How to Get a Deal on SiriusXM Satellite Radio

If you’ve arrived here, you’ve either:

  • Bought a new car recently and your free SiriusXM subscription has run out
  • Bought a used car with a SiriusXM receiver
  • Bought a new audio head unit with an XM receiver

...and you’re trying to figure out the cheapest way to get a SiriusXM satellite radio subscription. There are a bunch of ways to save off of the list price for a SiriusXM radio subscription but first, let’s determine what the regular price is:

SiriusXM List Prices

PackageMonthly Fee
SiriusXM Select$16.99
SiriusXM All Access$21.99
SiriusXM Mostly Music$10.99
Additional FeaturesMonthly Fee
TravelLink$1.99
Traffic$3.99
Traffic+TravelLink$5.98
NavTraffic+NavWeather$7
NavTraffic+NavWeather+TravelLink$8.99

SiriusXM Cost vs. Streaming Services

There are two questions here: One is how does SiriusXM compare in terms of COST to streaming services, and second, how does it compare in terms of FEATURES.

SiriusXM Cost vs Streaming Services

When comparing costs, we’re just going to compare against SiriusXM All Access, because it offers all the content SiriusXM offers, with no restrictions. We’re also comparing it against the cost of streaming services for individual users, rather than families, because SiriusXM doesn’t offer a family plan. And, where applicable, we’re choosing the commercial free option of streaming services because they compare most appropriately with SiriusXM.

SiriusXM All AccessApple MusicSpotifyPandoraAmazon Music UnlimitedYouTube Music
Monthly Fee$21.99$9.99$9.99$9.99$9.99 ($7.99 for Amazon Prime members)$9.99

Comparing SiriusXM costs to streaming services is like comparing the cost of a new car to your annual tab at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Like a new car, the price of SiriusXM is negotiable. Like your annual registration fee at the DMV, the cost of a Spotify subscription is not.

There are thousands of deals on SiriusXM in the marketplace, including deals directly from SiriusXM. You find that out when you try to cancel the service (We’ll get into that in a minute. It’s not easy.) The person you talk to on the phone will almost immediately offer you a deal for the service that’s almost too good to pass up. If you currently have the service and are on the fence about keeping it, that’s the best advice we can give you right now: Call up and cancel, and you’ll be offered a better deal.

If you don’t have the service right now and are curious about what deals are out there, here’s what we found for an all-access subscription:

The DealLinkNotes
The Basic Discount$8.25/mo for a yearGet this dealAfter 12 months, fee increases to $21.99. Offer good on new subs only
Military Discount25% offGet this dealGood for the life of your subscription.
Pay Annually Discount1 month free ($20/mo)Get this deal
Upgrade$18.99/moGet this dealIf you currently have a lesser SiriusXM subscription (Mostly Music, for example) upgrade to All Access and you can get that for less than the list price.
Cancel Offer 1$99/yr ($8.25/mo)Call the customer service line and cancelThis obviously only applies to current subs. If you’re on the phone, refuse this deal.
Cancel Offer 2$60/yr ($5/mo)Refuse the $99 dealOnce you’ve refused the $99/yr offer, ask for a $60 a year deal, paid up front for a year.

The $60/yr offer is about the best deal you’re going to find. One thing to remember is that you’ll want to note the date at which this offer expires, and then call again the next year, otherwise your fee is going to increase to the normal $21.99 automatically.

How to Cancel SiriusXM

If the offers for cancellation are any indication, canceling SiriusXM is something that the customer service people are going to do anything to avoid. Unlike canceling one of the streaming services, which only entails going to that service’s website and selecting “cancel,” canceling Sirius is a process, sort of like canceling a gym membership.

You have to call customer service to do it, which is a bridge too far for an entire generation of people who hate talking on the phone. If you do want to cancel, you really need to be persistent. Refuse every offer. Eventually, you’ll either get to an offer that’s too good to pass up, or you’ll be able to successfully cancel the service.

Even if you don’t get that super-insane $60/yr offer, though, the $99/yr initial cancellation offer is a compelling promotion. It’s more than a buck cheaper than any streaming service out there, and it provides you a lot of content for that kind of money, integrated into your car audio system.

