Upcoming Changes to the Boingo In-Flight Wi-Fi Mastercard Benefits

One very useful benefit given to cardholders of many Mastercard products is complimentary Wi-Fi through Boingo. The access is available at over one million hotspots around the world, both on the ground and in the air.

While passengers could previously enjoy relatively unrestricted use of in-flight Wi-Fi on 26 airlines, there is an upcoming change that will significantly alter the benefit. As of March 9, 2023, eligible Mastercard cardholders will be limited to 12 90-minute in-flight sessions per year, which could result in a reduction to the utility of the perk to some users.

Boingo Reduces In-Flight Mastercard Wi-Fi Benefit

Earlier this week, Boingo sent out an email advising Mastercard cardholders about upcoming changes to the Wi-Fi benefit. In the email, Boingo calls the changes “enhancements” and “improvements”, which usually means the opposite.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and Boingo is pulling the plug on unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi as a Mastercard benefit. As of March 9, 2023, the perk is being reduced to 12 90-minute in-flight sessions over the course of a calendar year for eligible Mastercard cardholders.

It’s important to note that this change only applies to in-flight Wi-Fi – you can continue to use Boingo hotspots on the ground without any limits or caps. Furthermore, during the 90-minute session, there is no cap to the amount of data you can use.

Currently, if you have an eligible Mastercard, you can enjoy access to Boingo Wi-Fi on flights with a number of airlines, including:

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Singapore Airlines
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • WestJet

While the benefit is listed as unlimited access to premium Wi-Fi, there are actually limits placed on usage that Boingo considers to be more than what an occasional business traveller would use in a month. One you hit 2.1 gigabytes in a calendar month, or connect on more than seven days in a month, your usage is suspended until the end of the month, as is detailed on Boingo’s frequently asked questions page

Indeed, enjoying free Wi-Fi in any class of service is a great perk to have, and one that can easily justify the annual fee on a credit card if you travel often enough. This is particularly true if you use Wi-Fi on long-haul flights and would have otherwise had to pay for the access.

Which Travellers Will Be Most Affected?

If you tend to use Boingo Wi-Fi on a handful of shorter flights throughout the year, perhaps between Calgary and any of WestJet’s domestic or US destinations, then you’ll likely not be too concerned with this change. After all, even if you use two of your allotted 12 annual sessions per flight, you’d still have a total of six flights on which you can enjoy free Wi-Fi per year, which is likely sufficient for many travellers.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who uses the benefit on long-haul flights, then you could easily use up a year’s worth of Wi-Fi on a single round-trip booking. In these cases, you stand to lose a lot, as you’ll likely wind up paying out of pocket for Wi-Fi.

For example, during a 13-hour flight from Chicago to Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airways, you can easily use up six 90-minute sessions if your intention was to get a work day completed in the skies.

You’ll have to use up multiple Boingo sessions on long-haul flights going forward

On your way back, you’d be left with six 90-minute sessions, and then you’d be on the hook to pay for Wi-Fi for the remainder of the flight, and for the rest of the year. 

Once you use up the 12 90-minute sessions, you’ll have to wait until the next calendar year to receive your new allotment. This is surely something you’ll want to consider when planning out your flights, especially if you don’t get complimentary Wi-Fi access through other means, such as your cabin class or another plan. 

Now, should you happen to have more than one eligible Mastercard, there’s no indication that you shouldn’t be able to use up 12 sessions per card. This may require the creation of a different Boingo account for each of your cards, but doing so may just get you more Wi-Fi to enjoy throughout the year.

Furthermore, you can also look into whether or not supplementary cardholders on your account are also eligible for the Boingo Wi-Fi benefit. 

Which Credit Cards Offer Boingo Wi-Fi as a Benefit?

There are a number of credit cards that offer free Boingo Wi-Fi as a cardholder benefit. Keep in mind that as long as you remain an active cardholder, your Boingo subscription will also remain current.

Generally speaking, all World and World Elite Mastercards come with complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi, as well as some other Mastercard products. Some of the more notable credit cards offering Boingo Wi-Fi are as follows:

You can always check the eligibility of a card by heading to the Boingo portal and inputting your card number. If it’s accepted, then you can register for an account and enjoy free Wi-Fi on your next flight.

Setting up an account only takes a few minutes, so be sure to keep track of your usage and all the cards available to you to continue to enjoy free Boingo Wi-Fi on flights. 


As of March 9, 2023, Boingo is limited the number of times you can use the in-flight Wi-Fi benefit through an eligible Mastercard. You’ll enjoy a total of 12 90-minute sessions over the course of a calendar year, versus the currently unlimited number of sessions.

If you tend to travel a handful of times throughout the year on short-haul flights, this announcement likely won’t be much of a disappointment. However, if you’re somebody who uses Boingo Wi-Fi on long-haul flights several times throughout the year, you’ll likely find your free in-flight Wi-Fi usage significantly curtailed.

Should you happen to have more than one eligible Mastercard, be sure to keep track of your accounts and spread your usage accordingly.

1 Comment
  1. DJR

    So if we possess multiple eligible mastercards, we can register multiple Boingo accounts each with their own twelve 90 minute passes? Although certainly a downgrade from unlimited use, 12 passes seems sufficient for occasional use – especially if you can have multiple accounts!

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