Did Sprint just kill off its Premier benefits?

We do love Sprint. It has some of the best plans out there, excellent coverage and a number of top-tier handsets like the HTC EVO 4G and Samsung Epic 4G. However, some changes are being made that might not make existing customers too happy. If news of the $10 price hike for new smartphone data plans wasn’t enough to set your hair on fire, perhaps knowing that your Sprint Premier status is changing just might.

One user at the Sprint Community forums spoke with a customer service agent and was informed that existing Premier customers are no longer, well, Premier customers. If you were looking forward to your annual upgrade, 25% discount off of accessories, dibs on device preorders and more, you’ll have to pony up a lot more each month to qualify.

Until now, all you had to do was be an existing Sprint customer with a base plan of $69.99 or more for individuals and $129.99 per month for families for six months to qualify. Suddenly you were in — you were a Sprint Premier customer. Premier customers were entitled to certain benefits and perks that other customers weren’t (even though it seems most customers fell into the former group). Now, in order to be a Premier Gold customer and retain those same benefits, you’ll have to be on an $89.99 or $169.99 plan for individuals or families, respectively. That’s quite a hike!

From what I can gather in the forums, this doesn’t affect new contracts only. Existing customers may want to check their status, and it seems that the benefits won’t be grandfathered in if you’re up for renewal, either.

It’s a major drag, but all good things must come to an end and it was great while it lasted. Keeping it up during a time when smartphones are proliferating and becoming more advanced is just going to end up becoming too costly, and we’ve already seen the price hike in data plans, so this move from Sprint doesn’t come as a surprise.

[Via: Sprint Community]

  • Roni Singleton

    Hi Marc – Just wanted to correct something in your post. Yes, because it’s common for loyalty programs to have levels of benefits, Sprint Premier is moving to a tier system: Premier Gold and Premier Silver, effective 4/1/11. But, all of the benefits will remain the same for both tiers – accessory discounts, device credits, anniversary rewards etc, except for the annual upgrade. So with the package of benefits offered, the Sprint Premier program will continue to be one of the best loyalty programs in the wireless industry today.

    Roni Singleton
    Sprint PR

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the clarification, Roni!

      • michiganshotChik

        okay ive been with sprint for 14 months now so wat type of upgrade can i recieve? will both lines be upgraded?

      • michiganshotChik

        okay ive been with sprint for 14 months now so wat type of upgrade can i recieve? will both lines be upgraded?

    • Texascindyann

      that’s not true it won’t be the same. i have been with sprint since 1989 i will lose my annual upgrade on april 1 its due on april 8th. the discounts will not be the same on the silver which is what i will qualify for now its only 75.00 not 150.00. sprint just wants us to up plan our accounts another 40.00 a month to qualify. its a low blow for Sprint. I am not leaving but I am also not spending any more money.

      • Bob

        You may have been a Sprint customer in other areas (Long Distance?) since 1989, but Sprint PCS didn’t start until 1996.

      • Roni Singleton

        @Texascindyann – Thanks for being a long time customer! And yes, as I stated in my original post, ALL of the benefits and perks will be the same for both Premier Silver and Premier Gold, except for the annual upgrade. We made sure that Premier Silver customers retained the benefits that were popular with the most customers (i.e. accessory discounts, anniversary rewards, etc).
        BTW, if you have been a long time customer, at least 10 years of service with Sprint, we automatically graduate you to Sprint Premier status regardless of the plan you are on.

        Roni Singleton

        • You made sure that you retained the benefits that were popular with the most customers? Accessory discounts (when Premier started, it was ANY accessory ANY time, without a minimum 2 accessory point), and anniversary rewards (you mean the $5 credits or free ringers most phones cant use, or the 60 bonus minutes that are pointless) – Those are popular? No no no… UPGRADES ANNUALLY ARE POPULAR! If they werent, then it wouldnt be an issue for Sprint to have them on all accounts, rather then just the higher paying ones, right?

