TracFone Ends Triple Minutes For Life, New Smartphone Plans Offer Improved Value

If you are a TracFone user, chances are you have heard about their Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) feature. Basically, you buy a TracFone smartphone featuring this, and you can get triple credit. In other words, you buy a TracFone with 60 minutes, you will get 180 minutes of talk time, 180 text messages and 180 MB of data. This has been an incredible deal for anyone who wants a phone at an inexpensive cost.

Fortunately TracFone’s newer smartphone-only plans will continue on that value-providing proposition. You can check our Triple Minutes vs. Smartphone-Only Plan comparison chart here. Smartphone-only plans do not triple in credit. These smartphone plans will work for both Android and iPhone users. To learn more about TracFone, check out our full review.

The Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) feature plan has been phased out since 4/1/2017 for all new phone packages introduced afterwards, in favor of moving customers to their smartphone-only plans.

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In general, their new prepaid smartphone-only plans offer a really good deal for customers. The main disadvantage is that the minimum monthly spend is now a $2 – $3 more a month. It’s probably unavoidable, with the rising costs of everything else. The smartphone-only plan’s minimum spend now works out to $10.42 a month before taxes and regulatory charges. It’s a great alternative to typical $40 a month unlimited plans if you aren’t using the phone as much.

What’s great is that these smartphone-only plans offer a lower cost on average when you break it down by per minute, text and MB of data. They also more accurately reflect the usage habits of smartphone users – allocating more airtime for texting and data vs. talking. Below is a comparison of the pros and cons.

Comparison Chart of Tracfone Smartphone-Only Plans vs Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) Plans

Cost Service Days Cost Per Month Minutes Text MB Talk Time (Cents Per min) Text (Cents Per Text) Data (Cents Per MB)
TracFone Smartphone-Only Cards – Airtime Credit will not Triple      
$15 30 15 200 500 500 7.5 3.0 7.5
$25 60 12.5 500 1000 500 5.0 2.5 5.0
$45 90 15 750 1000 1500 6.0 4.5 3.0
$125 365 10.42 1500 1500 1500 8.3 8.3 8.3
Old TracFone Airtime Cards – All Minutes/Text/ Data credit Tripled for comparison      
$20 90 6.67 180 180 180 11.1 11.1 11.1
$40 90 13.33 600 600 600 6.7 6.7 6.7
$100 365 8.33 1200 1200 1200 8.3 8.3 8.3

Minutes/Text/MB listed are the total airtime provided with each plan purchase, eg. $15 plan provides a total of 200 minutes, 500 texts and 200 MB of data.
$125 Annual Plan offers the lowest average monthly cost ($10.42) and longest active period (365 days). For low volume users who want the least hassle, this plan makes the most sense.
Unused talk/text/data credit carryover as long as phone service remains active.
Need more data? $10 for 1 GB – add as you need. Unused data credits carryover.
How to get started? If you are currently a Tracfone smartphone user, you can get started on these plans by purchasing and activating their smartphone-only plan cards. If you are not yet a Tracfone customer, you can get started by purchasing and activating a TracFone smartphone through their website here. Alternatively, you can buy a compatible unlocked phone from Amazon or eBay and insert a TracFone SIM card into the phone (see Tracfone bring your own phone post).

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TracFone Per-Minute/Text/MB Spend Has Lowered

New $45 card for 90 days service with 750 min, 1000 texts and 1500 MB
New cost per minute: 6 cents/ minute, 4.5 cents/text, 3 cents/MB
New monthly cost $15 per month.
vs.
Old $40 card for 90 days service with 600 min, 600 texts and 600 MB (usage credits tripled)
Old cost per minute: 6.7 cents/ minute, 6.7 cents/text 6.7 cents/MB
Old monthly cost $13.33 per month

TracFone Per-Month Minimum Spend Has Increased

New $125 for an annual card with 1500 min, 1500 texts and 1500 MB vs.
Old $100 for an annual card with 1200 min, 1200 texts and 1200 MB (usage credits tripled)
Monthly cost increases from $8.33 per month to $10.42 per month.

