Rakuten Promotion Offers 4,000 Bonus Points for New Members Rakuten Promotion Offers 4,000 Bonus Points for New Members

Rakuten Promotion Offers 4,000 Bonus Points for New Members

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Shopping portals are one of the best ways to supercharge your earnings for online purchases. You'll earn bonus points, miles, or cash back just by clicking through a shopping portal before making a purchase. Few shopping portals are better than Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates). It's one of the oldest — and remains one of the best — shopping portals on the internet. And new members can use a Rakuten referral link to get a new member bonus of $40 (or 4,000 Amex Membership Rewards points).

Here's a closer look at this offer.

Rakuten Referral Bonus for New Members

If you aren't a Rakuten member yet, you should sign up through a referral link. That's because you'll only get a $10 welcome bonus if you join without a referral link.

banner image to sign up for Rakuten with $10 bonus

But you'll get a $40 welcome bonus through a referral link:

Screenshot of banner for new members to earn a $40 bonus through Rakuten

How to earn a Rakuten referral bonus

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

  1. Sign up for Rakuten through a referral link (If you need a referral, here's mine).
  2. Spend at least $40 on Rakuten Shopping Trips within 90 days of opening your account.

The $40 bonus will appear under the “Earnings Balance” section of your Rakuten account within a couple of days of completing eligible purchases. But point maximizers may want to opt to earn American Express Membership Rewards instead. If you select “Membership Rewards points” as your earning preference, the Rakuten referral bonus will be paid in the form of 4,000 Membership Rewards points instead for cash-back rewards.

Earning Amex Points Instead of Cash Back

Through Rakuten's partnership with American Express, you can earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash back.

banner advertising the option to earn Amex points through Rakuten

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 Amex points through Rakuten

If you'd like to change your payment option from cash back to Membership Rewards, start by making sure you've added a qualifying Membership Rewards-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 showing the option to get Membership Rewards, PayPal or a Big Fat Check

Why you should consider earning Membership Rewards points

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

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.

Here's an example: At a store offering 10% cash back, a $100 purchase will provide $10 cash back or 1,000 Membership Rewards points. Consider that AwardWallet users redeem Membership Rewards at an average of 2.15¢ per point when deciding which to earn.

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 1.1¢ per point. That means you'll earn 10% more cash back by earning Membership Rewards and redeeming them this way than directly through Rakuten.

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.

How does Rakuten make money?

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.

These sites are free for consumers to use; the ability to earn extra rewards while shopping online (and do so without a cost) means you should always use portals when shopping online.

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.

Screenshot showing Rakuten 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 earnings 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.

Earn More Points by Stacking Offers

Using shopping portals is one of the easiest methods of maximizing your online purchases by ‘stacking' point earnings on a purchase. Navigating through a link is all that's required to use Rakuten. Thus, you can use the same purchase for several other cash back or point-earning strategies, including:

Related: Buy Now, Pay Later Programs — And Why You Should Skip Them

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 everyday 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, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom® earn 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories each quarter.
  3. Cards with elevated earnings for 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® Customized Cash Rewards credit card and Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
  4. Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Credit Card: The Rakuten Visa (previously called the Ebates credit card) earns an additional 3% or 3X Membership Rewards (based on your earning preference) on qualifying purchases made through Rakuten. This makes it a great card for anyone who 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 (available in the App Store / Google Play). After applying these offers to any of the registered cards in the My Wallet menu, any transaction made at that merchant made will trigger cash back.

cash back earning rates available with Fogo de Chao restaurant

In the case of restaurant purchases, this operates much like a dining program. In fact, you may notice that many 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, it's not possible. Dining programs and Rakuten operate utilizing a card-linked offer, meaning you have to choose one or the other. The restaurant will only pay out the commission once.

Related: Best Credit Cards for Dining & Restaurants

Final Thoughts

Everyone should use a shopping portal when shopping online. It's free, it takes only a few seconds to use, and the savings rack up fast. If you haven't joined Rakuten yet, feel free to use my referral link to sign up and claim your $40 new member bonus.

