Microsoft Rewards features a 'cooldown' period — users will only get points for 3 searches every 15 minutes (UPDATED)

Microsoft Rewards in Microsoft Edge
(Image credit: Huschka)

What you need to know

  • UPDATE: Microsoft Rewards now features a cooldown period, which will see users get points for only 3 searches per 15 minutes.
  • Microsoft Rewards recently halted daily point earnings for using Microsoft Edge, barely a week after killing the Xbox Rewards app.
  • A new report indicates that Microsoft has made major adjustments to how it awards points, dropping points for "other activities" from 10 to 2.
  • Microsoft issued a statement indicating that the program is evolving, but there are no plans to discontinue the program indefinitely.
  • Users have also indicated they cannot claim their points via the Xbox Awards app.

UPDATE DEC. 4, 2023: As it turns out, Microsoft's Reward program now features a Cooldown period. According to a spot by Idle Sloth on X (formerly Twitter), users will only accrue points for only 3 searches per 15 minutes.

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The move has been received with a lot of resentment if the comment section on the post is anything to go by. Some users have stated they are entirely done with the Microsoft Rewards program, while others have outrightly indicated that they'll no longer use Microsoft Edge.

The original article continues below.


More trouble is seemingly brewing for avid Microsoft Rewards users after halting point earnings in Microsoft Edge. As one of our readers pointed out earlier today, Microsoft has significantly adjusted how it awards points to users enrolled in the program. Huschka told Windows Central that points earned from "other activities" have dropped from 10 to 2, while the weekly puzzle only garners a single point.  

John McIlhinney also shared the same sentiments via Windows Central's forums, citing:

"I've also noticed that, outside of the daily set, tasks that were previously worth 5 or 10 points are now worth 1 or 2, so fewer points there too. Note that I am receiving additional points by logging into the Microsoft Start app on my phone and viewing news items. I suspect that the Bing app does the same. They also recently had a special event where you got 5 points per day and then 100 points every 8th day and then 1000 points if you did that 12 times in a row. That seems to have finished, and I didn't even notice, so I assume that I got my 1000 points. Last time I recall noticing, I was about 2/3 of the way there."

Microsoft has since issued a statement addressing the issue, according to a spot by Windows Latest, as highlighted below:

"Over the last few years, the Microsoft Rewards program has regularly evolved to reflect our growth and expansion. We evaluate every change for consistency and fairness, tuning the methods and frequency through which our members can earn points.

Whether searching with Bing, browsing with Edge, playing on Xbox, or making purchases in the Microsoft store, we know our members take delight in the added incentive the Microsoft Rewards program offers. We aim to grow in ways that continue to provide value to our members, and we eagerly monitor feedback to ensure satisfaction. We appreciate the enthusiasm and loyalty of our Microsoft Rewards members and remain excited for the program's future."

While the statement doesn't say much other than pointing out that the program is evolving, concerned users can rest assured that the program will continue to run for the foreseeable future. 

Elsewhere, Microsoft's recent move to pull the plug on its Xbox Rewards app seems to be in full swing. Huschka also pointed out that he has been unable to claim his points from the Xbox Reward app. Instead, he gets the "Try again in a bit. Something went wrong" error.

Are you able to claim your points via the Xbox Awards app? Let me know in the comments.

Kevin Okemwa
Contributor

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

  • Dush Ku
    Its insane how much they reduced.
    They probably dont want people earning enough for gamepass free every month anymore
    Reply
  • HeyCori
    I noticed the point change this morning and was like, "WTF is this!" 😝
    Reply
  • Luuthian
    The rewards program continues to sink… in 2018 I was earning enough rewards through an an Edge script and xbox dailies and things to get in the low hundreds of dollars of points or multiple months of Gamepass per year. Then they increased the cost of the items and lowered the points you could get. Then they lowered the points again... and then they changed how you earned them so you needed to sink tons of time in games you might not want to. I had to do every single daily Edge activity and every Xbox activity (playing all kinds of games i didn't want to) in order to get one month of standard Gamepass every three months or so, or $25 in points.

    At some point it became a second job to earn points at a rate where you could actually use them for anything of value... Except even a second job at McDonalds would pay more for the effort. It's still something for those folks who have ingrained xbox and Edge in to their life and don't mind going to the xbox app to collect the points but at this rate I don't see the point. Even the casual earners will take months or years now to earn anything useful. At that point just kill the program
    Reply
  • John McIlhinney
    Luuthian said:
    The rewards program continues to sink… in 2018 I was earning enough rewards through an an Edge script and xbox dailies and things to get in the low hundreds of dollars of points or multiple months of Gamepass per year. Then they increased the cost of the items and lowered the points you could get. Then they lowered the points again... and then they changed how you earned them so you needed to sink tons of time in games you might not want to. I had to do every single daily Edge activity and every Xbox activity (playing all kinds of games i didn't want to) in order to get one month of standard Gamepass every three months or so, or $25 in points.

