Frugal Hack #1: The “Secret” Dish Network Programming Package

December 10, 2012 by Kyle

(Welcome to the first post in my new Frugal Hacks series. Frugal life tips which take very little time to implement, but could conceivably save you a ton of money every year.)

Are you a current Dish Network customer and tired of paying $50 or more for a bunch of channels you don’t watch? I recently discover a “secret” programming package that gets my family all local channels in HD plus popular channels like TBS, History, TLC, MSNBC, Hallmark, Hub, HGTV, Food Network, Oxygen, CMT, and Boomerang for a whopping 65 cents a day . We get 60 channels in all, plus one HD-DVR receiver, for a grand total of $26.99 a month. (If you don’t want the DVR service you only pay $19.99/mo.)

The package is called the ‘Welcome Pack’ and most people don’t know that it’s available to ALL Dish Network customers, new and old. Why it’s called the ‘Welcome Pack’ is a mystery to me. If you log into your online account you’ll notice that this package is NOT an available option. Currently, the only way you can get the welcome pack is to call them at 1-800-333-DISH and ask for it. Took me 5 minutes to call and get our programming changed.

Below is a screenshot of what your account will look like once you have the ‘Welcome Pack’. Your account will actually say ‘Package No Longer Available’  – WRONG! The secret is you just gotta call and ask for it!

The Pro’s

Obviously the price is a biggie. I have never seen a better price (for what you get) with any cable or satellite supplier. Also, you still get a lot of kids programming like PBS, HUB, Boomerang, and Baby First. The bottom-line is this package is great for those who want to cut back on expenses but still have the ability to get local channels and local news.

The Con’s

Sports. While you’ll still get all the major network sports programming, you’re not going to get ESPN, or ESPN2 or ESPN News, or ESPN3, how many are there these days? This may be a deal breaker for some of you. But keep in mind that you can still stream ESPNU from your computer or tablet and your TV is still going to be non-stop sports every Saturday and Sunday. Like anything in life, there is a trade-off. A break from non-stop sports to save some serious cash may be a good thing.

Keep an eye out for Frugal Hack #2 coming next week!



29 Responses to “Frugal Hack #1: The “Secret” Dish Network Programming Package”

  1. Kyle on December 10th, 2012 4:18 pm

    From Facebook: Do the disney channels come on this? and nick and those? any movie channels? we need to do something to reduce our price, but those are the ones we watch a lot.

    My Answer: No Disney or Nick – but my girls get more shows than they need from HUB, Boomerang, and PBS. They DVR shows like Strawberry Shortcake, Word World, Arthur, My Little Pony, the Smurfs. Also, Dish always has free previews that include at least 1 movie channel and often a kids channel. The package is great for our family, and the price is amazing IMO.


  2. Merna on December 10th, 2012 10:28 pm

    Do you know if there’s a similar deal at DirecTV?


  3. Kyle on December 10th, 2012 11:56 pm

    @ Merna – Not to my knowledge. Anyone reading this have DirectTV and a similar package?


  4. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter on December 11th, 2012 9:24 am

    I wish we had more access to deals like this in Canada. I guess we just don’t have the population to support things like this.


  5. Kyle on December 11th, 2012 9:38 am

    @ Miss T – you guys don’t have Direct TV or Dish Network in Canada? I didn’t know that. Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment!


  6. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter on December 11th, 2012 9:49 am



  7. Tackling Our Debt on December 11th, 2012 10:46 am

    We don’t have any cool cheap ways in Canada to watch TV other than if we find something on the Internet. :-(

    Good for you though for finding such a great deal.


  8. D on June 23rd, 2014 7:21 pm

    Do you get Fox news on 205?


  9. Randy on June 24th, 2014 8:55 am

    Just so you know, the best way to get the most awesome deals is to be polite even if you are persistent. I worked as a Dish rep, and you wouldn’t believe the rudeness of the average caller.


    Bob Reply:

    I can understand why people get annoyed. As a loyal dish customer, I tried to upgrade from the Welcome Pack to Americas Top 120 and it was going to cost me almost $40 a month more than if I were a new customer. I was prepared to pay around $40 dollars a month, but the rep said $66! I said, “So if I QUIT Dish and then comeback as a “New” customer I save $30 a month?!” They said, “Yes” So I said, “So I am being penalized for being a loyal customer for ten years?! .. That Doesn’t make any sense!” So they referred my to a “Loyalty specialist who, after two (let me check with my managers” got me 6 months of a $30/month rebate so I pay around 36 dollars a month. I wasn’t rude, but I can certainly understand why people are rude on the phone with Dish.


  10. Jay on July 27th, 2014 6:13 pm

    Just an FYI – I have had Dish for awhile and so I don’t have a contract. They allow me to upgrade during football season and downgrade again later. I recently upgraded for the World Cup. Just know that if you downgrade back to a lower tiered package within 30 days then you are charged $5. I have even done that before to watch one game.


