In this case, the Subscription Term essentially works as a contractual obligation between the merchant and the subscriber. It locks the user into the current subscription configuration (price, quantity, add-ons, etc.) for a certain number of billing periods. Any changes to the subscription set to take place At Renewal, will occur after all the term billing periods have invoiced, or when the the current obligation has been fulfilled and the term renews.
As a workaround, when you need a subscription change to apply at the end of the current billing period, rather than at the end of the term, we can do so by 1st editing the number of remaining billing periods in the Term, and then applying the At Renewal subscription change.
Please follow the steps outlined below:
Subscription Edit #1
Step 1. Go to Options->Edit Subscription
Step 2. From the Edit Subscription page go down to the REMAINING SUBSCRIPTION TERM field
Step 3. Make note of the current value in the field, you will need this later.
Step 4. Update the field REMAINING SUBSCRIPTION TERM to 0 (zero)
Step 5. You want to leave the radial button for Apply Changes Immediately selected, then Save Changes.
*** Editing the subscription to have 0 remaining billing periods in the term, will allow you to then apply a subsequent subscription change to occur at the end of the current billing period. Additionally, editing a subscription Immediately, without changing the plan, price, quantity, or add-ons will not generate an invoice. So, you will want to make sure the remaining subscription term field is the only thing being changed during Edit #1.
Subscription Edit #2
Step 6. Go back to Options->Edit Subscription
Step 7. Enter the subscription change that should apply at renewal. Now you can edit the add-ons, price, quantity, or plan.
Step 8. Select the Radial button to Apply Change At Renewal
Step 9. Now in the RENEWAL SUBSCRIPTION TERM field you will want to enter the value you noted previously, before making that 1st edit. Enter that here. This will indicate how many billing periods will be left in the customers subscription term, after the at renewal subscription change occurs.
Step 10. Save changes.
Now you will have a subscription that will change at the end of the current billing cycle, and once the change has applied the subscription will continue to invoice your customer for the remaining billing periods set during the 2nd At Renewal subscription edit.
**Please note the Subscription Change (https://docs.recurly.com/docs/email-templates#section-subscription-change) e-mail notification will be triggered when the subscription is updated immediately, and then when the At Renewal change occurs. If you do not want the notification sent out when making the Immediate subscription change, you can temporarily disable the Subscription Change notification at the plan level. In this case the notification will not be sent to any subscribers of that particular plan, while the notification is disabled. Once you are done with the immediate subscription change, you can re-enabled the notification from the Plan Configuration page.
Finally, we do have more information on Subscription Terms in our documentation here: https://docs.recurly.com/docs/subscription-terms-new
Please feel free to reach out to Technical Support should you have additional questions or concerns.