Rakuten, formerly known as eBates is one of the most underrated tools in savvy consumerism. The platform allows you to earn cash back from almost every online purchase, in addition to what you’d typically earn from a credit card.
The platform now goes even further, rewarding you with Amex Points instead of cash, if you’d like. For new signups onto the Rakuten platform, which is of course free to join, new members can now earn 3,000 Amex Points after signing up and spending $25 at any of the 1,000s of stores on the platform.
Rakuten typically offers a 1,500 point welcome bonus for new members, but for a limited time it’s offering double, with a 3,000 point welcome. You simply link your accounts, and can choose to earn American Express Membership Rewards Points (US Only) instead of cash back. What’s cool is that you get the same rate back in points that you would cash.
If, for example, Adidas or a Wine.com was offering 10% cash back, you could instead take 10 Amex Points per dollar spent. To trigger this intro bonus, you just need to spend $25 or more within 90 days of signing up, at any of the thousands of stores you usually shop at, by clicking through from Rakuten first. There’s absolutely no reason not to, since prices are the same, and you win for making the extra click.
Why does Rakuten give you money or points, when you pay the same price?
Simple: the internet is based on commerce, and directing people from place to place. Merchants from clothing to home improvement, wine, sporting goods and travel brands all pay Rakuten a fee for sending you from their site to the brand, and Rakuten cuts members in on the fee, either in Amex Points or cash.
That first purchase will trigger 3,000 bonus Amex Points in addition to whatever else you earn. If for example Marriott was offering 3% back, or 3X Amex Points, and you spent $1000 you’d be earning 3,000 points plus, 3,000 points for the purchase, plus whatever you’d typically earn from your credit card, plus the Marriott Bonvoy Points when you stay.
So… rakuten sign up bonus + standard bonus + credit card earning + points from travel. Tasty…
For those who prefer cold hard cash to ice cold points, you can get $10 instead, when you sign up and spend $25. GSTP values 3,000 Amex Points more favorably than $10 cash, but cash is cash. Once signed up, when you refer people to the Rakuten platform, you get $25 when they spend $25 or more through your sign up link. It can be a win-win for all.