Bing Cashback = $175 off iPhone 3Gs

This week I upgraded from a first gen iPhone to the iPhone 3Gs. The 3Gs speed really does make a big difference for me – I feel less like I’m waiting on the device all the time (especially compared to the very snappy BlackBerry Bold I’ve used as my primary device recently).

Unfortunately my AT&T contract didn’t allow for the cheap upgrade, so I looked a couple of options:

  1. Cancel the second (iPhone) line and pay a $145 penalty, then create a new second line and get the iPhone 3Gs for $299 (total cost: $299 iPhone + $145 penalty + $35 activation fee = $479).
  2. Purchase the iPhone 3Gs as an upgrade on the iPhone line for $499 (total cost: $499 iPhone + $18 upgrade fee = $517).

I was leaning towards the first option to save a few bucks, twitter’ed about it, and got this response from Dougal:

…have you read about the possible discount if you buy the new #iphone via a #bing search?

A quick search resulted in this explanation, which led to reading more on the Bing site and the following option:

Purchase the iPhone 3Gs as an upgrade on the iPhone line for $499 with a 35% discount via Bing Cashback (total cost: $499 iPhone + $18 upgrade fee – $174.65 Bing Cashback = $342.35).

That’s only a few bucks more than the $299 new line cost without a penalty – which seemed like a fair price to me. It was definitely the best option for me because with option #1 above the $145 penalty wouldn’t have received the discount, resulting in that option costing $374.35.

The Bing Cashback system is a little uncomfortable to use. The discount isn’t referenced or displayed anywhere on the AT&T site or in the checkout process – you have to trust that you will indeed get the cashback check. I figured this was worth the risk – and that Microsoft with this being a push to get people to use Bing, they would probably care about making sure I had a good experience and make sure I got the discount.

Things didn’t go smoothly, but I don’t think it was Bing’s fault. AT&T’s site was having problems and kept kicking me out. I think that caused the transaction token to get lost or not applied properly. Bing Cashback has an FAQ describing what to do in these situations.

I followed the instructions, sent in the order # and a PDF of the order confirmation email, and a day later the credit appeared in my Bing Cashback account. Took about 5 minutes work or so, seems like a fair trade-off.

So I’ve used Bing for the first time – and it seems to have gone pretty much as it was supposed to. I typically just buy everything online through Amazon since I have Prime, but I’ll certainly consider Bing Cashback in the future for larger ticket items.

And I decided to blog about it. I’d say their promotion/campaign worked in this case.