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How to Get the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack for Free

Want access to classic Nintendo 64 and Genesis games, Animal Crossing DLC, and more without paying for the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack? The good news is there are some creative and legal ways to enjoy the upgraded membership perks at no cost.

This detailed guide will clearly explain multiple methods to get the Expansion Pack for free, so you can start playing iconic retro titles and enhance your New Horizons island without spending a dime. Keep reading to learn the secret tips and tricks from a fellow gaming fan!

Breaking Down the Expansion Pack Membership

Before jumping into the free access options, let‘s quickly review what‘s included with the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.

The Expansion Pack is a premium upgrade over the standard Nintendo Switch Online membership. Here‘s what you get with each:

Nintendo Switch Online – $19.99 per year

  • Online multiplayer gaming
  • Cloud save data backups
  • Exclusive offers and DLC
  • Library of NES and SNES games

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack – $49.99 per year


  • Library of Nintendo 64 games
  • Library of Sega Genesis games
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise DLC
  • Future paid DLC releases

So for an extra $30 annually, you gain access to the nostalgic Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis game libraries spanning popular series like The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Mario Kart, Sonic the Hedgehog and more.

You also get the massive Happy Home Paradise paid DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons which lets you design vacation homes and customize paradise islands. It‘s valued on its own at $24.99, so getting it as part of the bundled membership is a huge perk for AC fans.

In the future, any other paid DLC for Nintendo titles will be included too. So if you were planning to get the DLCs individually, the Expansion Pack can save you money in the long run.

But not everyone wants to pay $49.99 per year. Thankfully there are ways to get all the benefits without spending your hard-earned bells.

Tricks for Scoring a Free Expansion Pack Membership

Now let‘s dive into the creative legal methods for getting the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack without paying the subscription cost.

1. Split the Cost of a Family Membership

The easiest way to score access for free is to join a family membership.

For $79.99 annually, you can create a group plan for up to 8 Nintendo Accounts across multiple Switch systems. By fully utilizing all 8 slots, each person winds up only paying around $10 a year!

If you plan to play online with family and friends anyway, combining households into one membership is a no-brainer. You‘ll each have individual accounts to save your progression and customize settings, while sharing the plan‘s benefits.

Coordinate to get a full group together, have each person send you their portion of the total, then set up the family membership under your account. Send invite emails to have everyone join into the group.

With the family Expansion Pack plan, you‘re looking at less than $1 per month for access to online play, cloud backups, retro games, and bonus DLC. Now that‘s a steal!

2. Enter Contests and Giveaways

Another easy option is to enter contests and giveaways for chances to win free Expansion Pack codes.

Nintendo themselves frequently runs promotions through the My Nintendo rewards program that offers game downloads, DLC access, and subscription memberships as prizes.

By linking your Nintendo Account and completing missions related to new releases or game milestones, you can earn Platinum Points and entries into drawings for free download codes. It takes just a few minutes to sign up and participate.

There are also tons of other reputable Nintendo fan sites, gaming publications, and YouTube creators that hold regular giveaways with online membership codes up for grabs.

Follow gaming news outlets on Twitter and other social media to discover opportunities as they‘re announced. The more contests you enter, the better your odds of snagging a free year of all the Expansion Pack benefits.

3. Cash in My Nintendo Platinum Points

Speaking of My Nintendo, check your current Platinum Points balance – you may already have enough to redeem!

By playing Nintendo games and systems over the years, you‘ve likely accumulated Platinum Points. For example:

  • 100 Platinum Points for purchasing a new Nintendo Switch game
  • 50 Platinum Points for pre-ordering upcoming games
  • 300 Platinum Points for buying a Switch console

For 600 points, you can get a 7-day free trial code for the full Expansion Pack membership. If you have enough points stacked up across multiple game and system purchases, you may be able to redeem multiple weeks of access!

Log into your My Nintendo account on Nintendo‘s website or link it on your Switch to easily view your point balance and exchange them for whatever rewards are available, like the handy Expansion Pack free trial.

4. Receive as a Gift for Special Occasions

What better gift for a Nintendo fan than a paid membership to play even more iconic games?

Birthdays, holidays, graduations, new jobs, or major life events are perfect opportunities to ask for the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack as a gift.

Explain to family and friends how you‘d love access to revisit childhood Nintendo 64 favorites like Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Banjo-Kazooie anytime.

Noting how the membership includes the comprehensive Animal Crossing vacation home designer DLC makes it great for fans of the series too. Especially since the DLC alone retails for $24.99 – almost half the cost of the full Expansion Pack!

For grandparents, parents, siblings, spouses, and anyone else you feel comfortable asking, there‘s a good chance someone will be willing to purchase the upgraded membership as a special gift just for you.

5. Activate a 7-Day Free Trial

If you‘ve never subscribed to any level of Nintendo Switch Online before, be sure to activate the free 7-day trial available to new members.

This gives you full access to everything included with the Expansion Pack like online play, cloud backups, the entire classic games libraries, and the Animal Crossing DLC for a full week at zero cost.

