How to get O2 Priority if you’re not on O2

This hack will get you access to O2’s loyalty app deals and presales without an expensive contract.

I recently returned to O2, but for many years I’ve been switching between the likes of Three, BT Mobile and Smarty in order to pay less each month. Yet in all that time I was still able to access the freebies on offer via O2 Priority thanks to this trick that means you can get the app no matter what network you’re on.

Plus, details of how Virgin Media customers can also get access to the app.

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What is O2 Priority?

O2 Priority is the loyalty scheme for anyone with an O2 SIM. If you currently have a mobile tariff with O2, whether a contract with a handset or pay monthly SIM-only then you’ve already got access to the app or website.

It’s also available to people with Virgin Media broadband or TV – even if you don’t have an O2 SIM. More on how to do this later on. Virgin Mobile customers are not included in the offer.

What you get with O2 Priority

The main benefits are freebies. Offers have come and gone, with some months and years better than others.

Over the years these have included Caffe Nero drinks, Christmas cards from WH Smiths and Odeon tickets. At the time of writing, the key ongoing offers include:

  • Free sausage roll and hot drinks at Greggs
  • Three months free Apple TV+ and Apple Music
  • Two free drinks at All Bar One and O’Neils
  • £1 Pure Gym passes
  • £7.50 Prezzo lunch
  • Free cloakroom and queue jump at selected O2 Academy venues

Alongside these are discounts (which can often be found elsewhere) and competitions.

There’s also presale access to a number of live events. There’s no guarantee the tickets you want will be on there, but it can be a handy way to nab them before they’re open to everyone.

However, O2’s offer for £2 off Disney +, and another with the same discount on Prime, isn’t a Priority deal. This is something you add direct to your O2 bill, meaning they’re not available for those joining via Virgin Media or the following hack.

How to get O2 priority if you’re on another network

This trick has been around for years, and I first wrote about it back in 2014 when I launched the blog.

It’s very simple. You basically need to order a Pay As You Go SIM and have an unlocked handset. This used to be all you had to do and didn’t cost a thing.

But a few years ago the terms changed and you now also need to top up the card to activate it. The minimum level is £10, and this will keep the SIM active for six months. You’ll want to get a “Big Bundle” PAYG SIM as the alternative “rolling plan” will keep charging you each month.

If you use the SIM every six months then it’ll continue to be active, and so should your access to O2 Priority. If you don’t the SIM will be cancelled and you’ll lose any credit.

In theory this means if you send a text twice a year (with the O2 SIM in your phone) you’ll not need to top up for a long, long time. So at the very least you’ll need to spend a tenner to take advantage of this hack, which could grow to £10 every six months if it’s required to keep access.

I’ve details below about how to activate both the SIM and your O2 account.

Is a £10 spend worth it for O2 Priority?

Obviously this depends on a few things. Will it be £10 every six months, or potentially £10 for a good few years? But more important is whether you’ll take advantage of enough offers to justify the spend.

This comes down to whether you’d normally spend money on the offers they have, or if you even have access to them when it’s specific chains.

The SIM will pay for itself if you nab the ongoing free Greggs sausage roll at least 9 or 10 times in six months. If you do this every week in that time, that’s 26 free snacks, easily worth £30. Perhaps more if you don’t need to top up again for another six months and beyond.

The problem is offers can come and go. For a good while the free weekly Odeon ticket was amazing value, but that ended earlier this year – and the same could happen to existing offers.

If you’re still not sure, you can see current offers via the O2 Priority website.

Adding O2 Priority to your phone

  1. Order a SIM from O2 or a cashback site
  2. Make sure your phone is unlocked (here’s a phone-by-phone guide)
  3. Insert the SIM into your phone
  4. Register an account with O2 and activate the SIM
  5. Top up your SIM by £10
  6. Download the O2 Priority app (use Wifi if you don’t want to use credit)
  7. Sign in to the O2 Priority app
  8. Take the SIM out and put your normal one back in

O2 contract vs Pay As You Go

You might think this seems a lot of hassle for a few freebies, and decide it’s better to just get your contract with O2 and be done with it. Plus you might get access to the discounts on Disney+ and Amazon Prime. Well maybe. It really depends on the price you pay.

Going direct to O2 for a pay monthly SIM-only deal is going to cost you most of the time. Currently a 25GB tariff for 12 months will cost £25 a month. That’s huge. And the next cheapest plan is only for 1GB – not enough for most people.

But elsewhere you can pay a lot less. Three offers the same amount of data for £16. Or a more realistic 12GB for £14. Or there’s ID Mobile which is £8 for £20. And they’re just some prices I found in a few minutes. I certainly wouldn’t pay over the odds with O2 just for O2 Priority.

But of course, you can hunt for special offers you can save even more on pretty much all the networks. These can be via cashback sites or comparison sites, either offering lower tariffs or extra savings that bring the price down further.

For example, I found an O2 SIM-only deal via Uswitch offering 15GB for £7.99 a month. That’s not bad if you do value the O2 Priority extras and savings on Disney+ and Amazon Prime.

So if you are out of contract it’s worth shopping around to see what is available.

O2 Priority via Virgin Media

In Autumn 2021, O2 merged with Virgin Media, and as part of the gradual joining up of brands, Virgin Media customers can now get access to O2 Priority. It’s open to anyone with a broadband, TV or landline contract – Virgin Mobile users are excluded.

If you’re eligible you need to download the O2 Priority app and then sign up with the email address used with Virgin Media. Once that’s verified it’ll link to your phone number and you’ll be able to use the app.

O2 Priority vs Vodafone Very Me vs Three+

The main alternative is Vodafone’s Very Me. VeryMe offers similar discounts and freebies to O2, with regular brands featured including Vue, Chili, Tesco and Costa.

