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Thread: How to Maximize value to my account from 3 TCL Flip phones (1 for me; 2 for others)

  1. #1
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    How to Maximize value to my account from 3 TCL Flip phones (1 for me; 2 for others)

    I wanted to create this consolidated thread to ask questions and get guidance in my particular situation.

    I'm a long time TracFone user, familiar with activation and transfer, and moving service among phones. I've read just about all of the $19.99 TCL Flip 2 posts, so I have a good background. But I've gotten decidedly confused...

    I'm trying to maximize the rewards points or whatever value =to me= from 3 TCL Flip phones that I have purchased, one for me, two for others whose TF accounts I "manage/oversee." I want those other folks to be able to harvest the MIN/TXTS/DATA/TIME from the Flip 2s that I have acquired for them, and for them to be able to keep their current phones and numbers. And maybe even some rewards points, Neither is particularly phone-savvy; in fact they are rather phone UN-savvy. That's why I've helped all these many years. My "fee" as their Telco Manager in this case will be to try to max out my own rewards points or whatever. And maybe keep the battery banks. They agree to my terms.

    ***

    > I am now on TracFone using Verizon service with a BYOD unlocked (formerly Cricket) iPhone SE 2020.

    > I have one single active line with plenty of service and time.

    > I have never previously signed up for "Rewards"/points for my account.

    > I have at least 3 inactive devices shown on my account:

    (1) an ATT SIM that I previously possibly harvested from, or used to fiddle with various devices.

    (2) An old branded Rebel 3

    (3) An even older branded 3G only Ultimate 3

    For me I know the "safe" drill for harvesting; I've done it before: activate the new TCL Flip "With Transfer" of units from my existing account. Wait a day or three; then move service back to my BYOD iPhone SE (I have a spare Verizon BYOD SIM if necessary). =BUT= I have questions related to this:

    (1) The TCL packaging is all about the old school standard phone/plan triple minute stuff, even though the eBay listing was all about "1 Year of Service with 1200 MIN/1200 Text/1200MB" -- i.e., smartphone jargon. I've read posts, but haven't grasped, what happens if/when I activate with transfer from my existing =smartphone= to this TCL =dumbphone= "with bundled smartphone-like buckets", and what then happens several days later when I transfer service =back= to the iPhone.

    (2) Help me understand the Rewards Points angle. I could sign-up for Rewards at any time, and whatever initial bonus there might be for signing up I could grab. I believe I could also reference a "referrer", and get them points (and also more for me? Not sure about that). I also have read but do not understand that the status of some referrers gets you more points than others...


    (3) "AAL": I hear I could get some points/some benefit when adding the TCL because of a current "Add Additional Line" ("AAL"?) bonus. Unfortunately, I have no ideal how that works. I really don't need/want an additional line except if it benefits me short-term; I primarily want the TCL bundle bucket items to end up on my primary active iPhone; so that's my goal but would consider "AAL" shenanigans if rewarding and relatively easy.

    ***

    Regarding the other two TCLs that I have purchased:

    (1) My intent is to help my two friends' "managed accounts" to get the bundled bucket amounts on their respective phones. Neither of them are current active Rewards members, but we could sign them up now. Each of them currently have single line accounts with TF-branded, Verizon network, eBay or HSN-sourced phones (Moto G-whatevers).

    (2) With respect to Rewards, I expect there would be a way for the 3 of us to all become rewards members and to cross-refer among each other, whereby I could get points from their referrals (which I understand would be fair and not "self referral" because they are actually separate individuals with their own accounts. I'm just "helping."). That's my goal if possible and they agree.

    (3) If it gets them or me anything of value, we could explore "AAL" for their accounts. But if it seems waaaaay to complex for them, with me doing this remotely, we'll pass on the opportunity. My focus is to get them the value of the TCL bundle amounts, to keep their phone numbers, and to keep (or quickly revert to) their current phones.

    ***

    "Whew." That's my plea for help. Thoughts? Guidance? I'll work my phone first as the Guinea Pig, and then tackle the other two...

    And hey, if I have to suck the value out of all 3 phones just for myself because it's too difficult to make it work for my two friends, so be it. I'm the one who bought the phones... ;-P They understand that risk as well...

  2. #2
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    Here a Tracfone mini guide I wrote about some basic info.

    You manage 3 accounts and purchased 3 TCL Flip 2 phones. You can join the rewards program for 200 points but you may not be able to enter referral code for 8K points.

    After you joined the rewards program, you could add 1 TCL to each account (maybe easier to do when you want to use the AAL points for each line) or all 3 to one account. Wait 61 days to combine TCL to other lines. It's easier to combine lines when they are in the same account. It's also easy to move lines from one account to another. It's not complicated with what you wanted to do. You just need to spend some time to chat with the TF agents to get things done.

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    For your situation with 3 flip phones and 3 accounts that have never signed up for Rewards, (by the way, kudos to you on describing your situation so clearly) -- the best thing to do, from a point-maximization perspective:

    -- Sign up each existing account for Rewards using a highest-tier referral code to get 8K points;
    -- Do an add-a-line with the flip phone in each account to get 10K points;
    -- After 61 days when all 18K points have vested in each account, combine the flip phone line into the existing line to harvest the balance from the flip phone.

