Get Up to 15X Points This Week, Plus 4,000 Bonus Points on New Rakuten Accounts

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Shopping portals are one of the best ways to supercharge your cash back or point earnings for online purchases. Few are better than Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates). As one of the oldest shopping portals on the internet, it provides an unmatched level of consistency and value.

And this week is an especially good time to click through Rakuten when making your Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases. That's because Rakuten is offering up to 15% Cash Back (or 15X Membership Rewards points) at hundreds of retails.

Plus, Rakuten is still offering its best-ever $40 (or 4,000 points) bonus on all new accounts referred by existing members. That makes this the best new member bonus we've ever seen Rakuten offer.

Rakuten (ebates) Black Friday promotion banner

15X Points on Purchases This Week

Rakuten is celebrating Black Friday, Black Friday Weekend, and Cyber Monday with up to 15% Cash Back (or 15X Membership Rewards points) at over 500 participating retailers. This is split into two promotions:

Black Friday and Black Friday Weekend

From November 26-29, online shoppers can earn up to 15% Cash Back at over 500 retailers. While retailers may change, Rakuten gave AwardWallet a heads up that participating retailers are expected to include:

Walmart, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, Bloomingdale’s, QVC, HSN, Saks Fifth Avenue, Walgreens, Rite Aid, GameStop, Uniqlo, shopDisney, Overstock.com, Finish Line, Casper, Dell, Lenovo, Aveda, Dyson, Famous Footwear, Glossier, KiwiCo, Madewell, Michael Kors, Melissa & Doug, Old Navy, The North Face, ULTA, The Body Shop, and Zales

You can

Cyber Monday

Then on November 30, Rakuten is celebrating Cyber Monday with another offer of up to 15% Cash Back at 500 retailers. Again, the exact list of participating retailers may change. But, retailers are expected to include:

The Container Store, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Macy’s, Michaels, Office Depot, Ace Hardware, Bloomingdale’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walgreens, HSN, Overstock.com, PetSmart, QVC, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Aldo, Bass Pro Shops, BISSELL, Casper, Dyson, Fossil, Foot Locker, GameStop, Keurig, KiwiCo, Moosejaw, New Balance, shopDisney, Gap, Glossier, Orvis, Samsung, and Shoes.com

4,000 Point Rakuten Sign-up Bonus

Earn $40 (or 4,000 points) for creating a new Rakuten account via an existing member's referral.

To earn your $40 bonus, all you need to do is:

  1. Create a new Rakuten account via an existing member's referral. (If you need a referral, here's my referral link.)
  2. Spend at least $40 on Rakuten Shopping Trips within 90 days of opening your account.

Once completed, the $40 bonus will appear under the ‘Earnings Balance‘ section of your Rakuten account within a couple of days.

Alternatively, if you have an Amex Membership Rewards earning card, you can add it to your Rakuten account and select ‘Membership Rewards points' as your earning preference. Now, the bonus will be paid in the form of 4,000 Membership Rewards points.

What is Rakuten?

Originally founded in the late 1990s, Ebates was one of the very first online shopping portals. In 2014, it was acquired by Rakuten (pronounced RACK-uh-ten)—a Japanese e-commerce and online retail company founded around the same time.

Like any shopping portal, Rakuten earns a commission for referring customers to its affiliated merchants. This commission is then shared in part with its members in the form of cash back. Since the commission is processed entirely on the vendor side, it's free to use for members like us.

How Does Rakuten Work?

To earn cash back, start by navigating to Rakuten's website. After confirming that you're logged into your account, search for your desired store.

Rakuten USA cashback earning examples

If the store is eligible for Cash Back, you'll see the percentage displayed with its name. Simply use Rakuten's link to navigate to the store and complete your purchase as usual. Once the store has notified Rakuten of your purchase, you'll see the Cash Back appear in your account.

$2.50 in Cash Back earned from an ebates Rakuten shopping portal purchase
It's always fun to get emails like this.

Earning Membership Rewards Points Instead of Cash Back

Starting last year, Rakuten launched a partnership with American Express, giving Amex customers with a Membership Rewards earning card the ability to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash back.

earn membership rewards points on rakuten.com

The cash back percentages listed for a vendor are the equivalent to how many Membership Rewards you'll earn for every dollar spent. So, if a vendor lists an offer of 15% cash back, you can earn 15X Membership Rewards points from your purchase instead.

