Indulge me for a moment: I want you to scan through your dating memories from the past few years. When is the last time you remember making eyes with someone across a bar or running into a certified hottie in the produce aisle during a Trader Joe’s run? If you’re in a relationship, how did you and your partner connect? Chances are, it wasn’t during an intramural kickball tournament. If you’ve been on the market at any point in the last decade, you’ve probably tried out a few dating apps.
While popular dating apps like Tinder and Hinge have launched over this period, their functions and features have developed time and time again. A recent offering these apps have created is paid memberships—subscriptions users can purchase that allow them exclusive features that the free version doesn’t provide. These can be anything from extra opportunities to “swipe right” each day or even the ability to set your browsing location to another country. This has basically become standard practice, so you’ve likely come across limitations when using dating apps for free.
As a single woman who recently entered her 30s, I consider myself a sort of connoisseur when it comes to the apps. I’ve had an ongoing love-hate relationship with them for nearly 10 years now, with plenty of ghosting, bad dates, and wild flings falling in between. Living in a city of over one million people has meant that I’ve essentially been introduced to the entire spectrum of online dating experiences, so I feel confident that if you’re wondering whether dating apps are worth paying for, I’m the right person to answer that question.
With each app offering several tiers of membership to those looking for love—and willing to invest in their search—there’s a lot to consider before entering your credit card number. Ahead, I’m sharing my honest thoughts about each app including which dating apps are worth paying for and how to choose the right one for you.
Believe it or not, Tinder is my favorite dating app. I know, I know, but historically, I’ve had the most success in both serious and casual dating, thanks to Tinder. I’ve been on and off the app for roughly a decade, so you can trust that we’ve seen each other through plenty of different phases over the years and that I’ve been able to vet it thoroughly.
Cost: $7.99/month for Tinder Plus, $24.99/month for Tinder Gold, $29.99/month for Tinder Platinum, $500/month for Tinder Select
Best for: Those who want a streamlined, premium experience to dating while being exposed to the largest dating pool possible.
- Accessible price points
- Unlimited likes, rewinds, and use of Passport for location switching
- Five Super Likes a day and optional Swipe Notes for messaging before you match
- Easier access to the larger user base on any dating app
Tinder’s tiered paid options make features more accessible to the masses than on some other apps, which I appreciate. I’ve been using the Premium subscription (the third tier), and so far, I’ve been really impressed with everything it offers. In addition to perks from Tinder Plus and Gold, like unlimited likes, rewinds, and the ability to use Passport to set your location to other places, Platinum allows you five free super likes a day, the ability to message before matching with Swipe Notes, and your likes will even be seen before others’ likes.
- Tinder’s reputation as a hookup app
- A ton of profiles to sort through
Tinder’s reputation as a hookup app isn’t exactly a secret. The app has so many people on it that you’re inevitably going to encounter a handful who are just looking to swim in the sheets. If that’s your goal, amazing! If you’d rather not deal with people seeking an FWB or quick hookup, I would try using other apps like Hinge or Bumble, which cater more toward people who want a serious relationship.
Based on my personal experience and what I’ve been able to enjoy with the Platinum features, I would say Tinder’s memberships are well worth it. The prices are great for the perks you’ll get, and because Tinder is the most used app you’ll have easier access to a huge selection of people. Plus, I’ve noticed that the app has upped its game in terms of safety and security, so you can feel a bit more confident that you won’t need to deal with as many bots or creeps as you may have in the past.
Let me start by saying that I have had a few success stories in my dating life because of Bumble, and the one thing that stands out to me the most on this app is how safe and respectful most of my encounters have been. For this reason alone, I think that Bumble is a great option for anyone who is just starting out with the apps, wants to date more seriously, or wants to feel more in control of their dating experience.
Cost: $34.99/month for Bumble Premium, $24.99/week for Bumble Premium+
Best for: Those who are looking for a higher quality dating pool and are willing to invest in finding a serious relationship.
