Traps with Microsoft's Military Discount

If you’re not careful, Military and Veterans can pay more than they need to Office 365.

For many years, Microsoft has offered a ‘Military Appreciation‘ discount to qualifying members of the US and Canadian armed forces.  It doesn’t get a lot of attention but has done its best to keep our readers informed.

These days, the offer is for Office 365 Home annual ‘subscription’ (that’s the 5 licence pack) which can be bought through the ‘PX’ for US$69.99 a saving of about $10-15 on the regular street price (more if you compare with Microsoft’s higher official price).

But that saving is just for the first year, as reader Roger C. has discovered.

“I got the veterans discount of 10% and then when I was looking at my Office 365 payment for this month there was no discount. I thought the discount was good for each month not just a one time thing?”

There’s a few issues here.

One Year Only

Firstly, the offer is for a single year’s Office 365 only.  After that you’ll be automatically renewed (more on that in a moment) at the full price.

To continue on the Military Appreciation discount you have to buy another license through the PX.  That will give you another Office 365 Product Key that you can apply to your account for get another years usage.

This applies to everyone, military and civilians.  You don’t have to automatically renew with Microsoft.  Instead buy an Office 365 licence at the best price you can and use the Product Key provided to extend your Office 365 use.

Office 2016: the real startup guide has a chapter devoted to cheaper options for buying Office 365 including cheap renewals.

Monthly Renewals

Microsoft offers automatic renewals for Office 365 but it’s the worst option for customers.

The company pushes the auto-renewal option hard and for good reason; it’s an extra money maker for Microsoft.

Auto renewal will be at the highest price possible.  Most likely that will be the monthly rate which is higher than the official annual price (and anyone can get it even cheaper than the official price).


Microsoft does the same thing as many other companies with regular payments (magazine or online subscriptions, insurance etc.).  Companies take advantage of customers by renewing at the highest price they think they can get away with.  It’s always worth checking for a better deal and that’s certainly possible with Office 365, no matter how Microsoft makes it seem otherwise.

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