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Everything you need to know about earning Amex points via Rakuten

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Rakuten, formerly Ebates, created a new program in 2019 whereby you can choose to earn American Express Membership Rewards in lieu of Cash Back. This was exclusively reserved for new Rakuten members up until 11/19. Since then, the program has evolved, and you’ll be able to change your account settings to Membership Rewards. The earn rate would be 1% cash back = 1 Membership Reward point. I’ve earned a couple 100k Amex Points since the program started!

Personally, Rakuten is now my go-to portal since I value Membership Rewards over 1% meaning that for every 1% you see in cashback I apply a 2x multiple.  One way to think about this mentally is if you see 10% Cash Back listed you’ll be earning 10x Membership Rewards. Spend $100 get 1000 Amex points which I value at roughly $20

Now is a great time to join Rakuten – free $40

For a limited time, New Members will get $40 cash back, or 34k Amex points, after they spend $40 via the portal. You can use our referral link here

Rakuten is a shopping portal and this is how shopping portals work:

When you login to your portal you’ll see something like this below…

When you click on any of those offers, you’ll be directed to the site you wish to buy from. If that were Finish Line, you’d arrive at the very same Finish Line that you’d see if you didn’t first go to Rakuten. The only thing the portal does is code your purchase as being routed via Rakuten, and as a result you earn the cashback advertised in the Rakuten portal.

This cashback, or Amex Points, is then paid to you every 3 months on the 15th.

  • Feb
  • May
  • August
  • November

Why should you select Amex Points instead of Cashback

The main reason I do it is because I love travel, and value Amex points at roughly 2 cents. This means instead of earning 8% cashback on every dollar I spend via the portal, I’d be earning 8x Amex Points.  If I spend a $100 and earn 800 Amex Points, I’m earning points worth $16 or double the cashback rate.

Not everyone values points like I do, but I almost always redeem my points for a higher than 2 cent valuation. On the low side, I can redeem my points for flights in Amex Travel for 1.55 cents ( I have an Amex Biz Plat ) – so regardless, I feel comfortable I will extract value in excess of a penny.

I use Amex points to fly in Lufthansa First Class. This was an easy, and instantaneous, transfer of 70k Amex points to Aeroplan. Took all of 15 mins to execute and will ultimately be less than 50% of the points I earn from Rakuten this year.

Here’s a step by step guide to Earning Amex Points  First go to My Account

Then account settings where you’ll find this:

If you don’t have a Rakuten account, you’ll need to select either PayPal or Big Fat Check

Then select Membership Rewards

And Voila…you’ll be earning Amex vs Cash Back

Once you start earning Membership Rewards, how quickly do they populate?

Long and short of it….you accumulate points over a 3 month period, and then 6 weeks after the close of that period, on the 15th of month, you’ll be credited. My period from January to March closed, and I was due to be credited May 15th, roughly 6 weeks later, and as you can see below….it hit same day. That is fantastic.

Don’t have a Rakuten account? You can use our referral

How to quickly earn the referral bonus – the Rakuten Gift Card portal

The Rakuten Gift Card shop is a great way to quickly get your points: buy a gift card for $40+ and get your bonus immediately.

Rakuten compared to other shopping portals

This is a big consideration. I have almost exclusively used Rakuten because I factor in the underlying value of Amex Points into the equation. However…if you’re looking for cashback I’d recommend that you check out cashbackmonitor which gives you the best rates across all of the shopping portals.


Rakuten has captured my business and will continue to do so as long as it offers Amex points as an earn option. Rarely do I see another portal offering double the cashback which is about the only circumstance I’d consider another portal based on value.

Hope this helps and as always, please ask any questions you may have.

Affiliate link via CardRatings


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. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

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

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

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. 


  • Stanley L. February 27, 2023

    90,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Apply for an American Express Card with this link. With your new Card, you could earn a welcome bonus and your friend could earn a referral bonus. Terms Apply.

  • Julia February 27, 2023

    Here’s my 90k bonus referral!
    Apply for an American Express Card with this link. With your new Card, you could earn a welcome bonus and your friend could earn a referral bonus. Terms Apply.

