As we told you about some time ago, Microsoft invited a number of Xbox Live users to participate in the testing of an Xbox Live Rewards program. During its pilot phase the program rewarded users with Microsoft Points for purchases and gave participants the ability to earn points in other ways. Once the pilot program ended, Microsoft was not quite clear whether or not they were going to roll it out.
Apparently, they decided after crunching the numbers that it did make sense, and they have now rolled it out to all Xbox Live members in the U.S. and U.K. to start with. It is unclear right now if or when they will expand the program to other countries.
Once users join the Xbox Live Rewards program (which is free, by the way) they will have the chance to earn Microsoft Points that they can spend as they wish. The rewards range from as little as 10 Microsoft Points for renewing 1 month of Xbox Live Gold to as much as 400 Microsoft Points for purchasing or renewing an Xbox Live Gold Family Pack.
While the majority of the Microsoft Points rewards in the program vary from item to item, it appears that the majority of them are 100 Microsoft Points or less. In addition to the ability to earn points, Rewards members will be able to participate in exclusive promotions, although we have no idea what those might be at this time.
The way that we look at this is that free is free, and anytime you can earn some extra Microsoft points, we suspect that Xbox users will be all for it. As little as it is in most cases, it still is something that at least provides some return for the money that you are spending.