SiriusXM Functionality vs. Streaming Services

Unless you’re incredibly math-challenged, it’s obvious that the list price for SiriusXM is more than twice what every streaming service in the business is. If they’re charging that much more out of the gate, then what’s the advantage?

  • Curation: If you listen to a streaming service, you are being served music that you’ve either built into a playlist or you’re listening to songs that an algorithm thinks you might like. SiriusXM, on the other hand, has program directors and on-air talent that put playlists together. Streaming services have banked on these algorithms to keep you listening, and to keep you interested in the content that you like. You can favorite songs and put them into playlists, and all of that data gives the streaming service a better picture of what you like, and the ability to serve more music that you’ll engage with.

    Only these algorithms are kind of meme-worthy awful.

    It’s fine if all you listen to is Top 40 or Classic Rock, but if you’re really into Mexican surf music (yes, it’s a genre, and it’s amazingly good), you’re about six songs away from being served up a Beach Boys song, which has nothing to do with the music you like.

    SiriusXM still relies on old-school program directors and on-air talent to curate music that you’re more likely to listen to. Lithium (SiriusXM 34) is a good example. It covers the grunge era pretty well, and if you like that music, you’re more than likely to like what they’re playing, without being suddenly assaulted with a Taylor Swift song.

  • Integration: SiriusXM is native to the vast majority of new car audio head units available today. Buy a new car, and SiriusXM usually comes along with it, free for a few months, and fully integrated just like the AM and FM bands. You can save stations, scan forward and backward, and all the other things you can do with any other radio station.

    SOME streaming services are native to SOME car audio systems on new cars, like Pandora in Subaru vehicles equipped with Starlink, for example, but if you like Spotify better, you’re out of luck with a fully integrated option. Yes, the services will play, but only through your phone.

  • Satellite Coverage: I can step 10 feet out my front door and a streaming service won’t work. And I live in suburban Boston. If you’re out in the bushes at all, cell service doesn’t work, and you’re also sucking time out of your data plan to listen.

    SiriusXM has coverage coast to coast. Sure, there are a few places where coverage might be interrupted for a second or two (tree cover, bridges and tunnels), but for the most part, you can start in Portland, Maine, get on the highway and end up in Portland, Oregon and listen to the same channel all the way.

  • Artist Support: This is becoming an especially big deal, especially after the pandemic. Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Amazon and all the rest of the streaming services simply DO NOT PAY artists. Spotify currently pays somewhere around the laughable $0.00318 per stream, but that’s not even the reality of what artists are seeing. Classical violinist Tasmin Little earned just £12.34 (about $15.67) for five to six million streams, for example.

    Fifteen bucks for five to six million streams.

    SirusXM, on the other hand, is working under a much more strict royalty requirement, as set out by Congress, and it’s WHY SiriusXM has a higher monthly fee. “Unlike terrestrial radio, SiriusXM is required to pay copyright music royalties to recording artists, musicians and recording labels that hold copyrights in sound recordings (the actual recording of a work) that were fixed after February 15, 1972. Like terrestrial radio, SiriusXM must also pay music publishers who hold copyrights in musical compositions (or the lyrics and music) through their collective organizations such as ASCAP and BMI. The U.S. Music Royalty Fee offsets royalties payable by SiriusXM to composers, publishers, recording artists, musicians and record labels that hold copyrights in musical works and recordings.”

  • Content: The bottom line is this: If you want to listen to Howard Stern, SiriusXM is the only game in town. If you want all the major sports, same deal. None of the streaming services offer this.

SiriusXM All AccessApple MusicSpotifyPandoraAmazon Music UnlimitedYouTube Music
CurationYESNONONONONO
IntegrationYESNOYESYESNONO
Satellite CoverageYESNONONONONO
Artist SupportYESNONONONONO
Howard SternYESNONONONONO
CurationNOYESYESYESYESYES

SiriusXM Packages

  • SiriusXM Select: SiriusXM Select is basically all of the music stations available, all the comedy stations, all the news stations, plus the bulk of the sports channels with the exception of Major League Baseball.
  • SiriusXM All Access: SiriusXM All Access gets you everything in SirusXM Select, plus two Howard Stern Channels, plus Major League Baseball.
  • SiriusXM Mostly Music: As the name implies, “Mostly Music” is ...well, mostly music.

