New offer: Earn $40 (or 4,000 Amex points) by joining or referring a friend to Rakuten through Dec. 25

Nov 6, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

If you’re planning some online purchases in the next few weeks, one of our favorite online shopping portals here at TPG just launched a terrific bonus for new members — and a chance for existing members to take home some cash or American Express Membership Rewards points as well. If you join Rakuten (formerly Ebates) by Dec. 25 and spend at least $40 within 90 days, you’ll take home a one-time bonus of $40. This may be the easiest money you’ll earn this year, especially as you look forward to holiday shopping.

And if you’re an existing Rakuten member, you can get in on the action too. All you have to do is refer a friend, and when said friend joins by Dec. 31 and spends $40 within 90 days, you both get a $40 bonus.

A look at Rakuten's new $40 referral offer
Screen shot courtesy of Rakuten

Typically, Rakuten offers $25 for each referral and referee with no limit to how much you can earn, so long as the new member meets the spending requirements. This was raised to $30 as of Oct. 1, though if you join without a referral, you’re typically limited to a one-time bonus of just $10.

As a result, this is a terrific way to get an even higher bonus — and to help your friends and family members get in on the action too.

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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 well-known brands like Target and Home Depot to smaller merchants like 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.

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

Photo courtesy of 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. Well, Rakuten inks marketing agreements with individual retailers, which then pay the site commissions on purchases that begin there. Rakuten (in turn) then passes a portion of those commissions on to you, the customer. The retailer gets additional business and both you and Rakuten enjoy a cut of those purchases, essentially 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 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.

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

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 are 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.

This new offer is a simple one that anyone can utilize, so don’t miss out on an easy $40 for all the online shopping you and your loved ones are doing right now. Sign-up for Rakuten today — or begin referring your friends and family members to reap the rewards of their online purchases.

Further reading

Featured photo courtesy of filadendron/Getty Images.

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