I’ve written before that I see Big Wins as integral in all aspects of my life. Ok, maybe that’s an overstatement, but they really are important.
Well, another area, that I don’t think has been talked about much, is cell phones. Especially lately, with the wireless carriers moving away from subsidizing cell phones, in exchange for signing a two year contract, it is harder and harder to get any sort of “retention bonus” out of them. But fear not, it is still possible.
Thanks to a Retention Specialist at Verizon Wireless, I was able to switch between the Verizon Plan (which I had only switched to a month ago), which has a $20 per line fee, back to a 2 year contract, which has a $40 per line fee, because the net result was getting two free phones.
You see, the way the new Verizon Plan works, is, they lower your per line fee, but then they charge you the full market cost of the phone you decide you want. In most cases, these are $600+ phones, and rather than paying all at once, Verizon is happy to break that out over 24 months, and just add it to your bill. So, imagine you want a $600 iPhone, you’d have to pay an additional $25 per month (plus the taxes). So, while, with the Verizon Plan, you’re saving $20 on per line fees, you’re actually paying $5 more per month for your phone. Over 24 months, you are paying a net $120 more! Now, there are some promotions that come and go, like the current one, which offers $300 for trading in an old phone, when you buy a Droid Turbo 2 by Motorola.
With the old 2 year contract approach, which folks who have had Verizon Wireless before the switch over, seem to be able to be grandfathered back into, you get up to a $200 credit for a new phone when signing up for a new contract. Sometimes you can get even more by asking nicely for something to “sweeten the pot.” In my case, I was ok with the $200 credit, since the phones I wanted were less than that (the Galaxy S5, which if you did the Verizon Plan, wouldn’t be less than $200, see below):
The Elephant in the Room
Many (but not everyone) that work the miles and points hobby, like to travel overseas. So I would be remiss not to mention Verizon Wireless’ new International plan.
Candidly, Verizon’s option sucks. It got released to a fair bit of fanfare, even covered by other bloggers, but, it just plain sucks. It sucks so much, that I’ll be keeping my $20 per month T-Mobile Data plan. The T-Mobile plan gives you 100MB’s of international 3G roaming at no cost. It’s good enough for me, and since I’ve started, I’ve found the freedom offered to be amazing. There’s no way I’m going to pay $10 per day, per device to Verizon, because I’m not sure I could get sufficient value to justify the cost.
If you’ve shown loyalty to a wireless carrier, always talk to a Retention Specialist To do that, you’ll want to tell the automated system or person who answers, that you want to either change/reduce, or terminate your service to get to one. This is especially beneficial if your carrier has moved away from subsidizing phones, as sometimes a retention specialist can “grandfather” you in to a 2 year contract and subsidized phone arrangement, vs. the monthly payment plan for a new phone.
But above all, remember, the skills that we learn and exercise in the pursuit of miles and points can, and should be used in other aspects of life, and through them, we can all achieve Big Wins.