Attempting to Earn 20,000 AAdvantage Miles by Switching to Sprint

I will need more AAdvantage miles for the trip to Hawaii and Australia that I’m planning, and there isn’t another AAdvantage card that I want to get right now. So I was happy when I learned that Sprint will give you 20,000 AAdvantage miles for signing up for a cell phone plan with them. I had been thinking of switching from Spring sister company Ting anyway.

Unfortunately, Sprint’s horrible customer service seems to be preventing me from getting this deal.

First, I pre-registered for the promotion, which was easy. Then, I called Sprint to make sure I’d qualify to get the miles if I switched, since I’d be switching from a sister company. The fine print of the deal says you can’t get the miles if you switch from Virgin or Boost, which are part of Sprint or use the Sprint network, but it did’t mention Ting.

Well, the people who answer the phone for Sprint have a tenuous grasp on English, and spent a long time reading to me from their scripts. I talked to three agents over the course of an hour, and answered the same questions over and over. In the end, none of the agents understood what promotion I was asking about or even that I was asking a question. They did set up a Sprint account for me, and said that if I decided to switch my phone to Sprint I was approved. Um, thanks.

So today on my walk I stopped by the Sprint store in the neighborhood, with the promotion code (NAMRS_ZZZ) and my phone, to see if they could make it happen. Again, pretty bad service. The people working there speak English, but they didn’t answer my question, just asked for my phone and started working on switching it. They ran into trouble on their computer and had to call in to an internal customer service line — again manned by someone who wasn’t quite up to speed on what was going on. I stood there for an hour — without the benefit of fiddling with my phone to pass the time — listening to the blind leading the blind. They guy on the phone kept saying that he tried to put my phone’s serial number into the Sprint database, but it was unsuccessful.

Finally, the staff member behind the counter said that they’d heard that some unlocked iPhone 7s just couldn’t be activated with Sprint. They encouraged me to trade my 7s in for a half-price iPhone 8, which of course isn’t even available yet today.

That makes no sense to me — the phone is unlocked, the idea is that it should be able to have any carrier’s service. But who was I going to call, if both the phone support people and the people in the shop were clueless?

My last hope is to try to stop by a store owned by Sprint, since the store I visited was not Sprint-owned. But I have to say, if Sprint goes out of business, I will know why. They don’t train the people who work for them to sign people up for Sprint. What could be more important than getting customers signed up?