Average cost per minute remains the same for annual plan. For all other plans, per minute/text/MB cost has decreased using new smartphone only plan (see examples above).

But Not If You Buy It Discounted…

There is a popular deal (while supplies last) that provides a steep discount on the $125 annual card – $125 75.99. This will reduce the cost of service back to under $7 per month. At $75.99 per year, it is less costly than the standard $99.99 annual plan. It also offers a higher level of airtime (1500 min, 1500 texts and 1500 MB).

Depending on the discounted deal you manage to purchase, the average cost per minute is reduced to a rock bottom 4 to 5 cents per minute. On a per unit basis, this is lower than going with a $99.99 annual card from the official Tracfone site, even if you get the full 1200 minutes assigned (after tripling) to your account. See comparison chart above.


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TracFone’s Smartphone-Only Plan More Accurately Reflects Current Talk, Text and Data Usage Habits

TracFone’s smartphone-only plans come with varying amounts of talk, text and data usage, unlike its traditional cards that standardizes the volume in each bucket. For example, it’s $15/month plan provides for 200 minutes of talk time, but 500 text messages. More and more users find themselves using text more often than making or receiving calls. Do you talk more or text more?

The traditional TracFone airtime cards were introduced in an era before texting and data use over a cell phone. Then prices lowered, and to address that, the Double Minutes For Life came about. Prices lowered further, and with the rise of smartphones, the Triple Minutes For Life. All these are based on a multiple of the underlying talk time (eg. 60 minutes gave rise to 60 texts and 60 MB etc). The new smartphone monthly plan allocates varying talk, text and data instead.

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Just Need a Regular Non-Smartphone? Double Minutes Still Applies

Many people have no need for a smartphone or for the many different applications available. All they are interested in doing is making a telephone call. They have little to no interest in text messages, data plans, games and the like. Rare for certain, but there are some people like this still in the world.

If you don’t need a smartphone, you can still get on a similar deal with the double minutes.

What does this mean for the TracFone user who is interested in the triple minutes plan? You may still be in luck because of independent sellers who have stores on eBay and Amazon may have cards with triple minutes available for users of the TracFone.

The phase out of the Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) feature system is a forgone conclusion. However, new or current users have much to look forward to with TracFone’s new Smartphone-only plans.


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If you are not yet a Tracfone customer and want to get started, check out our TracFone Review for guidance or get started on TracFone’s Official Website.

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Limitation: We make every effort to share the most accurate information on this site but we cannot provide any warranties on this content. Things change with time as well. Please always do your own verification to make sure.
 
 

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Comments

  1. I have a Tracfone plan for 365 Service Days. Am I required to spend or use a minimum dollar amount or number of minutes EACH MONTH during that 12 month period? If I do have a minimum monthly usage how much is it? If I only use my phone on a very limited basis each month can Tracfone cancel my service and then I would lose all of the remaining minutes/texts/GB’s that I did not use? Can anyone clarify this for me and pass along any personal experiences if this in fact a Tracfone requirement. Thanks. Dennis

    • base-admin says:

      Hi Dennis, As far as I know, there are no minimum usage requirements with Tracfone. As long as you have service days left over, your phone number should remain active.

      Let’s say your 365 Service Days is ending soon and you load in another 365 Service Days card. This will add another 365 days to your service days available. Any remaining minutes/texts/GB that were not used up in the initial service period (eg. 365 days) will carryover to the new service year and remain in your account for future use.

      Best,
      Alison

  2. I am confused….I have been paying on average $20 every 3 months with roll over (triple min.). When I need more talk time I would purchase it. Does this no longer exist. I was wanting to help out a friend in need to get started on this plan. Does this no longer exist? I use my smart phone mostly for talking on.

    • base-admin says:

      Hi Teresa,

      The $20 Tracfone card is still available and can be used. However, new phones sold no longer carry the Triple Minutes benefit, so the $20 card minutes (60 minutes for 90 days) will not triple. If that’s sufficient for your friend, then you can go this route.