What's your favorite Rakuten deal you've claimed?

5 / 5 - (5 votes)
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  • WRONG!!! I signed up as a new customer for Rakuten according to your instructions in this post AND followed Rakuten’s instructions on linking my AMEX account. Made a purchase and when no AMEX points were posted, I contacted Rakuten. Apparently, one is NOT eligible for receiving the introductory 4,000 AMEX points (NOW changed to 3,000) unless one signs up as a new customer on Rakuten THROUGH an AMEX LINK.

    So enjoy whatever referral money Rakuten gives you for having me sign up through your link but sad to know that AwardWallet blot is scamming readers with very incorrect information.

    I’m cancelling my Rakuten account also (as if you’d care anyway).

    • Gina: The AwardWallet Blog doesn’t get a commission from Rakuten. Our writer Patrick listed his personal referral link for readers that needed a referral link. However, he won’t receive a bonus unless you got a bonus.

      Did you go through the process spelled out in the post on “How To Earn Membership Rewards”? This is a critical step to earning Amex points instead of cashback.

  • The link to Joe Petrovic’s post in this piece is a bad link…

    • Thanks for the heads up on that. I didn’t realize that compliance redirected that post. I’m working to restore it.

  • Thanks for great info. Looks like very lucrative offer.

  • Albert C Rollins says:

    I’ve been a member of rakuten for over 5 years. Is simple to get cashbacks on your purchase and the savings add up. More so during this time of the year.

  • Their promotions during Black Friday through Cyber Monday are great, get all my holiday shopping done with at least 10%-15% back

  • Rakuten is my go-to shopping portal, and is exceptionally lucrative as I have the Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, Chase Freedom, AND the Rakuten Visa. 4x on groceries at supermarkets and wholesale clubs, Black Friday 15x at Saks (Platinum Saks credit!), 5x on the Amex Gold through both Grubhub and Uber Eats orders (via Rakuten on desktop), and gobs of MR points at Lowe’s, AutoZone, and tons of other retailers that normally fall into the “everyday spending” category, without spending caps or temporary bonuses.

    After switching to MR points, only the Capital One shopping portal comes close, for the few retailers that aren’t on Rakuten.

  • This must be one of the best Black Friday’s offers out there

  • Rakuten can have good cash back offers but I’ve also had them refuse to pay out when it doesn’t work as expected.

  • this just made my day – thanks for sharing. Can confirm it worked!

  • Wasn’t Lyft or was it Uber available for cash back via Rakuten in the past? I don’t see either anymore. Bummer.

  • Man. I just made my semi-annual Saks purchase on my Platinum card. 🙁 OH well. I still got six AA miles and my items were on sale so I guess that’s still better.

  • The detail provided here is so helpful. Thank you!

  • Great bonuses on some shopping – thanks for the heads up!

  • 10x amex points if used wisely can be worth 20-30% of what you spend.

    • Yeah, those are large amounts. I’m happy around 1.5cpp by offsetting domestic tickets that I’d otherwise be out of pocket.

  • I love using my Rakuten card! I earn MR faster when I get shop through Rak. Amex Everyday card is good for me but Rak really helps what that card lacks in earning points quicker. If really shopped at the stores on Rak and got all the deals I am sure that my MR balance would go up quicker but I shop at a few that Rak doesn’t partner with.

  • Always great to see a 10x bonus and the 3k extra points helps!

  • Waiting for Saks fifth avenue to have 10% cb so I can use my Amex credit

  • The AMEX partnership is interesting, but I’m well within the Chase sphere so this may not be for me.

  • Rakuten/Ebates has been my go-to cashback site for a few years now. Very easy to rack up money, especially around the holidays. They will also have som 15% or 20% days as well for certain retailers.

