Fantastic offer: Earn $40 (or 4,000 Amex points) by joining or referring a friend to Rakuten through May 17

May 14, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information. 


If you’re planning some online purchases in the next few weeks, one of our favorite online shopping portals here at TPG just raised the bonus for new members — and this represents 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 May 17 and spend at least $40 within 90 days, you’ll take home a one-time bonus of $40.

And if you’re an existing Rakuten member, you can also get in on the action. All you have to do is refer a friend, and when your friend joins by May 17 and spends $40 within 90 days, you both get a $40 bonus. This is the highest referral offer we can recall.

Note that this offer comes as the site wraps up its “Big Give Week” — where many stores are offering elevated bonuses of up to 15% back (or 15x Membership Rewards points). As a result, now could be the perfect time to join Rakuten and take care of some online shopping.

Rakuten's new bonus referral offer through May 17, 2021
Screenshot 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 bumped to $30 earlier this week. However, 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.

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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 Glossybox.com. 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:

Bonus cash back at Target.com using Rakuten's Google Chrome plugin

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 Target.com. 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. That means the $40 or 4,000 point new customer bonus is valued at $80 by TPG if you choose to earn Membership Rewards points.

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.

For example, Saks Fifth Avenue is currently offering 2% cash back (or 2 Membership Rewards points) for every dollar you spend. 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 required). And since these credits are applied on the back end by Amex — as opposed to 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.

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

This new offer is a simple one that anyone can utilize, so don’t miss out on an easy $40 or 4,000 points 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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

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.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 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 $75 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 Pre✓®.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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