If you own a Nintendo Switch, you probably have Nintendo Points sitting around just waiting to be used. You can use them to save money and get physical or digital rewards, but you need to act quickly or you’ll lose out.
What Are Nintendo Points?
Nintendo Points are bonuses accrued by spending money on both physical and digital Nintendo titles. There are two different types of points: platinum points and gold points. You can see your totals of each by logging in to My Nintendo.
Platinum points are earned as rewards without the need to purchase anything. This may include participating in a tournament, playing one of Nintendo’s mobile games, or providing feedback on 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 buying games, both physical cartridges and digital sales in the Nintendo eShop. For digital purchases, you will earn 5% of your purchase back in points, so spending $15 on a game will net you 75 points.
For physical purchases, you’ll only get 1% back on the retail price. We tested this on a copy of Switch Sports, which earned us around 56 points (in Australia, at least). Nintendo says that you’ll get “1% of the undiscounted Nintendo eShop price of that game.”
How to Claim Platinum Nintendo Points
First, you’ll need to register for a My Nintendo Account and then link your standard Nintendo account (yes, Nintendo’s account system is a hot mess). Once you’re logged in, use the Earn Points page to see all of the different “missions” you can complete in order to earn platinum points.
These include separate sections for mobile apps like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Super Mario Run. At the bottom of the list, you’ll see a “Nintendo Services” section which provides a quick way of earning points. Some easy tasks include linking your Facebook and Twitter accounts or signing in (weekly) on a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS.
You will also earn points for signing up for Nintendo newsletters, but you’ll have to input the code on the My Nintendo Rewards serial number page for the points to show up on your account.
Earn points directly on your Switch console by launching Nintendo Switch Online, selecting “Missions & Rewards,” then tapping on the “Mission Status” icon at the top of the screen. These tasks usually involve playing an online game, playing emulated games, trialing a game, and launching the Nintendo Switch Online app.
You may also receive an email follow-up from Nintendo after purchasing a game, asking for feedback or a review of a game. Completing this will net you a code that you can redeem for 30 points.
There are other ways to earn these points that show up from time to time, including minigames that appear sporadically on the My Nintendo Rewards website and new launches of services and mobile games.
How to Claim Gold Nintendo Points
Earning gold points is a lot easier in that it’s very straightforward. Every time you buy a game in the eShop, you will earn 5% of your purchase total. These points will be automatically deposited into your Nintendo account, and you’ll be able to spend them right away once your purchase has been completed.
You’ll need to manually claim any physical titles, and there are some restrictions in place on top of the 1% points bounty. To start with, you only have 12 months since you first put the cartridge into your Switch to claim the points. Each cartridge can only be claimed once, so make sure you claim your games before lending them to someone else.
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 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” to the right of the screen and wait.
Nintendo will then ask which user wants to receive the points.
You’ll then need to use the “Earn Points for this Software” before passing one final check on Nintendo’s side before the points will be added to your account.
The points will then immediately be available to spend in the eShop. You can’t spend points redeemed from physical versions of games on physical games in the real world.
Your Nintendo Points Will Expire
Platinum Nintendo points will expire six months after you claimed them. Gold points will expire 12 months after you claimed them. They won’t all expire at once, but instead expired points will be deducted from your total.
You can check your current points balance by logging in to your My Nintendo account and then visiting the Point Expiry page under Menu > My Points > Expiry. You’ll see which points are expiring each month for the next six months.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to spend your points regularly. Ideally, try spending them at the same rate you earn them. That way you will save money on titles while ensuring that your points aren’t going to waste. The same is true of platinum rewards.
Spend Platinum Points on Digital and Physical Items
To see 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 wallpaper, and digital guides), and bonuses for older hardware like Nintendo 3DS themes.
Perhaps the best use for your Platinum points is physical merchandise from the My Nintendo Store. You can redeem your points for physical items like bags, lanyards, keychains, and enamel pins. Spending points effectively makes the item free, but you’ll need to pay postage.
You can stack multiple items and pay for a single round of postage if you happen to have a lot of points you want to get rid of. These items will change regularly, and occasionally you’ll get some rare things that can be hard to get hold of in the future.
Spend Gold Nintendo Points and Save Money
You can spend your Gold points in the Nintendo Switch eShop on just about anything, including full-priced titles, discounted titles, and in-game purchases. You’ll still earn 5% of the purchase price back in points, except when purchasing things like Nintendo Switch Online memberships and items in free-to-play titles (you never earn points for these).
To use your points, find a game that you want to purchase and select the “Proceed to Purchase” button. On the next screen select the “Use points for a discount” button, then wait for the eShop to calculate your discount. By default, the eShop will use all of your points.
You can tap on the points total and enter a number you’re happier with if you’d like to spend less. If you know you have 300 points expiring this month, this is a good way of taking $3 off your purchase price and banking the rest.
Getting the Most Out of Your Switch
If you’ve not had your console for long, check out our Switch beginner’s guide to get up to speed with Nintendo’s ecosystem, and learn how to save money on Switch games.
If you’re wondering what to play next, we’ve got a list of our top Switch games too.