5 Things to Know About the Xbox Credit Card

Reward rates are solid, but limited redemption options mean even hardcore gamers would probably do better with another card.
Craig Joseph
By Craig Joseph 
Edited by Kenley Young

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The Xbox Mastercard offers Microsoft loyalists a way to level up their rewards on hardware and software purchases made in the digital Microsoft Store. But even if you break the bank on games and gear, a standard cash-back credit card would probably be better.

Issued by Barclays, the $0-annual-fee Xbox Card comes with a modest sign-up bonus and earns bonus points on qualifying food delivery and streaming services. However, redemptions are limited to Microsoft-specific products and gift cards, making point values inherently restrictive.

Here are five things to know about the Xbox Card.

1. Reward rates are solid …

You’ll need to sign in or create a new Microsoft account to apply for the Xbox Card. Once approved, you can select from one of five Xbox-themed card designs for a physical card that will be mailed to your address on file.

Photo courtesy of Barclays.

Cardholders will earn:

  • 5 points per $1 spent on qualifying games and purchases within the Microsoft Store.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on eligible delivery and streaming services, such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and many others. 

  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases.

  • A complimentary three-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (new Game Pass members only).

  • Two three-month codes to Game Pass to gift to friends or family (new Game Pass members only) after spending $7,000 in spend within the first 12 months.

  • Three free months of Spotify Premium Individual (new Spotify Premium Individual members only). Terms apply.

Qualifying purchases for 5x rewards include personal computers, software and electronics sold in the Microsoft Store, Xbox Design Lab and on the Xbox App. Among the exclusions are in-game transactions for game-proprietary stores (such as the Minecraft Store) and purchases in the Xbox Gear Shop, Bethesda Gear Store and third-party retailers.

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2. … But redemptions are limited

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
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Points are worth 1 cent a piece (i.e., 100 points = $1) and can be redeemed for consoles, Xbox gift cards, games, add-ons and accessories in the digital Microsoft store. That creates a solid return for qualifying spending with Microsoft and on food delivery during your marathon gaming sessions. But since those are your only redemption options, you’ll be trapped in the Microsoft gaming ecosystem.

A rewards card that provides more flexibility would be better for most people. The $0-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, earns 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase; 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases; and 1.5% back on all other purchases, with no restrictions on where you can use your rewards. You can also earn the following sign-up bonus: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

3. There's a modest but easy-to-snag sign-up bonus

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
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Cardholders will receive a bonus of 5,000 points (worth $50) after making their first purchase with the card within the first 180 days of account opening. New Xbox Game Pass members will also receive a complimentary three-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which normally costs $16.99 a month and offers perks like access to a variety of different games, as well as various deals and discounts.

While a small bonus with no minimum spending requirement is better than no bonus, you can do better. The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers the following introductory offer: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months. You’ll also earn an unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases. Since rewards (including the bonus) can be spent anywhere, you’ll have more freedom and not be locked in to spending solely on Microsoft games.

4. You’ll receive an instant card number upon approval

Once approved for the Xbox Mastercard, your card details will instantly be added to your Microsoft profile, allowing you to make purchases before receiving the physical card in the mail. This could allow you to apply on the same day as that next game release and earn 5x rewards for your purchase.

5. Carrying a balance could be costly

Citibank Simplicity Credit Card
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As of October 2023, the Xbox Card comes with a variable APR topping 31%. That’s an astronomical rate that should incentivize you to pay your balance in full each month.

If you do need to carry a balance or finance a big purchase, consider a card that offers an introductory 0% APR period. The Citi Simplicity® Card, for example, features a 0% Intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 19.24%-29.99% Variable APR. That can give you time to whittle down your balance without paying costly interest.

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