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How to earn an easy $40 (or 4,000 Amex points) by joining or referring a friend to Rakuten

Oct. 18, 2022
7 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.


One of the easiest ways to make the most of your online purchases is by leveraging online shopping portals. Some of these sites even offer one-time bonuses for new members and allow you to refer your friends and family members for additional rewards as an existing customer.

And one of TPG’s favorite portals just launched an increase offer for a limited time.

If you join Rakuten today and spend at least $40 within 90 days, you’ll take home a one-time bonus of $40.

If you’re an existing Rakuten member, you can also get in on the action. All you have to do is refer a friend; when your friend joins and spends $40 within 90 days, you both get a $40 bonus.

If inflation is taking a larger bite of your budget these days, this is a great way to lessen the impact of higher prices. Or, you could even opt for American Express Membership Rewards points instead as you look ahead to your next trip.

RAKUTEN

Typically, Rakuten offers $25 for each referral with no limit to how much you can earn, as long as the new member meets the spending requirements, though the most recent offer was $30. However, if you join without a referral, you’re typically limited to a one-time bonus of just $10.

This is a nice way to get a higher bonus — and to help your friends and family members get in on the action.

Read more: How to earn bonus cash back or Amex points on your online shopping purchases with Rakuten

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Overview of Rakuten

In case you’re not familiar with the site, Rakuten is an online shopping portal that used to go under the name Ebates. It partners with hundreds of online retailers, from household brand names like Target and Nike to smaller merchants like Glossybox. By starting your purchase at Rakuten and clicking through to the merchant from there, you’ll take home a bonus on every eligible purchase you make — in addition to earnings on the credit card you use for the purchase.

To make things even easier, you can download the Rakuten plug-in and go directly to the merchant’s site. The browser extension will then notify you if there’s a rebate available:

RAKUTEN

This friendly reminder makes it simpler to earn more rewards for your online shopping.

Related: Don’t want to miss out on earning bonus points? There’s an extension for that

You may be wondering how this is possible. Rakuten inks marketing agreements with individual retailers, which then pay the site commissions on purchases that begin there. In turn, Rakuten then passes a portion of those commissions on to the customer. The retailer gets additional business, and both you and Rakuten enjoy a cut of those purchases — a win-win-win for all parties.

While Rakuten is advertised as a cash-back portal, you can take your rewards to the next level by switching your earning preference to American Express Membership Rewards points. In the above example, that means you’d take home 1 Amex point for every dollar you spend at Target. Since we value Amex points at 2 cents apiece, thanks to the array of valuable redemption options, that could offer an even higher return for your online purchases. If you choose to earn Membership Rewards points, TPG values the 4,000-point new customer bonus at $80.

Note that going through Rakuten for your online purchases may mean that you’re sacrificing higher rewards through an airline shopping portal — especially if there are any bonus offers through those sites. However, given the current referral offer now available, Rakuten could be a good option.

Not a member? Join Rakuten today to earn a $40 bonus.

Which credit card should I use?

If you’re making purchases online, be sure to pay close attention to any potential bonus categories. However, your best bet may be to use a card that offers solid value for everyday purchases, including the following:

Remember that any cash back or Amex points you’d take home through Rakuten come in addition to the earnings on your credit card. You may even be able to stack an Amex Offer or Chase Offer at select merchants, so be sure to check those now to avoid leaving money on the table.

For example, Saks Fifth Avenue is currently offering 1% cash back (or 1 Membership Rewards point) for every dollar you spend by purchasing through Rakuten.

Holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express enjoy up to $100 in statement credits at Saks every calendar year ($50 from January through June and another $50 from July through December — enrollment is required). Since Amex applies these credits on the back end — as opposed to via a promo code at the time of purchase — you should still earn the cash back or bonus Amex points on the full subtotal of your purchase by starting at Rakuten and clicking through to Saks.

Read more: 10 gifts you can buy using your Amex Platinum $50 Saks Fifth Avenue credit

This new customer offer is a simple one that anyone can utilize, so don’t miss out on an easy $40 or 4,000 points for online shopping. Sign-up for Rakuten today, or begin referring your friends and family members to reap the rewards of their online purchases.

Further reading

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.

Featured image by FILADENDRON/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

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80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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Recommended Credit

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
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  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more