Rakuten Rewards (Ebates)
Get a review of the Rakuten Rewards program (Ebates), how it works, and how you can earn hundreds of dollars in cash back shopping in-store and online.
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is a cash back portal and shopping rewards website. Rakuten, as well as other cash back portals, offers thousands of affiliate links. When you click on these affiliate links and make a purchase, Rakuten earns money. They then share a small percentage of that money with you, the member. The more purchases you make through Rakuten, the more money they earn and the more money you earn. This page reviews that Rakuten Rewards program and covers how you can earn cash back using their cash back portal.
How To Earn Money With Rakuten
It's pretty easy to earn money with Rakuten. If you're shopping online, I recommend using Rakuten (or any of the other cash back portals) to earn cash back. The process is simple:
Sign Up For A Rakuten Account
The first thing you'll want to do is sign up for a Rakuten account. It's free, easy to do, and doesn't require any type of credit/debit card info. All you need is an email address and your name. You can also sign up for an account through Google or Facebook.
Sign up for Rakuten through The Point Calculator and you'll earn an additional $10 on your first purchase!
Start At Rakuten.com
Once you're all set up with an account, you'll want to start your shopping session at Rakuten.com. On their homepage, you'll find a search bar at the top of the page. If you know what you're shopping for, you can type in the search bar and see your store will earn you cash back.
Once you find your store, click on it and you'll get all the details about earning cash back with that specific store. It will lay out:
- How much cash back you will earn
- The cash back terms for that specific store
- Sales and promos going on with that particular store
- Details about the store
- How much cash back other users earn on average
To start earning cash back, you can click on the main 'Shop Now' button at the top of the page or any of the 'Shop Now' buttons that are listed by the coupons/promo codes.
Once you click Shop Now, Rakuten will open up a new/tab window and start to load up your shopping session.
Once the page loads, you'll find yourself on that stores website and Rakuten will let you know that the session is active.
You can then shop as normal! Sign in to your account with that store, browse the store's website, and do everything else you would normally do. Just remember that you will need to keep that browser session open in order to earn cash back with Rakuten. You can open up new tabs and you'll still earn cash back, but if you close out the entire browser window you'll have start a new session through Rakuten's website again.
How You Get Paid With Rakuten
Rakuten pays out earned cash back every three months in the form of either a Big Fat Check, PayPal, or Gift Card. The cash back you earn during those three months is paid out a little more than a month after that period. The good thing is that your credit card info is not needed to receive your earned cash back.
|Rakuten Pay Schedule|
|Earning Period||Month Paid Out|
|January 1 - March 31||May 15|
|April 1 - June 30||August 15|
|July 1 - September 30||November 15|
|October 1 - December 31||February 15|
Big Fat Check
Choosing to receive Rakuten's Big Fat Check is pretty straightforward. Your earnings will be mailed out to you in the form of a check. You'll cash the check like you would any normal check. This is the option I used for the first year of having my account and I would just do the mobile deposit through my bank.
When you select to receive your money through PayPal, your earnings will go directly to your account. There's no charge for this and it's pretty seamless. This is currently the option I use and I have found this to be the easiest option. Once the paycheck hits your PayPal account, you'll be able to transfer the funds to your bank account.
The option to redeem your earned cash back for a gift card is presented to you a few weeks before Rakuten preps to send you a check or deposit it into your PayPal account. The plus to grabbing up gift cards is that Rakuten will offer you bonus cash back if you choose this route. For example, if you've earned $25 in cash back you could opt in to receive a $30 gift card to Chipotle or the Nike Store. The amount of bonus cash back will vary depending on the retailer. It's a solid option for anyone that shops with a particular retailer and would like to know.
Other Rakuten Services
Earning cash back by shopping through Rakuten's online portal is pretty much the gist of the website, but they do offer other ways to earn cash back as well other rewards.
Rakuten In-Store Cash Back
Rakuten allows members to earn cash back when shopping in-store by linking a credit/debit card to your Rakuten account. This works the same way as many of the dining programs that offer bonus points/miles when eating out at restaurants.
- Link credit/debit cards to your account
- Link the store cash back offer to a card
- Use the linked card when shopping at that store
- Earn cash back automatically
You can link offers through the desktop or through their mobile app. If you have location services turned on, you can opt in to receive notifications whenever you're around a store (or restaurant) that has an in-store cash back deal.
If you do decide that you want to earn cash back shopping in-store with Rakuten, make sure that you add a rewards credit card that earns great rewards. If you shop with a specific retailer, you can use a store credit card to maximize your savings or a cash back card that earns either 1.5% cash back or 2%+ cash back on all purchases.
