As we revealed back in July, the Xbox LIVE Rewards program was taking a bit of a hiatus. With the planned discontinuation of Microsoft Points and the change to local currency due to happen at any time, the rewards program took a break on July 31st. All rewards members had their pending points deposited into their accounts on August 7th so no rewards would be lost. The new program was due to start on September 1st and Microsoft has kept their promise. What has changed? We're here to bring you the lowdown.From now onwards, players will earn credits for performing certain actions. When players reach a total of at least 5000 credits, these will be automatically be converted into local currency and will be deposited into your Microsoft account, usually around the 15th and the 30th of every month. You can take a look at the My Rewards page to check out when the next deposit date will be. However, if you don't want to wait that long, you can request a deposit into your account when you reach a total of at least 1000 credits. The local currency value of 5,000 Rewards Credits is US$5 / £3.35 / €4.05 / AU$5.75 / ¥525. While the credits do not expire, the cash that is deposited into your account does have an expiry date of June 2015. How do you earn credits? Well, some actions will seem familiar while others will have changed slightly.PunchcardsLasting until 23:59 UTC on October 31st, there will be three punchcards running, each with their own different method of winning a different number of credits. The first punchcard is the "My Map Pack Punchcard". To get a single punch, members must purchase any DLC map pack that is valued at US$10 / £6.70 / €8.10 / AU$11.50 / ¥1030 or more before taxes are applied. To fill the card and get all five punches, this means that members must purchase five map packs. Once the card is completely filled, members will earn themselves 5000 credits.The second punchcard offer is the "My Apps Punchcard". To get a single punch on this card, players must download a new app for the first time and then use it for a period of five hours. To fill the card and get all five punches, this means that players must download five new apps and use each of them for five hours. They must be new apps; apps will not count that have been downloaded to your console before or used previously by you. Once this card is completely filled, players will earn themselves 1000 credits.The third punchcard offer is the "My Films & TV Punchcard". To get a single punch on this card, players must purchase or rent one film or TV episode from Xbox Video at a price of US$3 / £2.01 / €2.43 / AU$3.45 / ¥309 or more before taxes are applied. To fill the card and get all five punches, this means that players must purchase or rent five films or TV episodes. Once this card is completely filled, players will earn themselves 3000 credits. While the first two punchcards are open to all Xbox LIVE Rewards members, this one is a little more restricted. This punchcard is not available to Xbox LIVE Rewards members in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Taiwan as Xbox Video is not available in these regions. In Ireland, New Zealand and Sweden, players can not purchase TV content so only film rentals/purchases will count in these three regions.After you have completed the Punchcard, your credits will show up on your MyRewards page within 96 hours. Renewing Xbox LIVE Gold MembershipPlayers can still earn credits by renewing their Xbox LIVE Gold Membership for set periods of time. By renewing a membership for one month, a member gets 250 credits. Renewing for three months gets 500 credits while renewing for a full 12 months gets 3000 credits. However, these credits will not be rewarded until your previous Gold membership has ended and your new renewed membership has started.Playing a New GameWhen we say a "New Game", this is any disc-based game that has been released within the last 30 days and not just any game that you have never played before. Playing any new disc-based game for at least ten hours within the first 30 days of release will earn you 1000 credits. Full games on demand, Indie games or XBLA games do not count towards this reward.Taking a SurveyEach monthly survey will earn you 250 credits. This month's survey is all about the new appearance of the Xbox LIVE Rewards website.Making Your First Xbox Marketplace PurchaseThe first ever purchase that you make from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace will net you 1250 credits. This can be any purchase. Unfortunately, most people here will already have purchased something from the Marketplace and we're afraid that the credits will not be rewarded for previous actions. Moving on...Referring Your Friends to Xbox LIVE GoldYou get credits for encouraging your friends to upgrade to Xbox LIVE Gold. Entering the gamertag of your friend on the Rewards site will send them a e-mail message with a link to upgrade to a Gold membership online. The link in the e-mail must be used within 14 days. Once your friend has upgraded and has been a Gold member for 30 days, you will receive 1000 credits. Meanwhile, after 30 days of Gold membership your friend gets 5000 credits for helping you out. You receive 1000 credits for each successful recommendation and you can recommend up to five friends per day. One thing to bear in mind; if your friend upgrades to Gold using a code purchased from another retailer, this will not count so make sure that they use that link.This offer is only open to Xbox LIVE Rewards members with an Xbox LIVE Gold membership in France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States. The offer is not available to Xbox LIVE Rewards members in Australia, Canada, or Germany. You will not be able to enter the gamertags of friends who already have a Gold Membership (obviously).MyAchievementsThese have changed slightly. Members no longer receive a reward on their birthday. However, the rebate still exists, but there are now four tiers instead of three depending on your gamerscore:• A gamerscore of 3000 - 9,999 makes you a Contender, where you will receive 50 Credits for every US$10 / £6.70 / €8.10 / AU$11.50 / ¥1030 you spend.• A gamerscore of 10000 - 24,999 makes you a Champion, where you will receive 100 Credits for every US$10 / £6.70 / €8.10 / AU$11.50 / ¥1030 you spend.• A gamerscore of 25000 - 74,999 makes you a Legend, where you will receive 200 Credits for every US$10 / £6.70 / €8.10 / AU$11.50 / ¥1030 you spend.• A gamerscore of 75000 or higher makes you a Master, where you will receive 300 Credits for every US$10 / £6.70 / €8.10 / AU$11.50 / ¥1030 you spend.Your tier is calculated at the start of each month. As an example, if your gamerscore hits 25000 in the middle of September, you will still be a Champion until the end of September. For every US$10 / £6.70 / €8.10 / AU$11.50 / ¥1030 that you spend during September, you will still only receive 100 credits. You will not become a Legend until the start of October. As an extra note, purchasing Xbox Live Gold membership, Xbox Music passes, Xbox Video TV season passes, Microsoft Points or Xbox Gift Cards will not qualify towards your total for the MyAchievements rewards. You must also be an Xbox LIVE Gold member at the start of the month to qualify for MyAchievements.VIP ExclusivesThese also return and are still invite-only. As long as you keep your Xbox LIVE Gold membership and stay active on Xbox LIVE, you may be lucky enough to receive an invite from Microsoft.Now for the boring legal bit. As usual, Xbox LIVE Rewards is available to all members over the age of 13 in these countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States.