    At some point it became a second job to earn points at a rate where you could actually use them for anything of value... Except even a second job at McDonalds would pay more for the effort. It's still something for those folks who have ingrained xbox and Edge in to their life and don't mind going to the xbox app to collect the points but at this rate I don't see the point. Even the casual earners will take months or years now to earn anything useful. At that point just kill the program
    The point of the program is to engage with Microsoft products and services, not to get free stuff for doing nothing. You're complaining about how hard-done-by you are when, in actual fact, it's you and your ilk who have ruined it for everybody. If people like you weren't gaming the system, they would have felt the need to force a cooldown period on everyone. Thanks.
    Reply
  • John McIlhinney
    It amazes me how entitled some people feel. Refusing to use Edge to punish Microsoft for giving you a little less free stuff when everyone else gives you none at all is childish in the extreme. The whole point of providing points for searching is for people to use Bing search. If you're just going click, click, click to get your points and then leaving then you're of no benefit to Microsoft so why would they give you free stuff? Three searches every 15 minutes seems a bit extreme but the logic is obviously that if you're making too many searches in too short a time then you're just collecting points and not really searching.
    Reply
  • naddy69
    "It amazes me how entitled some people feel. Refusing to use Edge to punish Microsoft for giving you a little less free stuff when everyone else gives you none at all is childish in the extreme. "

    I was thinking the same thing but did not want to be the first to say it.

    Not to mention that people inside MS might just be fairly embarrassed at having to resort to paying people to use MS products? This whole points/rewards thing just reeks of desperation.

    I would guess that it is "evolving" into going away.
    Reply
  • theduckofdeath
    Since last week:

    1. Start a search in Edge (e.g., "cast of modern family").
    2. Wait 5-6 seconds.
    3. Click the next tile.
    4. Repeat wait & click approach.

    Waiting between clicks works fine. Yes, it is a speed bump. However, every day over the last few years that I've done these phony searches for points, I could feel the lockdown looming. NTM, my G.P.U. account is pretty much infinite due to rewards points.

    The more trivial click & forget searches had there point offerings dropped from 5 and 10 points to 1 and 2. You could almost forego them now and get the points elsewhere.

    There are still plenty of points to accrue.
    Reply
  • theduckofdeath
    naddy69 said:
    "It amazes me how entitled some people feel. Refusing to use Edge to punish Microsoft for giving you a little less free stuff when everyone else gives you none at all is childish in the extreme. "

    I was thinking the same thing but did not want to be the first to say it.

    Not to mention that people inside MS might just be fairly embarrassed at having to resort to paying people to use MS products? This whole points/rewards thing just reeks of desperation.

    I would guess that it is "evolving" into going away.
    I agree with the first sentiment. The second one, not so much. Plenty of companies have rewards points and incentives for both employees and customers. I worked at a SaaS company whose business was a platform for exactly this. Microsoft wants more people using Edge (and Bing). The rewards incentive worked on me. Edge is Chromium-based now, and I use it far more (personally) than Chrome these days.
    Reply
  • naddy69
    The original Edge was junk. No amount of points/rewards would get people to use it.

    But the point is, that you have to pay people to use anything is not a great long-term strategy. It can/will help in the short term, but eventually the program will go away when either (1) lots of people are now using (whatever) and paying people is no longer needed (and possibly costing way more than it is worth) OR (2) still few people are using (whatever) but are using it only for the free goodies.

    It seems to me like we are approaching scenario 2 here, at least regarding Bing. Which is nothing to brag about/continue supporting.

    OTOH, Edge has decent share now and is still growing (scenario 1). MS probably no longer needs to pay people to use it.

    The time will come for MS (maybe HAS come) when they realize that paying people to use your product(s) means you need better product(s). Or you are trying to get into markets that already have well-established players.

    What's next? Will MS pay people to use a new MS phone? Should Apple get into the enterprise DB server market by paying companies to use Apple server hardware running Linux/Oracle?

    Personally, if I have to pay people to use my product, I will take that as meaning I have a crappy to mediocre product and/or the competition is WAY better because everyone uses it without getting paid.
    Reply
  • Kaymd
    As usual, some people will abuse anything, given the smallest opportunity.

    The rewards program as others have pointed out, was supposed to be a small perk, a side bonus for using some MS products for activities you'd normally be doing anyway. Regular web searches, online shopping etc. An added incentive to encourage users to use MS products instead of the competition. Something like credit card rewards for example.

    Unfortunately, many turned it into a ridiculous mining operation of sorts. I was amazed to hear people running scripts to 'maximize' the rewards points. Like seriously???

    Anyways, this of course is the natural end result. I'm actually surprised it took this long for MS to react. This stuff has been abused by many users for years.
    Reply