MS Rewards: Money for nothing and your clicks are free – Opinion piece

MS Rewards: Money for nothing and your clicks are free

When Microsoft retired the criminally underappreciated Xbox rewards scheme in June of 2018, I was genuinely sad to see it go. Seeing those rewards credits turn into cash was a great way to offset purchases, and a decent incentive to buy direct from Microsoft.

However, most Xbox gamers seemed oblivious to its existence, and that’s a crying shame. The good news though, is the replacement, imaginatively titled Microsoft Rewards, is available now on your Xbox, your laptop, your tablet and your phone. So it’s kinda new, but is it improved?

So what is it exactly? Microsoft Rewards is a free, opt-in scheme which rewards anyone with a Microsoft account (tip – if you have an Xbox log in, or an Outlook email address, you have an account) in a variety of ways.

Using Bing to search daily – it isn’t as painful as you’d think – is my go to daily earner. A maximum of 30 searches a day via desktop yields 3 points a search, or 90 points (Bing’s handy news section usually has about 20 links to get you started), and a further 20 searches on Bing mobile will get you another 60 points. See how easy that was? We’re already at 150 points a day for minimum effort.

But there’s more! Bing will usually present you with a number of recommended clicks (Ever wanted to visit Tokyo? and suchlike). Clicking these is another 10 points a go. Factor in daily quizzes for 30 points a time (which encourage you to search, but can be easily beaten with a bit of trial and error) and you’re up to about 220-250 points a day before you’ve turned on your Xbox!

Downloading the app for your console will provide you with a few more earning opportunities; follow a link to see the Elite Controller for example. All of the above can be done without spending a penny (well, apart from the obvious investment in Xbox, phone and laptop, but I’m guessing most of you have done that already).

For those of you who like to shop digitally, the app provides plenty of incentives. At time of writing, buying an Xbox One X will get you 50,000 points, or a more modest investment in Ant-Man 2,000 (what do you mean you don’t like Paul Rudd? He’s delightful). And there are promotions to be had – buying featured games from the Summer Spotlight will get you a boosted return of 100 points per £1 spent, making that purchase of We Happy Few even more enticing.

So, we’ve established various ways of getting points, but points mean prizes, right? Apart from repetitive strain from all the clicking, what does this scheme get me?

Right now, a £5 gift card in 5,850 points – easily achievable with clicks alone in a few weeks. 29.250 will get you £25. A year’s Gold? 29,000 – and this occasionally drops as low as 24,000. 3 months Game Pass will cost you 17,000 points – again, discounts are available at times. And if you’re the gambling type? Sweepstakes entries galore! 200 points will get you one Sweepstakes entry, 500 gets you 5, 1000 gets you 25 with a variety of prizes available – an £850 Xbox Gift Card, a Surface Pro or an accessories bundle, for example.

Now it’s not all good news – right now there are no rewards for pure gaming. Whereas the old scheme coughed up when you hit achievement milestones, there’s no sign as yet of a similar feature in the revamped rewards programme. That said, if there’s one thing MS have excelled at in the last few years, it’s listening to their customer base, so there’s till every possibility that we’ll see gaming rewards included in future.

For now though, even with the omission of achievement based incentives, it’s a no-brainer. I’ve got past my gambling phase and am now hoarding points, with a year of live well within my sights. If you have an Xbox, and do some web searches every day, it’s a no-brainer. A few minutes each day sees the points rack up (you’ll be surprised how fast it happens), and it while it won’t cost you a penny, it sure will save you a few. Lookout for the bonus points for your initial registration, take a couple of tours and make sure your first Bing search each day is for Absolute Xbox!

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