    Kyle Reply:

    Good tips, thanks Jay!


  11. Carol on August 19th, 2014 3:37 pm

    Just called to see if I could get my bill lowered while upgrading my service so I could get my Dr. Who back. The service rep got me a $20 discount while also getting the upgrade I needed.


    Kyle Reply:

    WooHoo! Nicely done Carol.


  12. Joe Nick Manchin Rahall on November 28th, 2014 5:59 am

    Hell will freeze over and then snow over and freeze again before Directv will have a deal equal to Dish’s Welcome Pack. With MSNBC, Comedy Central, WE, Oxygen, TBS and locals, Directv would not even consider offering a deal equal to Dish’s Welcome Pack. For those of you who’ve got to have Bill O’Reilley and his Foxed News, you’d have to go with the Smart Pack which is $32.99. That’s gettin’ up there, Men! If you’re wanting to cut costs, though, Welcome is your way to go.


  13. Chelsea on December 1st, 2014 1:18 pm

    We had been paying $131 a month for 3 receivers in the house, but today I whittled it down to the Welcome Package on one dual receiver–plus DVR–for $24.99 a month (that’s including all taxes and fees). Told them I wasn’t interested in paying a penny over $25 and ta-da! All you gotta do is ask politely!


  14. jonathan on December 7th, 2014 7:54 pm

    So is this still an option in late 2014?


  15. Joe Nick Manchin Rahall on December 8th, 2014 3:18 pm

    Jonathan, it sure is still an option! I’m currently on the Smart Pack, and I’m there till April because of a contract, but believe you me, I’m heading over to the Welcome Pack in April! The Smart Pack is nice with TV Land and ID, but dangit, they aren’t worth an extra 13 bucks a month! Besides, with the Welcome Pack, I’ll get TBS, Comedy Central, WE, Oxygen, MSNBC and other channels that aren’t in the Smart Pack. I just wish I wasn’t under contract till April with the Smart Pack or else I’d be over with Welcome today!


  16. George on December 30th, 2014 4:01 pm

    I did this March/2014, cut my Dish bill from $100/mth to $20, enough to pay for the smartTV we bought BlackFriday2013. Called in Aug2014 to add the Sports Package to get Redzone, the rep said I needed minimum of Top120, but I was polite and she gave me Top120 for discount, and SportsPackage free til end of year. Now it’s time to go back to Welcome Package until August again :)


  17. m collier on January 23rd, 2015 4:32 pm

    Did the welcome pack go up? I called today and the welcome pack for me
    Was $47 plus tax? I have ther hopper with the big box n 2 small ones


  18. Joe Nick Manchin Rahall on February 9th, 2015 7:29 pm

    Sounds to me like you’re being charged for your Hopper plus your two other satellite tuners. Welcome is the only package that didn’t have a price increase this year. It’s still $20 / month while every other package was increased between at least $3 – $5 per month.


  19. Dennis Gannon on March 8th, 2015 7:35 am

    I have the DISH NETWORK. I pay $50.00 for all the programming we get. We watch so little, but there it is, we want DIY and HGTV and we are Football Fans so ESPN is important to us. Here is the question.
    Can I buy a DVR and own it rather than pay a monthly fee so I can record DIY, HGTV, Animal Planet, TLC, and A&E?
    Or must I buy a hopper and go with a monthly fee?


    Debbie Reply:

    It doesn’t matter if you buy the equipment or lease it you still get charged a monthly receiver fee.


  20. Joe Nick Manchin Rahall on March 9th, 2015 12:12 pm

    I don’t know of any way to get Dish programming via satellite without having a monthly package. Once ESPN is added, ZOOM! up goes the price.


  21. Dave on March 26th, 2015 11:26 am

    Does the welcome package include our local channels?


    charlie Reply:

    yes, local channels, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX are included in the Welcome Pack. To the person that asked about HGTV and DIY, HGTV is included, DIY is one of the channels they offer a free preview of periodically. Seems like every 2 or 3 months DIY is part of that. I just DVR the shows, which are usually repeats, so really don’t need it EVERY month. THis month it’s Sundance, Hallmark movies & mysteries, Sportsman Channel, Destination America, & Blockbuster @Home outdoor sports.


  22. glenda on August 18th, 2015 4:56 pm

    hey, i just called them and yaaay i was able to get it as well.. from 118.41 to 53.62 with tax etc.. thats good enough for me


  23. Gary on September 16th, 2015 4:34 pm

    Thanks for the tip! We live where there is no reception other than satellite and 99% of what we watch are local channels. Dish bill just went from $84.00/month to $19.99. Not bad!


  24. wendy kroschel on February 2nd, 2016 7:40 pm

    Is the RFD channel in the Welcome package? How about the Westerns channel (342)?


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