      Best,
      Alison

  3. Lola McFarland says:

    This site is wonderful! I received a gift of an android LG Optimus Dynamic II and a UMX Android phone, which both triple. The UMX has a really large screen. I talk very little, and text a little bit more. Do not go to the internet because I can’t see things as they are so small. If I went to one of these, which one would be best. I am not computer illiterate but the new phones do have an awful lot on them, which is confusing to me. My sister is an Apple Phone expert and she could help me select only the Apps I would actually use, so I am not TOO worried about the change over. The GPS feature would be a really big help, and the camera on the UMX is 5 Mega Pixels, my old phone is 2. Anyhow, I would appreciate if anyone can help me to decide. Oh, I have almost 8000 minutes on my LG 840 to transfer, but would like to have two years of service time. Is that ok? Thanks for any help youall can offer. If you want to reply by email that would be fine. Lola

  4. Susan Brady says:

    I am a dinosaur who only talks on my phone and not really much of that. I have a tripk e minute smart phone, but don’t want a smart one, just triple minutes for calls. Am I doomed? I really want the very old flip phone, 3x minutes, no contract. I have service days until 2035. It seems to me I pay more and get less with the new triple minute everything cards.

  5. Gus Jones says:

    I had a dumb Tracfone with triple minutes for life. I upgraded to a non-smart, but not-quite-as-dumb Tracfone two years ago and purchased a 2-year day plan with 1,000 units only to have those units double, not triple. Tracfone claimed it was because I had purchased a smart phone, then when I proved it was not a smart phone, they claimed a “mistake” – it was never rectified. At the same time my accrued minutes (4,000 +) that should have rolled over to the new phone were cut in half when I transferred them. Again, a song-and-dance from Tracfone that ended in another “mistake” that was never rectified.
    My 2-year subscription about to expire and I notice none of the 365 plans with minutes double at checkout. Geezalou, really?
    Tracfone started as the working class and poor man’s cell phone service, but they no longer take pride in making money providing a much needed and appreciated service (while they made a good profit) and are fighting for a larger share of the telecom giants’ pie. If they have to screw loyal customers in reaching for their more golden ring, they’ll do that. After all, it’s not only the American way, it’s now the accepted smart thing to do so with a lie on the lips and a smile on the face.

    • Larry C Holt says:

      ME TOO! Purchased a Smartphone a year and a half ago with triple minutes. Worked just fine as advertised until today. Minutes were not tripled nor doubled. I called customer service twice today and got so many different reasons and etc. that I can’t count them. Ultimately, customer service said triple minutes will no longer work on Smartphones… that only the minutes I buy will be applied to the account. This is a bait and switch on the part of Tracfone and I will reach out to the appropriate government agency (perhaps FCC) to complain… with no hopes of anything being done of course.

  6. I still see 3x tracfones being sold at some stores. If I buy one of those, do I still get the 3x even though they are phased out?

    • base-admin says:

      Hi Steve, You should be able to get Triple minutes if it’s a triple minute phone. However, smartphone plans will not triple. Best to you, Alison

  7. Oh, these new smartphone plans suck. We bought one and what a waste. We never use the phone to go Online, it’s just for texting and call, but this sets time aside for Online that will never get used. I hate it and bought another phone that gave us double minutes.. If I wanted my phone to go online I’d purchase a Verizon phone and service because it would be cheaper in the long run. I’m so disappointed. well, it’s been a good run, but I guess it’s over now.

  8. Why doesn’t Tracfone sell a service only plan? I have carried over enough talk time and texts to last me the next ten years at least. So why can’t I just renew my service without having to buy more talk, text and data?

    • If you go on the Tracfone website and order the 1000 texts for $5. At the checkout page you will see “more for your phone”, pick the 365 extra service days for $49.99. Uncheck the box for the texts and just pay for your 365 days of service.

