Xbox Live members in the U.S. and U.K. can now sign up for the free Xbox Live Rewards program and earn Microsoft points for doing things as mundane as renewing memberships and buying Marketplace content.
Rewards programs are all the rage these days, with everyone from GameStop to American Express getting in on the action. You may recall hearing late last year that Microsoft was quietly testing some kind of points program for Xbox Live members and now it's finally ready to open the doors to everyone.
The Xbox Live Rewards program is free to join and offers opportunities to score Microsoft points to both Free and Gold members. The awesome thing is that you don't really have to do anything to earn points; renewing Gold subscriptions, buying or renewing a Family Pack, buying stuff from the Marketplace, activating Netflix over Xbox Live, taking monthly surveys and more will all earn you varying amounts of points, while "cool prizes" are available for participating in "exclusive promotions."
I'm not normally a big fan of loyalty programs but it's hard to see a downside to this one. It's free to join, most of the points are doled out for stuff you'd be doing anyway and the usual purchase-tracking paranoia isn't relevant because it's not as though Microsoft doesn't already have an open book on everything you buy and do on Xbox Live. Maybe I'm missing something but from where I sit, this a winner all the way around.
No word on when the program will be rolled out to the rest of the world but if you happen to live in one of the lucky "United" countries and want to check it out, hit up rewards.xbox.com to learn more.