Google’s wireless carrier, Fi, is celebrating its rebranding today (coincidentally, in the middle of Cyber Week) with an attractive deal for those looking for a new phone. Available to both new and existing Fi users, you can earn up to $999 in travel gift cards from the likes of Airbnb, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and Hotels.com. But, as you might have anticipated, the promotion does come with a few terms.
Updated November 28th, 10:26PM ET: The travel credit promotion was set to run until 11:59PM PT, but Google Fi’s Twitter account has called an end a little earlier than expected.
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First off, you’ll have to buy a phone through Fi or the Google Store today (by 11:59PM PT), activate it within 15 days of its shipment date, and remain activated for 60 consecutive days. According to Google, it’ll take a few months following activation to receive instructions on how to redeem your travel credit on Tango. Google has shared with The Verge that credits won't expire via Tango. You can check out Google Fi's FAQ page for more details.
The value of the gift card you receive from Google correlates to how much you spend on the phone you buy, though it won’t reflect how much you pay in taxes. Right now, the only way to squeeze every penny from the offer is to buy the 128GB Pixel 3 XL, which costs $999. If you don’t feel like spending as much, the Moto G6 costs $199, and it will still knock a decent chunk off your travel bill.
Part of Google’s relaunch of Fi came with news that the carrier is now compatible, albeit in a limited way, with most Android phones and iPhones. The devices won’t be able to take advantage of a few of Fi’s big selling points — namely, the ability to switch your network between Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular to get the best coverage. Instead, Fi will default to T-Mobile for devices not “designed” for Fi, or automatically connect you to public Wi-Fi hot spots via Google’s VPN. Only the small group of phones that Google sells on Fi and the Google Play Store are built to take advantage of the service. These devices include all Pixel phones, Moto G6, Moto X4, LG G7 ThinQ, and LG V35 ThinQ.
From a value perspective, Google Fi isn’t the best fit for everyone. Its $10 per gigabyte of data plan is ideal for those who don’t do much on their phones or spend a lot of time in a Wi-Fi umbrella. But given that one of the carrier’s highlight features is offering hassle-free coverage in a bunch of countries around the world without the need to swap out your SIM card or pay extra for international data, earning some travel credit for your new purchase will really let you test the service out.