I'm pretty sure an "Active Account" means that you are registered in the SE system, you are registered in FFXIV, and you had an active account prior to October 30(?) which means you were paying or would have paid for another month, at some point, if the severs were not going down. Hence logging into you SE account to register.
You don't have to have paid at any point during XIV service to have an active account. Anyone who purchased the game and registered it to a Square Enix ID is eligible for alpha/beta tests. You can freely activate and deactivate accounts still.
Having paid to play a crappy game doesn't make you special; at least... not in the way you think
I don't see it anywhere that says what you need. I know that to participate in the "Final Hour" you needed to have had an "Active" subscription which meant that you needed to have been paying up until the final save. If your sub expired and was not renewed on that day or prior to that day then you were not allowed to log into that final event. Right?
I was taking that information and applying it to the Alpha, Beta, might be the same, but I guess you want as many new people to play as possible too. I do agree that you have to have an SE account with FFXIV linked to it at a minimum.
As for my "special" status for playing a broken game. They gave us Legacy for doing it, why not access to Alpha/Beta testing because of the same reason they gave us Legacy?
And no that does NOT mean I am a short bus rider because I was playing a broken game. I actually liked the game, sure there was some stuff that needed fixing but overall, since I joined in April 2012, I was happy to play the game I was playing. Thanks.