March 28, 2018

Tracfone Ends Triple Minutes for Life- What you Need to Know (Updated)

Facts about Tracfone's Triple Minutes for Life Changes

Updated March 2018

triple minutes for life
Tracfone Triple Minutes for Life
Tracfone has decided to end the Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) program that gave all smartphones (both Tracfone branded and unlocked) as well as many feature phones triple the minutes when adding the regular airtime cards. (When adding the 60 minute card, for example, you would get 180 minutes, plus any bonus airtime).

There has been a lot of speculation and questions about whether phones will keep Triple Minutes for Life, if new phones will have it, and if Tracfone is really removing a very popular feature from their phones.

We've gathered information about the changes and contacted Tracfone directly, and now want to try and clear things up and provide the facts for everyone concerned about this.

First off, none of the Smartphone only cards would triple anyway, so these cards are completely unaffected, and if these are the cards you usually get, you are unaffected. In general, the smartphone cards are a better deal (especially for texts and data)l, and you can take a look at our Tracfone Airtime Comparison to learn more about which cards are the best deal for different situations.

But many Tracfone customers still use the regular airtime cards, especially the 60 minute card and 1 Year/400 Minute card. Plus, most bonus codes are for the regular airtime cards.

So what exactly is changing, and how will it affect you? Let's take a look (but first, here is an update!).

**Update!** All New Phone Activations May Come with Triple Minutes Now!

We wanted to add an update to the information here as Tracfone has made some changes, and may continue to adjust the Triple Minutes program.

triple minutes from tracfone udpate
Triple Minutes appears to be Back
Tracfone appears to be offering Triple Minutes as a promotion for any new phone activation. So if you activate a new phone, it seems that Tracfone is giving everyone Triple Minutes as a 'bonus'. We have not confirmed if this is occurring for every new phone activation, or just certain phones. See the information from Tracfone in the screen capture to the right:

We have received feedback from several readers who activated a new, LG Rebel 3 with airtime bundle (1500 talk, text and data) and received 4500 talk, text and data!

Let us know in the comments below your experiences, and if this happened for you.

 Tracfone had a very poor year in 2017, losing a number of customers, and so they may be trying to backtrack and reinstate the popular triple minutes program, at least for now. We will continue to update as needed.

**Update!**

Tracfone Triple Minutes for Life Changes - The Facts

Here are the facts about Tracfone's changes to TMFL program.
  • NOTE: See the update above - Tracfone now appears to be offering triple minutes to all new phone activations (after Dec 5th 2017)
  • All phones that already have Triple Minutes for Life will continue to have it.
  • New Smartphone releases will not include Triple Minutes for Life (Phones released after April 2017 and with Android 6.0 or newer will not come with TMFL, although some Android 6.0 and Android 7.0 smartphones do come with Triple Minutes)
  • SIM cards for BYOP phones will no longer include TMFL
  • All your airtime will transfer if you switch from a phone with TMFL to one without (Unless you are switching to a non-smartphone).
  • Regular airtime cards can still be added to non-TMFL smartphones, but only the face value will be given. (a 60 minute card will give 60 talk, 60 texts, and 60 MB data.)
The important information here is that no phone that already has triple minutes will lose that feature. But newer phones released by Tracfone will likely not include triple minutes.

This is a significant shift that Tracfone is making, and may drive away some long time customers. Why would they do this? Here is their response from the FAQ section on their website:

Why Tracfone is Making the Change to Triple Minutes for Life:
"As technology continues to improve, we found that more people were using smartphones and smartphone plans. People are especially using more data. So, we wanted to accommodate you by providing higher data plans with greater value." - Tracfone FAQ
That doesn't make a whole lot of sense as to why they need to get rid of TMFL, but it is true that the regular airtime cards are not a very good deal for data or texts.

Tracfone also cited 'technical compatibility' as another reason for the end of triple minutes, but that isn't very likely either.

