Update 12/22/20: This deal is back again and valid through 12/24/20. Read more here: Another free T-Mobile line for many customers.
T-Mobile has recently offering a pretty terrific promotion to get a completely free line added to your plan. You might be saying “But I don’t need another line”. Hear me out: if you’re on T-Mobile, I’m willing to bet that you probably would benefit from a new line — in some cases to the tune of an easy $300 in your pocket. You may even get a free 5G phone on top. If that sounds too good to be true, you need to read on at least through the first couple of steps. At some point, the deal will get extra complex. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you when to quit reading if you just want to take the easy money and run.
Adding a totally free line to your T-Mobile account
I believe this is the third time this year that T-Mobile has offered a completely free additional phone line. I should note at the outset that not all plans are eligible for the free line. However, many (including many no-longer-available plans) are eligible.
Determining your eligibility on your own is slightly complicated. If you want to do this the “easy” way, reach out to T-Mobile on Twitter or via the chat function in the T-Mobile app. If you’re OK at following directions/pictures, this reddit thread tells you how to find your plan’s SOC code and this image from reddit shows you the list of qualifying SOC codes. Note that the instructions for finding your SOC code are missing a step: after step 4, right-click your mouse (anywhere on the background of the webpage) and click “inspect” to see the developer tools shown in the screen shot.
In my case, I have an older / no-longer-available T-Mobile One plan and I was able to add a free line both when they ran the promotion this past summer and again this past week (so I now have two totally free lines on my plan). Since my T-Mobile One plan includes unlimited high-speed data (and unlimited calls/texts) for all of my lines, the free line gets exactly the same thing. It literally costs me nothing more to have an additional line with full unlimited call/text/data.
That alone seems pretty generous since it means you could potentially offer a line to a family member at no cost to you. Even if you don’t think you’ll use the free line any time soon, it doesn’t hurt you to pick it up and you could add the line yourself online or via T-Mobile customer service (note that if you add it yourself online, it shows a monthly cost initially when you add the line, but as long as you’re on a qualifying plan, it will later show up as being free).
I don’t need another line right now, but I may eventually. Someday, my son will need a phone or maybe I’ll have a family member looking to reduce expenses, etc. Will I still be with T-Mobile when that day comes? I have no idea, but if it’s not going to cost me anything to get this line now there’s really no sense in waiting. Or maybe another carrier will offer a good promotion for porting a line to their service and now I’ll have an easy disposable line.
Furthermore, having another line can be useful when there are good T-Mobile Tuesdays deals. T-Mobile Tuesdays deals have gotten kind of weak in my opinion, but every now and then they have something like a $2 or $5 Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks gift card or something. I’ll take another of a great deal the once in a blue moon that it comes around pleaseandthankyou.
But it gets better than that.
Costco Members: An easy $200-$300 win
If you’re a Costco member, picking up this free line could be a three hundred dollar win. If you’re not a Costco member but you live near a Costco, you may want to consider joining just for this free line promotion. Note that this part of the deal can only be done in-store. If you’re not near a Costco / won’t be near one by 12/3, you can skip this section.
That’s because Costco is currently offering a rebate of $200 when you add a line on T-Mobile and bring your own device (the rebate is in the form of a Costco gift card). Credit to Slickdeals as that’s where I originally saw this deal (see the Slickdeals thread here for a lot more discussion of this deal). I went to a Costco store just the other day to do this. Note that this does require that you bring an unlocked phone to the store to activate on the new (free) line you add. I grabbed an old Android phone from a family member that was collecting dust in a drawer and brought it to Costco. I added a line to my plan with a rep at the store and Costco printed rebate instructions for me to complete online (which I did later that night). I followed up with T-Mobile shortly after leaving the store (and several times since) to confirm that the line I added at Costco will be completely free. This is literally a straight $200 win if you value a Costco gift card at face value. Some readers will stop here and quit while they are ahead (though you shouldn’t — see the stacking rebate in the next section).
I will say that this process was pretty darn slow. I waited more than an hour and a half just to talk to someone and then it took about another 45 minutes to actually get the process of adding the line completed. I walked out of the store questioning whether it was worth the time, but that’s surely a YMMV situation that just depends on how busy your store is. I suspect that if you’re in there on a Tuesday morning when they open the juice would likely be worth the squeeze.
But it gets better.
Stacking $100 T-Mobile rebate for porting a line
Stackable with the $200 promo above, T-Mobile is separately offering a $100 rebate when you port a line to T-Mobile (bring a line from another carrier). This looks like it can be stacked. Note that it’s possible that it won’t stack, but I can’t see why not based on the terms and since they are offered by separate entities (the Costco rebate is from their Membership Wireless program and the $100 porting rebate is directly from T-Mobile). Here are the terms for this part of the deal:
Limited time offer; subject to change. Qualifying credit & eligible port-in on qualifying voice line required. Complete port-in within 30 days of activation. If you’ve cancelled lines in past 90 days you may need to reactivate them first. $100 via virtual Prepaid MasterCard® Card. which you can use online or in-store via accepted mobile payment apps; no cash access & expires in 6 months. Card is issued by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Use of this card constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions stated in the Cardholder Agreement. Lines must be active and in good standing when card is issued. Allow 15-30 days for card. Max 4/account.