- Seeing who already liked you in your Beeline
- Unlimited backtracks and match extensions
- Likes and profiles are shown with priority for Premium+ members
- Advanced filters for narrowing down the profiles you’re shown
Bumble’s paid memberships include really helpful features like unlimited likes, your “Beeline” (where you can see everyone who has already liked you), travel mode, unlimited backtracks for accidental left-swipes, unlimited extensions for matches that timed out, and profile filters so you can narrow down the users shown to you. The Premium+ membership is great if you’re serious about meeting a partner because your likes will be shown to others with priority, you can see trending users, and your profile is automatically boosted at busy times during the day.
- Women still have to message first, which doesn’t work for everyone
- Higher price points for membership
- Several paid features (like backtracks and search filters) used to be free
One frustration I’ve had with Bumble for a while is that several of the most helpful features available in the premium memberships used to be free. I know this is the case with most of the apps, but Bumble has really seemed to monetize every possible perk and feature, leaving much less incentive for free users to stay loyal to the app. The options to backtrack if you accidentally skipped past a user or extend your match were once offered to everyone, and at one point, some profile filters were free to use.
If you want to use multiple apps at once or you have a tight budget, $34.99 is a bit of a steep price to pay for access to just some of the paid features, and $24.99 a week for the Premium+ membership isn’t really accessible. However, if you are solely using Bumble and you want to spend less time swiping and more time on dates with serious suitors, the Beeline, advanced filters, and unlimited backtrack and extend features make this dating app experience seamless.
If you’re on TikTok as much as I am (too much), you’ve probably realized that Hinge has really been making a splash lately. The app’s user base has seemed to grow exponentially over the past few years, and in my city especially, it has become one of the top few platforms. The app’s slogan is “designed to be deleted,” and in my experience, that rings true. Hinge is a great option for people looking to go on dates and get off the apps—and their premium features can fast-track that process.
Cost: $29.99/month for Hinge+, $49.99/month for HingeX
Best for: Those who want to get off the dating apps and find a quality partner for a serious relationship.
- Filter by preferences like political views, drinking/not drinking, views on kids, and more
- Sending unlimited likes as opposed to only five per day
- HingeX users are automatically boosted, and their likes are given priority
- Extra “roses” to give to your weekly Standouts
The features for Hinge+ are relatively standard in comparison with other dating apps, with the ability to see who liked you all at once, send unlimited likes, and set preferences if you want someone who does/doesn’t drink, has/doesn’t have kids, aligns with your political beliefs, etc. The free version requires you to sift through the users who liked you one by one and only allows you five likes per day, so these are pretty good perks for a $29.99 membership.
With HingeX, your profile is constantly boosted to be seen first, and your likes are given priority as well. According to the Hinge team, HingeX users go on three times as many dates as those using the free version.
- Some users aren’t satisfied with the compatibility algorithm
- Paid members still don’t have unlimited access to Standouts
- Considerable price point in comparison to features offered
A lot of people on social media also express frustration with the “Standouts” feature on the app, and I concur. It’s essentially gatekeeping the best and most compatible profiles by giving limited access to free users—and the general algorithm, while swiping often, recommends profiles as “most compatible” that are anything but, even for paid members.
It goes without saying that $50 is a lot to spend on a dating app every month, and even the lower Hinge+ cost might deter some who are on a tight budget. But if you’re willing to invest in your dating experience, both Hinge+ and HingeX have yielded some pretty incredible matches for many of its users, so I’d say that it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a dating app that “designed to be deleted.”
OkCupid tends to fall under the radar, in my opinion. Out of all the major dating apps, I like OkCupid’s features the most. The app encourages users to answer a bunch of questions (there are hundreds available) regarding their dating preferences, sociopolitical values, lifestyle, and more and then matches you up with other users based on a percentage of compatibility. I even met my most recent ex on there, and we’re still buds, so I’d give it a solid recommendation.
Cost: $44.99/month for OkCupid Premium
Best for: Those who want to learn about their matches upfront and get an in-depth look at their compatibility before agreeing to a date.