Whatever the reason, Triple Minutes for Life will no longer come with new phones, but all existing triple minute phones will continue to keep it.

Tracfone Smartphones that Do Not have Triple Minutes

Here are phones that we have confirmed do not include triple minutes, although with Tracfone recently offering triple minutes to new phone activations, it may be possible to get triple minutes with these phones.
  • Samsung Galaxy Luna J3 Pro
  • ZTE Zfive2
  • ZTE Majesty Pro
  • LG Rebel 2
There may be more devices, and many of the newly released phones will likely not include triple minutes.

Share your thoughts or questions about these changes below, and if you have additional information or corrections please also let us know.

Continue the discussion on our Facebook page where we post the latest news and info with our growing community.

Catch up on some of our recent posts including 10 Tips for Improving your Cell Signal and How WiFi calling Works.

We also updated our list of the Best Android Apps which includes a variety of the most popular and most helpful apps to have on your smartphone.

Don't forget to visit our Cell Phone Reviews page if you're shopping for a new phone, or the BYOP page to learn about bringing an unlocked phone to Tracfone.

Thanks for visiting!

45 comments :

Anonymous said...

I prefer the regular cards because they give an extra 30 days of service time compared to the smartphone cards (90 days vs. 60 days). This is the best value for someone like me who has over 3,300 minutes and 3,600 texts in my bank and just wants as much service time as possible for the price. I also like buying new phones from QVC or HSN where they often times come with a year's service time already included. Tracfone is right about people using more data, but the data only cards are cheap. Thanks for this forum. Really helpful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

Have been a longtime TMFL user. Enjoy this feature on Tracfone smartphones purchased before April 2017. Sad to see this go, as it was easy to buy data only or text only cards to "pad" whichever service needed padding. The reasons offered by Tracfone for the change seem, well, disingenuous; there must be unspoken reasons for the change Tracfone does not wish divulged; remember "Easy Minutes" of a few years back? Do we know if the cost of the 60 minute card will remain at $19.99? Really hope that Tracfone does not eliminate or further curtail the wildly popular "pay as you go" option in an attempt to corral its customers into "plans" that might not carry over any unused minutes or service days. Please keep us posted, and thanks for all the information you provide at this website.

Landstander said...

If you purchase a new TMFL phone, can you still activate it?
Some online stores have stock of Android 6.0 phones with TMFL.
Are they no longer triple minute phones if they haven't been activated before this announcement?

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

When does this take effect?

Anonymous said...

So will users with BYOF TracFone SIMS cards not continue to get TMFL?

John S Grek said...

Very disappointed about this. I was wondering why they didn't offer it anymore. Oh, well. I have four phones with triple minutes so I will have to make them last as long as I can or technology overtakes them.

Jim said...

Hmmm...the Tracfone web site still has Triple Minutes listed for the Pay As You Go plans - https://www.tracfone.com/shop/plans

Cody L Custis said...

Taking away the feature from SIM cards is really unfortunate. SIM cards make it really easy for users to upgrade phones, Tracfone doesn't have to worry about porting numbers or carrier compatibility.

It's ultimately a small thing, just enough to annoy me.

Anonymous said...

I will definitely re-think whether I will still be a customer.

Thomas Weaver said...

I've been using a BYOP Android for about a year and have also subscribed to their $10 monthly plan (50 units which triple to 150 minutes, texts, and MB), which I got before I switched to a smartphone. From what I can surmise from the info presented, I can keep the plan (phones and sim cards already with TMFL will keep TMFL). It's just the right amount of minutes, texts, and data I need and I love that my monthly phone bill is only $10.

Thank you for the information! :)

Landstander said...

I was informed by someone at TracFone today that even existing stock of phones that say Triple Minutes for Life CANNOT be activated with that feature.

Unless we hear contradicting information, BEWARE.

I bet they get rid of the non-Smart Phone Only cards next because if you do most of your data stuff via wi-fi (or not at all) the standard cards are a much better deal. It would also kill all TMFL phones.