  • Thanks for this. Didn’t know. I’m glad I didn’t cash out my points for cash!

  • Can you sign up for a new account if you already have an account that has been inactive for over one year already?

  • Excellent news! I just was thinking in signing in, I will get it. And use all the benefits offered! Thanks!

  • When they changed the name from Ebates, everything went downhill.

  • Never say no to free miles. Is Rakuten US only?

    • I believe the welcome bonus is for the U.S. site. T&C explicitly states that refer-a-friend bonuses are available in U.S. only, but it’s not clear about other aspects of the site. It seems there are dedicated sites for Canada, Japan, and France. Do any non-U.S. folks have experience using the U.S. site?

  • The 3k sign up is decent And Rakuten can be a solid portal for return, but it’s not always the best one. Always check through the numerous other options.

  • Good news. Just in time for me. I was thinking of creating an account. I will benefit from this offer.

  • Since I’m not in the AMEX environment to benefit from Rakuten, I shop via the Cashback Monitor to see where I can get the best points for shopping. Though not every store is listed, I can still get some good point rewards for shopping. Got some nice 5x Alaska miles shopping in Macy’s who usually have pretty good sale prices too.

  • I signed up with your referral link recently for the $40 sign up bonus. Thanks!! Just got the check four days ago too. 🙂

  • I wish there were airlines rewards that could be linked. I don’t have an American Express card and don’t plan on getting one. This would be a good way to have activity on my airline accounts (even if I only spend a little) so my miles don’t expire (reset expiration date).

  • Rak/EBates has never been my favorite. I don’t feel like they advanced with the times personally.

  • I like using Rakuten for cash back but they store is another thing, very limited selection and overpriced.

  • I’ve had a Chase Freedom card for years and been pretty happy with it. Wasn’t aware of the Freedom Flex, until reading this post. Might be time to switch.

  • Sandeep N says:

    I have been using Rakuten (erstwhile Ebates) since 2015. I must admit that the good offers and the cash-back they provide is really attractive. The above blog also provides some additional information/ tricks I was missing on all these years :-). Thank you!

  • David Fuhrer says:

    I agree, it is a very useful and beneficial site. However, they only allow one account per household, so in my case I am out for now.

  • Miryam Mesirow says:

    I am trying to comment on a blog post so that my American Advantage miles don’t expire. I bought something from Walgreens through the AA portal but it still indicates my miles are expiring. I’m finding this extremely frustrating. Please help.

  • The promotion has made added so much value to the Best Western program, especially for the infrequent causal travelers.

  • Emily Davidson says:

    Just signed up and excited to see if it works out!

  • 15% cashback on Groupon! Nice!

  • Jennifer says:

    Rakuten or ebates definitely is one of the oldest and best cash back sites. I already have a rakuten account so no sign up bonuses.

  • I do love earning points with Rakuten. I got a sweet deal for a betterment bank sign up and then I got the credit card and now I earn a bit more on my purchases. I like getting having Amex points and this helps me earn them faster.

  • Good offer, lots of generous ‘points’ back incentives right now

  • Thanks! Just got approved for the Platinum yesterday. Sadly I also made my Saks purchase yesterday but I used the United portal. Oh well.

  • John Schneider says:

    I love Rakuten and this just adds to it! If you don’t have a Rakuten account you’re missing out. Time for me to go do some more shopping!

  • Great cashback, Rakuten is my go-to website!

  • I’ve already hit it once, but I’m going back for another! ?

  • angelo fonseca says:

    wow. 4000 points for a $40 spent? that’s great and very easy.

  • I needed to make a reservation for 6 nights at a Best Western. Not a bad thing to get 15% back during this promotion. Best Western also is giving 5000 points per night for three nights and 5000 points after the 5th night. So this is a particularly great deal for me!

  • I keep trying to use Rakuten but it doesn’t seem to work in Mexico where I have been stuck during the pandemic. Hopefully once I head back through the US on my way to Canada I can find some places to use it. Thanks for the heads up on the points!

