Is Microsoft Intentionally Reducing Ways To Gain Points, While Increasing The Rewards Costs of Items Like Game Pass?

By Todd Russell Sep27,2023

Just for disclosure, I have been in the Microsoft Rewards program, actively using it every day for a year and a half. During that amount of time I’ve amassed over 300,000 points, of which I’ve spent very little on anything, but plan to start using to pay for our Ultimate Game Pass subscription. The cost of that subscription as of this writing is 12,000 points per month. At that rate, even if I earn no more points, I could buy a couple years worth of Game Pass without spending a penny. Pretty good deal, must say.

Aye, here’s the rub. It appears Microsoft is tweaking the program and removing ways to earn these points as mentioned in this article: Microsoft appears to have stopped its monthly Xbox Rewards punch card:

After recently slashing the number of Microsoft points you could earn from the Monthly Bonus Round punch cards on the Rewards app on Xbox, it appears that Microsoft has now done away with the punch card entirely.

Microsoft is a business, and they naturally want to make a profit (see Saturday 9/23/2023 related article: Microsoft CEO of Gaming Hints Closing Game Pass if Subscriber Numbers Don’t Meet Expectations by 2027). A rewards system that rewards users for activity doing things like playing games and searching websites using their Bing search engine is valuable to them, because it engages people in their products and can be used as enticement for advertisers. That said, if people are able to earn too many points, that could be viewed by them as abuse. Perhaps even exploiting their program. This might explain why they are cutting back on how many points people can earn, so that it disincentifies what they might see as abuse of the system. It’s a slippery slope and looking at frequent users of your rewards programs and making changes which negatively impact these people could cut both ways.

Honestly, I’m not as excited about their program as I used to be. A friend turned me onto the program and I worked it dilligently every day, maxing out the points. I don’t do that as regularly any more. Particularly the mobile searches and daily Xbox challenges I’m skipping more and more. So, yes, Microsoft, if someone from this Rewards program is listening (they’re not, of course lol), you’re turning away people like me from using your reward programs as frequently. It’s working. You’re pushing me away. And with that comes my spreading the word with my friends as enthusiastically. I don’t know if that’s worth cutting out the potential to earn 1,000 Microsoft Points every month for completing various Xbox tasks. Others will need to decide.

UPDATE 11/9/2023 @ 7:45pm PST: Microsoft has changed Xbox achievement daily award from +50 points to +5 points. This changes available points for a 30 day cycle from a possible 1,500 to 150. A pretty significant cut. Source: Microsoft Rewards Xbox Game Pass Quests Get Big Downgrade

UPDATE 11/23/2023 @ 1pm PST: During a routine check of Google News, check out the headlines:

The headline from Pure Xbox refers to Microsoft admitting they are simplifying and condensing the rewards so that gamers will not need a separate Rewards application, the rewards will be under a Xbox Rewards tab. The problem with this change is that it does not specifically mention what will happen to the lucrative rewards points Xbox streak.

This is brought up by Windows Central:

Freebie fans who enjoy collecting Microsoft Reward points via their Xbox dashboard are facing a significant letdown today. It seems that Microsoft could be discontinuing the weekly reward quests on the console and shutting down the Microsoft Rewards app entirely on Xbox.

Windows Central: Microsoft might be killing its Xbox Rewards app, leaving a question mark over the future of our gamer freebies

UPDATE 11/28/2023 @ 4:46pm PST: via PGM member Raskull, Microsoft has removed the 20 daily points for using the Edge browser. That’s another 600 points every 30 days rewards hunters now can’t claim. Couple that with the loss of the 1,350 lost to Xbox achievements being reduced from +50 to +5 per day and we’re now up to roughly 2,000 less points per month available than were previously.

UPDATE 12/4/2023 @ 6:45pm PST: First, this is only being reported in India, Brazil and Mexico, but Microsoft is, according to users in these countries, providing a cooling off timer between searches to credit points via Microsoft Rewards Begins Adding 15-Minute ‘Cooldown Time’ In Some Countries | Pure Xbox

Will this come to the United States? Let’s sure hope the answer is NO … but the way the changes are coming to a once very good Microsoft Rewards program, it very well could be … or other worse changes to further degrade the program.

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