Microsoft was recently sending everyone a promotional email that also had a secret code to redeem for $10 Xbox Live credit. It turns out that once this spread everywhere, they changed the expiry date prematurely due to strong demand.
If you don’t check your promotional emails, let this be a lesson to look for easter eggs in them. I am not sure if this was the first time Microsoft has done this offer, but it is definitely the first for this year. The promo codes were usually given in emails which no one could suspect at first, but once clicking on a certain part of the email, you would be redirected to a page where it was possible to redeem the promo code.
The first instance of this was reported on reddit and then as people started to go back and check other emails, more codes were discovered. At least two people were able to find out that they had another instance of these secret credit codes. One of them was found in a Black Friday promotional email while the other was in a Cyber Monday saving deal. All of them involved clicking on a secret easter egg in the actual email.
While this is a clever part from Microsoft and a good way to judge who actually bothers reading these emails, what was not fine was how they handled it once everyone found it. As posted by a reddit user, the support confirmed that it was a legitimate code, and while the original expiry date for these codes was set at the end of December, it was later allegedly changed to the same day as the email was sent once people caught on the easter egg.
It seems like once too many people started to claim the code, Microsoft might have to tone it down a bit. How they handled it is not really fair for those who didn’t manage to get in, but there is likely nothing that can be done by now.