          Wanna know something about keeping customers? Its called LOYALTY AND REWARDS. Reward us for our loyalty (which is fleeting these days). If you want me to stay with you, show me you want my business… Offer me a nice new phone each year – I can go to another company and get something better for the same price I can on Sprint. Want me to know you care? Give me a month free for each year I stay with you, not just a $5.00 bill credit. Thats a slap in my face. Want to really make me up my plan costs? Offer me something like 100 BONUS MINUTES for my loyalty as long as I stay on that new upgraded plan. Instead of 450, why not 550 minutes? Instead of 900 minutes, why not 1000?

          Just think of the ways Sprint can actually KEEP customers, keep them happy and not shell out that much more money. Oh, and I know if people leave, Sprint recoups VERY LITTLE of the ETF if any at all. Ive left Sprint 4x in the past, and NEVER paid any of the ETF’s so ya’ll aint making cash on that, but you do by keeping customers. Lastly – think about how many people actually take advantage of their upgrades every year? Not all of them. My roommate is due, and is waiting till Month 18. I was due 4 months ago, I waited till last month. My other roommate was due over a year ago, and is STILL waiting another 6 months, for the full 2 years she had Sprint – why? Because we want to make it worth our while, but we also know that youre making money off us the longer we hold out. Just think about it….

    • My suggestion is to grandfather in current customers as GOLD – after all we do pay your wages, and without us being GOLD, well…Silver just doesnt pay your bills anymore does it?

      My other suggestion is talk with your management team Roni, before I suggest people contact Executive and Regulatory who most definitely will help the situation either keeping customers satisfied, or losing us without the chance of us coming back.

      • Bill

        If we pay their wages… they want a raise. Pay up here or go pay more elsewhere. 🙂

        • I dont have a problem paying elsewhere. I dont have a problem paying a premium for upfront honest programs that arent yanked out from under me 6 months till my next upgrade I was counting on. It is cheaper for me to pay the prorated ETF and jump ship and get a better, faster phone and be locked into a 2 year then wait for Sprint to release something new just after they killed off my upgrade.

    • George

      But….previously New for you let anyone get the discounts for a new phone at 22 months (incl. rebates if plan was at least $39.99?) Now, if I read correctly, you have to be at 69.99+ to get a new phone (and mail in rebates) at 22 months. Am I correct?

      • Roni Singleton

        @George. Yes, Sprint allows all of our customers to change their plans anytime without contract extensions, and with our the “New for You” program, they can get our best new customer price on a phone every 22 months!

        Sprint Premier Silver customers also qualifiy for an annual upgrade on all lines on their acount of $75, or the new customer pricing every 22 months. Plus they continue to receive all of the other benefits I mentioned above and more.

        Roni Singleton

      • Roni Singleton

        @George. Yes, Sprint allows all of our customers to change their plans anytime without contract extensions, and with our the “New for You” program, they can get our best new customer price on a phone every 22 months!

        Sprint Premier Silver customers also qualifiy for an annual upgrade on all lines on their acount of $75, or the new customer pricing every 22 months. Plus they continue to receive all of the other benefits I mentioned above and more.

        Roni Singleton

    • Can you please explain to me why Sprint has different prices for upgrades than for a new two year activation. My wife wants a new Evo but while it is offered at $99 for new two year activation, we are told we have to pay 199. Why are upgrade and new two year prices not same like every other carrier does?

    • Duh

      well, you turned out to be a liar

  • GT

    Are they getting the iPhone also? Could this be why they are implementing this?


    • You may have a point. Verizon killed off their New Every Year plan now that they have the iPhone, so maybe this will be the case with Sprint.

      All I know is, my wife better upgrade or jump ship before she gets locked out.

    • Duh

      ya think DA

  • It’s a ripoff and I disagree with sprint doing this to their LOYAL customers. Grandfather us in and let all NEW subscribers work and pay to get to GOLD status or whatever your B.S. ripoff, con-artist way is.

