I have been a Tracfone user for a very long time. I have all the old flip phones to prove it.
The biggest thing I like about Tracfone is that you get to keep what you bought, minutes, data, text, it all rolls over to the next month, as long as you refill before your expiration date. Out of data? The phone still works.
The date catch is that you have to keep up the expiration time. When you first start out, when you buy a refill (data, text and talk are bundled) you have to buy more within 90 days. If you don't, you lose everything if you go past the expiration date. But if you buy smaller refills before the 90 days, it appends to the current refill date. Right now I'm good until the year 2020 before anything expires. If I run out of everything I can just purchase a refill and the phone starts working again. (You can get refills online at Verizon or at most big box stores. You can get automatic refills too, they have several plans.)
I found that data is cheaper on the Verizon Jet Pack hotspot than on Tracfone, but it also expires; use it or lose it. For the times we're on the road we use the data from the hotspot. Otherwise, we just refill the data on the Tracfone.
With the phones you buy from Tracfone the phone determines the carrier. My last 2 phones have been LG models and they are with Verizon. I'm not sure how the bring your own plan works. The Tracfone phones are an operating system behind by 1 and the processor is slower, but for $80 for a smart phone, I'm a happy user.