I'm going to seek an alternate phone provider.

Clyde said...

I do not use my phone often and the days of service are the most important thing for me. However i did notice that the pay as you go non smart phone cards are for 90 days at $20 for 180 min/180 text/180 data. I wonder if these can be used for smart phones? if yes than that is the same thing as the 60 min cards with triple.... that is if they can be used? i have not tried it has anyone else?

Anonymous said...

I've been using Trafones for years (the only cell phones I've ever had), but now it probably makes sense to upgrade to an iphone.

Landstander said...

A quick follow up.
I spoke with someone at HSN.com. They say the phones they are advertising as Triple Minutes For Life are still TMFL. It is built into the phone and Tracfone can't prevent you getting that feature (at least from them). They still have 7 phones that say they are TMFL.

I pulled the trigger on a ZTE ZFIVE L LTE (Z862VL) tonight.
The reason? It is Android 6.0.1(!) for $79.95, TMFL with 1 year activation and 1200 minutes/1200 text/1200mb.

The time alone is worth more than the phone.

They also have the ZTE ZMAX Champ, which is slightly upgraded in all respects: screen size (5.5"), memory (1.5Gb), cpu (1.3Ghz), cameras (8 & 2MP), battery life, etc. for $99.95. IT IS ALSO MARSHMALLOW WITH TMFL.

Will report my success or failure activating it. Hopefully it'll be obvious if it is TMFL or not from the start. I know their non-smart phones never seemed to have that information anywhere you could find it.

Anonymous said...

Lots changing with Tracfone. I just saw a Tracfone storefront open in a shopping center near me. Is TF going to abandon being the low cost carrier?

Anonymous said...

I just contacted Tracfone and they said that all TMFL is no longer available. I asked even in phones that advertise this and they said no. I would really like to know. I was on their site yesterday thru chat, they tried selling me a phone with 3x minutes? so either rep didn't know what their talking about. Has anyone purchased and active one lately?

Hoody said...

Just picked up another 60 min card for my AT&T BYOP LG Phoenix 2 that I use on TF with the SIM kit.

everything tripled as usual, even the bonus code worked and added more than the usual 180 min to the phone calling min.I still wish they would just sell "service time cards" only. I don't much use all the other stuff. Or If you could just trade text for min or time would be good.

The only phone I see competing with this LG Phoenix 2 still today is the Samsung J3 Luna Pro, which I bet will be on sale for 29.95 at the black Friday sale at best buy like the Phoenix 2 was.

Anonymous said...

Not happy about tracfone changing there TMFL plan. Please reconsider or come up w/ a viable option for the moderate user. Ex: 150/150/1g 5mo. for 25.00

Jazz said...

I live in calif. They tax everything here. Always bought a new tracphone(Various brands) from hsn with triple min. Calif. State board of equalization(all democrats, everywhere) put a $3.00 and change tax on a tracphone 60 min. Card last year. You want to beat that tax, get the phone with the free min, and guess what-no tax, unless one of them sees this post. I have almost 3000, min. In my acct. like they say, all good things must come to an end. Too bad for us seniors on fixed incomes. Joe w.

Gb Xx said...

Tracfone needs to update their service plans for the pay as you go "cards" and service levels. It was obvious that feature phones are dead in this era and smart phones are the new technology of current customers. However, the smart phone cards never kept up with the service days, except in bundles. That's when customers kept buying new phone bundles and transferring unused buckets as the norm. This also left those who had to buy service with 30, 60, 365 days of service. Gone is the 90 days or anything in-between.
The cost of cellular has gone up and it will be nearly impossible to buy a year of service for under $100 by 2018 (unless bundled with a REALLY cheap phone).

