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While this may come as a surprise to some, Hulu Plus is actually quite good now.
While Netflix reigns as the king of TV and movie streaming, Hulu offers plenty of amazing TV shows, many of which you can’t stream anywhere else, and there are times when Hulu is better than Amazon Prime Video.
Hulu sadly ditched its free plan back in 2016, but not all hope is lost for people wanting to watch Hulu without paying. Here’s something a lot of people don’t realize: there’s a legitimate way to watch Hulu for free, month to month, and it doesn’t require much effort. The trick is to use Microsoft Rewards.
Note: This method can only sustain a Hulu Basic subscription, which grants access to Hulu’s on-demand TV library. However, if you want to, you can also use these gift cards to offset the cost of Hulu Live, which allows you to stream live TV from over 50 channels.
What Is Microsoft Rewards?
Formerly called Bing Rewards, Microsoft Rewards is an opt-in program that grants points every time you search using Bing. When you collect enough points, you can redeem them for prizes, including Hulu Plus gift cards.
Points can also be donated to charity, used toward the purchase of Microsoft products like Xbox Ones and Xbox controllers, or spent to enter monthly sweepstakes with huge prizes like Surface Books. Even in the worst case scenario, you can convert Microsoft Rewards points into Amazon gift cards.
All in all, it’s easy and worthwhile. You’re going to be searching for things on the web anyway, so why not earn points for it? With Microsoft Rewards, it’s truly effortless.
How to get started with Microsoft Rewards:
- Visit rewards.microsoft.com.
- Click the Try it now, free button.
- Sign in with your Microsoft account, or create one if you don’t have one.
- Follow the prompts. Done!
Getting Hulu Plus With Microsoft Rewards
Once you’ve enabled Microsoft Rewards on your account, make sure you’re signed into your Microsoft account and then visit the Redeem Microsoft Rewards page.
Here you’ll find everything you can redeem using your points, but the one we’re interested in is called $25 Hulu Plus E-Gift Card. As of this writing, this prize requires 28,000 points to redeem.
Just click Redeem Reward and then Redeem Reward again on the next page to confirm the redemption.
Redeeming the Gift Card on Hulu
Once redeemed on Microsoft Rewards, you’ll receive an email with a digital code that you can use to load the gift card value onto Hulu. Once signed into your Hulu account, visit the Redeem Your Gift page and enter the code.
The gift card’s value will be added to your account, and your next Hulu charge will first deduct from your gift card balance, then charge your payment method if there’s any additional cost that wasn’t covered by the gift card balance.
Note that Hulu Plus offers a “Limited Commercials” plan for $8/month and a “No Commercials” plan for $12/month, but you’ll only be able to afford the Limited plan using this method as it takes about three months of searches to afford the reward.
A Trick for Getting Hulu Plus Even Cheaper
If you don’t mind a tiny bit of extra work, or if you somehow don’t see the Hulu Plus gift card as one of your options for Microsoft Rewards, you can get the same $25 Hulu Plus gift card for only 26,250 points instead using a clever trick.
The trick is simple:
- Earn 26,250 points by searching Bing per normal.
- Redeem five $5 Walmart eGift Cards instead.
- Load those gift cards onto your Walmart account.
- Using the gift card balance, purchase a $25 Hulu Plus gift card on Walmart.
This is the exact same gift card offered by Microsoft Rewards. Just load it onto your Hulu account using the same instructions in the “Redeeming the Gift Card on Hulu” section above and you’re done!
Maximizing Your Microsoft Reward Points
How long does it take to earn enough points for redemption? Well, as of this writing, there are three main ways to earn Microsoft Reward points.
Daily Desktop Searches
Every day, you can earn up to 150 points by desktop search, where each Bing search (while logged in to your Microsoft account) counts as 5 points.
What I’ve done is change my browser’s default search engine to Bing so that I can just search per normal using the browser’s address bar and automatically gain points for it. It’s so easy, I’ve never lost out on desktop search points in the many years I’ve been a Microsoft Rewards participant.
Note that Bing searches performed through Windows 10’s Taskbar and Cortana also count toward the daily 150 limit. Learn more about using Cortana in Windows 10.
You can also gain an extra 20 points by using Microsoft Edge. Bing searches performed in Microsoft Edge also count as five points each, but once you reach the daily 150 limit, you can go up to 170 if you search while using Microsoft Edge.
Daily Mobile Searches
Every day, you can earn up to 100 points by mobile search, where each search also counts as five points as it does for desktop searches.
On smartphones, you can set the default search engine for your mobile browser of choice to Bing and reap the rewards for no effort at all.
On tablet devices, however, Bing mobile browser searches count as desktop searches—at least they do on my Galaxy Tab S—in which case you’ll have to resort to using the Microsoft Bing Search app (on Android, on iOS).
Daily Click Activities
Every day, Microsoft presents a handful of “click activities” that each grant anywhere from 10 to 50 points depending on what the click activity is.
The 10-point click activities simply show you something that’s timely and interesting, such as a list of Academy Award winners, or the meaning of Arbor Day, or a funny new trend that’s making its way around the internet.
The 30-point click activities are trivia quizzes in which you answer three questions based on celebrities, entertainment, history, science, etc. Every once in a while, you’ll get a 50-point super quiz with five questions.
If you keep up with these click activities, you can earn streak bonuses for more points.
Put It All Together and Get Free Hulu Plus!
Given a 30-day month, you could potentially earn up to 5,100 desktop search points, 3,000 mobile search points, and about 600 click activity points, for a total of 8,700 Microsoft Reward points per month.
Using the cheaper Walmart method, you can redeem a Hulu Plus gift card for three months of the Limited plan, then redeem another Hulu Plus gift card just in time as your Hulu subscription runs out. Perfect!
The only downside is…
You have to accrue just over 26,000 Microsoft Reward points before you can start the cycle, which means waiting three months before you can start watching Hulu or paying for the first three months before transitioning to free indefinitely.
But after that, you’re good to go!
Watching on-air TV shows is great, and Hulu has some high-quality original content, including The Handmaid’s Tale.
And if you’re still wondering whether Hulu is worth the effort, I recommend checking out our article on tips for getting the most out of Hulu.