Your Office 365 about to end? Here’s how to save and get an extra month – free!

If you want to pay more for Office 365, just renew automatically when your subscription ends.  There’s a cheaper way and you’ll get 13 months for less than Microsoft will charge you for 12.

Here’s how:

You can renew or extend your Office 365 Home or Personal account at any time.  Don’t leave it to the last minute, because that reduces your chance of getting a discounted renewal.

Cancel auto-renewal

Cancel Office 365 auto-renewal option to ensure that Microsoft doesn’t grab your money before you have a chance to manually renew at a cheaper price.

Auto-renewal should be offered to you again after you renew manually with the lure of an extra month of Office 365.

Login to your Office 365 account and go to Services and subscriptions.

Look for the ‘Turn off auto-renew’ link.  If it’s there, click to stop auto-renewal.

Get the best price

Now that’s done, start looking for the best price you can on Office 365 Home or Personal.  In other words, the same type of subscription as you currently have.

What you’re buying is an Office 365 Home or Personal ‘Product Code’ or ‘Product Key’..  It’s a unique one-use 25 character code which you enter into your Office 365 account to give you another year of use.

You can buy that code in various ways.  As a physical product – actually a small card with the product code included inside.  Or online, delivered via email, a web page or automatically added to your Microsoft account.  There’s no difference except the price you pay.

The Office 365 product cards you see in stores contain one of those product codes.  They work for both a new and renewal of Office 365.

Example Office 365 Product Key cards.  The packaging changes a little depending on region and over time.

Of course, Microsoft would prefer you renewed directly with them because it’s more money for them.  Redmond tries to imply that renewals can only be done online.  But the Office 365 Terms make it clear that renewal can be done by purchasing an Office 365 code from a retailer.  Some retail Office 365 cards say they work for new or renewal, others don’t but all can be used for renewal, regardless of the wording on the pack.

Official Prices

Check the Microsoft Office pages in your country for the official price.  That tells you the maximum amount to pay.  We’ve seen some tricky attempts to overcharge for Office 365 – beware.

Here’s just a few Office 365 prices as at 22 Nov 2016:

Office 365 annual feeCurrencyHomePersonal
USAUSD $$99.99$69.99
CanadaCAD $$99$69
UKGBP ££79.99*£59.99
EuropeEuro €€99€69
AustraliaAussie $$119$89
New ZealandEnnzed $$165$119

Prices include VAT/GST where applicable but NOT US state or local taxes.

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Plan ahead

It’s silly, but the best prices for Office 365 product key often come by the slowest and most expensive delivery route.

The online delivery methods are often more expensive even though there’s no physical delivery or handling required. Buying an Office 365 card and having it shipped to you is often cheaper.

Buying an immediate download of Office 365 (meaning that the product Key is emailed to you or displayed on a web page) costs the retailer almost nothing for delivery but they often charge full price.

Getting the same value Office 365 product key physically delivered to you on a card (like you’d buy in a store) often costs much less (US$15 or more discount) even though the costs of delivering a physical product are higher.

For example  with Office 365 Home, 1 year.

Amazon US

  • Download  $99
  • Product Card from Amazon: $84.87 with free shipping
  • Other retailers via Amazon: $82.98
    (also on Amazon is a $55 offer for 2 x 6-month cards which is suspiciously low price and there’s some bad feedback. We’re inclined to avoid this ‘too good to be true’ deal).

Amazon UK at the moment, the download and Product Card options are the same price £49.98 which is an unusually low price for either option.

 

It’s best to plan ahead by a few weeks before your Office 365 plan expires.  Allow time to shop around for the best deal and delivery, if necessary, of a physical card.

Renewing with an Office 365 Product Key/Code

If you buy your Office 365 Home or Personal code as a physical card in a store or delivered to you, here’s how to add it to your Office 365 account.

Login to your Office 365 account and go to My Account | Manage Account then click on the Billing | Switch plan link

Then click on the ‘here’s where to use it’ link to add a Product Key.

Just follow the simple wizard to confirm the Office 365 account then enter the Product Key.

Once that’s done, double-check the new renewal date is correct (ie one year more).

Enable Auto-Renewal

After you’ve extended your Office 365 subscription (with auto-renewal turned OFF) you should get an on-screen offer to get an extra month of Office 365 if you turn auto-renewal ON.

If you get that offer, click on it to enable auto-renewal and check that your expiry date has been extended.

You get the extra month just for turning the auto-renew option on.  You don’t have to let Microsoft automatically renew when the time comes – just manually extend your subscription before the due date.

Microsoft might stop this ‘auto-renew for an extra month’ offer but it’s been around for a least the last year and in many countries around the world.

 

There you have it.  Office 365 Home or Personal for less than the official renewal price and get 13 months instead of 12.