The big four phone providers - Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and Virgin - might not always be the cheapest option, but they also tend to cram their plans full with perks and bonuses. They don't always do a good job of advertising these offers, but if you've got a plan with one of these telcos, there's a decent chance you're entitled to extras you might not know about.
Telstra has a reputation for being Australia's most expensive telco, but some of the extras included with its plans could make spending a little more on your phone bill worth it.
Every Telstra mobile customer gets the follow with their plan or recharge:
- Data-free music streaming through Apple Music
- 200GB of cloud storage through Microsoft OneDrive
- Free access to Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspots in Australia
- Free access to Fon public Wi-Fi hotposts when overseas
Customers spending at least $30 on their plan or recharge also get AFL, NRL, and Netball Live Passes, which allow you to watch every game of the season live and data-free.
Most of Telstra's 12 and 24 month plans also include a free subscription to Apple Music.
Telstra customers also get access to the Telstra Thanks perks program. This includes:
- $12.50 movie tickets for Event and BBC cinemas, excluding sessions after 5pm on a Saturday, public holidays, and special events
- A free movie rental through BigPond Movies every Thursday
- Discounted tickets to select AFL, NRL, and Netball games
- Presale tickets for select concerts and events
Optus has taken to including a couple of entertainment related bonuses with its phone plans. These include:
- Data-free music streaming through Google Play Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora
- Data-free video streaming through Netflix, Stan, and ABC iview, although this is limited to standard definition
If you're on a pricier phone plan, you'll also get an Optus Sport subscription, which now encompasses the English Premiere League and the cricket.
Optus customers also get a few bonuses through the Optus Perks program. These include:
- Discounted movie tickets for Hoyts cinemas, starting at $11.50 for an adult ticket or $26 for LUX, excluding sessions after 5pm on a Saturday
- Discounted movie tickets for select independent cinemas
- A three-month free trial of Spotify Premium
- Discounted tickets to theme parks
- Discounted tickets for "over 3000 experiences" across Australia and New Zealand, including activities such as jet boating and hot air ballooning
- Presale tickets for concerts and sporting events
If you're spending more than $40 a month on Virgin, you'll get data-free music streaming for Google Play Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora.
The biggest beneficiaries of Virgin bonuses are however Velocity Frequent Flyers. If you're a member, you'll get 10% off phone plans priced $50 a month or more (excluding handset repayment fees), a 1,000 point bonus, and earn an extra 2 Velocity points for every $1 spent.
Best of all, signing up for a Velocity membership is free, so it's pretty easy to save a bit on your plan.
Vodafone doesn't too much in terms of perks or bonuses, but you are however able to earn a nice chunk of Qantas Frequent Flyer Points when you fork out for select contracts.
While it's not exactly a "hidden" bonus, Vodafone's $5 per day international roaming offer is still going strong. You also get free roaming in New Zealand for up to 90 days per calendar year.
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