Can't access API even after paid membership, code seems to indicate I have no tokens. Is this a separate purchase?

I’m using the openai chatgpt api to learn Python and have built a very simple program that takes a user input and sends it to the API via “” as per the api and readmes, tutorials, etc.

For every attempt, I’m getting an error message that indicates I don’t have any API credits. I am confused by this. I’ve got the $20/month gpt-4 membership, went to the API page in my UI after logging in, and generated an API key. I would have THOUGHT that I didn’t have to buy API credits separately… that there would have been some limited amount through my paid membership?

Am I just being naive here?

So, the ChatGPT Plus subscription and the API platform are actually two different services. You do not need a Plus subscription to use the API.

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Thanks Macha, but I do need to go in and buy API tokens then… correct? There isn’t some base level granted to the account under which I generated my API key?

Because when I log in and go to the API page, the first thing it tells me is I need to upgrade to a paid membership. This is confusing. I already have a paid membership, and I used it to log in and generate an API key.

Yes, I believe you would need to prepay $5 at first. After that, it is a pay-per-use service.

As @Macha said, the API and ChatGPT Plus are separate.

Once you begin to use credits on the API side, you quickly realize how much of a value ChatGPT Plus can be at only $20/month! :wink:

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Usually everybody gets a few dollars of free credits automatically when the account is created. These credits expire after three months. If your ChatGPT account (the free account) was created more than three months ago then your free credits did already expire.

This is a bit confusing because it is a thing from before ChatGPT was introduced. Back then everybody used the API and wouldn’t miss it.

Yes, you have to spend another 5$ to get full access.
Hope this helps somewhat.


The use of API models is charged by the amount of input and output, paid by a separate account balance. Costs vary significantly between model classes, which you can research before funding your account with “add payment method” and then “purchase credits”.