- See all users who already liked you and any intro messages they may have sent
- Access to every answer other users have given to their questions
- The compatibility structure is unique to the app and really thorough
- Optional features like boosting your profile and SuperLikes
With the premium membership, you’re able to see who likes you before you swipe, see the answer to every question a user has answered regardless of whether you’ve answered the same ones, see your intro messages before you decide to match, and other helpful search and swipe features. Their free features are already pretty unique and comprehensive as it is, and in my opinion, $44.99 is a fair price in comparison to the cost of other platforms given its amazing features.
- Smaller user base than on other apps
- Higher price point
The cons of using OkCupid for me are slightly biased because it mostly applies to the slim dating pool in my city, which won’t be the case for everyone. Since the leg work of getting your profile up to par takes a considerable amount of time and effort, paying for OkCupid probably isn’t something you want to do if you’re someone who wants to spend the least amount of time and energy on the app and just swipe without all the bells and whistles.
If you live in a larger city, I think that OkCupid’s premium membership is worth a shot—but only if you’re willing to put in the time and energy into getting your profile set up. Some of the questions are quite up-close and personal, so getting to know someone through the app is much easier than on other apps. My advice? Download the free version of this app first, and if you find that you don’t mind the extra set-up steps and there are enough eligible suitors, upgrade to the paid version—it’s worth it.
Feeld is a newer app, but it has already made a mark on the dating app industry within the past few years. Its inclusive environment, customization options, and looser community guidelines make it a great platform for those looking for alternative relationship styles or sex-positive experiences. Feeld is primarily designed for people in the non-monogamous, LGBTQ+, and kink communities and is one of the only dating apps that give users the option to be upfront about their sexual desires and interests.
Cost: $24.99/month for Majestic Membership
Best for: Those who are in the non-monogamous, LGBTQ+ or kink communities (and those wanting to explore them) who have an idea of what they’re looking for and aren’t shy about expressing their desires.
- See everyone who likes you and when users were last active
- Option to upload private photos that only your matches can see
- Filter out users based on their desires
- Very inclusive environment
Feeld currently has one membership option, and it’s surprisingly comprehensive. For $24.99 a month, you can see everyone who likes you, send “pings” that go straight to the users you’re interested in before they match with you, upload private photos for your connections to see, and filter users by the desires listed in their profile. Plus, if you’re in a relationship, you can even connect your partner’s profile to yours. Paid members are also the only ones who can see when a member was last active and send unlimited likes each day. This makes the user experience easier, and if you know what you want, you’re more likely to find it quickly if you take advantage of the paid perks.
- Recent price increase
- Only one “Ping” a day for paid members
Up until recently, Feeld’s Majestic membership was offered at the lowest cost of all dating app premium subscriptions. They went through a complete rebrand and app update within the last few months, which also included a rise in the Majestic cost. The kinks (pun intended) that came up within their update process and the increased price weren’t exactly received well among some members.
If you’re someone who is exploring polyamory for the first time, looking for a consistent but experienced sexual partner, considering an open arrangement with your partner, or even if you’re a veteran in the kink community and looking for a specific relationship dynamic, Feeld’s membership is a great option for you. If just want to dip your toe into this community and don’t necessarily need the premium experience just yet, free users are still able to send up to 40 likes a day, which is a lot on an app with a smaller user base. I’ve been a Feeld user for a few years, and while I’ve never ended up meeting anyone in person from the app, I appreciate how transparent and inclusive their platform is.
After nearly a decade of swiping (goodness gracious, that’s a long time!), I feel qualified to recommend the aforementioned apps to anyone needing guidance in their online dating journey. I’ve spent countless hours sipping on happy hour cocktails at my local hipster bars, chatting over expensive lattes, and taking nighttime strolls on the beach—all in the name of learning what I like and what I expect in my dating life and I have these apps to thank.
So, whether your monthly dating budget only includes enough money for a single glass of wine during happy hour and the least expensive membership you can find, or you are ready and willing to invest in high-quality features, you can trust that these platforms will yield results for your love life. You have my word that this list is worth a try. Shoot your shot, ladies!