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Google ruined the Pixel 8 Pro upgrade pass you wanted

Published Aug 31st, 2023 6:50AM EDT
Google Pixel 7 Pro Front
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Almost two years ago, Google launched the Pixel Pass phone subscription service in time for the Pixel 6 launch. Pass seemed like a no-brainer service that many Pixel enthusiasts should go for. You get the newest Pixel phone, discounted subscriptions to Google services, and a phone upgrade after 24 months of paying that monthly subscription. It felt like a great deal for anyone looking to get a new phone after two years of use. Pixel Pass seemed like Google’s answer to Apple’s iPhone upgrade program.

But 22 months after the service launched, Google canceled it. That means Pixel 6 and 6 Pro buyers cannot upgrade to the Pixel 8 or 8 Pro come mid-October under the Pass program.

The Pixel 8 series is coming in early October this year, with Google having just announced a press event for October 4th. The announcement came just as Google leaked the Pixel 8 Pro on its website, inadvertently or intentionally. Earlier this week, Apple announced its highly anticipated iPhone 15 launch date.

But Google also announced the discontinuation of the Pixel Pass program on Tuesday. Paying subscribers received emails informing them that Google would no longer offer new Pixel Pass subscriptions or renewals.

If you’re a Pixel Pass subscriber, you can continue paying for your subscription until your two years are up. Once that’s done, you won’t be able to upgrade to the Pixel 8/Pro under the now-defunct Pixel. Google explains in a support document that Pixel buyers can upgrade to a new device via other avenues:

Yes, you can still upgrade your Pixel device after 24 months, you just won’t be able to renew your subscription to Pixel Pass. You can purchase or finance your next Pixel device directly from Google Store or Google Fi Wireless, and you have the option to trade in your current Pixel device towards your next device. Current Pixel Pass subscribers received $100 towards their next Pixel purchase, good for 2 years, which can also be used alongside available promotions.

Render of the Pixel 8
Pixel 8 render. Image source: Steve H.McFly and Smartprix

Also important is that you can still use the Google services bundled for the Pixel Pass discounted rate until your subscription ends. You’ll then be charged separately for them, but the current discounted rate will stay in place:

At the end of your term, your Pixel phone is fully paid off. Your Preferred Care service contract through Google Store or your device protection coverage through Google Fi Wireless ends. The included Google subscriptions, such as Google One, Google Play Pass, and YouTube Premium, automatically renew each month until canceled. You’ll receive a monthly bill for Google One, Google Play Pass, and YouTube Premium at the current discounted rate, which is visible in the email sent to you on August 29th, 2023, with the subject line, ‘An important update on Pixel Pass.’ If you are using your Pixel Pass device on Google Fi Wireless, the $5 service discount to your Google Fi Wireless plan also ends.

As for refunds, don’t expect any. But Google explains in its support document that all active subscribers will get a $100 loyalty credit:

Refunds aren’t issued because we’re committed to fulfilling our promise for the full 2-year term on the Pixel Pass subscription. However, a $100 loyalty reward credit is issued to all active subscribers.

Subscribers who subscribed through Google Store receive $100 Google Store credit to their account, which can be used towards any Google Store purchase.

Subscribers who subscribed through Google Fi Wireless receive a $100 coupon code which can be used towards a Pixel device purchase on Google Fi Wireless.

As the text implies, you’ll have to get the Pixel 8/Pro through Google Fi for that $100 discount.

It’s unclear why Google discontinued Pixel Pass. And Google cancels products all the time. No matter the reasoning, Pixel 6 buyers who couldn’t wait to get their hands on a Pixel 8 phone under the Pixel Pass subscription are very disappointed.

Hopefully, Google can come up with great Pixel 8 offers come mid-October. After all, the smartphone market is in a slump, and it’s not like customers have been flocking to buy Google’s phones.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.