(EXPIRED) Google Pixel fans and/or Google Fi fans: last day to pre-order the Pixel 6a (and why you might want to)

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I’ve become a huge fan of the Google Pixel line of phones over the past several years. The cameras are excellent — I no longer carry a DSLR unless I anticipate an important need to be able to zoom in on subjects that are far away. There are other reasons I like our Pixel phones, but this post is to alert other Pixel fans to a couple of potentially great deals on the Pixel 6a. I’m personally trading in my Pixel 4a 5G for a 6a with one of these deals because of the excellent trade-in values being offered by Google right now — not necessarily because I want the 6a as much as in order to (hopefully) protect my ability to get excellent trade-in value for what I really want (the next generation of Pixel phone or the Pixel Fold if Google ever comes out with it). Between the great trade-in value and free Pixel Buds Series A for pre-ordering, you can score a pretty good deal — and you might even be able to get 10% back in store credit.

a screenshot of a cell phone

The base level deal

There are several layers to this deal that make it interesting. The base level isn’t interesting by itself, but you need it for context on the other layers.

At a base level, Google is offering pre-orders of the Pixel 6a for $449.99 and they are including a free pair of Pixel Buds Series A if you pre-order the phone (normally $99). Find this deal here. Note that Amazon is offering the same deal (our affiliate link), but there are a few reasons to prefer Google in this case. Note that pre-orders end at 11:59pm PT on 7/27. The phone officially launches tomorrow (7/28). I wouldn’t be surprised if we still see deals after launch.

Stacking deals

Additionally, Google is offering two different stacking deals that may be of interest to those with older phones like the Pixel 3a or Samsung Galaxy S10:

  • Get up to $300 in trade-in credit for your old phone. The reason this is interesting is because they are offering $300 for phones like the Pixel 3a and Galaxy S10. Those are phones that launched more than 3 years ago and go for far less on the resale market. What’s more, even the cracked screen offers are great in some cases. For instance, a Pixel 3a without any cracks in the screen trades in for $300. One with a cracked screen trades in for $295 – just five bucks less! My Pixel 4a 5G has a crack in the screen and the cracked screen offer for that phone is only $260. That’s a little disappointing, but at $40 less than it would fetch with an uncracked screen, that’s still a great deal — the difference is less than the deductible I’d pay to get it fixed even with credit card cell phone insurance. Trade-in credit obviously gets less appealing the newer your phone is, but I thought that $300 for the Pixel 3a or 4a were outstanding values considering how past many opportunities there were to get those phones for much less than $300.
  • Note that Google One members on the 2TB plan ($9.99/mo) or higher get 10% back in Google Store credit. If you are not currently a Google One subscriber, you should be able to sign up here for the 2TB plan for $9.99 per month and get the 10% back on your subsequent Pixel 6a purchase. The nice thing is that Google handles the trade-ins like this: they first charge you the full $449 price plus tax and then later refund you for the trade-in value — yet they give 10% based on the original purchase price (I’ve done this before). So you’ll get $44.90 in Google Store credit to use towards a case or charger or other accessories (or another phone) down the line. Note that if you are a current Google One subscriber and you upgrade to the 2TB plan, I don’t think the 10% back benefit kicks in until your next billing cycle.

Google Fi deal

  • Google Fi is offering the Pixel 6a for $10/mo for 24 months ($240) when you sign up for Google Fi service for 24 months (for a minimum of $20 per month). If you were planning to maintain Fi service anyway, this could be a pretty good deal. Find more detail here. Note that this is a subscription service. The landing page advertises the cost as $15 per month, but that includes $5 per month for device protection – you can remove that protection and pay $10 per month (and you probably should if you’re using a credit card with cell phone insurance anyway). Note that I don’t think this deal includes the Pixel Buds, but neither does it require a trade-inTroy in the comments indicates that this done indeed include the Pixel Buds Series A for free.

Amex Offer doesn’t appear to stack

  • The Amex Offer for Google Photos doesn’t appear to stack. There is currently an Amex Offer for 20% back (up to $40 back) when you order prints from Google Photos (enrollment required). One shouldn’t expect that this offer would stack since it clearly says it is for purchasing photos rather than phones. However, in the past, we saw an Amex Offer for Google Ads that was triggered by Google Store phone purchases, so I thought that perhaps Google Photos also runs on the same merchant code. Unfortunately, I tried with a card loaded with the Google Photos offer and I did not receive any email notification that I triggered the credit

More thoughts

Personally, I’m trading in my Pixel 4a 5G and buying through the Google Store for the free Pixel Buds Series A and 10% back in Google Store credit. I essentially got the phone at no cost thanks to a number of other deals, so getting $300 (or in my case $260 with my cracked screen) toward the Pixel 6a means that I’ll pay a net around $200 for the phone, the Pixel Buds (which I should be able to sell for at least $50), and $44.90 in Google Store credit.

But I’m not doing it because I’m dying to have the Pixel 6a. In fact, I’m kind of annoyed that I’ll finally be losing a headphone jack. The reason I’m trading in is that I’m hoping to ensure better trade-in value for future deals.

For instance, when the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro launched last year, T-Mobile offered up to $900 in trade-in bill credits for a Pixel 4a 5G (enough to cover the cost of the Pixel 6 Pro) for customers on Magenta Max (they offered similar credits that would cover the full cost of the Galaxy S21). That’s far more than the original cost of the Pixel 4a 5G, but trade-in values on later model “a” series phones often seem to exceed the original retail value of those phones for a while. However, as time passes, phones move down in trade-in value. The Pixel 4a 5G has now moved down a band in trade-in credit with T-Mobile — the best I’d do is $400 in trade-in credit towards a Pixel 6 today.

However, I’m banking on the fact that either T-Mobile or Google will again offer increased trade-in value for the 6a when they launch a newer line of Pixel devices since the 6a will be the latest previous Pixel model. I figured that by trading in now, I give myself a shot at getting great value toward the phone I really want when new phones launch in October (either the Pixel 7 Pro or the Pixel Fold if that actually launches). It’s a little bit of a gamble, but since I should be able to sell the Pixel Buds for at least $50, I’ll end up less than $200 into this Pixel 6a and hopefully be able to leverage that for a “free” flagship phone down the line.

If you happen to have a Pixel 3a — and particularly if you have one with a cracked screen — it’s hard to go wrong with $300 trade-in credit (or $295 with a cracked screen?!?). One thing that’s nice about getting it directly from the Google Store is that you can buy it unlocked and not be committed to a service deal with a specific carrier. Personally, I don’t mind the carrier-specific deals since I can’t envision leaving T-Mobile based on the deal I’m currently getting there, but others prefer carrier freedom and I can understand that. Note that there are other good trade-in deals also — some of the Galaxy S10 variants get $300 trade-in value as well. Higher / later model phones are also eligible for up to $300 trade-in credit, but that obviously won’t be a deal if you have a phone that is otherwise worth more than $300. The deal here is that they are offering $300 for a lot of phones that are worth significantly less.

Overall, these are solid potential deals for those who either like the Pixel line and/or want to have Google Fi service anyway. We’ve certainly seen crazier Pixel deals before, but this will do for now.

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