Do note that you can only add VISA, Mastercard, and American Express credit cards to your Rakuten account.
Another thing to note is that you must re-link the offers after you use them. So don't get in the habit of thinking that the offer is there to stay. If you're about to go out shopping, check through your offers and make sure everything is good to go!
Rakuten Travel & Vacations
Rakuten's cash back portal features hotels, car rentals, airlines, and online travel agencies. I recommend that you use Rakuten when booking your travel because it allows you to earn cash back on top of your rewards points/miles earned with loyalty programs and rewards credit cards.
Rakuten allows you to easily search hotels, cars, flights, and vacation packages through their website. Do note that Rakuten only displays their travel partners. This includes:
- Rakuten Hotels
Rakuten does feature other travel brands outside of what's listed such as Marriott Hotels, Choice Hotels, Avis Car Rental, Enterprise Car Rental, Korean Airlines, Air France, and many more. So if you don't like what their travel portal is offering, you can always search for your favorite airline, hotel, or car rental program to see if they're offering cash back and how much.
Rakuten allows you to book hotels through their Rakuten Hotel portal. Bookings made through this portal will automatically earn cash back and you'll receive special offers from time to time as well. You can specify a specific hotel or you can search by city/landmark.
The results will show the daily price of the hotel after the cash back you'll earn with Rakuten. If want to see the total price along with the total amount of cash back you'll earn, you'll have to hit 'Book Now' (don't worry, Rakuten will not charge you). You will then be asked to log in, and you'll land on the final page to complete your booking. The final price will be listed on this page and it will include the cost before and after taxes/fees are added. It will also show how much cash back you will be earning with Rakuten on the booking.
Is Booking Through Rakuten Better Than Booking Direct?
Booking a week at the DoubleTree By Hilton Nashville Downtown directly through Rakuten Hotels would cost a base price of $1,978.98 plus $316.80 in taxes for a grand total of $2,295.78. You would also be earning a total of $197.90 in cash back (earned on the base price only). This would give you a final cost of $2,097.88.
What about booking direct? Hilton's base price for the same booking is only $1,788.86 with a final price of $2,060.68 after fees/taxes.
So in this case booking through the Rakuten Hotels portal would be the worst way to go. But that doesn't mean you cross Rakuten off the list, because you can still earn cash back with Rakuten by booking the Hilton hotel through their cash back portal the normal way.
This means you would earn cash back with Rakuten (either 1% or 7.5% depending on status) and Hilton Honors Points if you're a member. And don't let the 1% scare you... Hilton Members can earn between 10 points and 34 points per $1 spent depending on Hilton Honors status and Hilton credit cards. With a cost of 2,060.68 you're looking at 20,607 to 70,063 Hilton Honors Points which is worth $123 to $420. So while 1% isn't a lot, you'll still earn hundreds of dollars worth of Hilton Honors Points on top of that 1%. So be sure to compare the prices of Rakuten Hotels to booking direct as well as to other online travel agencies such Expedia, Orbitz, and Hotels.com.
I'm not one for installing toolbars on my browsers, but the Rakuten toolbar for Google Chrome has helped me earn lots of cash back. This toolbar alerts you when you're on a site that can earn you cash back with Rakuten.
The toolbar will pop up a message on the screen, you'll hit 'Active Cash Back' and it will start the session in the same window/tab. You'll then be able to shop as normal! Once you sign up for a Rakuten account, I recommend considering this toolbar as it can really help you build your cash back.
Credit Card Rewards Calculators
Rakuten has one cash back credit card called the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card. The card earns additional cash back on top of purchases made through Rakuten including purchases made through the website's cash back portal, in-store cash back offers, Rakuten hotel portal, and Rakuten travel. It's a superb card that's great for anyone looking to earn a little more than 3% on purchases made with with over 2,500+ stores!
Rakuten Credit Card Cash Back Calculators
You can click on the Rakuten credit card below to learn about the bonus categories, perks & benefits, standard sign up bonus, and fees of the card. The Rakuten credit card also has it's own cash back calculator. The calculator will calculate how much cash back you can earn and the cash value of the credit card based on your monthly/yearly spend, how much each card benefit is worth to you, and the fees of the card. You can compare the results side by side any credit card featured on the site. Any spend you enter into the credit card calculator will carry over to all credit card calculators on the site, so there's no need to re-enter spend when jumping page to page.
Get the details on how you can use Rakuten to book hotels, car rentals, flights, and more to easily double and triple dip on your rewards!
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