Membership Dues Increase FAQ

  1. Why is AOPA raising dues?
  2. What do dues pay for?
  3. How will a dues increase help?
  4. Why this amount?
  5. Why doesn’t AOPA cut costs instead of raising dues?
  6. What has AOPA done to save money?
  7. Why now?
  8. Why not use the reserve?
  9. What will the dues increase pay for?
  10. What is the real value of my membership? What do things cost?
  11. What are my options at the new membership rates?

Why is AOPA raising dues?

In this increasingly challenging operating environment, AOPA has made the difficult decision to raise dues. We have held the line as long as possible—so much so that this is only the second dues increase in 24 years. In fact, AOPA has cut costs. Our 2014 operating budget is at the lowest level since 2006. But even as we find ways to do more with less, we must face the hard reality that we need to raise dues to continue providing you with the highest quality advocacy and support.

What do dues pay for?

On average, dues cover about 30 percent of AOPA’s annual operating costs. AOPA is first and foremost a membership organization. Your dues help pay for all of the programs, tools, and advocacy AOPA provides on your behalf. Whether we’re fighting excessive regulation in Washington, D.C; delivering the magazines you love to read; or producing educational materials to help you fly more safely, we depend on your dues to make it possible.

How will a dues increase help?

Raising dues will make it possible for AOPA to keep fulfilling our mission by helping you do what you love—fly. The issues and challenges facing general aviation today are more numerous and complex than ever. By raising dues we will be able to keep providing you with top quality advocacy in the nation’s capital, in your state, and at airports nationwide. We’ll also be able to keep delivering and refining the services and tools you rely on from educational courses to great magazines to detailed airport information.

Why this amount?

We chose the amount carefully to keep dues as low as possible while still delivering on our commitment to serve you. Twenty-four years ago, AOPA membership dues were $39. Just keeping pace with inflation, dues today would be $70. But keeping dues low is important to us, and we know it’s important to you. That’s why we’re setting the dues for a regular membership at $59 and giving you options to choose a membership package that’s right for you. You can learn more about the various membership packages here.

Why doesn’t AOPA cut costs instead of raising dues?

As a membership organization, we know we have a responsibility to be good stewards of your membership dollars. That’s why we’ve created a lean organization and made significant cuts in spending. In fact, our operating expenses for 2014 are the lowest they’ve been since 2006. At the same time, however, the cost of doing business is rising in ways and for reasons that are beyond our control. We have diligently avoided passing those costs on to you while we’ve found ways to do more with less. But the time has come when we must raise dues in order to keep providing you with the highest quality advocacy and support.

What has AOPA done to save money?

We have systematically reviewed our expenses and found ways to cut costs. You said you wanted less mail and we listened, cutting our direct mail postage costs by close to 50 percent. We’ve also reduced staff travel and changed the way we use GA aircraft to maximize our efficiency. And we’ve reduced our staffing expenses, cutting payroll in 2014 and permanently eliminating four executive positions. We’ve even changed the way we handle our legal work to save money.

Why now?

We have done everything in our power to avoid raising dues for as long as possible. As you may know, this will be only the second dues increase in 24 years. While we’ve made every effort to keep dues low, we are faced with rising costs beyond our control. Basic costs of doing business have gone way up in America. Things like technology to operate the websites and postage to mail the magazines have all risen significantly in recent years.

At the same time, revenues have shifted. As companies have struggled through difficult economic times, they’ve had less money to spend on advertising, and that once-reliable source of revenue has declined in every industry, including general aviation. Changing credit practices have further slashed revenue from the affinity credit card program by nearly 50 percent.

Why not use the reserve?

Our reserve is set aside to serve members, but that doesn’t mean we use it for everyday operating costs. The reserve exists to support programs and major issues outside of typical operating plans. Right now, we are using reserve funds to pay for legal representation in our efforts to preserve the historic Santa Monica Airport. It’s important to keep the reserve funded so we’re prepared to fight for you no matter what issues may arise. Our effectiveness depends on having the funds on hand regardless of when or where the freedom to fly is threatened.

What will the dues increase pay for?

The dues increase will help AOPA continue to provide the advocacy and support you value while we continue to create a stronger future for general aviation. All of our programs rely on member dues to some extent. By raising dues we will be able to keep delivering top notch advocacy, our unique pilot hotline, award winning magazines, outstanding websites, best-in-class safety education, and all the other services you rely on.

What is the real value of my membership? What do things cost?

The biggest value your membership delivers doesn’t come with a price tag—it’s the strength you lend to our voice as we fight for the freedom to fly. It’s hard to be heard above the noise in Washington, D.C., but the strength of our membership means decision makers listen. While it’s impossible to put a price on the type of representation AOPA delivers, other member benefits do have a cost. Specialized news delivered online can cost $25 a month or more. Magazines can cost $8 or more on the newsstand, for each and every issue. Access to expert help through a hotline service can cost $6.50 or more per member contact.

What are my options at the new membership rates?

We know that choice matters to you. That’s why we’ve created a variety of membership packages that let you pay only for what you need.

Regular Membership $59—AOPA’s Regular Membership provides essential tools for pilots, including advocacy, unlimited website access, a one-year subscription to your choice of either AOPA Pilot or Flight Training magazine, weather, flight planning tools, access to webinars, AOPA’s Airport Directory online, and more.

e-Membership $49—With AOPA’s e-Membership, you can take advantage of all the essential tools for pilots included in the Regular Membership but receive a digital-only edition of AOPA Pilot or Flight Training magazine. By selecting digital access to the magazine of your choice, you cut our printing and mailing costs, and we pass those savings on to you.

Premier Membership $99—AOPA’s Premier Membership delivers a higher level of service for your busy lifestyle. You’ll get all the essential tools of a Regular Membership plus dedicated priority access to our aviation helpline, AOPA Navigators concierge service, a 10 percent discount on optional Pilot Protection Services, and a digital edition of either AOPA Pilot or Flight Training magazine so you can read on the run.

Premier Plus Membership $179—Premier Plus Membership delivers our highest level of service for active pilots. Premier Plus members receive all the benefits of Premier Membership as well as Pilot Protection Services Plus to protect your certificate and your medical, all in one package. By taking advantage of this special bundled pricing, you save nearly 20 percent on the cost of Pilot Protection Services Plus alone.

Life Membership $750—Make an investment in the future of general aviation and never pay dues again with a Life Membership. You’ll receive all the benefits of Regular Membership for as long as you live. It’s an exceptional value and an easy way to make sure you’ve always got AOPA as your wingman.

Premier Plus Life Membership $1,999—For the active pilot and committed general aviation advocate, we offer the Premier Plus Life Membership. You’ll receive a lifetime of Premier Plus benefits, including Pilot Protection Services Plus while helping ensure that AOPA is always here to protect your freedom to fly.