Customers who add a new line of service on an eligible rate plan and port their number can get $100 back via rebate on virtual prepaid card.
You go to the following link to start the “rebate process” it can take 6-8 weeks to procesing and you get a “tracking ID” keep that so you can track the status of your rebate.
Don’t have a line to port? eBay to the rescue: you’ll have to do your own research to find a reputable seller, but phone numbers ready to port are readily available for sale on eBay for anywhere from $5-$30. While you can theoretically do this separately after adding the line at Costco, I recommend getting everything set up in advance so you can port a number (transfer a number to T-Mobile) at the time of activating the new line at Costco. The reason for this is to make sure that your Costco rebate goes through smoothly (if you activate a brand new number and then later port in a new number on that line, I could see it interfering with the Costco rebate. You’ll likely save yourself some headache by doing the port at the store even if it does take the rep a little longer). See this thread at Slickdeals for more information and discussion. Note that you do not need to do this via Costco — if you’re not near a Costco, you could just add a free line via the T-Mobile website (after you’ve determined that your plan qualifies) and port in a number to get this $100 rebate. Keep in mind that if you do this yourself, the T-Mobile website will initially show a monthly fee for the additional line, but as long as you’ve verified that your plan is eligible for the free line it will ultimately be free (sounds like a leap of faith, but it works). It’s also worth keeping in mind that if you have four or five real lines to port to T-Mobile (maybe you’ve got Verizon or AT&T and wanted to switch anyway), you could be getting $300 per line for these stacking promos for a nice windfall for switching.
I realized yesterday that I had a paused Google Fi account that I’d been holding onto for my next international trip. Given that an international trip is not happening any time soon for me, I realized that I could have ported that Google Fi line to T-Mobile (I ended up porting that line for a different promotion that I’ll write about as soon as I finish this post). So I missed out on this $100 stacking rebate. At any rate, remember that you too may have a line like that available — and if not, there’s eBay. I believe that some people have successfully ported a Google Voice number to T-Mobile, though YMMV as to whether or not that actually qualifies when they verify the $100 porting rebate.
If you’re able to buy a cheap phone number to port and/or you have a spare number (like my Google Fi example), you’ll walk into Costco and walk out with a free line and $300 in rebates coming in the future. Even if the Costco process takes an hour or two, that may certainly be worth it.
But it gets better.
Stack to possibly get a nearly-free Pixel phone also
This last part of the deal is very much YMMV and this is the part where I will tell you to quit while you’re ahead if you’re looking to keep it simple. Feel free to stop reading here if an easy $300 win is enough for you (and that is totally fair). I’ve done this next part myself, but since the Costco rebate takes 14 weeks to receive and my next T-Mobile bill won’t generate until this opportunity is gone, I can not unequivocally guarantee that it will work. In fact, I can unequivocally say that I don’t know this will work. I decided it was worth a shot. If you’re not the gambling type, take your $300 from above and be happy with it.
However, for the gamblers among us:
T-Mobile is offering some phone promotions that require adding a new line. After you walk out of Costco, you’ll have just added a new line. Before you get too excited, note that my understanding is that any offer that gives you a 100% free phone just for adding a line *will not stack*in conjunction with the free line. That means that any of these promotions can not be stacked with your free line according to the original poster at Slickdeals:
– iPhone “On Us”
– Free smartphone w/AAL
– iPhone BOGO
– $950 off iPhone 12 Pro
– $99 Galaxy S20 FE
The word is that the T-Mobile system will let you get the free/discounted phone, but it will then revert your free line to a paid line. You don’t want that.
However, I’ve seen it reported and I personally checked with 4 different T-Mobile reps (through both Twitter and the chat function of the T-Mobile app) that the Google Pixel 4a 5G deal will stack with the free line offer. Note that some people have reported being told that it wouldn’t stack, but I got the same answer multiple times and had a rep double check a day later to make sure it all looks good still, so I’m as confident as I can be on this. Here’s where it gets a little tough to wrap your mind around…
The Pixel 4a 5G phone costs $499.99 at full retail.
T-Mobile is currently offering 50% off a Google Pixel 4a 5G with either a new T-Mobile line or a qualifying trade-in (which includes some low-value trade-in devices like a Samsung S7 or original Google Pixel). Again, if you do one of those two things (add a line or trade in a device), you’ll get an effective 50% off the phone (this is the key difference with the promos referenced above, where adding a line gives you the phone 100% free).