    That should maximize your points in theory. But since this is Tracfone, and you already have existing accounts, there's a couple things to consider. There are two TF Rewards rules that kinda contradict each other:
    -- One rule says that to get rewards points for signing up, accounts need to sign up for Rewards within 14 days of activation of service - - which in your case, none of the 3 accounts did, with their existing lines.
    -- Another rule implies that you can get rewards points for signing up, so long as that particular IMEI hasn't received rewards points in the past - which is *also* true in your case for all 3 accounts.

    So we don't know what could happen in your case if you tried to go the point-maximization route above. There have been reports where people have gotten referral reward points even though they signed up for Rewards much, much later than 14 days after activation.

    Edited to add - Regarding the inactive devices in your account, it is best to remove them from the account. TF has been doing weird things like taking away points when people have removed/changed any existing devices in their account. So best to remove unused devices from an account *before* earning any rewards points.

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    Another way that I just thought of:

    -- Use Flip#1 to create a new account, sign up for Rewards using a highest-tier referral code, get 8k points.
    -- Add-a-line with Flip#2 in this new account, get 10K points.
    -- Add-a-line with Flip#2 in this new account, get 10K points.
    -- After 61 days when 28k points have vested, do the combine-balance one at a time to harvest the balance from each of the flip phones into each of the 3 existing lines. So you'll first add your own phone to the account, combine Flip#1's balance to your phone. Then add friend#1's line to the account, etc.

    The thing I'm not sure about is the exact way in which a flip phone's balances get combined into a smartphone. I have only combined balances from smartphones to smartphones. (In fact, the $20 ebay Flip bundle is my first foray into cute, cute flip phone territory on Tracfone!)

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    I agree that you will most likely not get referral rewards for joining with your current account, but can't hurt to try. Once you "join rewards" you will know if you see the box asking for a referral code.

    I agree that you should delete the inactive devices. Then, if I were you, I would add all three to your own account (after joining rewards). Then, after the 30K points vest, you can move one device to each of the other accounts, using the add line, then merge existing line. After the two lines are in the same account, contact customer service to combine the balances. Your friends will only get an additional 10 months of service though.

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    All good information; thanks. Keep it coming; there is likely more to say.

    I'd observe that many here and on other threads recently speak of "combining balances" like it is a trivial thing. It would be so cool if that's true! But I'd swear that, over the years, I've read many a horror story about CSRs being reticent, or unable, or unwilling, to combine a new-from-bundle balance (from a pre-loaded SIM, or a bundle-included phone) to an existing in-service line. I know that the reason for loss-leader deals like the Flip 2 is to drive new subscribers. But us existing users buying the bundle phones to harvest the bucket amounts and sweep them into an existing line defeats that intent. When did "combine balances" become a recommendation? I thought it was to be avoided?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by brg View Post
    When did "combine balances" become a recommendation? I thought it was to be avoided?
    It didn't become a recommendation. It can be done, with some risk of the rep combining into the wrong phone and you lose your preferred phone numbers, or other things that can go wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    It didn't become a recommendation. It can be done, with some risk of the rep combining into the wrong phone and you lose your preferred phone numbers, or other things that can go wrong.
    Well, not a recommendation from you, sure. But definitely a blithe suggestion -- yes, a recommended approach -- in many posts lately.

    And the rest of your comment kinda sums up any interaction with TF.


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brg View Post
    But definitely a blithe suggestion -- yes, a recommended approach -- in many posts lately.
    It is the ONLY course of action if you want both the AAL points (which requires activation with a new number) and harvesting the units/days from the new phone for another phone.

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    Yes, as hpham says, people are willing to take the risk in order to get the 10K points. If you are risk averse, you activate the flips with a transfer of service from the existing lines. Then a day or two later, reactivate the original device with a transfer from the flip. That is definitely a more reliable method, but there are no rewards involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    It is the ONLY course of action if you want both the AAL points (which requires activation with a new number) and harvesting the units/days from the new phone for another phone.
    Quote Originally Posted by SlowLoris View Post
    Yes, as hpham says, people are willing to take the risk in order to get the 10K points. If you are risk averse, you activate the flips with a transfer of service from the existing lines. Then a day or two later, reactivate the original device with a transfer from the flip. That is definitely a more reliable method, but there are no rewards involved.
    Thank you both. I'll have to assess my interest in getting those reward points. Perhaps not in the case of the other two participants; on reflection maybe inadvisable to risk their service and telephone numbers. For my own account, perhaps.

    Related question: Any risk of messy transmogrification of what are separate MTD buckets going from what is currently a smartphone, to the flip (does it follow dumbphone rules?), and then back to the smartphone?

  12. #12
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    As long as both phones use the 3-bucket system, no problems with transferring service between them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    As long as both phones use the 3-bucket system, no problems with transferring service between them.
    Thanks. I'm presuming that is the case with the eBay Flip 2 because TF advertised the bundled service for that phone using the 3-bucket nomenclature (1200/1200/1200 and one year)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by brg View Post
    I'm presuming that is the case with the eBay Flip 2 because TF advertised the bundled service for that phone using the 3-bucket nomenclature (1200/1200/1200 and one year)
    TF hasn't sold new phones that use the old single-bucket system for at least several years.

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