Launched in early 2009, Sprint's Premier loyalty program has been one of the more generous (and easy to understand) perks programs in the American wireless industry: just keep a certain minimum spend per month or stick around for ten years, and boom, you're eligible. Most importantly, Premier customers are currently able to get new contract pricing after just a single year into their existing contracts, which makes gadget freaks on the network far, far less likely to go bankrupt. Well, mirroring some of the other early upgrade changes we're seeing in the business lately, it looks like these guys are planning on dialing things back come April 1st (and no, the irony is not lost). Though some Premier customers will still get upgrades after a year, that privilege will be dialed back to members of the new Gold tier which will require ten years of service with Sprint. Yes, that's right: you'll have needed to have a line on these guys since before the Matrix Phone came out to get the biggest benefit of the program. If you don't qualify, you still could get in on the Silver tier, which gives you miscellaneous perks like accessory discounts... but not the full upgrade discount after a year. Instead, you'll need to wait 22 months, which -- at the current rate -- is about 47 major versions of Android.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Update: As before, you'll be able to skirt the 10-year requirement with a minimum spend and at least six months of service; that minimum will be $89.99 a month for individual lines at $169.99 a month for family plans. Whew!

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Sprint Premier getting new premium tier on April 1st, many customers won't get early upgrades?