United has been emailing out news of its new mileage for cell phone service partnership, Mileage Plus Wireless.
The deals aren’t bad, they’re certainly better than what it seems you’ll get direct from the cell phone provider (either online or in-store), and you earn miles to boot.
However, even with the miles the offers aren’t up to par with some of the independent websites out there such as Amazon, LetsTalk.com, and WireFly.com.
I’m not a cell phone expert to be sure, but I’m moving and my new place really only gets reasonable reception with Cingular. I’ve been with SprintPCS for 10 years but their coverage is spotty in my area, and they don’t offer a Blackberry (my preference over the Treo).
So I checked out Amazon and their offers were good enough, but they don’t support number portability. Not going to work for me.
Mileage Plus Wireless supports porting cell numbers, but the Blackberry 8700c was a couple hundred bucks more expensive than Amazon. Better than Cingular.com, but not good enough to satisfy and I found better Blackberry plans elsewhere.
I ultimately bought without miles from LetsTalk.com. They have a $30 cashback offer via eBates (plus $5, of course, if it’s your first ebates purchase) and their pricing was superior.
They offer the Blackberry 8700c free after rebate with 2 year contract and $45/month Blackberry unlimited data plan (or $180 with no rebate required with $29.95 Blackberry unlimited personal plan which doesn’t support Blackberry Enterprise Server).
Amazon and Mileage Plus Wireless don’t offer the less expensive Blackberry plan. Cingular wanted $5/month more for it.
And LetsTalk is porting my numbers.
(Oh, and I actually got a 3rd phone free with the deal as well.)
Now, I’m going with the less expensive Blackberry plan (I’m paying $360 upfront for the two Blackberries but saving $720 in plan costs over 2 years), so I didn’t explicitly verify that the rebates would be available if porting numbers, so if that’s something you have in mind you’ll want to check that. No worries, while I couldn’t find mention of it on the website LetsTalk also allows you to complete your order by phone without any difficulty though this likely eliminates your ability to claim the $30 eBates credit.
Update: I was looking specifically for Cingular service, and Amazon can’t port numbers to Cingular. That’s what led me to believe they didn’t port numbers. Turns out they can transfer numbers to other service providers.