Pre-ordering Xbox games using rewards points - or how Microsoft sneakily misleads and overcharges you

Just a heads up for anyone with rewards points - do not use them to pre-order games more than three months from release.

I pre-ordered Dragon’s Dogma 2 in November using some existing store credit and £40 of rewards points I redeemed that day for the purchase, leaving a remaining £1.11 to be paid by credit card. I received an email invoice confirming my credit card would be charged £1.11.

I check my credit card statement today and notice I’ve been charged £41.11 - in other words, the order has wiped the £40.00 of rewards points I used. I then dimly recall something about gift cards expiring three months after they’re converted from rewards points.

Turns out, placing the pre-order isn’t redeeming the gift cards/rewards points. Microsoft regards that as happening when you’re billed. So if you pre-order using rewards points three months before the game comes out, you receive an email receipt with a false billing total, and then you’ll pay full price on release. And lose the points.

Microsoft knows when the game comes out. And knows when the redeemed points expire. It just conveniently neglects to mention it anywhere in the receipt. Literally tells me I’ll be charged a pound, then charges me 40 times that. Fuck 'em.

1 Like

Well that’s understandably irritating. Have you raised a case with MS support? They’re usually pretty good at resolving things amicably.

1 Like

I’ve submitted a refund request, yeah. Not overly hopeful really. It seems to be by design, from the same corporate handbook as auto-renewal: give the impression of a great deal today, in order to squeeze more out of them months later without them realizing.

This is by design - If game is not paid in full by Store Credit, store will not charge your payment option until it is near release. And Store credit from rewards does expire over time. So when those 2 things collide, mishaps happen - store doesn’t find enough credit in wallet and charges what’s missing to selected payment option.

Did you get an email about store credit expiring? I got them even for measly amount of $0.01.

Almost happened to me as your points once redeemed are valid for 90 days. I had preordered BF2042 and game got delayed but I got lucky as it was released like 2 days before my points expired.

Better to pre order closer to release when using points just to be sure but it’s by design; when you use your points they say you have only 90 days to use them before they expire.

I generally pre order with points the day before the game launches, that way everything is ready to go the next day. Thanks for the warning!


Would hope they’ll improve the pre-order system when it comes to Rewards, as too often recently we’ve had a game suddenly announce a month or two’s delay literally a day before release…

Got to admit I’ve generally given up on pre-orders now I’m all-digital - used to lock them in ages in advance when buying physical but now I wait for the reviews etc.

I didn’t spot any such email - if I did, I guess I would have had to cancel the DD2 preorder and buy something else? Horrible system but it’s easy to see how it works to their advantage - now I’d be buying two games instead of one.

Yeah, I was aware redeemed gift cards expired at some point, which is why I used them the very same day I redeemed them. I didn’t realize pre-ordering the game wouldn’t count as using the gift card. Pretty shitty. And, I suspect, intentional.

1 Like

Yeah, that is very bad.

I don’t pre-order things, there’s rarely any point, but I would have assumed the same things you did.


Once again, this only happens when you mix payment options. I’ve preordered some games with only gift cards and they were spent immediately.


This: I researched this while planning on using credit for my XSX. You have to pay 100% with gift cards for it to be charged ahead of time. If you pay partial GC and CC then the whole transaction waits on your credit card.


Good to know - I guess you could buy some additional credit to make the sale go through immediately?

Bad of Microsoft to not flag this up at the time of purchase however.

Yeah this is bad, however I also don’t see any point in pre-ordering these days.

I often see cheaper deals on or near the day of release and if the early reviews indicate the game sucks then there’s not always time to cancel the pre-order.

I have been stung in the past with pre-ordering games from well established franchises, only to be extremely disappointed and the game to plummet in price within weeks of release.

1 Like

While this sucks, It’s very silly to act like this weird edge case is anything malicious from MS.


Agree, I preordered Cyberpunk. By the time it was patched enough for me to actually want to play it, the price had dropped significantly.

I don’t put my money down on games before I know if they’re in need of a year of updates or patches now!

1 Like

I agree that it’s highly unlikely there is any nefarious intent from this and it’s more than likely a logistics thing of how they’d handle edge cases like a gift card fully redeemed against a pre-order that the purchaser then could not afford to pay the balance later when final purchase occurred.

But I do remember reading a thread on this some time back (not here I don’t think).

So for whatever reason the system is the way it is they should probably look at how they are communicating this info. to buyers it effects at point of pre-order.

Microsoft denied my refund request. Not just for the game itself (which would be understandable) but for the extra £40 I was charged.

It’s crazy to me that their policy here is to nickel and dime customers out of such (to them) trivial amounts of money and risk losing those customers’ business in future. I was already mostly done with the Xbox store after the whole multiplatform thing, but now I’m completely done with putting any more money into the ecosystem, for good.

I mean, if it’s some kind of system glitch that they’ve overlooked and they don’t intend for this to happen, why are they refusing to refund me the additional amount I was charged? I’m not sure ‘malicious’ is the word, but it’s certainly intentional and miserly of them.

Their phone support is extraordinarily (and, again, intentionally) unhelpful too. The automated assistant asks your query - ‘Xbox game refund request’ - and then directs you to the relevant part of Microsoft’s website and hangs up. Pretty standard these days, right? But this is the extraordinary part - when you phone back to try again, it recognizes your number and immediately repeats the same instructions for how to request an Xbox refund, and hangs up. You get no opportunity to start from scratch.

I think I might just make a chargeback request through my credit card company and let Microsoft nuke my whole account. There’s no repercussion beyond this, right? Doesn’t affect my credit rating or whatever? I’m fucking done with them.

I’m surprised that was the outcome.

I wonder if one of the more connected people here can get your case another hearing?

I got it escalated to a superior team member (apparently) for a review, and they refused it too. Seems they have an arbitrary cutoff time for requesting any kind of refund and I’m past it, even though I’m not requesting a refund for the game, just the gift card screwup. Both email responses I’ve received have been curt, poorly formatted stock template emails to the effect of: “We don’t issue refunds after a certain period has passed.”

It’s also impossible to speak to a human being about it. I’ve tried two different phone numbers and numerous vitrual chat/callback options on the Xbox support site, and it’s an endless loop directing to the refund form on the site or a virtual chat.

I remember years ago phoning Xbox support when my 360 controller was malfunctioning. Went straight through to a human call centre worker who was like, “No worries, we’ll send you a new one. Keep the old one.” Markedly different company culture these days. I expect those jobs no longer exist.