Level 2 Contributor

Microsoft Action Pack / Office 365 E3: different license period


as MS Partner with Microsoft Action Pack (MAPS) you get a credit for 5 users for MS Office 365 E3. We have been using this for some time now.

We now have the following situation:

  • Office 365 E3 expires on March 3, 2019
  • MAPS will only expire on May 1, 2019.

In the new Partner Portal MAPS can only be renewed after the 1st of May ( Thus, I have until then no key available to extend Office 365 E3.

What should I do to prevent Office 365 E3 from being disabled between March 3 and May 1?


Level 1 Contributor

Has anyone manage to find a solution to this?


We have a similar but likely, the same problem.


We had trouble renewing (we have trouble EVERY year) and had to contact Partner Support. We followed their instructions and our products list on the Admin portal showed some weird botched version of two sets of licenses expiring at different times. I thought nothing of it thinking the old ones will drop off a month or so after they have expired. There are no users assigned to them after all. I am pretty sure the expiry date wasn't wrong but now, rather than the expired licenses disappearing they have now been merged into 10 licenses for 6 just months.


Partner Support are not helping because they say they can only re-issue the key within 30 days. But I swear it wasn't wrong within 30 days!

... and we did EXACTLY what we were told to by partner support to get the licenses renewed when the portal didn't work correctly in the first place.


If I add new licenses, will it add 10@6 months??? It still shows 10 licenses expired even though no users are assigned to them.


And the support from MS on this one has been shocking - if this is the level of service for Partners, what is the acceptable level of service for customers???




Visitor 1

I have exactly the same issue. The portal will no longer let me add new licences now they have experienced at 6 months. Partner support have been useless.

Level 2 Contributor

I realize that this is a very old post but the same issue exists even today.  The instructions provided in the Microsoft Partner Center still direct you to the Office 365 Admin portal to click on "Add License" or "Extend end date".  There is a chicken before the egg scenario going on here though.  You cannot renew your Microsoft Action Pack subscription in advance so your license will always expire before you have a chance to extend the end date or add additional users.


What I found is that I can follow the instruction to "Activate a subscription for the first time." option which takes you to:  When you navigate to that section, you have the option of signing in with an existing account in the upper right hand corner instead of selecting "Create my account".


After you sign in with the account where you have the existing subscriptions, you will have the ability to redeem your license keys.  At that point it will recognize that you have a legitimate key and give you the ability to either "Add Users" or "Extend your License".  Both options will tell you the expiration date of your license when you select the option.  Of course, adding licenses increases your license count at 1/2 the year where extending keeps your existing licenses at the full 1 year term.


After I applied the license key, the license was again active and I was able to see the "Add licenses" or "Extend end date" options on the licenses.  Both options were not available while the subscription status was "Expired".  Again, you cannot even keep the subscription active because you are not even able to renew your Action Pack subscription until after the expiration date!





Essentially, the instructions in the Partner Center are broken.  You will never be able to select the options as shown in the instructions while the subscriptions are expired.

Visitor 1

After trying out the instructions I found online and didn't work, luckily I stumbled across your post. Worked perfectly for me. Thanks

Visitor 1

This worked for me! Thanks. Following Microsoft's instructions was not working. 

Visitor 1

Perfect! This works for me.


EVERY YEAR I go through this pain and something changes between each time, but always my 365 sub expires before the window opens to renew the Action Pack and it's always difficult to apply a new key once renewed.


This time, following the instructions I get no option to add licences. However if I do as here and "activate a new subscription for the first time" but then sign in as an existing user, I can add the key to my existing sub.


This really does need sorting out.


I'd contacted support before on this and only option was to let the 365 subscription expire and wait until 1st May, then renew and go through this painful process again trying to apply a new key to renew the 365 sub as it won't let me via the usual options once it has expired.

Level 1 Contributor

i had the same issue too, my 5 licences expired, when i renewed and added the new key, rather than extending it added another 5 licences for 6 months. (I clicked on the link in the partner centre that took me to a page with add licences, BUT, it did not have an option to extend the date).

I raised a case with the partner centre, initially helpful, they got me a replacement key and asked me to add it again....

When i added the new key it added another 5 users!! (but still just for 6months). I only did this because they asked me to do so.

Now, they say they cannot help me anymore because you are only allowed one replacement key, and there is nothing they can do.

Yet, if I log onto the (365 admin) portal now , and look at my licences there are two buttons 'Add licences' and 'Extend end date. Clicking the extend date, and putting my key in says sorry 'this key has already been used'. nb but this was not the on the page i saw when using the link from the partner centre.

This is very annoying I'm now stuck with more licences than i need, i dont need these and wont use them, and there is no way to remove them (i have not assigned the new licences to any users) 

i also raised a case with the Microsoft business support team, they looked at it and were helpful, but unfortunately said there is no way for them to remove the additional licences, and referred me back to the Partner Centre.

