Covid-Related Bonuses Return to Pokemon Go

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Article by Brian Tien

As the northern hemisphere returns to the colder months of the year, Niantic has made the choice to return the previously instated bonuses that were established early in the year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With social distancing requirements and travel restrictions in place across much of the United States, to say nothing of the globe as a whole, Pokemon Go was in rather a poor position at the start of the pandemic's spread due to its nature as a game that rewards travel first and foremost. The result of this poor mix was the cancelation of several events, including the much anticipated Aeroblast Lugia raids that we were just recently able to take advantage of. 

In order to combat this and breathe new life into a game held captive, Niantic implemented several consolation bonuses in order to make the game easier for many of us to play. And now these bonuses have returned in order to once again alleviate some of the burden that players may face as Covid-19 cases rise once again. These bonuses include:

  • Incubators have had their distance requirements reduced
  • The distance at which players are able to initiate trades has been increased
  • The effectiveness of Incense has been increased
  • Buddy Pokemon will now bring gifts when you're running low

We do not currently know how long these bonuses will last, but it is confirmed that they will continue into June of 2021, and that we will be given at minimum a one month warning before they come to an end.

As always; stay safe while playing! The Pokemon Go Community has done great things and survived this pandemic to this point, so we can continue doing so until this thing is finally under control!

Full Announcement

Full Text

Update 11/19/20: To continue adapting to the changing global environment, and in response to the situation becoming more difficult for many of our players, we are returning the following bonuses to the game beginning Thursday, November 19, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. PST:

  • Incense effectiveness will be increased, now attracting Pokémon to you more often.
  • Your Buddy Pokémon will now bring you more Gifts each day, up to five gifts at once and up to three times a day.

These bonuses are temporary, but they will remain in the game at minimum through June 2021. We’ll give at least one month’s notice before they change.

Also look out for the following bonuses to show up during select upcoming events, making sure they have components that can safely be played regardless of your situation:

  • Incubator distance reduction
  • Trade distance increases
  • 1 PokéCoin bundles
  • And more


Over the past few months, we’ve been making temporary changes to Pokémon GO to adapt to the changing global environment. Some of these changes will remain implemented for the foreseeable future, such as the ability to raid remotely, changes to the GO Battle League, and the increased distance at which you can spin Photo Discs at Gyms and PokéStops. We thank you for all your feedback.

The following temporary bonuses will remain to improve Pokémon GO’s overall gameplay experience.

  • The maximum number of Gifts you can carry in your Item Bag at a time will remain at 20.
  • You will continue to receive three times the Stardust and XP for your first Pokémon catch of the day.
  • Incense duration will remain at 60 minutes.

When possible, people are generally encouraged to spend time outside, go on walks, and exercise for their mental and physical health—all while social distancing and abiding by other health and safety recommendations. Starting Thursday, October 1, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PDT (GMT −7), the following temporary bonuses will be modified.

  • Hatch Distance will return to normal for Eggs.
  • The increased effectiveness of Incense will now apply only while walking.
  • Your Buddy Pokémon will now bring you Gifts only when you have nearly run out. This will happen only once per day.
  • You will still have a higher chance of getting a Gift when you spin a PokéStop. However, you won’t be guaranteed to get a Gift.

Incubators will be included in more boxes in the in-game shop.

For a summary of active bonuses, keep your eye on the “Special bonuses” section of the Today View! We will continue to monitor these active bonuses and will provide updates as necessary.

Additionally, we’re continuously monitoring the ever-evolving global situation and are working hard to reschedule previously planned live events to 2021. Health and safety are of the utmost importance. Please stay tuned to our official channels for any rescheduling updates.

Please be aware of your surroundings and follow guidelines from local health authorities when playing Pokémon GO. Upcoming events are subject to change. Be sure to follow us on social media, opt in to receiving push notifications, and subscribe to our emails to stay updated. For the latest on in-game events and feature updates, be sure to check this help center article.

—The Pokémon GO team

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About the Author(s)

Gamepress writer with a focus on theorycrafting and gameplay optimization with a background in business management and freelance writing.  A bit of a hermit, but also an outdoors enthusiast who loves cycling and hiking. Long-time Gamepress fan who is very proud to be a part of the team.