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Network loyalty programs: What’s the best one?

There’s so much competition when it comes to buying a phone that the best deal isn’t necessarily just about getting more free minutes or extra texts any more. Now in a bid to get your custom, the networks are all offering incentives to keep – and retain your business. Here we’re taking a look at what loyalty programs the major networks offer and which is the best.



Pay as you go and Pay Monthly customers can take advantage of O2 Priority, enables them to buy tickets for gigs at O2 venues throughout the UK (including the O2) 48-hours before they go on sale to the general public.

More recently O2 has introduced its Priority Moments app, also for Apple iOS and Android. The app works with the smartphones GPS to find find money off discounts nearby; from 2 fo1 coffees, discounts in shops and even free drinks. Just show the code in the participating retailer to enjoy the discount.

It’s not just about music and shopping. PAYG customers can text REWARD to 50202 every time they top up to get 10% credit back to spend on extra minutes, phones and tickets.

Other PAYG offers include the Text & Web tariff text. Here top up £10 to get 300 texts, along with 500Mb data; top up £15, you’ll get 500 texts and 500Mb, for £30 you’ll get unlimited texts. All tariffs include free WiFi at hotspots around the UK.


Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile offers PAYG customers triple Clubcard points every time they top-up with Tesco, while Pay monthly customers also get triple Clubcard points for every pound they spend. Clubcard points can be exchanged on loads of stuff – from shopping to eating out vouchers.

Tesco’s Big Clubcard Exchange means £5 in vouchers equates to £10 to spend in store on certain products (including Tesco Mobile phones), or £10 in vouchers can be turned into £40 to spend in Pizza Express (amongst many other eatery options). Remember, your Clubcard is now available as an app.

PAYG customers can also triple their credit: top-up £10, £15 or £20 and Tesco Mobile will triple your credit, giving more value for money – so £10 becomes £30.

Tesco Mobile offers great flexibility for Pay monthly customers. As well as 12 month contracts on any phone, customers can also choose to ‘Go Big’ which means you can pay a bit up front for the handset, which will save you money on the overall cost of your tariff. Unique to Tesco Mobile, customers can also choose to Cap their spend on any handset, any tariff. This is perfect if you want to avoid those unexpected bill surprises, especially if you’re paying your kids’ bills. If you use up your allowance you can simply top-up – as you would on Pay as you go.  



All Orange customers can get 2-for-1 on cinema tickets every Wednesday simply by texting Film to 241. In addition, if you fancy some food before a movie, showing the same text at a Pizza Express restaurant entitles customers to  two main courses and two starters for the price of one.
Orange Film to Go recently launched, here all customers can get a free movie download via iTunes every week to watch on a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Panther pay monthly customers can download one or two ‘Swapables’ a month. These are apps such as: Sky Sports Mobile TV, Deezer and The Times, packed with free content.

Customers on Pay Monthly Panther 24-month contracts get free WiFi in BT Openzone hotspots and inclusive push email.

Orange also offers some great deals for PAYG users. On Dolphin top up £10 and get free internet and 300 texts, an extra £5 gets you unlimited texts, while Canary that offers 100 free minutes and 100 free texts or photo messages for £10.

All Orange customers can also benefit from increased network coverage, thanks to the company’s merger with T-Mobile.  




Vodafone VIP is open to all customers on PAYG and Pay Monthly. Register online and you can get shopping discounts and win tickets to events such as the British Grand Prix and Reading Festival.
If you are a pay as you go customer, every time you top-up you’ll get a code for a Freebee Rewardz, including free texts, mp3 downloads or a Blockbuster rental, or alternatively you can save points to claim goodies like an Apple iPod Shuffle. 

PAYG incentives include Vodafone’s Top Up and Text & Web Freebee on the Simply Price Plan. £10, £15 or £30 top-up gets you 300, 500 or 300 texts and 500Mb web access.

In addition with the Talk Freebee £10 top up gets 1000 minutes of calls to everyone on Vodafone for 30 days.
Incentives to Pay Monthly customers include 25Mb data free when they go abroad on all contracts £40 a month and over.

Pay Monthly customers who use a lot of data on their phones for browsing and streaming music can access two add-on packs, for an extra £5 a month you get 500Mb data or £15 2GB.

On some price plans the company is offering a 3 Month Data Test Drive, with an astonishing three months of free data use.


The Verdict

Each network seems to have taken a different approach to loyalty. For movie fans, the best choice is undoubtedly Orange, with it’s cinema tickets and free downloads, fans of live entertainment however are better off opting for O2. If you’re a Tesco supermarket customer with a Clubcard Tesco Mobile is the best option, offering quick ways to boost your points and earn vouchers. Special mention needs to go to O2 for its Priority Moments app, while the offers won’t appeal to every user, there are some excellent deals on shopping and eating out and we hope other networks introduce their own apps soon.

To save time and make the decision easier, head to a retailer like Tesco Phone Shop or check out the Recombu deals section, where you can compare handsets across the networks in one place.