Rakuten (formerly Ebates) Visa with Membership Rewards. Everything you need to know.

This post has been updated with information about converting Rakuten cash back accounts to Membership Rewards.  In a previous update I added a trick to help get approved for the Rakuten Visa.  Also, the post was previously updated to show that it is now possible to sign up for Rakuten with Membership Rewards even if you only have business Amex cards.

The Rakuten (formerly Ebates) portal suddenly became exciting when they introduced the ability to earn Amex Membership Rewards points instead of cash back.  The combination of the Rakuten portal with the Rakuten Visa credit card is arguably the most exciting event in the points & miles world since… um… Redbird maybe?  Regardless, it’s been a while since we’ve seen anything this interesting.  You can read all about it here: In one fell swoop, Ebates shakes up portal and credit card rewards.

OK, are you already back from reading the “Ebates shakes up portal and credit card rewards” post?  Great.  So now you know why you want the Rakuten Visa so that you can earn an 3X points on all of your Rakuten shopping in addition to the points offered by the portal itself.  But before you sign up, there are some things you need to know:

Follow these steps

  1. First, you need an Amex card that earns Membership Rewards.  There are lots of good ones (found here), but if you want one with no annual fee then go for either the Blue Business Plus or the Everyday CardPreviously it was necessary to have a consumer Amex card, but that requirement is no longer in place.
  2. Next, you need an Rakuten portal account.  If you don’t already have one, you can sign up here (this is not an affiliate link): www.rakuten.com/american-express.  At the time of this writing, there’s a signup offer of 1500 Membership Rewards points after making $25 or more in qualifying purchases through the portal.  If you already have a cash back version of the account, you can change it to a Membership Rewards account (see below for details).
  3. Next, make sure you apply for the Rakuten Visa with the same email address as the one linked to your Rakuten portal account.  Best bet is to log into the Rakuten portal first and click on the Rakuten Visa ad.  Yes, it is advertised as a cash back card, but as long as it is linked to a Rakuten account that earns Membership Rewards, it will earn Membership Rewards.  If you don’t see the ad when you log into your Rakuten account, you can find a current signup link here.

You can now change your cash back Rakuten account to a Membership Rewards account

To switch your Rakuten portal account to Amex Membership Rewards, log into the Rakuten portal, select Account Settings (found in the menu under your name), and change how you would like to get paid:

The Rakuten card is surprisingly hard to get approved for

My son (a college student) was denied.  A retiree that I know was also denied.  It’s not surprising that they were denied credit in general, but I expected that a portal branded credit card would be easy to get.  I was wrong.

A number of readers (see the comments in this post) have also been denied despite having high income and solid credit scores.

There is a trick for getting approved

Readers report success getting approved for the Rakuten Visa card after freezing Sagestream and ARS credit reporting.  You can find instructions for freezing your reports here:

A great resource for how to freeze both Sagestream and ARS can be found here: Two Credit Bureaus You Should Freeze Before You Apply For A U.S Bank Credit Card (even though the Rakuten Visa isn’t issued by US Bank, the instructions are relevant).

It is possible to go from nothing to earning points in a matter of minutes

Once you are approved for an Amex card that earns Membership Rewards, you should be able to sign up for Rakuten with Membership Rewards immediately.

Then, if you are instantly approved for the Rakuten Visa, you will be presented with a temporary card number instantly.  You can start shopping right away as long as your purchase is under $1,000.

The Rakuten Visa’s 3X rewards are based on the entire purchase price

This may seem like a stupid statement.  After all, all credit cards reward you based on the entire purchase price, right?  Right, but I wasn’t sure in this case.  After all, the Rakuten portal itself doesn’t usually reward the shipping and handling and sales tax portion of a purchase.  And remember that the Rakuten Visa offers 3X rewards for purchases made through the Rakuten portal and only 1X rewards for other purchases.  So, it seemed logical to me that the Rakuten Visa may work in any one of these three ways:

  1. 1X rewards applies to the entire purchase amount, and the additional 2X rewards apply only to the purchase amount tracked by the portal.  Wrong answer #1.
  2. 3X rewards applies only to the amount tracked by the portal.  Wrong answer #2.
  3. 3X rewards applies to the entire purchase amount inclusive of shipping and handling and taxes.  This is the right answer.

Thanks go to members of the Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook Group for helping to answer this question definitively.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

115
Leave a Reply

avatar
52 Comment threads
63 Thread replies
60 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
57 Comment authors
Greg The Frequent MilerduncanByronJoeJoeJ Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
Dee
Guest
Dee

Partial DP: I applied for the Ebates Visa and was denied because I forgot to thaw my credit reports. Duh! I called (the Ebates Visa CS line is 855-697-4555) to ask if I should wait to apply again. The rep said to unfreeze all three credit reports and try again right away. I set the thaw to last a couple of days and applied the day after my call. I still got “We’ll let you know by mail” response. I called again. I was denied, but they won’t tell me why. They said to wait for the email explaining, then apply again. I even asked to speak with a supervisor.

