Points are awarded based on this system:
- 5 points for your first check in at a venue
- 5 points for adding a new venue (and yes, you can still get points if you add them through the Foursquare website and then check in)
- 1 point per checkin, increasing by 1 point for each stop that day (i.e., 1 point for your first stop, 2 points for your second, etc.)
All points expire every Sunday at 11:59pm so every user starts the week in the same position. Your points are shown on a leaderboard that’s only accessible through the official mobile apps and the mobile website. You can choose to see the leaderboard for your friends or for everyone. The overall leaderboard shows the current points leaders among Foursquare’s million-plus users. Your friends leaderboard only shows your friends who have accumulated points at some during the week within 25 miles of your current location. If you travel to another city, your leaderboard will be different â€” or even empty â€” depending on which of your friends have checked in within 25 miles of that location.* There’s no way to see all of your friends on the same leaderboard.
The points system is easily gamed by users who check in to every single location they visit since points increase with each stop. For instance, I’ve seen users who walk to work check in to the park across from their apartment as they leave in the morning, the two parks they walk through to get there and then their office. They repeat the process when leaving to visit the coffee shop, at lunch and when heading home for the evening. Using this method, it’s easy to rack up 120-150 points per day, but adds little value to their friends or anyone else on the Foursquare system.
The only time points have ever been beneficial was last year when Pepsi pledged to donate 4 cents to CampInteractive for every point added to the New York City leaderboard (up to $10,000) during the week of December 7.
Foursquare will be phasing out the points system soon since it’s so easy to game and means very little to the overall gameplay anyway.
/Thanks to @ack154 for suggesting this post