Video Games

The Fastest Ways to Earn Gold in Red Dead Online in 2020

Red Dead Redemption 2 Title Screen

Gold is Red Dead Redemption 2‘s premium currency. You can spend it to customize your weapons, buy exclusive clothing, bypass the level restrictions of certain items, or pay your way into Red Dead Online‘s roles (or jobs). Simply put, gold is nice to have if you play a lot of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Gold comes in two varieties: gold nuggets and gold bars. Really, just think of those things as cents and dollars. 100 gold nuggets is a gold bar, and the game will display those values as dollars and cents anyway. For example, 58.18 means you have 58 gold bars and 18 gold nuggets. If you earn 99 gold nuggets on top of that the total would read 59.18 (rather than 58.108). In fact, I often find myself referring to gold as $59.18 worth of gold, though that’s technically not correct.

Anyway, you’re probably here because you want to earn the stuff, not because you care about the math at all, so let’s talk about earning gold bars in Red Dead Online. Here is every single way you can earn gold bars and gold nuggets in Red Dead Redemption 2, ranked from most effective to least effective.

1. Buy gold with real money

Red Dead Online Gold

Yes, as a premium currency, gold bars can be purchased with real money. The exchange rate isn’t great, but you will occasionally find discounts that let you get more mileage out of every dollar spent.

That means the absolute fastest way to earn gold bars in Red Dead Online is to buy them. Fortunately, there are other ways to earn them by just playing the game.

2. Do your daily challenges consistantly

Red Dead Redemption 2 Daily Challenges

If you play Red Dead Online every day, you need to be checking your daily challenge list and completing as many of these challenges as you can. If you’re playing on PS4, you can check your dailies by pressing left on the D-pad, then going to the Daily Challenges option.

These challenges can be anything from visiting a specific location on the map, to getting kills with specific weapons in PvP, to collecting a specific type of herb or killing a specific type of animal. Some are incredibly easy, while others can be a bit difficult (and once in a while, you’ll find one that feels impossible).

As a new player, you’ll have seven dailies available each day (they reset at 1am Central). Every one of these challenges pays 20 gold nuggets, or $0.20 in gold. Plus you get a 60-nugget bonus for completing all seven.

On top of that, completing dailies several days in a row will eventually add a multiplier. After seven days, you’ll have a 1.5x multiplier, which makes each daily worth 30 gold nuggets, and the bonus for completing all seven becomes 90 gold nuggets. After 14 days, there’s a 2x multiplier, and after 21 days there’s a 2.5x multiplier. Yes, you’ll be earning half a gold bar per daily challenge at that point. (Beyond that, you will earn treasure maps for continuing the streak.)

And here’s the real kicker: You only have to complete one challenge in a day to keep the streak going. As long as you log in for 20 minutes or so per day, this is very doable, even on days when you don’t have a ton of time to play the game.

But it doesn’t end there, my friend. Once you buy into any of the roles, you can unlock additional challenges based on that role. If you master all of the game’s roles, you will unlock 12 additional daily challenges for a total of 19. There’s no additional bonus for completing all ten of the role-based challenge (on top of the 20 gold nuggets per challenge), but the streak multiplier does affect these payouts as well (the role-based challenges also count toward your streak). Completing all 19 challenges with a 2.5x multiplier will allow you to earn 11 gold bars per day.

If you play Red Dead Online every day, even if it’s only for short durations, you should be earning gold at a remarkable clip by the time you’re three weeks into the game.

3. Complete Stranger Missions and Bounty Hunts

Red Dead Redemption 2 Bounty Hunter

You will get tiny payouts of gold for completing Stranger Missions and Bounty Hunts (as well as random free roam events). No matter the mission, you will get a gold payout once you complete it. However, you can increase your gold payout by focusing on the right missions, and by running down the clock (as counterintuitive as that may sound).

To be honest, this is not my preferred method of making gold, as I don’t find repeating the same missions over and over again to be very enjoyable, no matter the reward. Now, I’m not bagging on anyone who likes to play this way — if that’s your thing, go for it! I’m just saying that I have more fun when I do other things in Red Dead Online (such as working on the Trader role).