However, it is still possible to offer customers some type of unlimited hybrid plans starting @ $15 a month with unlimited talk/text/1gb data (with throttled data the rest of the month). Therefore, we would see yearly phone service under unlimited bundled with phones for $175 - $275. Whether this becomes part of the pay as you go side or just offering lower tiers through straight talk, does not matter.. but this corralling will have two end customers: those who want buckets, and those who can afford yearly unlimited at more than 1/2 the savings of a straight talk plan-- but comes as part of a yearly upgraded phone (option)-- of course this would be open to BYOP as well but @ 10% discount for buying the year upfront vs month by month.

I'm currently thinking about jumping ship to mint sim, but I'm still trying to find a phone I can justify the cost of in addition to the service. Trying to find a phone that has 90% of the features of a $400-$500 phone but as close to $150 as possible.

Anonymous said...

As of today (October 2017), this is the info I got from Tracfone about which phones maintain Triple Minutes:

Arne: I will be providing the phones that no longer have triple minutes plan and those are:
Samsung Galaxy Luna J3 Pro, ZTE Zfive2, ZTE Majesty Pro and LG Rebel 2 phones.

Arne: The rest of the smartphones have triple minutes plan.

Michael Gmirkin said...

Screw TracFone for this idiotic move. All they're doing is making minutes more expensive and trying to get people to move to monthly plans, which is exactly the OPPOSITE of why I bought in to TracFone to begin with (NOT having to deal with bullshit recurring monthly charges).

I want to just buy a shit ton of minutes/data/texts once a year, and have it triple, and be done with it until next year. NOT have to deal with paying an extra bill every month. NOT lose the ability. Not have them *jack up* the price of minutes by reducing the number of prepaid minutes a dollar effectively buys.

By removing this option, they're shooting themselves in the foot, IMO. Screw 'em... May or may not take my business elsewhere if they continue this trend of jacking up prices and/or moving people toward monthly bills again.

Anonymous said...

This really suxors for new accounts. I see that the replacement is SINGLE time... not even DOUBLE time. I'm an old-timer for 12 years, and DOUBLE MINUTES should still be allowed for noobs. Carlos Slim (owner of Tracfone via America Movil ADR: NYSE AMX) has been cutting off his fingers lately, and has already lost all his toes. This has been a fine brand and service for 'phone. Cutting noobs off at the ankles is not the way forward in a financial sense.

Regards
PS in CT

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have been Tracfone customers for years, but will probably switch to another carrier now that they are jacking up prices. Too bad for us low usage customers. Agree with a previous post- screw Tracfone!

Anonymous said...

Well, a little bit ago i noticed the old Verizon based voice-mail on my Tracfone handset disappeared and in it's place came a less compelling voice. The new voice mail narrator stretches out the moments of time necessary to retrieve or leave a voice-mail. I said to myself, oh-oh, they're back to this type of stone-age revenue raiser. So, something indeed is going on at Tracfone which we would consider negative, along of course with the huge matter of Triple Minutes. On the positive side, their telephone based customer service is quite good now. But all told, I'm afraid the fragile strings by which the suitability of the service hangs these days are getting pretty taut.

Anonymous said...

Having stumbled onto the fact that TMFL is on its way out for newer phones, I bought a ZTE Champ from HSN, figuring that I'd eventually want an upgrade from my current one anyway. A bundle that included phone and service for less than the cost of the service time made it a good deal.

I asked in advance which I needed to do first activate the phone or transfer the phone number from older phone (transfer phone number first was the answer). I transferred phone number and existing service days/airtime minutes/data with no trouble, although the additional 1200/1200/1200 for activating the new phone not showing up in the total until hours later was cause for very mild panic.

Apps and Internet work better on this one than the old one, although I've actually not yet used it as a phone ;-). (Phone was fine on old one, but apps/Internet could sometimes be sluggish and the touchscreen not always very responsive.)

If you need to buy service days or minutes anyway, just get a new one at this price.

Rocky Rollings said...

