If you have a Nintendo Switch, you probably have Nintendo Points waiting for you to use them. You can use them to save money and earn physical or digital rewards, but you have to act fast or you lose.
What are Nintendo Points?
Nintendo Points are bonuses earned 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 the totals for each by signing in to My Nintendo.
Platinum Points are earned as a reward without the need to purchase anything. This may include entering 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 missions.
Gold Points are earned by purchasing games, both physical cartridges and digital sales, on Nintendo eShop. For digital purchases, you’ll earn 5% of your purchase back in points, so spending $15 on a game will earn you 75 points.
For physical purchases, you’ll only earn 1% back on the retail price. We tested this on a copy of switch sports, which earned us around 56 points (at least in Australia). Nintendo says you’ll get “1% of the non-discounted Nintendo eShop price of that game.”
How to Claim Nintendo Platinum Points
First, you’ll need to sign up for a My Nintendo account, and then link your standard Nintendo account (yes, the Nintendo account system is a mess). Once you’re 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 like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, fire emblem heroesY Super Mario Run. At the bottom of the list, you’ll see a “Nintendo Services” section that provides a quick way to earn points. Some easy tasks include linking your Facebook and Twitter accounts or logging in (weekly) on a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS.
You’ll also earn points for subscribing to 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,” and 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 you purchase a game, requesting feedback or a review of a game. Completing this will earn you a code that 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 releases.
How to Claim Nintendo Gold Points
Earning gold points is much easier because it’s so simple. Every time you buy a game on the eShop, you’ll earn 5% of your total purchase. These points will be automatically deposited into your Nintendo Account and can be spent immediately once your purchase is complete.
You will need to manually claim any physical titles, and there are some restrictions other than the 1% point reward. For starters, you only have 12 months from when you first 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.
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 in your Switch and scroll the title on the home screen. Press the plus “+” button on your controller, then scroll down to the “Program My Nintendo Rewards” button in the sidebar. Select “Earn Gold Points” on the right of the screen and wait.
Nintendo will then ask which user wants to receive the points.
You will then need to use the “Earn points for this software” option before going through a final verification by Nintendo before the points are added to your account.
Points will be immediately available to spend in the eShop. You may not spend points redeemed from physical versions of games on physical games in the real world.
RELATED: What is included with a Nintendo Switch online subscription?
Your Nintendo Points Will Expire
Nintendo Platinum Points will expire six months after you have claimed them. Gold Points will expire 12 months after you have claimed them. They don’t all expire at once, 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 you earn them. That way, you’ll save money on titles and ensure your points don’t go to waste. The same goes for platinum rewards.
Spend platinum points on physical and digital items
To view a list of My Nintendo rewards, sign 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 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, key chains, and enamel pins. Spending points effectively makes the item free, but you’ll need to pay the postage.
You can stack multiple items and pay for a single round of shipping if you have a lot of items you want to get rid of. These items will change regularly and occasionally you will get some rare things that may be hard to get 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-priced titles, discounted titles, and in-game purchases. You’ll still earn 5% of the purchase price in points, except when you buy things like Nintendo Switch Online memberships and items in free titles (you never earn points for these).
To use your points, find a game 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 e-store to calculate your discount. By default, the e-store will use all of your points.
You can tap on the total points and enter a number you’re most happy with if you want to spend less. If you know you have 300 points due this month, this is a great way to take $3 off your purchase price and deposit the rest.
How to get the most out of your switch
If you haven’t had your console for a long time, check out our Switch beginner’s guide to get up to speed with the Nintendo 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.