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If you’re like me, you must love to travel. And if you’re like me, you also love to save money whenever possible.
That’s where Rakuten comes in. Rakuten is a shopping portal that allows consumers to earn extra cashback or travel points for every purchase. These rewards can add up quickly and help get us closer to our dream vacation on points or cash!
Since most of us love to redeem our points for nearly free travel, I set up my Rakuten account to receive American Express Membership Rewards points that I can use for discounted flights.
In this blog post, I will walk you through the steps on how to set up your Rakuten account to earn American Express Membership Rewards so you can be on your way to your next bucket-list destination.
How Does Rakuten Work?
Rakuten is a shopping portal that allows consumers to earn extra cashback or points for every purchase. Rakuten partners with over 3,500 stores and brands, so you can earn cashback on items you’re already buying.
To start earning cashback, create a free account on Rakuten.com and then visit your favorite store’s page on Rakuten.
From there, click through to the store’s website and make your purchase as usual. The cashback or American Express Membership Rewards points will be added to your Rakuten account within a few days. It’s that simple!
Now let’s look at how to maximize your earnings by setting up your Rakuten account to earn American Express Membership Rewards points.
How to Sign Up for Rakuten?
Creating a Rakuten account is quick and easy. Head to Rakuten.com and click on the “Sign Up” button in the top right-hand corner.
From there, you’ll be prompted to enter your name and email address and create a password. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be ready to earn cashback or American Express Membership Rewards points!
Use a Referral Link From a Friend, Family Member or Favorite Content Creator
If you know someone who is already a Rakuten member, they can give you a referral link to use for signing up.
When you use a referral link, you’ll get $15-$40 when you make your first qualifying purchase within 90 days of signing up. And the best part is, the person who referred you will also get a bonus!
Additionally, once you have signed up with Rakuten, you can start referring too! The more people you refer, the more cashback and points you’re bound to earn.
Pro-Tip: Do not use the same device when signing up friends or family members. Rakuten will be able to detect this and they will clawback your points. They can also ban you from the portal. Ensure you are using different devices when signing up multiple accounts.
Summary: Earning Only Takes Three Steps
According to Rakuten, earning cashback or points from their site is as easy as taking these three steps:
- Log on to Rakuten.com: On the Rakuten website or the Rakuten App, click the store where you want to shop.
- Shop Like Always: Place an order, and Rakuten will automatically add cashback or points to your account.
- Choose How to Get Paid: Rakuten can send you cash or points. It’s your choice!
How to Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points with Rakuten
As stated above, when you make a purchase through Rakuten, you’ll have the option to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cashback.
The only requirement to gain access to American Express Membership Rewards points on Rakuten is owning an American Express card that earns this type of points currency.
So, if you have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points, you can link it to your Rakuten account to earn Membership Rewards points on your purchases. Some of the cards that earn Membership Rewards points are as follows:
- American Express Gold
- American Express Platinum
- American Express Everyday Card (no annual fee)
- American Express Blue Business Plus (no annual fee)
- American Express Business Gold
- American Express Business Platinum
Remember that you can only earn Membership Rewards points on purchases made in USD. If you’re making a purchase in another currency, you’ll only be able to earn cashback.
Earning Membership Rewards points with Rakuten is a great way to get closer to your dream vacation. With over 3,500 stores and brands to choose from, you can easily earn points on everyday purchases.
Why Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points?
The value of AMEX Membership Rewards Points comes from the ability to transfer them to different frequent flier programs, providing you with a range of flying options internationally.
For example, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios to access flights on British Airways or its One World partners. Since British Airways and American Airlines are both in the One World Alliance, you can use British Airways Avios miles to book flights on American Airlines.
Similarly, you can also transfer your Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic, which can be helpful if you want to fly Virgin or one of its partners, like Delta.
And lastly, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, which can be helpful if you want to fly on Singapore Airlines or one of its partners, like United Airlines.
These are just a few examples of how you can use your Membership Rewards points. There are many other airline and hotel partners that you can transfer your points to, providing you with a wide range of options when it comes to redeeming your points.
No matter how you use your American Express Membership Rewards points, they are a valuable currency that can help you get closer to your dream vacation. So if you have an American Express card, be sure to link it to your Rakuten account so you can start earning points on your purchases!
Steps in Linking American Express with Rakuten
Step 1: Log On To Your Rakuten Account on your Computer
Look for your Account Name and click the “drop down” arrow next to it.
Step 2: Navigate to Account Settings
Step 3: Look for the Heading “How would you like to get paid?”
