Rakuten (formerly Ebates) adds Amex Membership Rewards earning to all accounts

Oct 30, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

One of the fundamental The Points Guy principles is to click through a shopping portal before making any online purchase, whether its buying clothing or booking hotels. For years, online shoppers had to decide between earning miles through an airline shopping portal or earning cash back through a cash-back portal.

In February 2019, Rakuten — formerly known as Ebates — shook up the market. Instead of limiting members to only earning cash back, new members could elect to earn American Express Membership Rewards points when they signed up for a new account through a special landing page.

As of today, Oct. 30, Rakuten and American Express are expanding this partnership to allow all existing accounts to opt into earning Amex Membership Rewards points instead of cash back.

To be eligible, you’ll need to be a U.S. American Express card member with a card enrolled in the Membership Rewards program. To opt in, you’ll need to link that card to a new or existing Rakuten account and select in your account settings to earn Membership Rewards points.

Back in February, this new earning opportunity was good enough for a number of existing Rakuten members to abandon their old accounts and sign up for a new account, and I was one of them. While earning cash back is great, the ability to earn Membership Rewards points — which TPG values at 2 cents each — instead of cash back meant I was doubling my return.

In discussing this expanded partnership with Rakuten, I asked if members like me will be able to combine duplicate accounts. Unfortunately, the answer is no. So, if you set up a new MR-earning account since February, you won’t be able to merge that account into an existing account.

Rakuten also confirmed that members that have an accumulated balance in their non-Membership Rewards earning account won’t be able to convert that balance to Membership Rewards. Members will be able to opt into earning MR points on future transactions, but any accumulated cash back earnings will pay out by PayPal or check — based on your current earning preference.

If you’re unfamiliar with Rakuten, now’s a good time to learn about this way of double-dipping on the earnings from your online shopping. Members earn cash back or Amex Membership Rewards points for making a purchases online at one of over 3,500 online retailers after clicking through a Rakuten affiliate link.

The earnings rate depends on the merchant and whether or not Rakuten is running a promotion. We’ve written about Rakuten a few times during especially good deals — such as:

At the end of each calendar quarter, members get paid their accumulated earnings for the quarter — by check for those that earn cash back or by automatic transfer to Membership Rewards for those who’ve elected to earn points. Note that you’ll need to have earned at least $5 or 500 points to get a payout. Otherwise, your balance will roll forward to the next quarter.

If you want to make sure not to miss out on earning points, miles or cash back on future purchases, Rakuten and a number of airline shopping portals — including Alaska, American Airlines, Southwest and United — have browser extensions. You can install these in certain browsers to be reminded to use the portal whenever you’re shopping at a participating retailer website.

Featured photo by filadendron/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.