Xbox Game Pass price hike: here’s how to avoid paying more

Game Pass prices are going up, but there's a way to avoid paying the new price

Xbox Game Pass image showing Xbox Series X and Series S
(Image credit: Microsoft)

We knew it was coming and now it's here - the price of Game Pass is going up for PC and console users alike. The difference isn’t going to be huge, but if you’d rather not pay it on your PC, Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S there’s a workaround.

Unlike the Xbox console price hikes that are also coming this summer, the Game Pass increases are happening everywhere: the hardware hike may not be happening in the US, Japan, Chile, Brazil and Columbia, but there’s no escaping pricier Game Pass.

Here in the UK, the price of standard Xbox Game Pass is going up £1 a month to £8.99 per month. while Game Pass Ultimate is going up £2. You’ll be paying £12.99 a month from July. I know £2 doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s still an 18% increase. In the US, prices are going up to $10.99 for Game Pass for Console and $16.99 for Ultimate.

You’ll have to pay the new price sooner or later, but that doesn’t mean you need to start paying it immediately.

How can I avoid the Game Pass price hike?

You can’t avoid it completely, but you can delay it. The price changes aren’t happening until at least the 13th of August for existing members, but new subscribers will have to pay the increased sums from 6th July.

That means you don't have too long to avoid the rise, but if you subscribe for months or a year in advance, you’ll still pay the current price until that subscription runs out.

One way to do that is via something called “stacking”, which is when you buy and activate more than one subscription. For example, you might buy and activate a 3-month subscription and then another, activating that so you have a six-month subscription. Microsoft will let you “stack” subscriptions for up to 36 months in total.

There’s an important caveat to that. You can’t stack 3-month trial subscriptions - those are solely for new customers and aren’t stackable.

So, is it worth doing? I’m looking at a well-known digital retailer offering a 3-month non-trial Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription right now and it’s £22, so stacking that for a year would be £88. Once the new prices kick in, the same period at full price would be £155. It’s certainly worth considering therefore, provided you trust the retailer to sell you legitimate codes and not to fob you off with a trial one.

Some have other deals, so it's worth hunting around.

There’s another option too - especially for current members. August is still a bit away, and it’s possible that Microsoft may offer some discounted annual subscriptions between now and then. So, it might be worth hanging on until the last minute to see if there are any decent Game Pass deals.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (