Microsoft can offer a 15 month ‘Special Edition’ for Microsoft 365 Family or Personal. Are they a good deal or just a gimmick to get attention? We’ll explain how you can work out if it’s a good deal or not.
These 15-month editions are occasionally sold by some retailers, not all. Not even Microsoft itself is offering Microsoft 365 15-month package. Try Costco (members only) or NewEgg (has extra conditions). These bundles seem to be mostly in the USA but can pop up in other parts of the world.
As always with buying Microsoft 365, Microsoft makes things a lot more complicated than it first appears.
- Good Deal?
- Work out if the 15-month offer is a saving
- Deal or No Deal?
- OK for renewals
- Microsoft 365 bundled with extras
- Gimmick? Out of Stock?
Working out if these offers are a good deal is a simple calculation. Not even Excel is required, but since we’re a Microsoft Office site, we’ve done a worksheet anyway <g>.
Sometimes no calculation is needed. If 15-month Microsoft 365 is selling for the price of 12-months — obviously that’s a decent discount. If there’s some anti-virus package included, just ignore it, see below.
Looking at the US price per month comparing the high official Microsoft 365 price with the 15-month price
On that basis, the 15-month offer is pretty good. 28% cheaper for Office 365 Home (six people) and 20% for Personal (one person).
However, Microsoft 365 can sometimes be bought for less than the official price. Regular discounting of Microsoft 365 is less common these days, but deals do occasionally appear.
Comparing lower US street prices for Office 365 with the 15-month deal narrows or removes the overall discount.
Work out if the 15-month offer is a saving
You don’t need to fire up Excel for this – just a humble calculator or even mental arithmetic:
- Take the 15-month price and divide by 15
- Then the best 12-month price you can find and divide that by 12
Now you have two ‘per month’ rates to compare.
- Take the 15-month price and multiply by 0.8, if the result is lower than the usual price for Microsoft 365, it’s a good deal
- For example, using above numbers: $89.99 x 0.8 = $71.92 which is less than either the street or official price.
Deal or No Deal?
In short: the 15-month offers might not be good as they first appear, but are usually at the lower end of the (now rarer) street prices. If you can get a 15-month Microsoft 365, you should have saved money.
Not so great for Microsoft 365 Personal, however that low $50 street price might not happen before your next expiry. Discounts on O365 Personal aren’t as common so if you can get a 15-month deal, it’s probably worth taking.
OK for renewals
These 15-month Microsoft 365 offers can be used to extend to expiry of a matching Microsoft 365 plan.
Microsoft would prefer people to automatically renew because that’s always at the highest price. More profit for Microsoft.
It’s perfectly ‘legal’ to buy Microsoft 365 Family or Personal from a reputable retailer and use the product key to update your account and extend the Microsoft 365 expiry date.
Microsoft 365 bundled with extras
Microsoft 365 Family or Personal is sometimes offered as a bundle with some other software. Most commonly some anti-virus software. The combined price helps disguise the real price of both. Compare the regularly discounted prices of both products with the bundled price. Often there’s little difference.
The bundled software, especially anti-virus software is just limited ‘subscription’. The low opening price is there to hook you into paying annual fees in the future.
Do you need the extra bundled software at all? In the case of anti-virus software, it’s probably not necessary. Windows comes with Defender which is enough for most people without buying other anti-virus software.
IGNORE the extra
Look at offer terms of Microsoft 365 alone, ignore the extra. Is it a good price for Microsoft 365? If so, buy it and ignore the extra … there’s no need to install it.
Gimmick? Out of Stock?
These 15-month packs might be a sales gimmick a bit of a ‘bait and switch’ like the Microsoft 365 with gift card offers which disappear soon after getting a lot of free promotion.
Many retailers are reporting they are ‘out of stock’ which is silly. Customer are quite right to complain.
This isn’t a physical product that requires printing and shipping. It’s all electronic with Microsoft 365 Product Keys issued by Microsoft at their discretion.
If there’s a shortage of product, it’s an artificial shortage created by Microsoft or the retailer.