Step 4: Select American Express
The conversion rate is 1 cent = 1 American Express Membership Rewards point.
Once you have selected to receive American Express Membership Rewards, your points will be deposited to your American Express account once per quarter. Your Rakuten account will show when those points will be transferred to your AMEX account.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Does Rakuten Send Cashback or Points?
Cash Back or points are sent every three months based on the schedule below. If cashback or points for an order is still pending approval by the end of the payment quarter, it will carry over to your next payment.
When Does The Purchase Show Up in My Rakuten Account?
Stores usually take a little time to confirm that purchases were completed. Depending on the store, this can take from a few hours to several days.
Rakuten will add cashback or points to your account once the store lets Rakuten know that you’ve made a purchase. Rakuten typically sends out an email notification to its members once a shopping trip has been successfully tracked and registered.
What is the Minimum Amount I Need to Receive a Rakuten Payout?
If you have less than $5.00 in your balance, don’t worry! It will automatically roll over to the next quarter. The minimum payout amount is only $5.00.
Can I Change Back to Cashback If I Do Not Want to Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points Anymore?
Yes, you would follow the steps above and select cashback. However, you may not be able to change it back to American Express Membership Rewards again. Make sure you reach out to Rakuten for their most current policy before making changes.
Can I Use Any Credit Card When Making a Purchase Via Rakuten?
While you can use any credit card to make a purchase, a new credit card offering a generous sign-up bonus (SUB) is ideal.
Do I Need to Activate My Rakuten Account Every Quarter?
There is no need to reactivate your account every quarter. Your account will stay active as long as you do not close it.
Do I Need to go Through Rakuten Every Time I Shop?
You will only receive cashback for your purchase if you click on a Rakuten link to start the shopping trip. If you don’t begin by clicking on the Rakuten link, the store has no way of knowing you’re a member.
Can I Still Earn Cash Back If I Forget to Click Through Rakuten?
Rakuten Cash Back is only available when you begin your Shopping Trip on Rakuten.com. If it’s difficult to remember to go to Rakuten before making a purchase, you can install their cash-back button instead.
The button, currently only available on Chrome, automatically pops up on any site where Rakuten cashback is offered and also finds coupons for you—making it easier than ever to save some money.
What If My Purchase Did Not Track?
Click “Shop Now” on the Rakuten website if you’re using a mobile device. You’ll be redirected to the store’s mobile site, where your purchase will be tracked and credited to your account with Cash Back.
If you want Rakuten to be able to track your purchase and give you cash back, make sure not to shop using an incognito or private browsing window.
For missing cashback or rewards, you can contact Rakuten by clicking the button below and providing the following information:
- The store where you made your purchase
- The date of your purchase
- The approximate time of your purchase
- Your order total
- Proof of purchase, such as a receipt that clearly shows your order details
What Happens If I Cancel or Return Merchandise?
Depending on the store’s policy, returning or canceling an order may void your cashback, and it will then be subtracted from your cashback balance. If a store processes your exchanged order as if it were canceled and creates a new transaction, the exchange will not generate cashback.
If you want to make sure you get cashback for exchanged items, it’s easier to return the item and order something else. You can do this online or at the store where you made the purchase. Just make sure you start your shopping trip through Rakuten.
Why Convert Your Cashback to Travel Points?
This is a personal decision. There are pros and cons for each. But I would like to highlight an example of why I believe travel points are much more lucrative for a specific population.
Those into travel hacking know that American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to multiple transfer partners. And some of those partners offer sweet spots where points can be redeemed for round-trip business class travel to Europe for as low as 88,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.
Case in point, I flew a round trip business class flight from San Francisco to Athens on Turkish Airlines using 88,000 American Express Membership Rewards points that were transferred to ANA (All Nippon Airways). These points came from either Rakuten or credit card sign-up bonuses.
If I had not selected to convert my Rakuten cashback bonuses into American Express Membership Rewards points, I would have only gotten an $880 check as my reward.
Now, some people might argue that cash is king and that $880 can potentially grow exponentially if appropriately invested, thanks to compound interest. This is also true and equally valuable. That is why you would need to make that determination yourself.
Rakuten is a great way to save money and earn points on your everyday purchases. With over 3,500 stores and brands to choose from, you can easily earn cashback or points on the items you’re already buying.
Plus, if you have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points, you can link it to your Rakuten account to earn even more points!
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Rakuten today and start saving and earning rewards! Happy shopping!
EDITORIAL DISCLOSURE – Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. The content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.