted to change their subscriptions. The catch is that they won’t be allowed to use their Netflix accounts until they do, even if they’ve already paid for the month.

Originally reported by The Verge, a post on the Mildly Infuriating subreddit by user BritestBowlingBall revealed they had launched the Netflix app to a full-screen pop-up telling them to choose a new plan.

“Netflix won’t let me watch the last few weeks of my subscription without resubscribing,” BritestBowlingBall explains. “There’s no option to continue watching without selecting a new plan.”

Users are obviously frustrated with the decision, not least of all because they view the replacement Standard option as inferior to Basic. As one user put it, “$5.99 with new features … those new features … they’re adverts.”

Another user revealed he had finally given up on the service, saying, “I had been a Netflix subscriber since the early DVD days, but finally cancelled around January of this year. The juice just wasn’t worth the squeeze anymore.”

The “juice” in question is the seemingly endless wave of changes Netflix keeps dropping on consumers who are already struggling. Reports indicate there are plans to raise prices again in 2024.

The platform has also further cracked down on password sharing by requiring further verification or an additional charge.

That’s not to mention the ongoing frustrations with Netflix’s decisions as producers. The service has an almost cutthroat reputation for canceling shows regardless of popularity. They’re also poised to add more commercials to their Standard w/ Ads plan.

If you’re a Netflix user still on the original Basic plan, you have until July 13 to choose a new plan. Unfortunately, there are few other options for subscribers unless you qualify for the new Streamsaver bundle or want to cancel altogether.

If you’re trying to decide whether to keep Netflix or find a new streaming service that fits your needs, check out our guide on the best streaming services in 2024 and the best new movies streaming this month.