As a fellow tech geek and gaming enthusiast, I know how exciting Microsoft Flight Simulator is but also how expensive it can be at $59.99. But don‘t worry – with the right methods, you can get this incredible simulator for free or very cheap on your PC!
In this comprehensive 2500+ word guide, I‘ll share all the tips and tricks I‘ve discovered for downloading Microsoft Flight Simulator without paying full price, so you can start flying high without it costing big bucks.
Use the Xbox Game Pass Free Trial
The easiest and fastest way to download Microsoft Flight Simulator for free is to use the Xbox Game Pass free 7-day trial. Here‘s a step-by-step walkthrough:
- Go to the Xbox Game Pass website and click "Join now"
- Select the "PC Game Pass" option for the free trial
- Enter your payment information which is required for the trial but you won‘t be charged
- Download the Xbox app for Windows 10 or 11 if you don‘t already have it
- Open the Xbox app and search for "Microsoft Flight Simulator"
- Click install and the 90GB+ game will begin downloading
Once installed, you‘ll have full unrestricted access to Microsoft Flight Simulator for 7 days with Xbox Game Pass. You can cancel anytime before the trial ends to avoid being charged the $9.99 monthly fee.
According to Microsoft, over 10 million players have tried Flight Simulator through Game Pass, so it‘s clearly a popular way to test out the game.
While 7 days is short, it‘s enough time to thoroughly evaluate the simulator and experience most of what it has to offer. Here are some of the things you can do during the free trial:
- Explore the insanely detailed world graphics with over 2 trillion trees and accurate representations of mountains, rivers, cities and more
- Fly high above your own house using the search feature to find your exact address
- Takeoff and land at over 37,000 real world airports including busy hubs like LAX and JFK
- Pilot a wide range of aircraft from small single-engine planes to jumbo jets
- Experience real time weather and live air traffic when connected online
- Try bush trips and landing challenges to test your skills as an amateur pilot
The Game Pass free trial gives you access to the full Microsoft Flight Simulator experience, not a watered down demo. Take advantage of it to get 7 days of free flights!
Find Discounts on Retailer Sites
While the Xbox Game Pass trial is the easiest way to play for free, you can also find great discounts on Microsoft Flight Simulator through major retailers like Green Man Gaming, Fanatical, CDKeys and more.
Here are some tips for scouting out the best deals:
- Add the game to your wishlist or email alerts so you get notified of sales
- Check IsThereAnyDeal to see price history and get alerts for new low prices
- Join gaming deal communities like r/GameDeals on Reddit to stay updated on discounts and vouchers
- Look closely around major sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Steam Winter sale
- Follow Wario64 and other Twitter accounts that tweet out gaming deals
Historically, Microsoft Flight Simulator has been discounted 40-75% during major sales, bringing the price down to $25-$35. With coupon codes and stackable discounts, you may even be able to get it for under $20.
For example, during the 2021 Steam Winter Sale, Green Man Gaming had the game for just $35.99 – 40% off. They also offered an additional 16% voucher code which brought the final price to just $30.23 for the Standard Edition!
On average, you can expect to see Microsoft Flight Simulator discounted to around $40 during smaller sales and down to $25-30 during big seasonal events. With some persistence checking for deals, you‘ll eventually catch a big discount that makes this AAA simulator very affordable.
Use Referral Discounts for Extra Savings
In addition to regular discounts, some retailers offer referral or influencer discounts that give you an extra $10-20 off Microsoft Flight Simulator.
These special promo codes are offered in partnership with YouTubers, streamers, and other influencers. Fans use the codes to get a better deal and support their favorite content creators.
Some places to find referral discounts codes:
- Check the video descriptions of MSFS YouTubers like Squirrel, EasyJet321 and Q8Pilot
- Look on flight sim fan forums and subreddits for influencer codes
- Google "Microsoft Flight Simulator discount code" and you may find some still active
The savings from these codes vary but I‘ve seen some giving $15 off, bringing the game‘s price down to $44.99. Others gave 10-20% off purchases.
Combined with a retailer sale, referral codes can potentially get Microsoft Flight Simulator for 50% off or more. It takes a bit of hunting but the savings are worth it!
Take Advantage of the Steam Free Weekends
Every few months, Microsoft Flight Simulator is featured as a free game for a weekend on Steam.
During these promos, anyone can download the game and play for free from Thursday afternoon until Sunday night. It‘s an awesome way to try out the full experience at absolutely no cost.
Here are some tips to take advantage of the next Steam free weekend:
- Add Microsoft Flight Simulator to your Steam wishlist to get notified of upcoming promotions
- Follow the game on Steam and watch for announcements of free weekends
- Check the SteamDB page to see when new free weekend builds are pushed
- Join the Microsoft Flight Simulator Steam community hub to find out about free events
The free weekends usually occur every 2-3 months and run from Thursday afternoon until Sunday night. Be sure to download the game as soon as it goes live so you can maximize the free access.
During the Steam free weekends, you get full unrestricted access just like with the Xbox Game Pass trial. You can fly anywhere and try out any plane you want. Progress also carries over if you decide to purchase.
Set a reminder so you don‘t miss the next Microsoft Flight Simulator free weekend. It‘s a great opportunity to take this realistic simulator for a test flight without spending a dime!
Wait for Giveaways and Free Copies
As a popular new release, Microsoft Flight Simulator is often included in giveaways and contests by major retailers like Amazon, Newegg and Best Buy.
For example, Intel has given away codes for the game with the purchase of select Intel processors. Amazon previously had a giveaway for MSFS with new Microsoft Surface devices.
Here are some tips to keep an eye out for free copy giveaways:
- Follow @Wario64 and turn on notifications so you never miss a giveaway tweet
- Subscribe to Newegg‘s newsletter where they often run massive game code giveaways
- Enter as many gaming giveaways as you can find on forums, Reddit, and sweepstakes sites
- Check the Amazon Gaming Twitter account which promotes Prime Gaming rewards
It takes some persistence and luck, but giveaways are a great way to score Microsoft Flight Simulator for free if you‘re willing to hunt.
Between the Game Pass trial, major discounts, Steam free weekends, and giveaways, there are plenty of ways for budget-conscious gamers to get this AAA masterpiece and experience ultra-realistic flight on PC without paying full price. Keep your eyes peeled for deals, and you‘ll be soaring in Microsoft Flight Sim soon!
Let me know if you have any other questions about downloading this incredible simulator for free! I‘m always happy to share more gaming tips and tricks with my fellow tech heads.