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Rakuten is one of my favorite cash back sites because it allows users to choose between earning pure cash back or Amex Membership Rewards in place of cash back. Now, for a limited time, the site is offering the best bonus we have ever seen it offer to new users being referred to the portal and to existing users who are doing the referring.
Rakuten Friend Referral Program
The program and the current promotion couldn’t be simpler:
- Refer friends to Rakuten (link)
- When a referred friend spends $40 through the Rakuten portal (across any of the hundreds of stores that the portal offers), the friend earns $40 and you (the referrer) get $40 too.
- Rakuten says that this offer is available for a “limited time” but it doesn’t appear to have defined what “limited time” means.
- The offer is valid only if the referral signs up and completes their qualifying purchase during the Offer Period
Collecting American Express Membership Rewards
Follow this link to see how to choose to earn Amex Membership Rewards in place of cash back.
Rakuten offers 1 Membership Reward point in place of every 1 cent of cash back earned through the portal and that fact brings with it three pieces of good news:
- As I value Membership Rewards points at 1.5 cents each, every cent of cash back earned can be said to be worth 1.5 cents if you choose to earn Membership Rewards points.
- If you choose to earn Membership Rewards points, this promotion will see you earn 4,000 points for every friend you successfully refer (as long as they go on to spend $40 during the promotion period).
- Every person who is referred to Rakuten and who chooses to earn Membership Rewards points can earn 4,000 bonus Membership Rewards points from the referral, and those points will come on top of whatever other points are offered for the purchases being made.
Be Careful How You Pay
There’s more on offer here than just the great cash bonus or the Membership Rewards Points – this is an opportunity to make the most of all the other deals that will stack with this promotion. For example:
Check the Amex offers that your American Express cards have been targeted for as a number of retailers that appear on the Rakuten portal often have Amex deals going as well (e.g Levis, Sunglass Hut, Macy’s, etc…). Cards like the no annual fee Blue Cash EveryDay Card (2% cash back at select department stores) and the Blue Business Prefered Card (2 points/dollar on up to $50,000 of spending) can be very useful cards to use with Amex offers that stack with the cash back on offer through a lot of the retailers you’ll find on the Rakuten site.
If you don’t have any relevant Amex offers to use, make sure you use a credit card that will reward you well. Most miles and points credit cards will only offer 1 point or mile per dollar at a lot of the participating retailers, so this would be a good opportunity to use a good cash back card like the refreshed Chase Freedom Unlimited Card (1.5% cash back on all spending) or to use a card on which you’re currently working towards a strong welcome offer (e.g. if you recently signed up for the improved offer on the Amex Gold Card).
This is a very nice promotion for all sides from Rakuten as the referrer and the person being referred can both do very well out of this….just don’t forget that the person being referred must spend at least $40 through the Rakuten portal for everyone to walk away from this as a winner.