    • you can just order any card from the pay as you go cards when you get to checkout you will have a chance to add a year for $50 after you add the year remove the pay as you go card from your cart you will be left with one year of service for fifty bucks

  9. I am a new Tracfone user and I purchased a 365 day plan last week. I am already bothered by the fact that in three or four months I could still have the remainder of days available but I could already be out of either phone, text, or data. I notice that it is possible to purchase either a text card or a data card but there is no way possible to purchase talk minutes only. If it is my talk/phone minutes which is gone and I still have plenty of text and data available I do not want to purchase a card with all three. I can see this scenario happening very easily since I am connected to wifi much of the time and do most of my web surfing, Facebook, and YouTube while connected to wifi. I even send many texts through appropriate web text apps.

    How can I justify having purchased a 365 day plan if there’s no possible way to only add talk minutes to it? What would you suggest is my most cost effective way of using this as a phone intensive device?

    • Hello Philip, I have been a Tracfone user for almost 20 years. I like the coverage and the low cost associated with the service. However, it is true that the inability to purchase talk minutes separately is an irritating issue. My advice to you is you should try to download the Google Hangouts and the Google Dialer Apps so you can make free and unlimited calls from your phone to anywhere in the United States over wifi or by turning on your cellular data. These are apps that use a very low amount of data and in this way you can save your Tracfone talk minutes (at least with your outgoing calls). Hope you will find this tip useful.

    • base-admin says:

      Hi Philip, I echo what Leiyes says. To go through 1500 min in 3 or 4 months is quite intense. Take a look at the various voice over internet (VoIP) apps available. Much like you are already using wifi for sending messages through apps, you can do the same for voice. See if the call quality works for you. They seem to work for a lot of people these days. These apps will allow you to make outgoing calls and save your minutes. Magic Jack has a free app as well, and they offer inexpensive upgrade options for incoming calls. I’ve heard of other Tracfone users who successfully juggle between Magic Jack and Tracfone to get enviably low phone bills.

      To further save costs with Tracfone, you could also consider reloading your service with a card that offers the lowest cost per minute charge without running out of service days. Compare and shop around. Unfortunately, Tracfone’s minute cards all come bundled with text and data. That’s how most major phone companies structure their plans currently, for better or for worse. I really applaud you for searching around to find other options. Best to you, Alison

  10. Kevin Ross says:

    my phone is on the TMFL program if i want to upgrade my phone can i switch sim cards and continue the TMFL service? i also have all the unused different sim cards from the BYOP packet that was for the TMFL program that i receieved when i got onto it years ago. Willl they be able to be used to simply port my phone number to a new phone? And finally i have a totally unused TMFL packet would that be usable to recieve the TMFL?

    • base-admin says:

      Hi Kevin, I can give you my best guess but I can’t say for sure. If the TMFL feature is tied to your SIM card, logically, you should still be able to access it if the SIM card is accepted by your new phone. The unused TMFL packet sounds like it should still work for now, logically guessing. Please call Tracfone to confirm. Best to you, Alison

  11. Thanks for posting this. I have had tracfone service in one form or another for about 20 years and sometimes it has been a love-hate relationship. However the company has matured into a stable and very affordable platform for minimal users. I use the internet for most my outbound communication so need a phone really only for incoming calls, occasional texting, and portability. I currently have a triple minute phone that I will keep feeding until the phone no longer functions. However I was considering acquiring a more modern phone in addition and given the low cost offered by several pay to play providers I am now actively looking. Thank you for doing the legwork and posting the numbers, it really helps for comparison shopping.

    • base-admin says:

      Hi John, Thanks for taking the time to respond. Your kinds words are very encouraging. It sounds like you are doing a great job with minimizing your communications costs by using the internet. I hope that you will be able to find other good services and options. Best to you, Alison

  12. I’ve been a satisfied Tracfone customer for many years; upgraded to Samsung S7 in December. If I give my old Tracfone LG 33L to my daughter, will she be able to take advantage of the triple minutes?

    • base-admin says:

      If a phone already has Triple Minutes, the benefit should continue on. The best way to confirm is to call TracFone and have them run a check on the serial number of the phone.

    • Marilynn Dolan says:

      I gave old triple minutes to my grandson. It continues as an additional phone on my account.

  13. Previous Talk, Text and Data was equal and simple, one of the things Tracfone had going for it. Buyers knew what they were getting without having to do math and devoting time to figure which card served them better.

