Last year, the Citi ATT Access More card flew into our lives and everyone got super excited. Unfortunately, it flew out of our lives just as quickly and you can no longer apply for the card. But it was and remains an exciting card: a $650 credit towards an AT&T phone ostensibly being the draw. However, the best part of the card is 3X on online purchases, which is still great even though they no longer code for gift cards.
So this post probably only applies to a few people’s situations, but I waited an entire year to redeem my phone credit. I use T-Mobile and didn’t want a new phone when I first got the card. So here’s my experience redeeming for the phone credit and some tips. I used Doctor of Credit’s AT&T guide extensively, but I learned a couple things when redeeming for the phone credit myself. Here are the steps I took.
Step 1 – Find a friend
Even though I don’t fear the hard pull as I used to, I like to avoid them when I can. If you buy a new phone through AT&T while signing up for their service, you’ll receive a hard pull.
If you have a friend or family member who has AT&T, you can add a line to their plan. This avoids the hard pull. @andimal9 on Twitter mentioned that their order was cancelled when buying through a friend’s account.
I tried this but order was cancelled using my CC on his acct. Let me know if it works for you.
— Andrew C (@andimal9) July 14, 2017
With that in mind, I changed the billing address on my friend’s account to my own address before purchasing the phone and it indeed worked for me. Basically, any information I could change to my own; I did before purchasing. I’m not sure if that made a difference but I didn’t run into any issues.
Step 2 – Buy phone
Buying the phone with the credit was pretty straightforward. There is a link in your Citi online account to click which brings you directly to AT&T’s website. From there you login (as your friend or family member) and just go through purchasing your phone.
I bought a Samsung Galaxy S8+ (it’s great!) and just added a line. I thought I was adding myself to my friend’s family plan but for some reason it just added a $40 line, which wasn’t a big deal. Bear in mind I found the AT&T website to be sort of user unfriendly – tough to figure out what’s going on at times.
One quirk I noticed was that sometimes when you click through it seems like the site hasn’t registered the Citi ATT Access More connection. So make sure you see that before you click through and complete your purchase.
Step 3 – Unlock the phone
After you receive your phone, if you plan on using it with another carrier, you need to unlock it. I read (on aforementioned DoC post) it can be harder to unlock the phone if you’ve already activated your ATT service. With that in mind, I’d recommend unlocking the phone before you activate.
Unlocking the phone is pretty simple, you can find all the steps at this site. If you haven’t activated the phone yet, say you are NOT an AT&T customer and you can add your IMEI number. If you’re not sure how to find that use Google, it’s different for different phones but for the most part you can find it in “About Phone”.
Once you submit your unlock request, you’ll receive an e-mail from AT&T with an unlock code. You can use this to unlock your phone when you use any non-ATT SIM card. I just plugged my T-mobile SIM card (the one I planned to use with the phone) in and unlocked the phone.
Step 4 – Activate AT&T service
After I unlocked my phone, I took the T-mobile SIM out and put the AT&T SIM card that came with my phone in. I then used that AT&T SIM card to activate my AT&T service – pretty straightforward.
Step 5 – Using your existing service (optional)
So the terms and conditions of the $650 refund state that you need to keep your AT&T service activated for 15 days. Once you’ve activated your AT&T phone, you’re actually free to use your original service (if that’s the service you want to keep). If you’ve unlocked your phone (Step 4), pop the AT&T SIM card out, pop your original SIM card in and you’re good to go! Once the AT&T SIM card is activated you don’t need to actually have it in a phone (though I put it in my old one).
Step 6 – Cancel your service after 15 days
After 15 days with activated AT&T service you can cancel your plan. Your plan should not have a contract since you bought the phone full prices so there are no cancellation fees.
One annoying thing, if you added a line to a friend or family member’s account, is that the primary user needs to cancel your line. Make sure you buy them dinner or let them use your Xfinity cable streaming or something!
Note, AT&T does not prorate months, so if you cancel after a new month starts you’ll get charged for two. To avoid this, try to buy the phone at the beginning of your friend’s cycle and make sure you cancel before the next statement closes.
Step 7 – Profit! (wait for your $650 credit)
It took me $650 credit a little over a month to post. I bought my phone on July 15 or so and the credit hit my statement on August 15. I didn’t have to call or ask for anything, it just automatically showed up. I’ve read experiences where people needed to call in, again, refer to DoC’s post.
Hopefully most people don’t slack like me and have already redeemed their $650 Citi ATT Access More credit. If you haven’t, hope this post helped you! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go play with my Samsung Galaxy S8+.