This hack will get you access to O2’s loyalty app deals and presales without an expensive contract.
For years I was with O2 and picked up a number of discounts and freebies as a result thanks to the O2 Priority scheme. But competitive prices elsewhere and diminishing benefits meant I jumped ship a good while back to different networks.
The amount I’ve saved switching to the likes of Three, BT Mobile and Smarty has far outweighed the benefits of O2.
But there’s a trick that means I didn’t need to miss out these little extras. And though the offers haven’t been great for me, they’ve recently started to pick up. So I’m sharing this cash hack once more so you can do the same.
Plus, details of how Virgin Media customers can also get access to the app.
Some articles on the blog contain affiliate links, which provide a small commission to help fund the blog. However, they won’t affect the price you pay or the blog’s independence. Read more here.
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.
What you get with O2 Priority
The main benefits are freebies. Over the years these have included Caffe Nero drinks, Christmas cards from WH Smiths, Odeon tickets and sausage rolls from Greggs. Offers have come and gone, with some months and years better than others.
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.
O2’s offer for Disney + isn’t a Priority deal though – you need to be on a contract direct with O2 to get this.
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 when 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.
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 you’ll not need to top up for a long, long time.
However, it looks like when you sign up you’ll be put onto a bundle where the £10 is automatically applied. There is a cheaper £5 bundle available you might be able to choose when you register and top up, and it might even be possible to just have the credit sit there. I’ve ordered my SIM so I’ll update this when I’ve tried it myself.
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 to keep access.
I’ve details below about how to activate both the SIM and your O2 account.
Get the best of Andy’s money saving content every Thursday, straight to your inbox
+ Get a £17 Quidco bonus (new members only). More details
Get the best of Andy’s money saving content every Thursday, straight to your inbox
Get a £17 Quidco bonus (new members only). More details
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 hot or cold drink from Caffe Nero on a Tuesday or Wednesday at least four or five times in six months. If you do this every week, that’s 26 free drinks, easily worth £50. Perhaps more if you don’t need to top up again.
What’s drawn me back in after years of not bothering (I’m not a hot drink drinker), is new partnership with Odeon offering a free ticket once a month until the end of the year. It’s only valid on Monday but I’m happy to pay a tenner to get six tickets, which will work out as £1.67 a ticket.
If you’re still not sure, you can see current offers via the O2 Priority website.
Adding O2 Priority to your phone
- Order a SIM from O2 or a cashback site
- Make sure your phone is unlocked (here’s a phone-by-phone guide)
- Insert the SIM into your phone
- Register an account with O2 and activate the SIM
- Top up your SIM by £10
- Download the O2 Priority app (use Wifi if you don’t want to use credit)
- Sign in to the O2 Priority app
- 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. 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 5GB tariff for 12 months will cost £15 a month. That’s huge. Three offers 8GB for £11. You’re getting more data for less money.
And if you hunt for special offers you can save even more. Again with Three, 12GB is available for £8. And if you factor in cashback that drops to the equivalent of £5.50 a month. That’s £114 less a year.
Of course those deals can also exist with O2, for example this offer via MoneySuperMarket is £8 a month for 12GB of data and you get three months free Disney+.
This would *just* work out cheaper than the cheap deal with Three, paying for Disney+ and using the O2 PAYG trick to access O2 Priority.
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 – mobile users are still 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.
21 thoughts on “How to get O2 Priority if you’re not on O2”
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.
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
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.
Did you need to top up again after 6 months or did it continue working?
Hi, do you know if this is possible to do from Ireland using an Irish mobile and putting a UK sim into phone?
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.
Hi Mal. Offers and tariffs can change regularly so those prices you’re seeing will be new since I wrote the article.
They don’t tend to offer the £5 deal unless you are actually speaking to them.
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!
What about if you use a service provider who uses 02 e.g. Sky or Tesco? Think article could have mentioned these.
Hi Ray, you need to be directly with O2 to get O2 Priority.
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?
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.
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.
Correction- .50 pence, as the rebate/reward is 5% for the first few months, 10% thereafter.
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.
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.
That’s great. Thanks Tim!
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.
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.
Correction- .50 pence, because the Reward’s 5% for the first few months, 10% thereafter.