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Rakuten has become one of my absolute favorite portals ever since it allowed members the option to earn Amex Membership Rewards instead of cashback. If you’re unfamiliar with this feature, read this article where we show you how to choose that option, but essentially every 1% you see as cashback = 1x Amex points.
In the case of this Expedia Hotels example, the cashback rate has been bumped up to 8%, so we’d be earning 8x on qualifying Expedia Hotels purchases.
If you don’t have a Rakuten account, use our referral. We’ll get a referral bonus and you’ll get $10. Join here
Here’s a breakdown of the categories offering increased cashback
Non-chain affiliated hotels are your best bet
Each person needs to make their own judgement as to how much they use, enjoy, and benefit from hotel elite status. If you’re top tier with Hilton, Hyatt, or Marriott, you’ll have access to lounges and free breakfast that may outweigh earning 8x on your stay.
However, if you’re staying at a non-chain boutique or luxury hotel – this could be a fantastic way to earn extra points. We stayed a fantastic boutique hotel in Paris as part of a hotel and train package called the Marignan. We enjoyed a stunning Eiffel Tower view room, and I’d stay there again in a heartbeat. It’s be a prime candidate for a deal like this + I could end up earning 10x points on the booking.
Yes, I said 10x points
Since you’re using the portal to earn 7x we don’t need to go into detail there, but you can stack that deal with your credit card. There are several cards that earn 3x points on nearly all travel purchases. Two of my favorites are the new Amex Green and the Chase Ink Business Preferred. If you had to pick between the two…I’d go Ink Business Preferred. The $95 annual fee is unbeatable, and gives you free mobile phone insurance.
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.