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UPDATE — November 28, 10:30pm: Google appears to have pulled the promotion for travel gift cards, although it does appear that you can still earn the $200 Fi service credit.
On Wednesday morning Google “Project Fi” rebranded itself as simply Google Fi. Along with this announcement came quite a few noteworthy changes for the travel-friendly virtual phone service. Google Fi is now accessible with many Samsung, LG, Moto and OnePlus devices, as well as with iPhones.
However, there are two amazing deals that are only available today (Wednesday November 28):
- If you purchase a Google Fi plan and bring your own phone, you can get a $200 Fi Service credit
- When you purchase a qualifying device on , you’ll get a travel gift card in the amount you paid for the device
While a $200 credit for signing up today is a pretty good deal, the second promotion is unbelievably good. So, let’s take a look at how this works:
Buy a Qualifying Phone
The terms and conditions require that you “purchase a qualifying device,” but the T&C don’t define which devices qualify. When you go to Google Fi’s Shop, the following phones are listed with an offer to “Get up to [the purchase price] in travel gift card(s)”:
- Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL: $799 to $999
- Pixel 2 XL: $749 to $849
- Moto G6: $199
- LG G7 ThinQ: $549
- LG V35 ThinQ: $699
- Moto X4: $249 to $299
In order to earn the gift card rebate, you’ll have to meet the following requirements:
- Activate the device on Google Fi within 15 days of device shipment
- The device must remain active on Google Fi for 60 consecutive days within 75 days of device shipment
- You can’t activate a data-only plan. You must activate for the standard plan that costs $20 per month (before fees) for unlimited domestic text and talk. Data is charged at $10 per GB. International calls are $0.20 per minute.
- New Google Fi customers must transfer their current personal number over to Google Fi during sign up. The number being transferred must be currently active and have been active with the previous carrier and the customer since 8/28/18 12:00 AM PT.
- If Fi service is paused for more than 7 days or cancelled within 120 days of activation, the value of the gift card will be charged to your Google Payments account to match the purchased price of the device
If you meet these terms, you’ll get an email from Google Fi around 75-90 days after device activation with instructions on how to obtain the gift cards.
To summarize, you can buy a phone for (up to) $999 plus tax and get (up to) $999 in travel gift cards. Four months of service will cost just $80 before fees and data at $10 per GB. After four months of service, you can pause the service and keep the unlocked cell phone, or you can continue to use Google Fi — a service I (and other TPG staff members) personally rely on and fully recommend.
Gift Card Options
The terms and conditions reference Tango as the fulfiller of the gift card promotion. Tango’s website lists a wide range of gift cards in its rewards catalog. Some parts of the Google website note that gift card “options include: Airbnb, Delta Air Lines, Hotels.com and Southwest Airlines.” So, it’s possible that other gift card options besides these will be available, but I’d only assume that only Airbnb, Delta, Hotels.com and Southwest Airlines will be available when considering whether or not to take advantage of this deal.
Which Credit Card to Use
These cell phones aren’t a cheap purchase. Considering how much we rely on our phones, and how clumsy some of us are with our phones, it’s especially important to consider which credit card to use for this purchase.
I highly recommend putting the purchase on a credit card that provides extended warranty protection. Thankfully my wife put her cell phone purchase on her Chase Sapphire Reserve in September 2016 and she received a check for the entire purchase price of the phone when it died suddenly in December 2017.
While we had a good experience with Chase’s extended warranty protection, Citi actually has even-better coverage, extending the manufacturer warranty by two years. The following cards offer up to $10,000 of coverage along with that two year warranty extension:
- Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Citi Prestige
- Citi Premier Card
Once you’re signed up for the service, you’ll want to put monthly bills on the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card or the Chase Ink Plus (not open to new applicants) in order to earn 5x points on the purchases:
If you’re at a higher risk of breaking your phone, you’ll want to put the bill on the Chase Ink Business Preferred instead. This card earns 3x on cell phone bills and provides cell phone damage and theft protection up to $600 per item with a $100 deductible.
Terms and Conditions
Here are the full terms of the promotion (listed here):
Travel on Fi with Any Device Purchase Promotion Terms
Limited time offer applies to any qualifying device purchased from fi.google.com from 11/28/18 12:00 AM PT through 11/28/18 11:59 PM PT, or while supplies last. When you purchase a qualifying device on fi.google.com, you can redeem a travel gift card in the amount you paid for the device, excluding taxes (details below).
To qualify for this promotion, a device must be activated within 15 days of device shipment and remain active for 60 consecutive days within 75 days of device shipment. The device must be activated within the same group plan that was used to purchase the device. Activation must be for full service (i.e., activation does not apply to a data-only SIM).
This offer is available for new Google Fi customers as of 11/28/18 12:00 AM PT and existing, active Google Fi customers. If the customer is new to Google Fi, the customer must transfer (port-in) their current personal number over to Google Fi during sign up. The number being transferred must be currently active and have been active with the previous carrier and the customer since 8/28/18 12:00 AM PT.
After the terms have been satisfied, the customer will receive an email from Google Fi (around 75 – 90 days after device activation) with instructions on how to obtain a gift card from Tango subject to Tango’s terms and conditions. The user can redeem gift card amounts with select travel partners: Airbnb, Delta Air Lines, Hotels.com, and Southwest Airlines. Gift cards may also be subject to the terms of the travel partners.
If Fi service is paused for more than 7 days or cancelled within 120 days of activation, the value of the gift card will be charged to your Google Payments account to match the purchased price of the device. Limit one per person. This offer is only available for U.S. residents ages 18 and older, and requires Google Payments and Google Fi accounts. Unless otherwise stated, this offer cannot be combined with other offers. Offer and gift card redemption are not transferable, and are not valid for cash or cash equivalent. Void where prohibited.
For more on Google Fi, read:
- The Ultimate Guide to International Smartphone Use
- Google’s Project Fi Rebrands, Becomes Accessible to iPhone Users and More
- Google Project Fi Just Got Even More Attractive For Frequent Travelers
Featured image by Drew Angerer via Getty Images.
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