We have had 7, 5 and 2 day advance release periods for our show since long before the private RSS feed was an option. We paid $10/month for pro-Dropbox and just give everyone the link to it on the appropriate day. (for videos, we make it “unlisted” on YouTube and share links with the appropriate patrons in the same manner as the podcasts).
To be honest, the private RSS feed doesn’t work for us. I don’t mean that based on how we do things… I mean it literally doesn’t work. We currently have an open support ticket with Patreon’s team to figure out why. Once we get it working we intend to move a lot of episodes to it, but we probably still won’t be able to do the early release through it. It’s going to need more functionality before it will work for us in that regard, though I am optimistic for the future.
For example, if we could make episodes in the RSS feed visible to certain patrons only (just like posts) that would be ideal.