If you own a Nintendo Switch, you probably have Nintendo Points waiting to be used. You can use them to save money and get physical or digital rewards, but you have to act fast or you’ll be on the losing end.
What are Nintendo Points?
Nintendo Points are bonuses earned by spending money on physical and digital Nintendo titles. There are two different types of points: platinum points and gold points. You can see your totals for each by logging into My Nintendo.
Platinum Points are earned as rewards without the need to purchase anything. This could include entering a tournament, playing one of Nintendo’s mobile games, or providing feedback on the titles you play. You can also earn them with a Nintendo Switch Online membership by completing monthly and weekly quests.
Gold Points are earned by purchasing games, both physical cartridges and digital sales in the Nintendo eShop. For digital purchases, you’ll earn 5% of your purchase in points, so spending $15 on a game will earn you 75 points.
For physical purchases, you’ll only get 1% back on the retail price. We tested it on a copy of Change sports, which earned us around 56 points (in Australia, at least). Nintendo says you’ll get “1% of the undiscounted Nintendo eShop price of this game”.
How to Claim Nintendo Platinum Points
First, you’ll need to sign up for a My Nintendo account, then link your standard Nintendo Account (yes, Nintendo’s account system is a real mess). Once logged in, use the Earn Points page to see all the different “missions” you can complete to earn Platinum Points.
These include separate sections for mobile apps such as Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Fire Emblem Heroesand Super Mario Run. At the bottom of the list, you’ll see a “Nintendo Services” section which provides a quick way to earn points. Some simple tasks include linking your Facebook and Twitter accounts or logging in (weekly) on a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS.
You’ll also earn points by signing up for Nintendo newsletters, but you’ll need to enter the code on the My Nintendo Rewards serial number page for the points to appear in your account.
Earn points directly on your Switch console by launching Nintendo Switch Online, selecting “Missions & Rewards”, then tapping the “Mission Status” icon at the top of the screen. These tasks typically involve playing an online game, playing emulated games, testing a game, and launching the Nintendo Switch Online app.
You may also receive a follow-up email from Nintendo after purchasing a game, requesting feedback or a review of a game. Completing this will earn you a code which you can redeem for 30 points.
There are other ways to earn these points that appear from time to time, including mini-games that appear sporadically on the My Nintendo Rewards website and new mobile game and service launches.
How to Claim Nintendo Gold Points
Earning gold points is much easier because it is very simple. Every time you buy a game from the eShop, you earn 5% of your total purchase. These points will be automatically deposited into your Nintendo Account and you can spend them immediately after completing your purchase.
You’ll need to manually claim all physical titles, and some restrictions are in place on top of the 1% point bonus. For starters, you only have 12 months since you put the cartridge in your Switch to claim the points. Each cartridge can only be claimed once, so be sure to claim your games before lending them to someone else.
To note: You’ll need an internet connection (but not a Nintendo Switch Online membership) for this to work.
To claim a physical game, place the cartridge on your Switch and hover over the title on the home screen. Press the plus “+” button on your controller, then scroll down to the “My Nintendo Rewards Program” button in the sidebar. Select “Earn Gold Points” on the right of the screen and wait.
Nintendo will then ask which user wishes to receive the points.
You will then need to use the “Earn points for this software” before passing a final verification on Nintendo’s side before the points are added to your account.
The points will then be immediately available to be spent in the eShop. You cannot spend points redeemed from physical versions of games on real-world physical games.
RELATED: What’s included with a Nintendo Switch Online membership?
Your Nintendo Points will expire
Platinum Nintendo Points will expire six months after you claim them. Gold Points will expire 12 months after you claim them. They will not all expire at the same time, but expired points will be deducted from your total.
You can check your current points balance by logging into your My Nintendo account and then visiting the Points Expiration page under Menu > My Points > Expiration. You’ll see which points expire each month for the next six months.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to spend your points regularly. Ideally, try to spend them at the same rate as you earn them. This way you’ll save money on titles while ensuring your points don’t go to waste. The same goes for platinum rewards.
Spend Platinum Points on digital and physical items
To view a list of My Nintendo rewards, log in to the service and visit the Get Rewards page. There are categories for mobile app rewards (which you can also redeem in the app), smart device and PC rewards (including wallpapers and digital guides), and hardware bonuses plus old like Nintendo 3DS themes.
Perhaps the best use of your Platinum Points is physical merchandise from the My Nintendo Store. You can redeem your points for physical items such as bags, lanyards, keychains and enamel pins. Spending points makes the item free, but you’ll have to pay for postage.
You can stack multiple items and pay a single round of postage if you happen to have a lot of stitches you want to get rid of. These items will change regularly and you will sometimes get rare items which may be difficult to obtain in the future.
Spend Nintendo Gold Points and save money
You can spend your Gold Points in the Nintendo Switch eShop on just about anything, including full-price titles, discounted titles, and in-game purchases. You’ll still earn 5% off the price of points purchase, except when you buy things like Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions and items in free titles (you never earn points for these).
To redeem your points, find a game you wish to purchase and select the “Proceed to Purchase” button. On the next screen, select the “Use Points for Discount” button, then wait for the eShop to calculate your discount. By default, the eShop will use all your points.
You can tap on the point total and enter a number that works best for you if you want to spend less. If you know you have 300 points expiring this month, this is a great way to take $3 off your purchase price and cash out the rest.
Getting the most out of your Switch
If it’s been a while since you’ve had your console, check out our Switch beginner’s guide to get to grips with Nintendo’s ecosystem and learn how to save money on Switch games.
If you’re wondering what to play next, we’ve also got a list of our best Switch games.