From ride-sharing services and airlines to credit cards, rewards programs are all the rage today. Google is now bringing Play Points to the United States after its launch in Japan and South Korea.
You can receive Play Points for app IAP, subscription, video, TV show, book, audiobook, and purchases of music after you opt-in. Downloading free apps will earn some points while there’s a “Weekly Prize” that nets you free points at higher levels.
How many points you receive per dollar depends on whether you are at the rate of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. You move to a dollar netting you 1.1, 1.2, or 1.4 points from $1= 1 point. Occasionally, game events will allow you to get more through “special earn rates,” such as spending $1 on apps or movies and collecting more return points.
Most people will be interested in getting back Play Store credit as far as redeeming is concerned. You will also be able to buy items in the game, with some developers offering goods that can only be bought through Play Points. The ability to donate directly to charities and non-profits such as Doctors Without Borders USA, Save the Children and the United States World Food Program is remarkable.
All of this can be managed via a new “Play Points” page accessible from the navigation drawer of Google Play. The top-right corner shows the total points along with the current rank. There are three “Earn,” “Use,” and “Perks” tabs / feeds. App listings elsewhere in Play identify when you can earn additional points from free apps, while payment confirmation sheets list how much you’re going to score for each purchase.
Talking with Google before the launch, it’s obvious they see Play Points as a way to “thank users for choosing Play.” Like any other rewards program, you can optimize and maximize to gain as many points as possible. However, this is likely to exist in the background for large swaths of users, and Google is totally happy with that being the case.
That said, Google tells us that the service is “very well” with “engaged” Japanese and South Korean customers. By bringing over stateside, the company has made sure that partnerships are established in which users will find value.
The Play Points program starts rolling out today and by the end of this week will be available to everyone in the US. Education and supervised Google accounts will not be eligible to join through Family Link.