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.
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
- 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. 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.