Pokémon GO: All the XP

A few months ago, MT wrote a great article on Stardust called All the Stardust. Building on the framework she established, I’m presenting this companion piece on XP. 

Experience Points, XP, drive a trainer’s level within Pokémon GO. (I know, I know, I’m going to have to edit that statement pretty soon, but for now, it is still true.) In my own quest to “be the best there ever was,” I started in July 2016, rose to level 26, and took a 2.5-year break. Evolving all those pidgeys to achieve new levels just wasn’t thrilling for me anymore. When I returned to the game in June 2019, I was amazed at all the ways I could acquire XP to level up.

I’m going to look at all the ways you can earn XP and talk about how to maximize your efforts.

XP - All the ways to obtain

  • Catching Pokémon
  • Evolving Pokémon 
  • Spinning Pokéstops/Gyms  
  • Feeding Gym Defenders
  • Sending Gifts
  • Hatching Eggs
  • Raids
  • Field/Special Research Tasks
  • Events
  • Leveling Up Friendships


XP Boosters

  • Lucky Egg

Amounts Gained per each method

  • 100 XP per Pokémon caught.
  • +500 XP per new Pokémon caught.
  • +500 XP for each Daily Catch Bonus.
  • +2,000 XP for the 7-day Weekly Catch Bonus.

Enhanced Catching

  • +10 XP per Pokémon caught with a curveball.
  • +10 XP per Pokémon caught with a nice throw.
  • +50 XP per Pokémon caught with a great throw.
  • +100 XP per Pokémon caught with an excellent throw.
  • +50 XP per Pokémon caught on the first throw.
  • +10 XP per Pokémon caught with a curveball
  • +100 XP per 100th Pokémon of a species caught

Failed Catching

  • 25 XP per Pokémon that runs away.
  • 500 XP per Pokémon evolved.
  • +500 XP per new Pokémon evolved.
  • 50 XP per Pokéstop spun.
  • 250 XP per new Pokéstop spun.
  • 500 XP for each Daily Spin Bonus.
  • 2,000 XP for the 7-day Weekly Spin Bonus.
  • +25 XP per badge tier for spinning a gym.
  • +25% XP per badge tier for spinning a gym held by the same team.
  • 20 XP per Berry fed to a friendly Pokémon in a Gym.

    (Maximum 10 Pokémon, 10 Berries each, every 30 min for a total of 2,000 XP per half-hour without Lucky Egg)

  • 200 per Gift sent 
  • 100 Gifts per day (normally)
  • 200 XP per 2 KM Egg hatched.
  • 500 XP per 5/7 KM Egg hatched.
  • 1,000 XP per 10 KM Egg hatched.
  • 3,500 XP per Tier 1 Raid Boss beaten.
  • 5,000 XP per Tier 3 Raid Boss beaten.
  • 10,000 XP per Tier 5 Raid Boss beaten.
  • 10,000 XP per Mega Raid Boss beaten.

The amount of XP you get for research varies with each task. 

  • Field tasks change monthly and rarely reward XP directly, though you can get XP for catching the reward Pokémon.
  • Timed and Special research rarely reward XP directly for individual tasks. However, these research types have stage or page rewards that allow you to advance to the next page of the research line.  Those bulk rewards can often be upwards of 2,000 XP per page.

XP Events vary on amounts.

  • Community Days feature 3x XP catch bonus in the rewards rotation.
  • Spotlight Hours feature 2x XP catch bonus and 2x XP evolve bonus in the rewards rotation.
  • Special Raid Days, Themed Weekly events, Safari Zones, GO Fest, Anniversary events, etc. can each feature XP bonuses as well.


  • 3,000 XP to reach Good Friend status with another trainer.
  • 10,000 XP to reach Great Friend status with another trainer.
  • 50,000 XP to reach Ultra Friend status with another trainer.
  • 100,000 XP to reach Best Friend status with another trainer.

Lucky Egg: Each Lucky Egg will last a total of 30min and give you 2x the amount of XP based on the method of obtaining it.

Fastest Way to Gain XP

There is no question that the fastest way to gain XP is to level up friendships to Ultra or Best while using a lucky egg. In fact, this method has proven so effective at gaining XP and helping trainers achieve new levels in the game, Niantic recently announced that XP will no longer be the only determining factor to achieving trainer levels above 40. (More details to come on that later in the year.)


Tips for getting the absolute most XP at a time include:
  • Lucky Egg: be sure to use your Lucky Eggs during events, raid trains, friendship boosting, or any time you’re going to be very active in the game.
  • Stack Research Encounters: Remember to stack research encounters for events that give x2 or x3 the amount of XP while using a Lucky Egg. You don’t have to catch that Pokémon when you claim the task!
  • Pokémon GO Plus : If you have a device, run it. It can definitely help catch Pokémon while you are manually catching, especially in high-density areas. These are great assistants during Spotlight Hours and Community Days. Just be sure to tap the Pokémon before the device engages it if you want to shiny check.
  • Sync Up Multiple Rewards: Syncing up your 7th -Day Catch Streak, 7th-Day Spin Streak, Adventure Sync Rewards, and stacked Research Tasks to claim them all on a Monday at 9:00 a.m. local time, with a Lucky Egg, can prove to be a HUGE payoff. The Today View really helps you keep an eye on your daily spin and catch streaks to line them up for this bonus.

Git Gud

I can’t over-emphasize the importance of being good at catching. Many of us fall into the trap of only being concerned about the quality of our throws when we have a limited number of balls, like after a raid. While that is a crucial time to make sure you are throwing the best curveballs you can, improving every single throw you make will yield higher XP gains over time.

Learn how to Set the Circle

  • Hold the ball while the target circle on the Pokemon gets smaller and smaller. Release when it is at the smallest size that you think you can still hit; hopefully, this will at least be Great, but you should eventually strive for Excellent.
  • Wait for the Pokémon to attack you. While the Pokémon is doing the attack animation, touch the ball again and prepare to throw.
  • Release the ball right when the attack animation is ending.
  • Use berries to make the Pokémon more likely to stay in the ball.  (Nanab berries are counter-intuitive to the setting the circle process since they will stop the Pokémon from attacking.)

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, most trainers know that the XP gains you get from leveling up friendship are unmatched.  I thought writing an article telling you that would be the equivalent of yelling “SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!” during your final History presentation. What I’ve tried to outline are the other activities within Pokémon GO that award XP.  Perhaps you knew about some of them; perhaps you didn’t know about others.

Keeping all these methods in mind while playing will give a boost to your XP total. The level of that boost will be determined by how hard you choose to grind them. Whether you’re already level 40, still chasing after more and more XP to compete with friends or to hit personal goals, or trying to make your way towards the big 20 million XP mark, I hope this article helped you get a sense of the best ways to grind XP. Did you learn any new ways to get XP that you didn’t know about before? How close are you to hitting your goals? Let us know, and have fun grinding!

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"Gatherer of facts." I love knowing stuff. I love redistributing that knowledge.

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