Cutting corners: For those who love riding the wave of Microsoft freebies, the Rewards program has been a sweet deal. It's been Microsoft's way of giving out brownie points for what you may already do: searching with Bing, browsing with Edge, or diving into Xbox games. But Microsoft's latest move might have you rethinking your digital habits.
Microsoft's overhaul of its Rewards program has stirred a wave of discontent among its loyal user base, particularly affecting Edge and Xbox users.
Launched to encourage and thank users for their loyalty, the Microsoft Rewards program has been fairly successful. The points accumulate while searching with Bing, using the Edge browser, or playing on Xbox, which can later be redeemed for gift cards from various retailers, Microsoft devices, or Xbox games and subscriptions like Game Pass. There's also an option to donate points to various charities, making every point count towards a good cause.
But most recently Microsoft decided to trim down the Rewards program, and it isn't a light sprucing by any means. The daily 15-point bonus for using Edge is gone for good, and the points you'd rack up for daily activities have been slashed from a decent 5 to 10 points to just one point or two. And for the Xbox loyalists out there, it seems the company is tightening the screws there, too, as there are rumors of the end for the Rewards app on Xbox.
Microsoft used to hand out up to 20 points a day for US users just for searching on Bing via Edge, but that's history now. The company's statement to Windows Latest was vague to say the least, focusing on "consistency and fairness" and how they're tuning the program. They're still big on the idea of rewarding members for using Bing, Edge, Xbox, and the Microsoft Store, but the details could be clearer.
What made Microsoft Rewards a hit was its simplicity. Choosing Bing over Google and Edge over Chrome meant that Microsoft's got your back with points. It was a no-brainer for users who were already in the Microsoft ecosystem, with points flowing in from Xbox, PC Game Pass, and mobile apps. And for those who loved a challenge, there were extra points for completing tasks and quests.
But now, the Daily Search Breakdown isn't the only part of the program feeling the squeeze. Earlier this month, Microsoft dialed back on the Game Pass daily quests, leaving users with fewer ways to score points. The peek given by a user at their Microsoft Rewards dashboard shows just two goals left in the Daily Search Breakdown, though you can still earn points through daily offers, shopping, and gaming on Xbox and Game Pass.
Over social media, the mood is a mix of disappointment and frustration. One Reddit user lamented that the goodwill built by Microsoft Rewards is fading, with the company "taking away the very things that made us choose Microsoft over others." This shift has left many Microsoft fans wondering what's next for the Rewards program, while others are turning away entirely. The company's statement, while optimistic about the program's future, lacks clarity on the specifics.