  • […] In 2019, Rakuten and Amex teamed up and gave members the option: earn cashback or Amex Membership Rewards on your purchases. I’ve prioritized Rakuten over every other cashback portal since that occurred. Why? I value Amex points at over 2 cents a pop – meaning if Saks is offering 10% cashback or 10x Amex points I’m going to take the Amex points since I peg them between 1.5 and 2 cents per point = 15 to 20% back.  If you’re unfamiliar, you can Learn more about the Rakuten and Amex relationship by reading this article. […]

  • Dana S. February 4, 2023

    Here’s a Referral

    Apply for an American Express Card with this link. With your new Card, you could earn a welcome bonus and your friend could earn a referral bonus. Terms Apply.

  • […] I use Rakuten the most since it has the ability to earn Amex points which I value quite high – referrals range between $30 and $40 after you spend the same […]

  • Carlos Ocasio October 26, 2022

    Here’s a referral

    Apply for an American Express Card with this link. With your new Card, you could earn a welcome bonus and your friend could earn a referral bonus. Terms Apply.

  • […] would highly recommend you read our guide to using Rakuten, but essentially, Rakuten works like any other shopping portal except it gives you the option to […]

  • Justin May 18, 2022

    Hey everybody. I have been using Rakuten for a little over a year now. I wish I would have found it sooner. I would be very grateful for any of you to use my free referral link. No pressure. I have used other people’s links and hope we all share the wealth.

  • […] is currently running a 20x promo for today only, and then 15x for the week.  If you’re unfamiliar with Rakuten, or shopping portals in general, read this article which goes into more detail, but there are […]

  • […] Earning Points Through Rakuten:  Earning points through shopping portals is a great way to boost your point earning potential for purchases you were going to make anyway.  Shopping through the Rakuten portal allows you to earn very valuable Membership Rewards points.  Here’s a complete guide on doing so. […]

  • pravin dwivedi November 26, 2021

    Aah! Nice! It’s an awesome opportunity to earn grand points and deals. This blog was quite interesting and helpful.

  • Home Builders Elsternwick November 25, 2021

    Awesome…. Your article gives very clear data

  • Home Builders Hampton November 25, 2021

    I really like this post…. Well done

  • beachmouse November 24, 2021

    The somewhat regular transfer bonuses AmEx has for Flying Blue and the Avios family of brands and the like make the Rakuten MR partnership an even better deal if those are your loyalty programs of choice.

  • Chris jensen October 13, 2020

    Thanks so much for the Lifelock deal!!!!!

  • Fathiss June 14, 2020

    Everything I need to know? Really? You gave us nothing!

  • R June 13, 2020

    What happens if I cancel the card it is linked to in my Amex account? I will still have another MR earning card. Or is still simply linked to your MR account and the specific card doesn’t matter? Thanks!

    • Miles June 14, 2020

      If you’re thinking of canceling the card linked, I would swap in your other existing account just to be safe

  • […] That is absolutely insane. If you’re unfamiliar with how to earn Amex points via Rakuten read this article which lays out how to configure your account. A big hat tip to my dad who sent a text an hour ago […]

  • […] 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 […]

  • […] If you are unaware, Rakuten ( formerly Ebates ) partnered with American Express and gave its members the option to earn Amex Membership Rewards in lieu of Cashback. The rate: 1% = 1 Membership Reward. Read this article if you want to learn more. […]

  • […] Express Membership Rewards as an option to cash back. 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 is 1x […]

  • […] The ability to earn Membership Rewards off purchases made through this portal is amazing. Often times, you’ll see huge cashback offers promoted which effectively equates to huge Amex multiples on every dollar you spend. If you’re unfamiliar to earning Amex points on Rakuten purchases, read this article that breaks down how to select that option. […]

  • […] is an increased bonus on Amazon right now via Rakuten ( if you don’t know about earning Amex points vs cashback read this […]

  • Alyssa T. December 15, 2019

    I just linked my account! Thanks so much for showing us this option was available and the steps to link it! Another way to earn points, love it!



    • Miles December 15, 2019

      Awesome! Enjoy and earn loads of points + great deals!

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