Disclaimer: I’m mostly posting this as a note for myself/documentation, as I’m sure this is old news to seasoned SLers. But, hopefully it’s useful to others!
After the news of all the SL changes came out at the end of May, I followed a lot of the replies to Grumpity’s post on the forums. People started mentioning the cost savings of “land alts,” which I’d never used before, so I started looking into what that entailed. Basically it’s using a premium account solely to take advantage of the free 1024m of mainland that comes with it. The avatar donates their 1024m to a group they’re in that owns mainland, which negates the need to pay for the parcel. If the parcel is larger than 1024m, the group owner is required to pay for the remainder, unless additional land is donated.
In my case, my new mainland parcel is 2048m, so I’d need 2 premium accounts to offset the cost — luckily I have 2 alts that I never use (my main uses her 1024m for Bellisseria). With the cost of premium rising from $72 to $99/year on June 24th, all users have the option to pre-pay for an extra cycle at the lower price before that date. Forking over $216 for 3 accounts at once to take advantage of this makes me cringe a little … but the value is in the stipend:
Things Not Changing:
2048m mainland parcel = $13/month = $156/year (without premium)
Weekly stipend: 300L = 14,400L yearly = ~$60
Premium account (annual plan): $72
$72 – $60 = $12 total
$12 x 2 premium accounts: $24
Premium account (annual plan): $99
$99 – $60 = $39 total
$39 x 2 premium accounts: $78
The answer is obvious — while it’s a lot of money up front, using “land alts” to offset mainland costs definitely saves money, even on the new plan! I’d much rather pay $78 than $156. Plus, if my main account runs low on lindens, I can grab extra from my alts with their stipend.
Another perk of group-owned land is the automatic 10% land bonus. For example, my mainland parcel is 2048m, but I now have an extra 205m of mainland to use.
Last weekend I spent time fiddling with my land group, switching my mainland parcel to be group-owned, and upgrading my 2 alts to premium. I also plan to pre-pay for all 3 of my accounts *cringe* sometime before the 24th. Side note: When a parcel is changed to group-owned, not all of the land settings are preserved, so make sure to double-check them afterwards. I didn’t realize I needed to do that, so some things were off for a few days.