We compiled the chart below to give you an easy way to compare the packages:

Sirius XM SelectSiriusXM All AccessSiriusXM Mostly Musi
SiriusXM VideoAccess to SiriusXM video online and on the app.Access to SiriusXM video, including Howard Stern video, online and on the app.Access to SiriusXM video online and on the app.
Listening Outside the CarIncludes 5,000+ hours of On Demand shows, performances and interviews.Includes 5,000+ hours of On Demand shows, performances and interviews.Includes On Demand shows, performances, and interviews.
SiriusXM VideoAccess to SiriusXM video online and on the app.Access to SiriusXM video, including Howard Stern video, online and on the app.Access to SiriusXM video online and on the app.
Personalized Stations Powered by PandoraCreate customized, ad-free music stations online and on the app.
Ad-Free Music ChannelsAll of our ad-free music channels.All of our ad-free music channels.A selection of our ad-free music channels.
24/7 Comedy ChannelsComedy Central Radio, Jeff & Larry's Comedy Roundup, and more. Comedy Central Radio, Jeff & Larry's Comedy Roundup, and more.
World-Class NewsFOX News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg Radio, NPR, and more. FOX News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg Radio, NPR, and more.
Howard Stern2 Dedicated Channels
NFLEvery NFL game, plus 24/7 Exclusive NFL® Talk Channel
NASCAREvery Race, Plus 24/7 Exclusive NASCAR® Talk Channel
MLBEvery MLB game, Plus 24/7 Exclusive MLB® Talk ChannelEvery MLB game, Plus 24/7 Exclusive MLB® Talk Channel
NBAEvery NBA Game, Plus 24/7 Exclusive NBA® Talk ChannelEvery NBA Game, Plus 24/7 Exclusive NBA® Talk Channel
NHLNHL Games, Plus 24/7 Exclusive NHL® Talk ChannelNHL Games, Plus 24/7 Exclusive NHL® Talk Channel
PGA TourPGA TOUR® Coverage, Plus 24/7 Exclusive PGA TOUR® Talk ChannelPGA TOUR® Coverage, Plus 24/7 Exclusive PGA TOUR® Talk Channel
College Sports24/7 coverage of men's and women's major college conference sporting events.24/7 coverage of men's and women's major college conference sporting events.
Traffic & WeatherDedicated ChannelsDedicated Channels
Xtra Channels100+ online Xtra channels for every mood or activity.100+ online Xtra channels for every mood or activity.

FAQ

Can you negotiate with SiriusXM?

You bet you can. SiriusXM is always willing to negotiate a better deal to keep you on their service. The deals can be as good as half off the list price for an All Access subscription. The only way to get those deals is to call and cancel, though.

How do I get the best deal on SiriusXM?

Initially, the best deal is three months for free. Then you’ll be offered a basic $21.99/mo service. That works out to be $16.49 per month for 12 months. From there, it’s up to you to ask for a discount when you’re on the line with customer service.

Does SiriusXM offer senior discounts?

No, but it does offer a 25% off discount to not only active military, but veterans and their families.

How much does SiriusXM cost?

The base price for subscriptions is $16.99 for SiriusXM Select, $21.99 for SiriusXM All Access and $10.99 for SiriusXM Mostly Music, without any applicable discounts.

Can you get SiriusXM Satellite Radio for Free?

If you just bought a new car, chances are you have SiriusXM for free for three months. There are also discount programs that can get you free access for a limited period of time.

Does Honda have SiriusXM Satellite Radio?

Yes. Every manufacturer currently offers a radio with SiriusXM built into its capabilities.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.

Todays Car-o-Scope

What the stars say about your car for 10/27/2020
Your mind will expand this week. You will learn the meaning of "EGR valve."
Select your sign
  1. Aries
  2. Taurus
  3. Gemini
  4. Cancer
  5. Leo
  6. Virgo
  7. Libra
  8. Scorpio
  9. Sagittarius
  10. Capricorn
  11. Aquarius
  12. Pisces
ad placeholder