How To Earn Membership Rewards

If you'd like to change your payment option from cash back to Membership Rewards, start by making sure you've added a qualifying MR-earning card to the My Wallet section in your account settings.

The Membership Rewards option should then appear in the main section of your Rakuten account settings, under the ‘How would you like to get paid?' heading. You can toggle between payment methods, but note that your selected payment method will apply to all future purchases—not to purchases you've already made.

Screenshot of the payout screen for Rakuten showing the option to get Membership Rewards, PayPal or a Big Fat Check

Why You Should Consider Earning Membership Rewards

Choosing between cash back and Membership Rewards comes down to what value you can get from the points.

If you choose to earn Membership Rewards, you're choosing to receive 1 Membership Rewards point instead of 1¢ of cash back. If you value Membership Rewards higher than 1¢ a piece, then you're immediately earning a better return.

For example, say a store is offering 10% cash back. If you spent $100, you'd earn either $10 cash back or 1,000 Membership Rewards Points. If you value Membership Rewards at 1.8¢ a piece (my baseline valuation), then the points option now represents an 18% return on your spend instead of 10%.

Taking that a step further, if you hold an American Express Platinum Card® by Charles Schwab, then you also have the option of cashing in your Membership Rewards Points at a rate of 1.25¢ per point. That means you'll earn 25% more cash back by earning Membership Rewards and redeeming them this way than directly through Rakuten.

How to Earn More Points by Stacking Offers

One of the beauties of using shopping portals is that it represents one of the easiest methods of maximizing, or ‘stacking' point earnings on a purchase. Navigating through a link is all that's required to use Rakuten shopping. So, you can easily use the same purchase for several other cash back or point-earning strategies, including:

For a fantastic example of the savings possible through extreme stacking, check out Joe Petrovic's post about buying brand new $299 Bose headphones for under $90.

Stacking Credit Card Earnings

To maximize your earnings, you need to choose the right card for the purchase. For Rakuten, this means narrowing down your choice to one of four categories:

  1. Great Everyday Spending Card — These are cards that earn a solid return on all non-bonus spending, like The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, Citi® Double Cash Card, or Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
  2. Applicable Rotating Category — Certain credit cards earn a bonus based on quarterly rotating categories. For example, if you were going to make purchases at Walmart or through PayPal, you should consider using the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom® to earn 5% cashback through December 31, 2020.
  3. Cards that Bonus Online Shopping — Some cards specify (or give you the ability to specify) online shopping as a bonus category. A couple of examples include the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card and AT&T Access Card from Citi.
  4. Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit CardThe Rakuten Visa (previously called the Ebates credit card) earns either an additional 3% or 3X Membership Rewards on qualifying purchases made through Rakuten. This makes it a great card for anyone that uses Rakuten regularly.

Rakuten and Dining Programs Can't be Stacked

In addition to the online shopping portal, Rakuten also offers a myriad of in store-offers, including several dining options available through the Rakuten app (App Store / Google Play). After applying these offers to any of the registered cards in the My Wallet menu, any transaction at that merchant made will trigger cash back.

Use the rakuten app to earn bonus points on dining

In the case of restaurant purchases, this operates much like a dining program. In fact, you may notice that a lot of the Rakuten cash back offers at restaurants match the respective dining program offers. On the surface, this seems like it'd make restaurants an incredible sweet spot—earning cash back from Rakuten and the dining program.

Alas, this is too good to be true. Since dining programs and Rakuten both operate utilizing a card-linked offer, you'll have to choose one or the other. The restaurant will only pay out the commission once.

Final Thoughts

As far as we're concerned, everyone should be using a shopping portal when shopping online. It's free, it takes seconds to do, and the savings rack up fast.

With this all-time high bonus and the holidays right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start earning cash back for your online purchases.  If you haven't joined Rakuten yet, feel free to use my referral link to signup and claim your $40 bonus.

Have you signed up for a Rakuten account yet?

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Comments

  • Avatar

    Hello, do you know if it is possible that the purchases made in Rakuten reach Argentina today? Is it necessary to use a private courier? Thanks for the contribution with this article.