Thankfully, YouTuber TagBackTV created a great guide to maximizing the effectiveness of Stranger Missions and Bounty Hunts for those specifically looking to earn as much gold as possible. (This saves me hours of experimenting with game modes that I don’t particularly enjoy, so hooray for TagBackTV!)

The section about stranger missions begins at about 4:00.

5. Use treasure maps to find cash and gold

Red Dead Redemption 2 Treasure Map

Treasure maps are a great source of income in Red Dead Online, though it takes a little bit of luck to make the most of them. There are three main ways to get treasure maps:

  1. You will earn a treasure map every 5 levels (so when you hit level 5, 10, 15, etc.) The maps will be available to be picked up at the post office or at your camp as soon as you level up to a multiple of 5.
  2. You can occasionally loot them off bodies. Revenue agents seem the most likely to drop them (at least, in my experience), though human enemies of all types will drop them from time to time. I’m told that enemies in ambushes and hideouts have the highest chance of dropping treasure maps, though I haven’t confirmed this for myself quite yet.
  3. You can encounter treasure hunters in the wild. If you find one, you can either buy the treasure map off of them, or simply murder them and loot the map.

Once you have a treasure map, you can access it by opening your satchel (holding right on the D-pad if you’re on PS4). Once your character reads it, a yellow smudge will appear on the world map. Travel to that spot to begin your treasure hunt.

Polygon has already created a pretty decent guide to how treasure hunting works, so I won’t repeat all of that info here. If you’re struggling to figure out treasure hunting, here’s a link to that article.

Once you find the treasure, you’ll be rewarded with a chunk of cash, some gold, and maybe even an item like a healing tonic. The numbers are random, so sometimes you’ll earn a ton of gold, while other times you’ll earn a pretty skimpy amount. If you let your maps pile up, though, you can spend several hours hunting treasure, adding up to a pretty impressive payday.

4. Reset your awards as often as you can

Red Dead Redemption 2 Awards

On top of daily challenges, there are persistent Awards you can win over time. Go to your pause menu, select Progress, then select Awards to see a list of Awards arranged by category.

By completing the top tier of an Award, you will earn a gold belt buckle (you can equip it on your character if you want to show it off). However, that’s not the only reward — you can also earn gold nuggets by completing, and then resetting, your Awards.

Once you’ve completed the final tier of an Award, you have the option of resetting that award (on PS4, you do so by holding the square button). That puts a roman numeral on the award box, then resets the progress of that award back to 0 (you will keep your belt buckle, though). If you reset an award, you will earn 40 gold nuggets (or $0.40 worth of gold).

Note that not every Award can be reset. If you complete an Award that cannot be reset, there will be a message at the bottom of your screen that says: “cannot reset this Award.”

If you’re completing Awards (and you should be simply by playing the game), you should keep an eye on your Awards page and reset them as soon as possible so you can start working toward completing it again. Yes, you can reset each qualifying Award up to ten times, which makes them a great way to earn gold nuggets over time.

6. Compete in PvP events

Red Dead Redemption 2 PvP

If you enjoy Red Dead Redemption 2‘s PvP game modes, you can earn a constant trickle of gold by competing in them. And, if you choose the Featured Series events, you will earn double XP all the while.

Honestly, this is almost certainly the slowest way to earn gold in the game. Still, it will earn you a steady payout of gold nuggets if you’re persistent, and it’s occasionally a decent way to spend some free time in Red Dead Online. (If my math is correct — and it most likely isn’t — you could earn 80 to 96 gold nuggets per hour.)

7. Wait for Rockstar to hand out free gold

Red Dead Redemption 2 Social Club

Every now and then, Rockstar tries to entice players into Red Dead Online by offering free gold payouts simply for logging into the game. It’s a nice gesture, and I’ll take any gold I can in this game. However, it’s not a reliable way to earn gold in the game, since it’s purely reliant on the whims of Rockstar’s marketing team.

Additionally, Rockstar sometimes offers discounts on your role buy-ins, which doesn’t help you acquire more gold, but it does help you spend less of it. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t recommend waiting for the next discount to buy into a role, since roles are going to be the best way to earn tons of cash.

Josh Wirtanen owns this place and has opinions about pretty much everything. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuajwirtanen.