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Are you a member of Rakuten and have an AmEx credit card that earns Membership Rewards points? You could rack up extra AmEx points by using a new or existing Rakuten account. Here's how the new partnership works.
First, let’s talk about Rakuten: It’s a shopping portal designed to reward customers for everyday purchases. Its new idea is to create a network called the Rakuten Ecosystem that links digital services together and incentivizes users to utilize the system as a whole via the Rakuten Super Points rewards program.
Rakuten Super Points are redeemable across various platforms within the Rakuten Ecosystem and beyond. Rakuten is hoping this ecosystem will expand to include its 1.3 billion global customers across 30 countries and regions.
In fact, you may already be familiar with Rakuten, which has owned the shopping portal company Ebates since 2014 — but as of 2018, Rakuten has completely absorbed Ebates. This is essentially how the Rakuten ecosystem looks in the U.S. economy: It’s the rebranded Ebates shopping portal.
Rakuten’s AmEx partnership
With the goal of expansion in mind, partnering with American Express is a pretty good way for Rakuten to pick up select global customers. Instead of Rakuten Super Points, global Rakuten members (as well as former Ebates members) who shop through the Rakuten portal can earn cash back or opt to earn AmEx Membership Rewards.
Those points earned will be stored in your Rakuten account until they are transferred to your American Express Membership Rewards account. Rakuten pays out rewards on a quarterly payment schedule. Note that you'll need to have at least 500 points (or $5) stored in your account before a quarterly transfer will be initiated.
» Learn more: AmEx Membership Rewards: How to earn and use them
Which American Express cards are eligible?
How do you know whether or not your American Express card is eligible for this partnership? Most cards that earn Membership Rewards points are eligible for the Rakuten partnership. The specific consumer cards and Open cards listed here are eligible for the Membership Rewards program, so by extension they can be linked with your new or existing Rakuten account.
You can sign up for Rakuten using your email address, Facebook or Google account. If you place a qualifying order of at least $25 within the first 90 days of your account opening, you’ll be entitled to a welcome bonus of $10 cash back. Once you’ve become a new member, link your American Express Membership Rewards credentials. As soon as Rakuten can confirm your status with the Membership Rewards program, your two accounts will be linked.
The bottom line
Shopping through a portal — Rakuten or otherwise — is great for maximizing your earning potential when using a rewards card. This was true of Ebates and is consequently true of Rakuten. Clicking through the shopping portal to earn cash and subsequent points is simple. You can even shop for “double cash back” promotions or double-dip for points by shopping through the Rakuten portal.
So, if you have an AmEx card that earns Membership Rewards and you haven’t yet become a Rakuten member, what are you waiting for? Sign up for Rakuten, link your AmEx account and start stockpiling additional Membership Rewards points by making everyday purchases through the Rakuten shopping portal. It really is that easy to earn extra points.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best hotel credit card for you Use ‘virtual malls’ to rack up airline points on your next hotel 5 good times to shop for almost anything