How I’ve Earned $80 in Gift Cards By Playing Games on My Smartphone

how to make money on your phone
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For the last several years, I’ve been using a member loyalty program called mPLUS Rewards. I first discovered it on the Moviefone app and decided to try it out.

I like getting things for free (who doesn’t?), but I was cautious. To my surprise, I was delighted to discover I could get free gift cards just for using Moviefone the way I normally would!

While the mPLUS Rewards process has changed over the years, here’s how the current program works.

What is mPLUS Rewards?

mPLUS Rewards is the new name for the company formerly known as mPOINTS. The transition is still relatively new, so you may find that not all app developers have changed the name they use.

The rewards program pays you in “mPLUS Points” for doing certain things in your favorite apps.

You can redeem these points for gift cards to retailers like IHOP, Walmart and Starbucks, or for physical rewards, like a Kindle Fire, lululemon headband and mPLUS Rewards T-shirts. You can also redeem points for sweepstakes entries; one entry will cost you 100 points.

Which Apps Offer mPLUS Rewards?

You can earn points through a lot of apps with this rewards program. Examples include Moviefone, The Weather Channel, Crackle, Daily for Craigslist, New England Patriots and NexTrack.

Some of them are highly addictive, like Wheel of Fortune, Hologram Projector and other “learn and earn” apps.

Note: Some apps are only available on one platform. For example, you’ll only earn points with some apps on Android and not Apple.

How to Earn mPLUS Points

You earn points for each “achievement,” such as opening a participating app (five points), checking into the app five times a week (10 points) or checking in seven days a week (25 points).

Every app offers different achievements and numbers of points. For example, one-question surveys generally pay five to 10 points each.

In Crackle, a free movie and TV app (think, free Netflix that pays you), achievements include watching a movie (25 points) or a TV show (15 points). Adding a TV show or movie to your list to watch later nets you 10 points.

On the other hand, games reward you based on what you do in them. For example, in Splat Da Bat (similar to Flappy Bird) you earn points for crashing into the stalagmites and stalactites (five points each, up to three times).

You can find and redeem your points under the Achievements tab in the mPLUS Rewards portal.

How to Get Started With mPLUS Rewards

You can create a free account by visiting the mPLUS Rewards portal through any participating app. You’ll usually find it under “settings” or in the menu.

You’ll be prompted to sign up with your Facebook account or email address. That’s it — you can start earning points!

It’s free to achieve points and redeem them. Anyone can join the program, but you must be at least 13 years old to enter the sweepstakes.

Navigating mPLUS Rewards in an App

If you have achievements, you’ll see a number on a gift box or mPLUS Rewards symbol. Under the profile picture icon, you’ll see your mPLUS Rewards level.

Your points are stored across all participating apps. The level is important only in that you get a few extra points for reaching each new one. Underneath that is your account information, including where to change your password and see past orders.

Back in the main portal is an ad for whatever promo mPLUS Rewards is running. Below are the Achievement and Rewards tabs. The Achievement tab lists what you can do to earn points. When you have achievements, you’ll see a number on the tab.

The Rewards section is where you spend your points, whether you choose Sweeps, Shop or Donate.

Under Sweeps, you can enter to win things like a Ninja blender, $300 Visa gift cards and a $200 Walmart card. Each entry costs 100 points.

Under the Donate tab, you can give points in increments of 100 to several different legitimate causes, including Ronald McDonald house, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Pencils of Promise and many more.

Occasionally, mPLUS Rewards puts out a poll asking what causes users want to donate to, and then featuring the winning charity.

Under the Shop tab, you’ll see gift cards, Roku, Kindle Fire, workout items and Karma cards. The gift cards change with the exception of Starbucks, Walmart and Amazon, which you’ll always see.

For most retailers, a $5 gift card will cost you 12,500 points, a $10 one costs 25,000 and a $25 card costs 62,500.

Amazon is the exception: You can also get a $1 gift card for 2,000 points or a $2 gift card for 5,000.

Redeeming mPLUS Points

To redeem, choose the desired rewards, click “redeem,” hit “yes,” and then type in the CAPTCHA code and your password.

