New Rakuten Dining program: Earn 5% back (or 5x Amex MR) at restaurants

Oct 4, 2019

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If you like to eat out as much as I do, you may want to pay attention because Rakuten and Rewards Network have created a new program targeted to foodies.

Called Rakuten Dining, the new program offers an introductory 5% cash back on dining at more than 10,000 restaurants nationwide and is available on the Rakuten app. Even better, the 5% cash back is applied to your entire bill when you dine at a participating restaurant. You can link your credit card (more on that below) and pay at the restaurant.

Some of the thousands of restaurants include Buca di Beppo, Umami Burger, Fogo de Chao, Johnny Rockets, Gordon Biersch Brewery and Midici Pizza.

“This collaboration will drive more visits to restaurants and create immediate scale for Rakuten Dining and our everyday rewards program,” said Rakuten CEO Amit Patel in a statement.

Here’s how to link your card.

You will need to install the Rakuten App and sign in, or sign up if you don’t have an account. Go to “My Account” and tap “Add Credit Card,” then tap “Enable.” If you already have a credit card added to your account, skip those steps and tap “Enable.” Note that you won’t see the option to add restaurants if you don’t follow these steps. Also keep in mind that the app is currently only available for the iOS app.

If you don’t want cash back, you should know that new Rakuten (formerly Ebates) members can earn Amex Membership Rewards points. However, this points option is only available to new members who enrolled after the option to earn MR points was introduced earlier this year. If you want to earn Membership Rewards points (worth 2 cents each, according to TPG’s most recent valuations) you or someone in your household will need to create a new account through this link. Even better, if you’re signing up for the first time, you’ll earn 1,500 MR points after spending $25 within 90 days of becoming a member, worth $30.

The best thing about this deal is you’ll still earn points, miles or cash back from your linked travel rewards credit card in addition to the cash back or Membership Rewards points from Rakuten. Your best bet is using one of the best credit cards for dining, which include the American Express® Gold Card (4x on dining at restaurants), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on dining) and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card (4% back on dining). The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

For instance, the Amex Gold Card comes offers 4x points on dining at restaurants, which is an 8% return based on our valuation of Amex Membership Rewards points. You can easily link your Amex Gold card to your Rakuten Dining account and double dip rewards.

Featured photo courtesy of Matt Dutile/Getty Images

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