Tracfone Bonus Minutes Mystery

How many Tracfone bonus minutes will you get when you use one of their promotion codes?

It's actually a bit of a mystery.

The Mystery

Let's see how many bonus minutes you really can get when you refill your airtime.

tracfone bonus minutes added

7/29/2008 150 bonus minutes

Promo code 58300 was supposed to give 30 bonus minutes when you use it when purchasing and activating a 120 minute card. This should add up to a total of 150 minutes of airtime.

However, this morning I received 180 bonus minutes instead of 30 which came to a total of 300 minutes for $30 or about 10 cents a minute.

(Note, however, at other times I have received exactly the amount of bonus airtime I was supposed to receive.)

3/24/2008 30 Bonus Minutes

Promo code 59687 was supposed to add 50 bonus minutes when you purchase and activate a 200-minute Tracfone airtime card. Tried it yesterday and got 280 minutes, so I got 30 bonus minutes in addition to the 50 promotional minutes.

Note: Is it possible that because the minutes weren't going to expire until 5/15/2009 (due to airtime already added previously), more bonus minutes were given?

Tracfone Bonus Minutes

Once you register on Tracfone's website, you will receive emails with special offers. For example, a while back, I got an email explaining how to add promotional codes. The email included this (expired) code:

Promo code 53664 Buy a 60 minute airtime card and add it using the promotion code to get 20 (or 60, the email isn't clear) extra minutes. Expires November 30, 2007.

Update: I used this code when purchasing a 60 minute card and received 110 bonus minutes. Assuming that I got the 60 minutes bonus for using the promo code, this seems to indicate that I got another 50 bonus minutes.

This could be because:

  • I ordered it online and
  • I'm signed up for the Tracfone Insider program

But the bonus minutes themselves are not broken down, so it's something of a mystery.

One thing to note is that the promo codes Tracfone sends you by email or text are not always the best possible. You should look online here and on sites like retailmenot.com  to find the best codes.

Curiouser

Compare that to the bonus minutes received earlier:

Promo code 53211: Get 30 minutes free when you buy and add 60 minute,120 minute or 200 minute airtime card. Expired 25 September 2007.

Why?

I suspect there are two reasons Tracfone does this.

First, of course, they save money when you buy airtime directly from them rather than through a retail store, since they don't have to pay that middleman.

Second, they're doing some kind of weird market research where they see if they give you these varying extra bonus minutes how likely will you be to come back and buy airtime directly through them.

Lower limit

Tracfone's parent company also owns Net10 which offers a rate of 10 cents per minute (but which requires you to purchase a slightly larger number of minutes).

So, therefore, Tracfone's bonus minutes will be such that the effective per-minute cost rate will not be much cheaper than the Net10's rate.

Sometimes You Get Nothing

Finally, sometime you don’t get any bonus minutes:

Promo code 58031 adds 40 bonus minutes when you add a 60 minute or greater airtime card. Expired Dec. 10, 2007. I used this one, but did not get any "extra" bonus minutes this time:

Update 12/19/2007 I tried promo code 58031 again, even though it had expired, and this time got ninety extra minutes. No guarantees of course, since I previously got no bonus minutes beyond the offer, and because the code is offically expired.

Upside Risk

So while it remains a mystery how many Tracfone bonus minutes you will receive every time you buy airtime online, the good thing is that you know you will (probably) get a few more minutes than you expected.

Check out the promo codes pages to pick up some Tracfone bonus minutes.

Mystery Solved?

I got an email from Jenny in Fargo who says it's no mystery to her:

Message: Hi there! I was reading your page on the "mystery" of how many minutes you will get when using a tracfone code. It looks like you are just getting 30 extra minutes every time you add minutes with any code (on top of the code's bonus minutes).

You likely have what tracfone calls their "forever minutes" where when you registered your phone you were promised 30 bonus minutes every time you add minutes for the life of your phone. I have this on my phone (got it in 2007) so if I add a 60 minute card with a 20 bonus minutes code I actually get 110 minutes because of the 30 forever minutes.

There is never any mystery for me if I just add up all the numbers. Just an fyi.

My Reply

Dear Jenny,

Thanks for taking the time to send your solution! I'm glad the mystery is cleared up for you. Alas, I have to report that I don't always get the 30 minutes even though I try to register all my phones. I wonder if it was only for phones registered in 2007 (or whether it applies to double minutes phones)?

Still, I will update that page to mention your solution to the mystery and see if I get any further feedback from others.

Thanks again,

Regards

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