Rakuten Now Lets You Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points
Have you ever been in a situation where your loyalty to a person, product, or brand seemed like it was actually a hindrance? Take, for example, how cable companies like to offer special deals to new customers while raising rates for their existing ones. Or social media giveaways where the winner is the 10,000 follower — what about the 9,999 people who were already supporting them? That’s kind of how I felt when I learned that Rakuten (formerly Ebates, it’s a whole thing) was allowing new users to opt into earning American Express Membership Rewards points instead of the typical cash back. Meanwhile, those of us who had already been using the service were given no such option. As Stephanie Tanner would say, “How rude!”
Thankfully, that changed recently as now all Rakuten users have the ability to switch from cash back to MR points. As someone who’s recently acquired an Amex card, I’m pretty excited about this new feature as, when used to their full potential, MR points can be worth more than the cash back offered. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s get into the details of this feature.
In order to switch from cash back to MR points, you’ll first need to log into your Rakuten account. From there, head to the My Account page and then Account Settings. Once there, you should see an American Express option alongside PayPal and Big Fat Check under the “How would you like to get paid?” section. You’ll then sign into your American Express account to link and — voila — you’re all set.
When you opt into receiving American Express Membership Points on Rakuten, future purchases will earn you one point for every cent back in cash back you accrue. For example, my recent Groupon purchase was worth $9.60 in cash back, so I got 960 points. For the time being, even after you make the switch, you’ll see offers expressed in percentages of cash back and even e-mails you get about your purchases will have a dollar figure (at least in my experience). However, by visiting your account page, you should see how many points you’ve racked up.
I should also note that Rakuten doesn’t currently allow you to convert any existing cash back to points. Instead, anything you accrued before making the switch will still be paid via your previous setting on the next quarterly date, while new purchases will earn points. On that note, MR points are also only paid quarterly in accordance with Rakuten’s payment schedule.
Even though I’m still brand new to this whole points game, I’m pretty excited about this new Rakuten feature finally rolling out to current users. What’s even better is that some of the offers allow for some double-dipping. For example, Saks 5th Avenue is on Rakuten and my Amex Platinum entitles me to a $50 Saks credit every six months, so I would assume I could earn points from Rakuten for my purchase while still claiming my statement credit (although I have yet to confirm this notion). In any case, if you’re a current American Express member or are considering applying for an MR point-carrying card, it might be worth taking advantage of this particular Rakuten feature.
Also published on Medium.