You may balk at the concept of paying for a dating app, but others certainly don’t: Daters spent $3 billion on apps in 2020, up 15 percent from the previous year. These days, singles aren’t afraid to fork up cash for additional features on these apps, which were the most common way couples met each other for years before COVID.
The dating app Bumble, in particular, is one of the most popular with 42 million monthly active users in 2020, according to a spokesperson. Bumble is famous for only allowing women to message men first in the case of heterosexual matches. Here’s how it works: Once a couple matches, the woman has 24 hours to message first. Then, the man has another 24 hours to message back. If one or both of these messages isn’t sent, the match “expires,” or disappears.
Both Bumble and Tinder (which, by comparison, had 75 million monthly active users in 2020) utilize “hot or not”-esque swiping, but only Bumble has this restriction on who gets to message first – as well as more filters to choose from, like your astrological sign and whether you drink. The app’s subscription, Premium, offers additional tools, like being able to undo a swipe and seeing who’s already liked you.
But with so many dating app options out there, is Bumble Premium worth it? The app gave me a two-month trial to see. I found that Premium wasn’t worth it for me due to its cost, but its features – like the ones above – could tip the scales for you.
What is Bumble Boost and Bumble Premium?
While not advertised as such, Boost is like a lower pay tier to Premium. Here are the price breakdowns for both according to in-app numbers:
With Bumble Boost, users can reverse a left swipe with Backtrack and extend time on matches (opens in a new tab) for another day. Boost members also receive unlimited swipes; one Spotlight (opens in a new tab) per week (which puts your profile at the top of the swiping “stack”); and five SuperSwipes (opens in a new tab) a week (lets another user know beforehand that you want to match).
Premium members have all those features, plus unlimited Advanced Filters (whereas other users can only use two at a time); the ability to rematch with expired matches; Travel Mode (opens in a new tab) (swipe anywhere you want to); the Beeline (opens in a new tab) to see everyone who’s already liked you; and Incognito Mode (opens in a new tab) , which hides your profile and only appears for those you swiped right on. As of publication, Incognito Mode is only available on the Bumble app, not the browser version.
Bumble Premium is pricier than other dating app subscriptions. For comparison, a week’s worth of Bumble Premium, $, is worth a month of Tinder Platinum. Hinge, meanwhile, is in the middle (opens in a new tab) at $ per month.
Is Bumble Premium worth it?
This question depends on how much you like and use Bumble – and how much you plan on using its paid-only features.
As I mentioned in my Tinder Platinum review, the ability to reverse swipes (called Backtrack on Bumble) is a game changer. Sometimes – especially if you’re a longtime app user, like I was – you swipe with abandon and may end up saying “no” to someone too fast. Backtrack eliminates left-swipe regrets; it’s probably the premium feature I used most often.
Premium also gives some leeway to the rigid 24-hour rule, which is one reason why Bumble wasn’t my favorite app in the first place. Some days I was busy and just didn’t open it, and I’m sure that’s true for some of my matches as well. The ability to extend a match was pretty useful, but keep in mind you only get an additional 24 hours (opens in a new tab) .
Another valuable feature was Incognito Mode. As I live in New York City, there’s an abundance of users on the app, and many aren’t my type. Going incognito allowed me to be seen by only my hopeful matches. I enjoyed this increase in privacy.
These three additions (Backtrack, time extension, and Incognito Mode) are the best of the bunch, in my opinion. If you see yourself taking advantage of them, Bumble Premium may be for you.
In some cases, filters make sense. If you only want to date someone who shares your faith, for example, a religion filter makes searching for a partner easier.
In other cases, though, I question whether filters are helpful – like Zodiac sign. Are you really not going to date someone because they’re a Gemini? Even an astrologer told Vice filtering out people by sign is a bad idea.
Further, when using a filter you’re also cycling out people who didn’t fill out that certain trait. When I filtered by whether someone smokes, for instance, that eliminated everyone who didn’t share their preference. That could leave out people who are similar to you, but didn’t write-in their choice because they wanted to keep it private, or they just didn’t think to put it on their profile.
I didn’t use Travel Mode at all, given the Omicron variant curbing any travel plans. If you’re a frequent flier, though, I’m sure it’ll be helpful.
Finally, the Beeline piqued my interest as I could see who already liked me, but after a couple weeks of not finding many matches there, I stopped checking it.
If you’re already an active Bumble user and enjoy the app’s unique features – such as women messaging first – and it’s within your means, then try Premium out. It is pricier than other apps, though, so if you lean towards Tinder or Hinge, you may want to check out their paid subscriptions first.
Keep in mind that Bumble Boost is an option, and it does come with Backtrack and match extensions. Should you want Incognito Mode or other features exclusive to Premium, however, you’re going to have to pay up.
Like Tinder Platinum, I didn’t experience much of a difference in quality or quantity of matches with Bumble Premium. While match extension is a boon, there were still days where I didn’t check my phone as much or simply wasn’t active on the app, and as a result matches disappeared. If you’re not diligent, that’ll happen even with Premium.