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    I switched to earning MR through Rakuten as soon as it was possible. I still use it all the time unless there is a better deal through another one of the portals. Don’t forget to use the Rakuten app when ordering through Grubhub. It’s another easy way to get a few extra MR points (especially when you are paying with your Amex Gold card to get the monthly 10 dollar rebate that is a benefit of that card.) So many ways to stack deals!

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    What´s an interesting article. Thank you very much por this information.

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    Thank you, Useful information!

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    Rakuten traditionally offers cash back, but the key strength of the shopping portal is that you can alternatively take the rewards as Membership Rewards points.

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    Good deal – but probably not for me. Rakuten is closing its marketplace business in Germany…

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    Wish they would have kept the name “E-bates”

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    Without a doubt the most consistent of the portals. Oftentimes find some surprises I certainly haven’t expected. You always know where you stand, when and how much the payout is going to be.

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    Thank you for your link. Nice portal, just fond some good deals

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    Just a reminder to folks that pursued this offer when the article first came out in early July: you’re quickly approaching your 90 day mark for your $25 spend, if you haven’t passed it already. I know that because I need to get my act together and quick!

  • Avatar

    pretty good deal. there is always something i can used the rakuten portal for.

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    This was great for new users but with these kind of promotions they always forget “exisiting customers”.

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    Truly a good chance to register Rakuten membership, I have never register this memmbership. It’s should be save more money for me. Tks mate.

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    Abigail.Petter says:

    Rakuten’s offer is good, but i have no much more money to buy new things as Covid-19. I have to reduce my spend for not need things.

    • Avatar
      Kamil Sultan says:

      You can still met the bonus by purchasing gift cards through the portal. That way you can get the bonus and use the gift card to buy necessities! Lmk if you want the link so we can both get $30!

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    I’ve been doing Rakuten (ebates.com) for years. Payments via Paypal are always punctual. I generally prefer airline mileage portals but once in a while, Rakuten is the only option or the deal is better than the airlne mileage offering.

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    Any word if this’ll go to Chase as well?

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    MyPoints.com or the AA shopping portals are my usual go-to’s. I’ve been hearing so much about Rakuten though that I may have to check it out as another option. Is there an easy way to compare the offers prior to choosing which shopping portal to use without having to visit each shopping portal individually?

    • Avatar

      Yes! I use CashbackMonitor to compare portals. You can even set up an account and enter your valuation for miles/points to make comparisons easier.

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    I use Rakuten all the time so I’ll definitely be perusing their promotion this week. I particularly like using them to book Marriott Hotels and rental cars. It used to be that you could even get Cashback for Lyft rides by clicking through their mobile app but that seemed to have disappeared last time I went to use it.

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    Easy way to get cashback on stuff you were already buying in the first place. Love shopping portals!

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    Good deal if you can find a merchant that works.

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    Thanks for the heads up. There are so many shopping portals now, and CashBackMonitor doesn’t track them all.

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    I love Rakuten for the cash back. I earn enough MR points elsewhere so I haven’t switched over, but 12x is tempting.

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    Andrew lisonbee says:

    Thank you for this information. Really helpful information on the new account bonus points.

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    Making an account today. great post and great info, thanks!

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    It was a massive winner when they had Amazon Some of the offers are crazy. Last years 120% back with LifeLock was a no brainer. Netted about 95k NR. Regularly see It at 80% but I’ll wait.
    These are the kind of deals that really make it such a great portal.

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    This is awesome! I hope they add more stores to the list!

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    Too bad the AMEX deal is just for new members.

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    Farid Kassam says:

    good reward for new users. Would have been great if they extended to existing users.

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    Thanks so much for this very informative article. Love the site and the content.

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    This is a no-brainer to sign up for. Only saves people money.

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    What about existing accounts?
    When does this offer expire/

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      JT Genter says:

      There is no end date that has been communicated. Unfortunately, this is only a sign-up bonus for new accounts.

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        Why do businesses keep thinking / hoping that the pool of potential new customers is infinite?

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          I’m not sure. But, in many ways, that’s not wrong. Most companies have such a small market share that the pool of potential new customers can seem infinite!