The Pixel 4a 5G costs $499.99 at full price. You have to finance the phone over 24 months to get this deal (at no interest – it’s just $499.99 split over 24 payments — which should be something like $20.83 per month). The way the deal works is that if you add a line and buy this phone, you’ll get $250 in bill credits split over 24 months (i.e. you’ll get something like $10.41 credit each month as a discount off your monthly payment on the financed phone). Alternatively, if you don’t add a line (which would be silly given the promos above!) you can just trade in a qualifying device and get the same deal ($250 in bill credits over 24 months). Here are the qualifying devices for $250 in credit:
Apple: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus
Samsung: Galaxy S8 series, Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S7 series
Google: Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, Pixel XL
OnePlus: 7, 7 Pro, 6, 6 T
LG: G8 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, V50 ThinQ, V40 ThinQ
But it gets better.
T-Mobile is alternatively offering 100% off the price of the Pixel 4a 5G (i.e. giving you the phone for free after bill credits) if you both add a line and trade in one of the devices above. You can essentially get both $250 credits and your monthly payment on the device will be $0. My understanding is that this does stack with the free line because you’re not getting the phone for free based on the additional line alone but rather because of the combination of the line and the trade-in. Again, there’s a chance that something goes wrong here, so be forewarned that I’m going off of what I’ve been told. Some readers at Slickdeals will tell you that I’m wrong and the deals can’t be stacked, but since the original poster seemed to have inside info on the promotion and they specifically said this deal would stack with the free line, I’m taking their word for it as well as that of at least 4 different T-Mobile representatives with which I spoke.
So I had the line that I added at Costco, which would be good for 50% off on the Pixel 4a 5G. I did not have an eligible trade-in device that I wanted to trade, so I bought a used Pixel 2 on Swappa.com for $100 (thanks to a reader who let me know that you get the IMEI number in the order confirmation — you’ll need that number when you place the order for the Pixel 4a 5G with the trade-in).
Traditionally, you’d add the new line, buy the new Pixel 4a 5G phone, and set up your trade-in all in a single transaction whether online or in-store. However, Costco doesn’t carry the Pixel 4a 5G. Furthermore, the Costco $200 rebate requires that you bring your own device to activate, so I needed to bring the old Android phone and activate that when adding the line. I don’t think buying a new phone in the same transaction would have worked for the Costco rebate.
However, a T-Mobile rep was able to help me place an order for a Pixel 4a 5G for free later the same day I added my line based on that new free line I added at Costco and the Pixel 2 trade-in. I confirmed multiple times before and multiple times in the days since that my free line will still be free. I’m essentially getting a $500 phone for the $100 cost of the trade-in device that I’m sending them.
Because the Costco rebate is based on bringing your own device, there is a chance that rebate my rebate will get denied because I’m using that Costco line to also get a subsidized phone. The water here is a little murky: I did indeed activate my own old device when I added the line at Costco and I’ll leave that old Android phone on that newly-added line and actually put this new Pixel 4a 5G on an entirely different account, but it’s possible that when they see that I used the new line to get a phone deal that they will deny the $200 rebate for bringing my own device. I’m accepting that risk.
In the end, if I don’t get the Costco rebate, c’est la vie. I’ll be a little annoyed at myself for having spent the time at Costco for no reason, but with the free added line and trade-in device I am essentially getting a Pixel 4a 5G for $100 (what I paid for the Pixel 2 I’m trading). That will be a decent enough consolation prize. Had I ported a number, I’d be looking forward to a $100 rebate — essentially a totally free phone.
The worst case scenario based on what I’ve done is that I somehow invalidated the “free” Costco line with the Pixel promo. That would mean I’d get charged another ~$30/mo for the extra line that I added at Costco and don’t really need. That would stink, but if that happens I’ll cancel that line and return the phone if possible. There’s some amount of gamble there, but I’m comfortable with it.
If it does stack. I’ll end up with a $200 Costco gift card and a $500 Pixel phone for a net cost of $100 (and the time I wasted at Costco!).
That’s a pretty hot deal. And again, even if you don’t have a Costco nearby, I believe that you could indeed add a line yourself and get the Pixel for half off with that free line or get the Pixel totally for free with a qualifying trade.
Many T-Mobile customers can currently add a totally free line to their plan (while keeping their existing plan with no changes or deletions to their service plan). If your plan qualifies, I think it’s worth adding a line for nothing. If you also live near a Costco, it’s worth joining or if already a member going to Costco to add a line to your T-Mobile account to “bring your own device” (even if you don’t plan to use that line much given that the line is free and Costco will give you a $200 rebate). If you port a line, you can stack another $100. And if you’re a gambler, you may be able to combine all of that with a free Pixel 4a 5G phone. This isn’t the only deal on the Pixel 4a 5G. In fact, it’s one of three I’ve purchased this week alone. I plan to write next about another one of those deals and then later a deal on the Pixel 4a as long as I can continue to crank the posts out because there are some other awesome deals to be had — so if you’re not in a time crunch to get this done today, perhaps wait for the next couple of posts to decide which deal is best for you. That said, I suspect that the deals in this post will work out best for T-Mobile customers. Any way you slice it, you should probably at least consider adding that free line.