  • Time to use the Saks credit…thanks for the heads-up!

  • Nice to know. I will have to check in my Chase account. I like that they have these. I like to double up with charging on my chase card and also getting any points from a search engine.

  • What a great incentive to sign up! I have never signed up with rakuten beforebut may have with ebates back in the day. Hope this doesn’t disqualify me for the promo.

  • Is this an annual promotion or something they introduced this year?

    • JT Genter says:

      We will see an elevated promotion from Rakuten every few months. But, the merchants and rates may change from promotion to promotion. This 15X promotion is pretty excellent!

    • These promotions often come around quarterly these days.

  • Catherine says:

    Hadn’t considered the membership rewards payment so good tip!

  • Some great deals to be had here, does not matter whether the purchase is big or small. Stores like Nike are also have up to 50% of their store on sale.

  • Fenspinbi says:

    I’ve been a Rakuten member (via Ebates) since 2015, but didn’t utilize the platform much until recently, once I became a credit card enthusiast. I dismissed most of the stores since Amazon was my go-to, but now it’s much more nuanced. I have the Amex Platinum, and recently got the Rakuten card (Visa Signature) after switching to MR points in March, which makes it the Lord of the Rings of store cards. Walmart, Office Depot, Walgreens, Kohl’s, etc…all in one card. Some stores qualify for Rakuten in-store offers, which is icing, but I’ll use my Freedom Unlimited in a pinch, so all is copacetic.

    IMO, the Rakuten card is an absolute must-have if you primarily shop online and carry an American Express MR-earning card. A floor of 3x MR points is insane. Amazon used to partner with Rakuten, and if they offered 0% cashback, I would still go through Rakuten, because that beats the Chase Amazon card by a mile. The only other store card I have is the Discount Tire card (before I got into credit cards), and the Rakuten setup offers 6x back on tires from their online subsidiary (3 +3). Yes, more please.

    That strongly incentivizes keeping on the good side of Amex, so as not to upset this niche product.

  • You can’t get AMEX points for your Rakuten sign up bonus. The bonus is given as cash back instead of AMEX points. This is because you can’t change your preferences to earn AMEX points instead of cash back until after you sign up for Rakuten, and it will only apply to future earnings.

    I signed up to join Rakuten last year. I immediately changed my preferences to earn AMEX points. But the “Big Fat Check” included the sign up bonus in cash since I technically signed up through the link before changing my preferences. However, the rest of that “Big Fat Check”, and all savings afterwards, was Amex points.

  • I’ve been a member of Rakuten for a long time. It’s one of my favorite shopping portals. I particularly like booking hotels and rental cars with a portal as well as my monthly Grubhub order (to get the 10 back from my Amex Gold card). It’s always worth checking cashbackmonitor first to see if some other portal has a better deal, but Rakuten is usually the best.

  • I love to use Rakuten. I use it everything I shop online. Thanks for the update.

  • Thank you for referral link! Got a nice cashback for Easter gifts made well in advance!

  • I’m a big fan of Rakuten! I’m glad to see it highlighted here, because I don’t check it often enough to know when a nice sale like this is going on.

  • They neglect us existing users. Nonetheless, I’ll check out their portal to see what’s on offer for retailers I plan to shop anyway.

  • 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.

    • Rakuten is simply a shopping portal. They do not sell anything directly themselves. They direct you to stores, including most of the big ones you’re probably familiar with. So, you would have to ask any shipping questions to the shops themselves, not Rakuten.

  • 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!

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

  • Thank you, Useful information!

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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!

  • 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.

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

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • Good deal if you can find a merchant that works.

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

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

  • Andrew lisonbee says:

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

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

  • 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.

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

  • Too bad the AMEX deal is just for new members.

  • Farid Kassam says:

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

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

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

  • What about existing accounts?
    When does this offer expire/

    • JT Genter says:

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

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

        • 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!