If you redeem a physical reward, like a T-shirt, water bottle or Roku, the item will be shipped to you.

When you redeem your points for a gift card, you’ll get a link via email. If you don’t click the link after three days, you will be emailed reminders every few days until you do. Once you click it, you will receive a confirmation email from mPLUS Rewards and get your gift card code through your registered email three business days later.

Two great things: Gift cards never expire and you can sell them for cash on a gift card site!

I usually redeem points for Amazon, Starbucks and Walmart gift cards. Walmart will also consolidate your gift card codes onto a plastic gift card. Just tell the cashier you want to buy a gift card for the amount (i.e., buy a $5 card) and pay with your points card (tell them you are paying with a gift card).

The gift card redemption limits depend on the denomination of the gift card. For example, you can redeem a $5 gift card once a week, while you can only redeem a $25 card once a month.

If you don’t want to redeem your points for gift cards, you can choose to enter a sweepstakes. When you enter 20 times, you get a free $1 Amazon gift card.

Do mPLUS Points Expire?


mPLUS Rewards states points can expire after 90 days of inactivity, but I haven’t had this happen to me. To be safe, I recommend logging in and claiming an achievement at least once every 90 days.

Other mPLUS Rewards Tips

Here are a few other strategies I’ve tried and resources that have helped me make the most of mPLUS Rewards.

mPLUS Rewards Support

Facebook groups like mPOINTS Rockstars offer tips and tricks that can help you earn more points. The mPLUS Rewards Help Center is a good resource too.

If your account is suspended due to multiple users in your household, the company will contact you. Simply reply with the information it requests, and your household accounts will be reviewed and, if approved, unfrozen.

Sold Out Gift Cards

If you want a gift card that is currently sold out, wait a few days or check Crackle or The Weather Channel to see if they’ve been restocked. Amazon, Starbucks and Walmart gift cards sometimes don’t show up in the other apps.

As the program gets more popular, I’ve found that rewards are quickly replenished.

Earn More Points With mPLACES and mTHOUGHTS

To earn points more quickly, download the mPLUS Places app and get rewarded for checking in to your favorite places. Just last week, I redeemed points for a $10 Amazon card. I’m already back up to over 6,000 points, and it’s mostly due to this one app.

You have 25 check-ins available. You can also collect gift boxes every hour, and check in to each place once an hour. Different places have different check-ins, and most mom-and-pop shops don’t give points.

The values change every now and then, but you’ll usually earn a minimum of 10 points whenever you check in. This means you can earn at least 250 points a day if you check in to 25 places!

Some chain businesses offer 25, 30 or even 50 points for a check-in. Cricket Wireless is a sponsor and a check-in there is almost always worth more than 10 points. You can also tie your Cricket account to your mPLUS Rewards account and earn rewards for doing things like adding a line or, occasionally, paying your bill.

I recently learned about the mTHOUGHTS app, which gives you points for sharing your opinions.

I haven’t qualified for any surveys yet, but you can earn as many as 4,000 points for each survey you complete on mTHOUGHTS, so I’m hopeful!

Special Promotions

At different times of the year, mPLUS Rewards will offer extra points for certain tasks, like uploading your receipt for stuffing during November. You can also tweet from the app and participate in polls to earn points.

Is mPLUS Rewards Worth It?

Overall, I spend a few hours on mPLUS Rewards a week. Sometimes it’s five minutes playing a game, and sometimes it’s 30 minutes collecting achievements I’ve earned.

I really like the program, and my experience has been great. In the time I’ve been using it, I’ve earned $80 in gift cards, and my sister has earned about the same.

You’ll have to put a lot of time into it to get more out of it, but even five minutes a day will get you something, just not as quickly as if you spent more time on it.

Your Turn: Have you tried mPLUS Rewards? If so, what are some of the rewards you’ve claimed?

DeeAnn Lehman was raised in a penny-pinching home where hard work, frugal shopping and couponing was the norm. She is a freebie junkie who likes to find fun and interesting ways to make an extra buck.