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Thread: Newbie's attempt to use points to buy phone

  1. #1
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    Newbie's attempt to use points to buy phone

    I'm looking for some advice / pointers on redeeming my points. I have a little over 25K points at present. I'm trying to understand how this works. Let's say I'm interested in getting hardware (phones). My understanding is that I go to Redeem Points -> Rewards Phone Discount. 20000 points appears to give the most bang ($300) for the buck. I've never owned an iPhone and would like to treat myself to one. So, I take it, I'd first redeem points for a promo code?

    Q: How long is the promo code valid for? Of course, I'll check to see if the phone I'm interested in (iPhone 11) is available before I redeem my points, but do realize even if available it could go out of stock before I make the purchase. I presume I supply the promo code when doing a checkout and the price drops accordingly?

    Q: From what I've read, only one promo code can be used. So, if I see other promotions (e.g., use code "ABC20" for 20% off), I can't use both that and my points promo code, right?

    Q: If I go for a cheaper phone - what happens if I have a promo code for $300 and only buy a phone costing $200? Can my promo code be used again in a separate purchase for the balance ($100)? In other words, is it like a gift card which can be used multiple times until the balance is exhausted?

    It looks like I've got to buy a plan with the phone to complete the purchase. I'd also like to have an unlocked phone.
    I've looked at the unlocking policy and see, "For Apple devices activated with new TracFone service on the Verizon network on or after November 23, 2021, the device will be automatically unlocked 60 days after activation in the absence of an indication of fraud". It's not clear whether one needs to have active service for all 60 days, assuming the plan bought with the phone is for less than 60 days (e.g. 30 days), for the phone to be unlocked. But that may be moot - see next para.

    Q: What the least expensive way of getting the 7000 points for a new line when activating the phone if one plans to use the phone minimally? Related to it - does one need to have active service for 90 days (I hear that one gets the bonus on day 61) or can you get away with 60 days of active service?

    Any gotchas that I should be aware of before attempting this. Pointers from those who've done this before would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    1. A code expires about 60 days after issued. You will see the exp date on the redemption page before clicking on SUBMIT.
    2. One code per order, despite contradictory info somewhere else.
    3. Code is one-time use, no carry over for another order.
    4. Most refurb phones or heavily discounted phones require a time card purchase. Other phones don’t.
    5. I always added enough days to get a phone past 60 days for unlocking. Didn’t want to take a chance with fewer days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    1. A code expires about 60 days after issued. You will see the exp date on the redemption page before clicking on SUBMIT.
    2. One code per order, despite contradictory info somewhere else.
    3. Code is one-time use, no carry over for another order.
    4. Most refurb phones or heavily discounted phones require a time card purchase. Other phones don’t.
    5. I always added enough days to get a phone past 60 days for unlocking. Didn’t want to take a chance with fewer days.
    Thanks @hpham for the answers - they're most helpful.

    I guess the only thing left for me to figure out is the least expensive way to get the phone past 60 days. Are the plans available when you buy the plan that has to be included with the phone the same as what I see at https://www.tracfone.com/shop/plans? Will it only accept a smart phone plan at the time you buy the phone? If yes, once I activate the phone with, say, a 30-day smart phone plan can I then "add" a 60-day basic phone plan to get more service days.

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    The available plans for phones that require a plan purchase vary. More expensive phones, including (I think) all iPhone listings that require a plan, only offer the Unlimited Talk/Text plans starting at $20. Mid-priced phones usually also offer the standard smartphone plans, starting with 500/500/500/30 day/$15. The basic phone plans are typically only an option on the refurbished flip phones. I don't think I've seen 60- or 90-day plans as options.

    You can step through the process of putting a phone in your cart & looking at/choosing a plan without any commitment to buy: just cancel the item in the cart. The code entry doesn't have to be done until you're ready to actually make the purchase.

    When you buy the discount coupon, the code is available immediately on that page, and you can use it right away if you want.

    I've always managed adding a Basic Phone plan after activation, although I've had to be persistent in the attempt a few times. Seems like some people have had the system tell them they can't do that, though.
    My Tello referral code is P3BSR5HV, and gets both of us 10 Tello Dollars to pay for a plan.
    https://tello.com/account/register?_referral=P3BSR5HV

  5. #5
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    You probably know this already but the coupon will not apply to the plan purchase part of the transaction

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    If you use a $300 coupon and choose only a $200 phone, the $100 left over will disappear. Choose another phone or two to make the cart add up to as close to $300 as you'd like.

    When I redeemed a $300 coupon I chose two phones I wanted that added up to $270. I chose a $30 LG Journey phone to make it add up to $300. I can keep the LG Journey, or sell or give it away.

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    Thanks @hpham, @greenhandle, @Yawho and @eohippus for your posts in this thread. They're really helpful!

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    Quote Originally Posted by russsell View Post
    ... 20000 points appears to give the most bang ($300) for the buck...
    Wait, 20,000 points will by $300??

    I thought it was 100 points per dollar? or is this a typo?

    Still have a month to go for my points to be available.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rchang View Post
    Wait, 20,000 points will by $300??

    I thought it was 100 points per dollar? or is this a typo?

    Still have a month to go for my points to be available.
    20,000 points is $300.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rchang View Post
    Wait, 20,000 points will by $300??

    I thought it was 100 points per dollar? or is this a typo?

    Still have a month to go for my points to be available.
    As you step up in coupon value, the exchange rate for points gets better at each step.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rchang View Post
    Wait, 20,000 points will buy $300??

    I thought it was 100 points per dollar? or is this a typo?
    Not a typo.

    Name:  Tracfone-Reward-Code-Rates.jpg
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Not a typo.

    Name:  Tracfone-Reward-Code-Rates.jpg
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    Ooh! I might be able to get something worthwhile in March when my next 10k pending points mature for activating a 2yr old refurb Moto G6.

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    Definitely value if you can accumulate the $300 value for 20k points. Refurb iPhone SE at $129, iPhone XR or 11 at $329 are all good choices, especially since recently they have not required any plan purchases. The iPhone 11 still has good trade in value too -- $360 at Samsung, and boosted to $410 on certain phones. YMMV at other retailers/trades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pitflyer View Post
    Definitely value if you can accumulate the $300 value for 20k points. Refurb iPhone SE at $129, iPhone XR or 11 at $329 are all good choices, especially since recently they have not required any plan purchases. The iPhone 11 still has good trade in value too -- $360 at Samsung, and boosted to $410 on certain phones. YMMV at other retailers/trades.
    I'll probably upgrade from my current iPhone SE to iPhone 11. We'll see what's available in March. Also, counting my chickens here

  15. #15
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    A follow-up question from this "op" ... since the iPhone 11 has no plan purchase required, I'd like to confirm that to get the 7K points for a new line I do need to buy a plan. I have an existing new phone+plan from the Tracfone store and a Tracfone BYOP Sim in an unlocked phone and is correct that those cannot be used to "fund" the new line?

    Assume the above to be correct, am I required to buy the plan from the Tracfone web site or is the Tracfone ebay store an option? As mentioned in the first post, "I've never owned an iPhone and would like to treat myself to one" - so I don't plan to turn around and sell it or trade it in. I figure the only way to get it unlocked is to add service to it and if I'm going to do that I might as well get the 7K points for a new line.

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