  • Andrew Kurish

    As everyone probably knows sprint has decided to change the premier program as we know it. They are telling us that, in order to get the yearly upgrade that we all enjoyed (the only valuable benefit in the premier program), we either have to have been customers for at least ten years, or have a plan far rate of 89.99 for single plans or 169.99 base rate for family plans. Now that leaves out the majority of us that have the everything data 1500 minute family plan, no matter how many added lines, premium data fees, our hotspot fees we ps3 extra. If this affects you or someone you know please go to this website and join: http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/campaign-0-1921. By joining this website we join together in telling sprint that we will not allow them continue to take benefits that we consider valuable. Together, we can do this.

  • kossgdlm

    so when we signed up for sprint about a year ago we were told that we would be premier customers and could get a upgrade upon our first year of being with sprint. when our first year came up we called in to see about our upgrades and they informed us we did not qualify as we were in 2 year agreement. we took you guys for face value while we researched wether or not we were told that we would be given upgrades. we finally found our paperwork and called back in to get upgrades as sprint had told us we would upon signing up. we were told by the rep who helped us that if we had called in a month befor that we would have been eligible. we advised him that we had contacted you guys when our year was up and they had denied us.  they said that was too bad. not satisfied with this answer we asked to speak to a higher up rep and were trasnsfered to named don pittaro. when my wife talked to him he was extremly rude and talked down to my wife throught the entire call. when confronted about the fact that we had called in when our year was up and being denied and then told we were eligible was that the rep who helped us must have not known. so at this pont we were expecting sprint to honor the contract we signed when we came to you guys but that it not what happened. don kept telling my wife how he was wating his time talking to her and that she should just accept what he was telling her. we were even willing to sign another 2 year contract to get upgrades to the  htc 3d. don told us that we would have to pay full price. that it was our fault that we shoudlve called in earlier. in no way or form did he take responsibility for sprints mess up. NEVER once did he acknowledge or ever apologize for your rep telling us something that was wrong. we even went to the store to resolve this with a store rep and as we were waiting a customer got a 3d phone for 99.00 for signing 2 year contdact. weve been with sprint a full year and signed up as premier customers with the intention that we would get an upgrade as our first year. i feel cheated and disgusted at how your rep treated my wife and how sprint is treating us. i was told by your store rep that sprint was losing money on this so thats why we were being denied. i was informed by a family member to contact the attorney general for your wrong doing as well as contact local new agencies and post on different sprint forums to advised them of how sprint is treating thier customers and not trying to do right by us. im trying this one last time to see if sprint will honor what they said they would. hopefully you guys do the right thing and make right by your customers.

  • Et_badger

    I am sooo glad I found this site.  My bill is 260.00 per month.  I have been a sprint customer for three years.  I have had nothing but troubles out of sprint.  I just got the letter canceling the sprint premier program, which I have not felt it affecting me either way in the first place.  Figuring my bill being the 260.00/month I figured the reps would be polite myself, but I have found them to be rude and very unhelpful.  I had one tell me that I could add the hotspot to one of my phones and I would be able to use it on any of my phones to connect my laptop to the internet. (29/month) I thought that was a great deal, and accepted.  A couple days later one of my employees told me that they were not getting the hotspot on their phone and I called sprint and they then proceeded to tell me that I had to buy the hotspot for each phone haha.  I explained that was not how the first rep sold it to me.  No help with this what so ever, just told me there was no way one of their reps would tell me this.  Seperate incident.  They shipped a phone to me.  The LG optimus I have two of these already and they were great phones the other one they shipped to me kept locking up.  They run me through two hours of tech support and told me that I had to take it to a local sprint store 62 miles away to get it fixed instead of sending me another phone and letting me sent the one they just shipped back.  I do not think I would dare renew anymore of my contracts with sprint once they are up Im out!!!!

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