Hi I was just reading through the article & comments about the end of Triple minutes for life and I think there may be a couple things I can add that may be useful for some people.
First, the article mentions that if you transfer your number from a TMFL phone to a different (newer) Tracfone that doesn't have TMFL that you will keep your current balance of minutes which will be transferred along with your phone number to the new phone. But, according to the Tracfone website that is true IF YOU ARE TRANSFERRING TO A NEW SMARTPHONE ONLY. If you transfer from a TMFL smartphone to a non-smartphone the website is contradictory. In one location it says that you will retain only 1/3 of your minutes and in another location it says you will not keep your minutes. This will probably affect a minority of users but for those considering switching to a simple flip-phone it could be a dealbreaker.
As far as what happens to the phones listed as being TMFL on the package and the sim cards for BYOP that are listed as TMFL they will continue to give Triple Minutes -- if they tried to avoid honoring what is emblazoned across the packages the company would be facing an FCC lawsuit of considerable proportions. Despite Tracfone reps telling some people that the TMFL isn't valid on phones or sim cards activated after April 2017, what they should be saying is that the feature doesn't exist on phones and sim cards manufactured after April 2017.
Tracfone has it's strengths but consistency in messaging isn't one of them and it is not unheard of for problems to occur like customers minutes/texts/data not being correctly transferred or even suddenly disappearing. Their system can be buggy to say the least. For that reason it can be a good idea to take screen shots of the pages of their website that make certain promises and commitments (like about keeping minutes when transferring a number to a new smartphone) and also to take screenshots of your phone showing your balances and end of service date. Receipts for purchases of airtime are a good idea to hold onto as well. That way if you should be one of the unlucky who has a problem with your balance vanishing it should be a simple matter of either you or the FCC getting the situation corrected because you have documentation of what you are due. Without documentation you are more at the mercy of a rep should you run into any problems.
I hope this is useful.

Honky Cracker White bread said...

Good question.
I'd like to buy a PREDATED Tmfl phone before they're like disco, gone (sorry Stu!)

Lofu Rawls said...

If they want to stop selling TMFL phones then that is their privilege. However, to fail to triple minutes on my TMFL phone that I have had for 2 years is cheating. Two years is NOT for life!!

Companies that cheat me do not retain my business.

gene tascott said...

I have to disagree with the statement that all phones with OS above 6.0 are do longer tmfl. The ZTE Maven 3 is a very low priced smart phone with 7.0 Nougat. I suspect there are others out there , as well.
Sad day when TF goes chasing the dollar, but I guess all good things must come to an end.

Joan m said...

Figures..i just purchased a samsung luna pro for my mom..i have been a tracfobe person for fifteen years about...i noticed her bundle did not have tmfl AFTER i bought but i figured i could just buy her a triple minute card to use..but when i looked i could no longer find one...for seniors with smartphones like myself on fixed incomes..tracfone will probably no longer be cost effective...i do not use any texts and very little data..when i go online i am usually by wifi..so service days and minutes are my priority...taking the minutes from three to one..that will make my phone much more expensive..i do not want the hassle of a plan..some months i just can't have a set expense like that..this move by tracfone may push both myself and my mom elsewhere..too bad..i was quite content until now

Anonymous said...

I bought an LG Rebel w/ 1200 "Stuff" for a year & TMFL off ebay for a ridiculously LOW price - up in may 2018
NO Issues with the Little use i've given it as its a BackUp
Went to order the same - NOT The NEWER Rebel 2 for a friend after singing its praises - contacted TF 2 C if TMFL is still Valid since its an "Older Model" - They Said NO - will have 2 "Measure Twice 2 Cut Once" & C as the Samsung Luna Pro for $20 more is looking Good also if TMFL are NG
"Thingz R Changing Quicker Than Can Be Compensated 4"

Anonymous said...

Companies that offer anything "for life" and then change their policy should not be allowed to continue in business. I have learned through several experiences that nothing is forever except taxes and death. Until there is a consequence for lying we will have to continue to deal with crooks that make promises that they do not keep. Just don't let it stress you out too much because stress kills and they win again for life...