You can also get access to this loyalty app if you’re not with Vodafone via a similar PAYG trick that also requires a top up of £10 – though in this instance it only lasts six weeks.

There’s also Three+, which seems to mainly have discounts rather than freebies. Here’s more on the app and how to get it if you’re with another network.

It’s hard to say which is best as it depends on whether you can or want to take up the offers. Again, I’ve not bothered with Vodafone VeryMe as the offers haven’t been worth it for me. But they could be perfect for you.

23 thoughts on “How to get O2 Priority if you’re not on O2

  1. Apparently the classic pay as you go sim is no longer available.

    This post needs updating.

  2. Have things changed. I signed up to get O2 priority and not both types of plan appear to be £10 per month. That is rolling Plan and Big Bundle. That makes for a very expressive set of rewards. Do I have another option if O2 is not my main network provider (far too expensive for me!)

  3. I have been told today by Virgin that although I have Broadband with them I do not get O2 Priority unless I have a O2 sim card as well. Even though it doesn’t say this in any of the terms and conditions.

    1. Nope, you can just log in with your Virgin Media broadband. There is something called Volt which does require you to have both O2 and Virgin, but not Priority

  4. Great article, but like many such schemes Priority is next to useless unless you live or have easy travel to a major city, ideally London. The rest of the UK is sadly forgotten.

  5. Did you need to top up again after 6 months or did it continue working?

  6. Hi, do you know if this is possible to do from Ireland using an Irish mobile and putting a UK sim into phone?

  7. This really does need updating, Andy. It’s 15GB for £.15 not 5GB. There’s a 10% discount, which effectively reduces it to £13.5, though it’s only 5% for the first 6 months. Plus recently O2 have been throwing in extra data. I got 25GB on top of the 15GB during the last few months.

    1. Hi Mal. Offers and tariffs can change regularly so those prices you’re seeing will be new since I wrote the article.

      1. They don’t tend to offer the £5 deal unless you are actually speaking to them.

  8. Three offer good deals, BUT in my experience both the netrwork avaialbility and the customer service are terrible, so the network does not offer a good deal at all. In th eend they offered to just my contract with no fee, which I gladly accepted and now have a contract elsewhere. I’m never going near 3 again!

  9. Ray Baldacchino June 23, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    What about if you use a service provider who uses 02 e.g. Sky or Tesco? Think article could have mentioned these.

    1. Hi Ray, you need to be directly with O2 to get O2 Priority.

  10. Hello,
    I am a bit confused. I just went onto the O2 website to order a PAYG SIM. But it seems they require you to choose a ‘bundle’, which expires after 30 days. And that is not really PAYG. Or is it not necessary to choose a bundle?

    1. You have to choose a Bundle, which needs to be renewed every month. The old PAYG option was removed for new customers some time ago. Not sure that you’d receive benefits if account was inactive. However O2’s tariffs are much improved. 15GB per month for £15. With 10% rebate that’s effectively £13.50. At the moment O2 are giving 45 GB for the first 3 months for £15. So, there’s no real need to try time consuming and convoluted tricks, that I suspect wouldn’t work anyway. Sorry, Andy.

    2. Just looked into this a bit more. The Rewards can either be used to reduce payments, or, as Andy points out, for shopping and entertainment. However, the rewards are based on how much you’ve paid to top up. So if you only intend paying £10, your Reward would be a big fat £1.00. OK, better than nothing.

      1. Correction- .50 pence, as the rebate/reward is 5% for the first few months, 10% thereafter.

    3. Yes, you choose a “bundle” though there’s a £5 one which would leave you with £5 credit – as long as stop it automatically adding the bundle again in month 2. But you do need to top up by £10.

    4. I called O2 and asked if it is possible to opt-out of the monthly bundles, and it is. This is what I did:

      Order £10 bundle free sim (no payment required).
      Receive sim and call customer service and speak to PAYG team.

      I had a couple of transfers before I got to speak to someone that could help but once through they were really helpful.

      They basically added a 1p credit onto the unregistered sim to register it on their network. Removed the bundle and told me what the call/text/data standard charges would be.

      I then registered using their app and topped up £10. The app shows I am not on a bundle.

      The only thing she wasn’t sure of was whether the current offer (Nov 2021) of free £10 credit when you top up £10 would still work. I’m waiting to see… but if you want an O2 sim just so you can use the O2 Priority offers, this seems to be the cheapest way.

      Hope that helps.

      1. That’s great. Thanks Tim!

        1. Hi,

          I’m afraid that I have to say that Tim’s suggestion did not work for me.

          After moving from O2 to Giffgaff I ordered a free SIM to take advantage of this hack. I tried what Tim did and called customer service, only to initially somehow end up with Pay Monthly customer service and then be cut off when they transferred me. I called again only to be cut off once more when I tried speaking to an “agent”. On the third time I was told that it was not possible to not have a bundle on the account and that my £10 would be automatically swapped for a “big bundle”. I have now thrown the SIM in the bin.

          The Priority offers are not worth having to navigate O2’s dire customer service.

  11. Not too clear where you’re coming from on this one, Andy, or that this would work with Bundles, which need to be renewed every month. As for the current O2 tariffs, I had to check the date of your blog. I get unlimited calls and texts and 15 gbs for £15 a month on a Bundle. On top of this, very often a huge amount of extra data is thrown in. 25 gbs this month and last. Yes that’s correct. Plus with rebates, the £15 is effectively £13.50 per month for 15 gbs. Maybe it’s worth you looking at O2 again.

    1. Correction- .50 pence, because the Reward’s 5% for the first few months, 10% thereafter.

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