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Microsoft guts its Rewards Program further by raising redemption points for Xbox and other third-party gift cards

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Microsoft guts its Rewards Program further by raising redemption points for Xbox and other third-party gift cards

                                                       (Image credit: Daniel Rubino – Windows Central            

Several users have reported that Microsoft has increased the number of reward points required to redeem for Xbox and Amazon gift cards within the Microsoft Rewards program.

What you need to know

  • On 3/9/2024, Microsoft responded to the increasing redemption prices for gift cards in its Reward program by stating that they frequently adjust the methods for redeeming points. They also mentioned that they are looking into additional ways to enhance and expand the platform.
  • In order to obtain Xbox and Amazon gift cards, you will require a greater number of Microsoft Reward points.
  • In recent months, Microsoft has made substantial changes to its Rewards program, which includes reducing the number of points given for certain activities, implementing a cooldown period to limit the number of points users can earn per hour, and other modifications.
  • In January, some users believed that Microsoft Rewards had returned to its usual functioning, earning up to 30 points per reward. However, this perception was incorrect.

Recent updates

In the past few days, many users have been discussing on social media about the significant changes made by Microsoft to its Rewards program, particularly regarding the redemption prices for Microsoft and third-party gift cards. Microsoft told Windows Latest that they regularly adjust the ways in which points can be redeemed, which is why there have been changes to the redemption prices for gift cards. A spokesperson for Microsoft explained that the Rewards program has evolved over the years to keep up with their growth and expansion. They carefully evaluate each change to how members can earn and redeem points, whether it be through searching with Bing, browsing with Edge, playing Xbox, or making purchases in the Microsoft store. Microsoft values the enthusiasm and loyalty of their Rewards members and aims to continue providing value while listening to feedback to ensure satisfaction. The company stated that the changes are aimed at promoting growth and expansion for the program.

Many users are unhappy with the recent changes made to the Microsoft Rewards program. First, users were disappointed when they could no longer earn points for using Microsoft Edge daily. This frustration only increased when the Xbox Rewards app was discontinued shortly after.

Initially, many users believed that Microsoft was ending the program. Nevertheless, this was not true. The company clarified that they were actually transforming the program by making major changes to the rewards point system. They reduced the points for certain activities from 10 to 2.

Microsoft has implemented a new rule in their program where users can only earn points for a maximum of 3 searches every 15 minutes, known as a “cooldown” period. Feedback from various social media platforms indicates that users are not happy with this change. Many have expressed that they may stop using Microsoft Edge or Bing altogether, as they were primarily motivated to use these platforms because of the rewards program.

Although a report in January suggested that the Microsoft Rewards program had returned to its previous state, where users could earn up to 30 points per reward, this is not true based on complaints from numerous users on social media.

I am in the same situation. I already had 25€, but today I have to work hard to earn it back. I had considered buying games last night and I should have. The US has a +5% increase, while the EU has a +12% increase. The MSR team is being unfair once again. It is frustrating that 1€ is equal to 1.10$. However, they treat 1€ as equal to 1$ in their store, which is unfair, as expressed by a frustrated user on Reddit.

According to information from Reddit, Microsoft has apparently raised the number of points needed to redeem gift cards by up to 33%, as reported by MSPowerUser. Users in the US have noticed that now a $50 Microsoft gift card requires 47,500 points, which is an increase from the previous requirement of 46,000 points.

The same goes for third-party gift cards from stores like Amazon. You will need between 7,600 and 8,125 points to redeem a £5 Amazon gift card. It is important to mention that Amazon no longer allows users to use their gift card balances to purchase additional gift cards. Therefore, you cannot use Microsoft Rewards to get an Amazon gift card and then use it to buy other gift cards on Amazon.

The significant alterations to the Microsoft Rewards Program are negatively impacting Bing and Edge.

The drastic changes to the Microsoft Rewards Program are hurting Bing and Edge more

Many users have admitted to using Microsoft Edge and Bing primarily for the Microsoft Reward points they receive. It is known that the market share of Microsoft Edge and Bing is not doing well, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella acknowledging that Google does not compete fairly.

In StatCounter’s report for February, Microsoft Edge has a market share of 5.07% globally. Users have expressed a preference for alternative browsers to Edge, citing its heavy design as a drawback. Additionally, some users have mentioned that they use different search engines instead of Bing due to quality issues.

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