    To me it’s just another corporate move telling us what we need and taking away our choice of a simple method that worked for us while hiding a rate increase in the background.

    If Tracfone REALLY thought the new plans reflected current usage habits and benefited customers why not release them in addition to current cards and let the customer decide before limiting choices. Increased profits that’s why, raising prices and limiting choices while telling consumers it’s more reflective of their needs in order to sugar coat it.

    I’ve been a Tracfone user for what seems my entire adult live and I’m not a young man. My needs are days. I’m a minimal user and with rollover I now longer need anything but days. Up until now I bought a $20 card every 90 days which averaged out to $6.67 per moth. There is no plan in the lineup going forward that competes with $6.67 per month. How does that more reflect my needs and I’ve been a customer practically since Tracfone started. However at this point being on a very limited income and every penny counting I will be researching to see what else is out there.

    Good job Tracfone, for the first time in decades you’ve pushed this loyal customer into possibly jumping ship but I guess that more reflects my needs.

    • base-admin says:

      Sorry to hear about your predicament. I don’t know if this info helps, but the $20 for 90 days card is still available to smartphone users. And if your existing phone has the Triple Minutes for Life benefit, then you can enjoy triple the allotment of min, text and MBs (eg. 180 minutes instead of 60 minutes). Another alternative is to look into Safelinkwireless.com. They offer free Tracfone subscriptions to qualified consumers.

      If you are open to other providers, check out FreedomPop. They offer a free basic phone plan to individuals or families. They will try to upsell their customers so be sure to read the fine print. One user tip is to check your account information after you sign-up and you can downgrade to the free plan. Many do enjoy their free service. Hope this helps.

    • James- if you are on a fixed income you may qualify for lifeline assistance. depending on your level of qualification you may get a phone with $0.00 monthly fees, although depending on which company you go through they may bombard you with text ads and calls. still when money is tight its a small annoyance in exchange for a phone.

    • James: I am in a similar situation – I have lots of rollover, but need more Service Days, and the Tracfone website is not friendly, BUT … LogOn to the Tracfone website, FIRST pick a minimal plan, THEN go to Checkout. Find the “More for Your Phone” options below the Order Details. FIRST SELECT the option: “Extra Service Days” for $49.99 plus tax to add 365 days of Service Only. THEN DELETE the Service Plan you started with from the Order Details section. You will be able to buy the 1-Year Extra Service Days Only option alone! Complete your transaction, and enjoy using up your rollover! You can buy another service plan when you need more Minutes / Texts / Data. $50 for 365 Days of Service to use with your rollover. Only $4.00 /month!

  14. I have a triple minutes smartphone and I’m thinking of upgrading to a smartphone only phone. Can I transfer all my remaining minutes/text/data which have been tripled, or will only 1/3 be transferred?

    • base-admin says:

      This is something that you need to confirm with Tracfone’s customer support. Our independent opinion is that it does seem like the entire balance will be transferred if you are transferring smartphone to smartphone. We recently transferred service on an older smartphone with triple minutes to a new smartphone and all airtime credit were successfully transferred.

  15. Well, I am one of those “rare” people who want more talk time, less text and data, but who want those features available in their phone. I mostly talk on my phone, using bluetooth headset. But some times I need to use an app while out on the road or something, when I don’t have my tablet or laptop available to use a local wifi spot.

    So these new smartphone plans for tracfone seem a bit confusing to me. Currently have a Triple min phone and want to upgrade to something with a bigger screen. Suggestions?

    • base-admin says:

      Thanks for your comment. I remember a time when the cellphone was just used for talking. Though more and more people are shifting the majority of their phone use to text and data, there are still a lot of Tracfone users who want primarily talk time. Whether you have a smartphone with their Triple Minutes feature or are a user of their new smartphones only plans, your per minute rates will be lower than standard (non-smartphone) rates. For you and other smartphone users, this is a good thing.

      Smartphone only plans have equal or lower cost per minute (see comparison table) compared to what you receive with Tripled minutes. If you are upgrading to a new phone, I would recommend shopping for one of their smartphone only plans that suit your level of talk time use.

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