You could get Rare Candies on the Battle Royale facility with BPs, and you could get them by Mantine Surfing, and I was able to grind for a lot of Festival Points on the "Type Matchup" thing on Plaza. But I see your point.The bottle cap system was in place in SM aswell, I'm pretty sure?
True, but this relied on you being at *exact* level bounds. One level over and the whole method became useless (in particular, if you had a Pokemon at level 90+ for some reason) -- plus it needed those points you spend in the Plaza, which were effectively a finite resource because time limited event missions were the only reasonable way to get them in large quantities.
The point about GSC being worse is valid though.