The free trial lets you experience the benefits first-hand before the membership auto-renews at the standard $49.99 annual pricing.

Plus any gameplay progress is saved in the cloud, so you can pick up right where you left off if you do decide to continue after the trial ends. Don‘t miss out on this easy way to enjoy up to 7 days of free access!

6. Buy a Used Subscription Code

Here‘s a creative option that savvy gamers use – purchase a used Expansion Pack membership code online.

When redeeming any download code for the Nintendo eShop, it automatically links to the user‘s account. This means the code can only be used once.

However, many players end up with extra membership codes from bundles, gifts, or contests that they don‘t need. Instead of letting them go to waste, they sell or trade the unused codes.

There are reliable sites like Raise and CardCash that deal in verified secondhand gift cards and download codes. You can often find a year-long Expansion Pack membership code for under $30!

Just make sure the code is legit and unused by asking the seller for a photo of the original receipt or download card before purchasing. Then you can redeem it on your own Nintendo Account to get access for an entire year at a heavily discounted price.

Maximizing the Value of a Free Membership

If you‘re lucky enough to score a full Expansion Pack membership for free through one of the savvy methods above, here are some tips to get the most out of it:

Download and Try All the Retro Games

The libraries of N64 and Genesis games are a huge selling point. Be sure to browse and download each title that interests you to build a diverse retro collection.

Try out ones you missed back in the day and replay childhood favorites. Discovering new genres and franchises is part of the appeal.

Design Vacation Homes Regularly

Don‘t let the Happy Home Paradise DLC go to waste! Spend time each week customizing vacation homes to unlock special items, learn advanced design techniques, and collaborate with characters.

Revisit Animal Crossing: New Horizons

If you‘ve taken a break from your island, the DLC adds fresh motivation and content to dive back in. Explore all the new features and creativity options you can now access.

Set a Reminder to Cancel

To avoid surprise auto-renewal charges, make a calendar reminder to cancel at least 48 hours before your free membership expires. You can always resubscribe later if you choose.

Coordinate a Full Family Group

If sharing a family plan, stay in touch with the others to keep all 8 member slots filled so costs stay evenly split. Replace anyone who drops out.

Bookmark the Classic Games Library

Add the N64 and Genesis games catalog to your Nintendo Switch bookmarks so you can quickly access the entire retro collection from your home screen.

Try Out Modem Play Features

The online multiplayer options let you re-experience classic local co-op and competitive gameplay with friends online. Try out the recently-added modem play features for Mario Kart 64, Mario Golf, and more.

Provide Feedback via Surveys

Keep an eye out for occasional Nintendo user surveys about the Expansion Pack. Providing feedback helps influence what existing and upcoming games get added.

Following these tips will ensure you fully capitalize on the benefits and features included with the Expansion Pack membership.

Expansion Pack vs. Regular Membership Comparison

To recap the key differences:

MembershipNintendo Switch OnlineNintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
Price$19.99 per year$49.99 per year
GamesNES & SNESNES, SNES, N64 & Genesis
DLCBasic offersAnimal Crossing Happy Home Paradise
Cloud SavesYesYes
Online MultiplayerYesYes

Reviewing this breakdown shows the Expansion Pack is ideal for players invested in Animal Crossing and interested in the legacy Nintendo and Sega games. Casual gamers may be satisfied saving money with the basic membership.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about getting the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack for free:

How long do free trial codes last?

The free Expansion Pack trial codes typically last 7 days. Some promotional trials may last between 14-30 days.

What happens when my free trial ends?

Your membership will automatically expire. It will revert to a standard online membership if you don‘t cancel the auto-renewal.

Can I stack multiple membership codes?

Yes! You can redeem extra membership codes to add time past your current expiration date.

Is there still an annual membership option?

At this time, the Expansion Pack is only offered as an $49.99 yearly subscription, without monthly plans.

Can I get a refund for my subscription?

Refunds are not provided for paid subscriptions, but you can cancel auto-renewal at any time to prevent being charged again when your term expires.

Will my cloud save data and gameplay progress be saved if my membership lapses?

Yes, all save data and unlocked content will remain accessible if you resubscribe at a later time.

Don‘t Miss Out on the Perks!

As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I wanted to let you in on all these creative methods for accessing the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack benefits completely free.

With its libraries of iconic N64 and Genesis games from our childhood, plus the ability to design vacation homes in Animal Crossing, the Expansion Pack offers tremendous nostalgic value.

Hopefully the tips in this guide help you get to enjoy it without spending a dime. Because why pay full price when a little ingenuity can let you play all the extra retro titles and DLC you want?

Have fun revisiting Nintendo 64 favorites like Super Mario 64, Mario Kart, StarFox, and Ocarina of Time. Then contrast the experience with the impressive Sega Genesis library including Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, and Earthworm Jim.

And dive deeper into the relaxing world of Animal Crossing by designing vacation homes and fully utilizing the Happy Home Paradise DLC. The opportunities are endless with the Expansion Pack!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.