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If you spend a lot of time searching online, you might want to make Bing your search engine of choice.
Why? Bing wants to pay you for your searches.
Earn credits through Bing Rewards as you’re looking up the latest celebrity gossip or the best budget travel accommodation options — credits you can cash in for a variety of rewards, from $5 restaurant gift cards to free Skype credits.
Ready to earn bonuses from searches you’re going to do anyway? I tested Bing Rewards to learn more about the reward process and how to maximize your earnings. Here’s how to get started.
How Bing Rewards Works
Signing up on the Bing Rewards homepage only takes a few minutes. When I signed up, I learned I already had 43 credits from previous searches, so if you’ve ever used Bing, expect to find credits waiting for you, too.
The earning process is simple: You search on Bing, you earn credits. You get one credit for every two searches you do on your PC and mobile phone — up to 15 credits a day through PC searches and 10 credits a day for mobile searches. During my test, I only hit the maximum number of searches a couple of times. Keep an eye out for special daily promotions and offers for double points. They’re usually pretty easy to complete and can help you earn more than the 25-credit daily max.
Keep track of your search tally and credits through your Dashboard. If you prefer not to have an extra tab open in your browser, simply watch your credits increase in your Bing Rewards credit counter in the upper right hand corner on the Bing homepage or download the Bing Rewards toolbar.
Ways to Earn Rewards
When you first sign up, you start out at Member status. From here, you can work your way up to Silver status and finally Gold status. In just a few weeks I achieved Silver status — all it took was watching the short welcome video, setting a reward redemption goal and earning 200 search credits. As a bonus, I earned 50 additional credits simply for reaching Silver status.
Now I have my sights set on Gold status. To get there, I need to redeem credits for a reward (which I did this morning), complete 150 rewardable searches a month (done!) and earn 750 lifetime credits. I’m at 265, so this might take a few months, but in the meantime I can still redeem credits for smaller rewards and watch my lifetime credits continue to add up.
Once I hit Gold status, I’ll earn a 10% discount when I cash in my credits for rewards. I set my goal reward as a $5 Groupon promotional card, which will only cost me 470 credits instead of 523 when I finally reach Gold status.
What Can You Do With Your Credits?
Most of the rewards in the Redemption Center come in the form of $5 gift cards to retailers like Burger King, Starbucks, iHop, Amazon and Toys ‘R’ Us. These typically cost about 525 credits. If you’re feeling lucky and are willing to part with between 20 and 40 credits, you can enter different sweepstakes. In a giving mood? You can cash in credits to make donations to various charities.
And for a mere three credits, you can buy a virtual scratch-off ticket for a chance to win a variety of prizes, including $500 gift cards, Bing Rewards credits and even an Xbox One + Kinect. I cashed in points for scratch-off cards this morning. I didn’t win, but I had fun trying.
Advice From a Bing Rewards Pro
I’ve only been at this a few weeks, so my experience is limited. Scott Hicks, from Richmond, Va., used Bing Rewards for more than a year, racking up about 2,500 credits.
When Scott first started using Bing Rewards, he worked for an SEO search agency, and that meant he spent a lot of time looking at search results for his clients. Not only was he curious about Bing’s search capabilities, he figured if he was doing all that searching any way, he might as well get something out of it.
After switching jobs Scott now turns to Google more for his searching needs, but when his son’s birthday came up a few months ago, he remembered his rewards and decided to cash in.
His son wanted a $20 item from GameStop, and as luck would have it, Scott had enough credits to pick up five $5 GameStop gift cards — more than he actually needed. He redeemed his credits and received an email with the gift cards almost instantly.
While Scott doesn’t use Bing as often these days, he sees it as a good way to earn a little extra cash.
“It’s a great search engine for most people so you might as well gather points from your searches,” he says. “Do the extra rewards every day, because whatever they are will give you a little bump.”
Earn While You Search
You’re not going to earn a ton of cash using Bing Rewards, but you will rack up enough credits to grab gift cards that can save you money, and you might even be lucky enough to win one of the sweepstakes or scratch-off prizes.
I’ve had fun watching my credits add up as I search and figuring out what I need to do to win those bigger prizes. It’s like a game to me, so for now I’m going to keep searching with Bing and collecting small rewards for something I’d otherwise be doing for free.
Your Turn: Have you used Bing Rewards? How much have you earned?
Renee Knight is a freelance writer, editor and blogger based in Northern Virginia.