I just want to the basic 5 licences for 12m (that i paid for!) , and the partner centre are now refusing to help or fix this.

Level 1 Contributor

I have the exact same problem...

I guess I wrongly activated the license key...

Instead of renewing my existing 5 licenses for 1 year term... 5 more got added... and got renewed to 6 months...

No one from partner team seems to be helping in resolving this issue...


@jgroebe Open a support ticket on the topic of MPN benefits via Partner Center. There is no email-based contact option.

It seems you have not extended the licenses, but added 5 seats when you last activated the key. If this was less then 30 days ago the support should be to help.


See also:


Please note that as per system design, when redeeming a key, the system will not display the renew (extend) option if you have more seats on your existing subscription than the seats number of the token generated at the renewal window. It will only display the add seats option which will allow you to only add more seats to your current subscription.

In order for you to see the option to renew (extend) the seats, you must remove the licenses/seats from users in your current subscription until you reach the same number of seats or less than your new key has, before activating the new key received.

Choosing to add seats and not renew them, the system will provide you with less than 12 months of key end date.  

Example:  If you currently have 20 seats active until 20th of Sept 2020 and you are trying to redeem a key of 5 seats for the next period of enrollment, starting 21st of Sept 2020, you will first need to remove 15 seats from your users, redeem the new key and after assign the users with the necessary seats back. If you don’t remove the 15 seats and simply choose to add the key on the existing subscription, you will have 25 seats active until the 20th of Sept 2020.

Please note that once a key is redeemed, the same key cannot be redeemed a second time, so make sure you are clear on whether you need to renew or extend seats.


Kind regards,
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Level 1 Contributor

I am not sure that this is what it is doing. For us it added rather than extended but we were not over the number of seat count. Our additional seats are on E1 not E3 so a different product.


If the portal is not giving an option to extend, would it not be reasonable to let the user know that it is not going to apply the licenses in the way in which they have been purchased? Under UK law, that is illegal.


For us, even when this did happen, the dates didn't get normalised until sometime after the key was added - which was then outside the 30 days when partner support would resolve the issue!

Level 1 Contributor

>Please note that as per system design, when redeeming a key, the system will not display the renew (extend) option if you have more seats on your existing subscription than the seats number of the token generated at the renewal window. It will only display the add seats option which will allow you to only add more seats to your current subscription.


this is NOT always correct. I have only (ever) had 1 active seat/assigned licence on my subscription. when it expired i renewed and clicked the link in the partner centre, there was only the option to 'add' and NOT extend. Now im stuck with additonal licences for 6 months that i wont use and cannot get rid of. 

Visitor 1

It may sound strange, but just go to the management portal and reclaim your keys.  Then click the link at the end of the sentence:  "Copy the assigned license key below and use it to redeem your license in the Office Portal"


You'll be able to enter that key again and the product will renew until the action pack renewal date. 

Level 1 Contributor

I am using 4 of 10 keys. When I try the above I get the message that the keys are already used. Please help! I am sending mails for 4 weeks now and I will not have mail after August 2nd!

Level 1 Contributor

You only get 5 E3 licences. You get 10 on site licences for Office 2019

Level 1 Contributor

I use 4, which is less then 5, and I am trying to extend the usage for the 4 in use. Not adding new users. Ans I see that more people have the same issue.


Level 1 Contributor

Re-entering the key does not work. Says key already used.    We are currently experiencing similar issue. Was anyone able to figure out how to get the Office 365 E3 licenses to what your benefits entitled you to?  We have an active ticket with the MS Partner Team and do not have a solution yet. Thanks.

Visitor 1

Same problem here, and the response time from the partner Support Team is not great at the moment... ;(


I figured out that I added seats to my existing (previous action pack benefits). 

I should have first taken out all the existing seats and the add as new instead of adding to existing. I DO hope there is a solution for this, you are not alone.


Plaese contact me, regards, Bert

Level 1 Contributor

I had this problem last year and can't remember exactly how it was resolved but it involved getting an E3 30-day trial and using this. After the 30-day trial there is then a 30-day grace period during which we could put in the new MAPS licence key. Think we had about a 40 day differential in dates so was fine not sure what you do if the gap is larger than this. Was over complicated in my case as I had diffferent tenant accounts for MAPS and E3. The initial advice to do this came from Office Support so may be worth asking then how to do this.

Level 1 Contributor

Me too! I have the same issue each year! And last year I was able to phone and some support people had to take action. Now I am not able to phone anyone. I mailed the Office 365 people said I needed to contact the Business Partner support desk. Even got a US phone number, but that did not answer!

Community Manager

Hi @RoniACilliers , @Sidi , @sjpwong &thijsnijhuis


Thanks a lot for reaching out on this matter. This link explains more on the renewal process.

This is a good question, which could be best adressed with a Support Agent here by selecting the topics in the snip.






The Support team can find a solution tailored to your needs and depending on the dates you mentioned.


Have a great day ahead!