Google Play PointsSource: Google

What you need to know

  • Play Points is a free program that rewards you for just about everything you do on Google Play.
  • Points can be earned for buying apps, media, and in-app purchases, but also installing free apps.
  • Redemption options include in-app content and Google Play credit to spend anywhere.

It feels like we all participate in dozens of different rewards or loyalty programs, so why not add one more? Google Play is expanding its Play Points program to the U.S. after a successful run in Japan and South Korea, and it's really a win-win for everyone involved.

You'll get points for just about everything you do on Google Play, without jumping through any hoops.

Anyone can sign up for Play Points in a couple taps, and there's no charge or obligation whatsoever to do so. But once you sign up, you'll start earning Play Points for things you are already doing across Google Play: buying apps, renting movies, making in-app purchases and more. Typically you'll earn a point here or there for each dollar spent, but Google will also rotate through bonus categories where you'll get extra points for certain categories, apps, or in-app purchases. For example there could be a week where you'll get 3x points on movie purchases, or a month where you get 5x points on in-app purchases in a specific game.

You'll also get points in some cases for things that don't cost you anything, like trying out a new free game or app. Just install the app, and pick up some free points. There are also four tiers of participation, from bronze to platinum, where you get extra bonus points for everything you do, so it can really rack up.

Google Play PointsSource: Google

There isn't any downside to signing up for Play Points — it's free money.

So it's easy to get points without much thought — but why do you want these points? Well, they can be converted directly into things that would normally cost you money in the Play Store. You can convert your points into Google Play credit and spend it just as though you had a credit card on file. Some apps and games will also offer exclusive in-app purchases that can only be purchased with Play Points, which is a neat little incentive to get people to try the program.

If you don't feel you need to chase down Play Store credit $1 or $5 at a time, you can also choose to instead spend your points on supporting charitable causes. Google says Doctors Without Borders USA, Save the Children and the World Food Program USA are the first participants you'll be able to donate to.

Like most rewards programs, there really isn't any downside to signing up for Play Points — particularly considering you're already getting all of your apps and games from the Play Store in the first place. You can sign up for Play Points in the coming week right in the Play Store — you'll see it show up under Play Pass in the side bar.