Jun 11, 2018

Expanding Your Points Collection Game in Japan

(This is the second part of the series of posts on making the most of points collection in Japan. Please read the first part to give you an idea of how to start your points collection game, should you be interested.)

In the previous post I introduced the T-point, the point system of Culture Convenience Club, Ltd. We talked about the usual ways of collecting them - which are through their participating establishments and through using Yahoo! Japan sites. Now, in this article we will look into ways of expanding your points collection game; in other words, how you can earn several points simultaneously with just one transaction and consolidate them later on. 

A: Point Service Websites

Aside from using the Yahoo! Japan and the official T-point participating establishments, there are other ways you can further expand your points collection game here in Japan. One of which is by using point service websites for activities such as shopping, credit card applications, ticket and/or hotel reservations. These websites give out points mainly as marketing tools.

Japan's long-time obsession with point systems at most establishments, combined with a strong e-commerce market (currently the 4th largest in the world), has led to a prevalence of online point offering systems. The Japan Internet Point Council or JIPC, a non-profit organization of internet point service providers, has more than 10 participating companies at the moment, with each company operating at least 2 point service websites. Some examples of these websites are:

1. Point Exchange, operated by Voyage Marketing, Inc.;

2. Point Income, operated by Fivegate, Inc.; and

3. Warau, by Open Smile, Inc.

Expanding Your Points Collection Game in Japan photo

To use, you first have to create an account with a point service website of your choice (for T-point I use Warau because of its ease of exchange). Once done, you can now click on the shopping site link where you would like to shop. For example, if you would like to shop at Lohaco, click on the Lohaco link on the Warau home page and shop as usual. Don't go straight to the Lohaco site; otherwise the Warau points will not be credited to your account.

You may use multiple websites simultaneously (i.e., click on the Yahoo! Shopping link from both Point Income and Warau sites) to collect points faster, although in my experience the cookies don't work all the time.

B: Mobile Applications 

Another way of expanding your point collection is by using mobile phone applications that would provide points every time you shop (online or in a physical shop), or give points for every type of credit card or electronic money transaction.

There are quite a number of mobile applications in the Japanese market that provide points by sending images of your shopping receipts. Two of these types are the CODE app and the Recipo (レシポ) app. The CODE app allows you to collect points on any shopping purchase while the Recipo app provides points only for purchase of selected items.

The CRECO app, on the other hand, works by giving points for every credit card transaction, be it through swiping or through regular payments such as utilities and gym memberships. So yes, you may collect points from paying your electric bill and even your pension (in case you missed, you may pay for your pension via credit card).

Expanding Your Points Collection Game in Japan photo

For the applications mentioned, aside from their respective accounts you will also have to open an account with the point service site Point Exchange or PeX. These apps do not allow direct exchange to T-point at the moment (only to Amazon Japan gift cards and Waon points), so you will need your PeX account to exchange your mobile app points to, before you can exchange your PeX points to T-point.

C: Reminders

At this point in your point collection journey or game, you will discover that the points you collect from the websites and apps featured can also be exchanged to a lot of other point systems like Rakuten or Ponta, to Amazon or iTunes gift cards, to frequent flyer miles, or even directly to cash (deposited to your bank account). This whole game can get really addictive, so I believe some important reminders are in order.

As you get the hang of collecting points, you might find yourself spending more than usual just to be able to collect those precious points. Or, you may tend to buy products that you don't really need - at least not right away. Be very careful! Spend only on what you need, because point collection can be addicting.

Also, this whole process could be tedious and points will take time to accumulate before it reaches the minimum amount required for exchange. So, patience is key. Don't worry; it’s worth it. 



A teacher by profession, yet always a student of life. Currently living in Kanto, but in love with Kyushu.