Lisa J said...

Bypass Google frp account on ZTE zmax champ z917vL

Lisa J said...

How to bypass Google frp on my TracFone ZTE zmax champ z917vL

Anonymous said...

I have (2) triple minute phones and both are getting Error 492 codes. Even with hard reset! I truly believe Tracfone is behind the errors as a way of eliminating the 3X phones out there.

Charles Bright said...

Triple mins are still alive and kicking on my phone. Won't upgrade until I need to.

Unknown said...

I had two triple minutes for phone a Stylo 2 and replaced it with a rebel 3 which I got 1500 minutes 1500 text and 1500 megabytes of data for $58. I had a problem activating it but when I did activate it I was surprised that the minutes text and data all tripled can't beat 4500 minutes 4500 text and 4500 megabytes of data for $58 dollars.

Anonymous said...

Bought two Fiesta 2 phones with 1500 bundles for 79.95 each and I received 4500 M/T/D on both.

Anonymous said...

I activated an LG Fiesta 2 this month and the minutes tripled to 4500. Does that mean the phone now has triple minutes as a feature?

Anonymous said...

I suspect the one-time tripling of minutes at activation is a loss leader to get customers to abandon their TMFL phones.

I read (but have not personally confirmed with TF) that once a TMFL phone is deactivated there's no reactivating it - with triple minutes still alive, anyway.

If this is true, be very careful test-driving a new phone, and activate it only if you are absolutely certain you're willing to give up TMFL.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Here’s my story. Been a tracfone user for many years, using only basic phones, and buying cards at Walmart and adding them to my phone, which doubled the minutes for the life of the phone. Finally decided to get a smartphone. Ordered one off Tracfones website, the LG Premier LTE. Bought a $25.00 smartphone only card at Walmart, which added 500 talk minutes, 1000 texts, and 500 mb of data. Got the phone yesterday and activated it, phone card says *this plan does not triple* right there on the card. Ok, after reading this blog, I was thinking that with any new phone activation, it would triple everything on that cardanyway. Wrong. But I called Tracfone and they told me if I just went to Walmart, and bought the pay as you go card (the same card I always bought for my basic phone), then it would triple everything on that. I decided to try it. Just bought a 60 minute card, went online and added the airtime, and it did!! I also used a promo code for bonus minutes (for May 2018 the 60 minute card adds 60 bonus minutes), soooo, I got 240 talk minutes, and 180 more texts, and 180 more mb of data! (Note that the bonus minutes only applied to the talk minutes.)Smartphone only cards will not let you use bonus codes, I don’t believe. AND I got 90 more days of service, whereas the smartphone card only has 60. I think this is a great deal! And the guy from Tracfone said anytime I buy the regular cards like that, it will triple all three. Also note that it took about 10 minutes for the minutes to update to the phone and website, although the service end date updated immediately. I was about to freak out, and I called Tracfone again, and as I was talking to them, I had my account open online, and it updated right before my eyes, before the guy ever did anything. Yay! I am hoping this post will help someone else understand how this triple minutes will still work on a smartphone.

Anonymous said...

Bs. I'll never go back to tracfone. Im out

Anonymous said...

Did you find a cheaper phone? I only pay $80/year for my phone as I don't use it that much. Tracfone is,the cheapest option for me

Steve said...

Just bought a LG stylo 3 with 1500 text,call and 1.5 data 1 year service,waiting for it to be delivered next week. I hoping from what i read that they will still do for new smartphone activations the 1 time triple mins that i read here in this article. Iam transfering my service from a Galaxy luna pro which already has service thru Aug 2024 with 12Gb of data,17,000 of call time and 39,000 texts,keep in mind that i have had tracfone since early 2000 so this has built up and rolled over so i should be set for not having a cellphone bill for sometime.