My credit scores are all over 800. My income is pretty substantial. I am at 6/24. Amex just gave me another Platinum last month. Other than that, I haven’t opened a new card since November of 2018. I really thought a Synchrony card would be a slap dunk. Apparently not.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Any idea how this will track for items that are excluded from the cash back? Like say i buy a kitchen aid from BBnB by clicking through the ebates cash back link, even though kitchenaid is an exempt from cash back brand, would i still get 3x?

Joe
Guest
Joe

I have been using the combo for a few weeks, and it does not. Any purchase that earns 0% through Ebates portal will only get you 1% on the Ebates credit card. However, ANY reward amount through the portal (ie. Raise is 1%) adds the 3% for using the card. So the total for a Raise purchase through the portal and with the credit card is 4x. It’s really great.

losingtrader
Guest
losingtrader

Greg, I must have missed the discussion of this but this earns 3x MR on everything?

James
Guest
James

Everything purchased through the portal

losingtrader
Guest
losingtrader

Thanks, so is it only online or don’t they have in-store stuff too?

Joe
Guest
Joe

They have ongoing in store offers that you tie to the card.

Hunter
Guest
Hunter

And this is in addition to any points that you get from Ebates? So, if a retailer gave 1 point per dollar spent (not including taxes and fees), I would get 4 points on the actual purchase?

Joe
Guest
Joe

That is correct.

rick I
Guest
rick I

Synchrony Bank is nuts.Denied too many inquiries. Sent info, including my healthy Schwab account statement. Never missed a payment in my life.About 750 score. Home free and clear .

Calls are routed to fraud for credit card application reconsideration which they DO NOT DO? You must apply again? Again, NO reconsideration

I consider anyone that gets this card lucky as can be.

THEsocalledfan
Guest
THEsocalledfan

Yep, sounds great, but almost impossible to get approved for. My income is north of $150K a year, and credit scores all over 800. I was 4/24 for cards; I hadn’t applied for card in a substantial amount of time. Not instant approval, then denied by letter. The reasoning in the letter was 100% hogwash:

“Date of issuance of applicant’s SSN does not match date of SSN of peers
Number of inquiries
Applicant associated with multiple phone changes
Limited history of consumer at application phone number”

So I called, and like the other person, they said nothing they can do by phone and that I am still denied. They said all I can do is write a letter and send it to the address on the denial. So, I did exactly that, and refuted each specific reasoning. They then sent me another letter in reply changing their reasoning for denial, but still denying me based on my credit score. I have then sent yet another letter disputing that finding giving direct data why that is incorrect, but yet to hear back again.

I also applied for my wife. FICO north of 800, only 1/24 for cards. Denied. Pretty much the same reasoning as above. I have no idea how you get approved for this card.

beachmouse
Guest
beachmouse

I had an old Ebates account with a zero balance, and here’s what I was told to do by their customer service to switch it over to MR earnings. I don’t know if it works with an Ebates account with a balance or if you lose the cash out balance if you do this:

” Welcome to Ebates! Please follow these steps to sign up for an AMEX Membership Rewards Points account.

Log out of your existing Ebates account

Visit Ebates.com/American Express

Create a new account using the same email address you used previously
Enroll using your existing American Express user id and password”

Lukas
Guest
Lukas

When I do that, it says “Thank you for being a Ebates member. Only new members can choose to receive Membership Rewards points at this time.” when I try to sign up with the same email address.

voyager
Guest
voyager

Greg, “all you need to know” would include how sensitive they are to buying GCM GC’s. Would prefer to not find out the hard way : ). Any thoughts?

Alex
Guest
Alex

I too, was told by ebates customer service that I couldn’t move my newly approved ebates credit card to my new membership rewards earning ebay account. I applied through the preapproval of my old (cashback) account (due to $100 sign-up bonus) but was also entered the email address of my MR earning account. So, just switching the email on the application will not do it (at least for these preapprovals with SUBs). The preapproval and SUB is attached the account on which it is received. May try beachmouse’s method.

Sethon
Guest
Sethon

I got denied because I had too many cc inquiries recently. I knew something was up when I got “We’ll let you know by mail” response after the application. LOL/24 here though

Teo
Guest
Teo

I was able to sign up for a MR Ebates account although I only have business cards earning MR. The eligible cards link takes you to this page which lists all Amex cards that earn MR https://rewards.americanexpress.com/myca/loyalty/us/catalog/tandc?mrlinknav=footer-tandc

Is it possible Synchrony uses consumer reports from Sagestream and ARS like US bank? Freezing those might help getting approved if that’s the case.

Aloha808
Guest
Aloha808

Same here, I was able to make a new Ebates MR account and I only have Amex biz cards.

Carter
Guest
Carter

I opened a new Ebates account a few weeks ago using an alternate email address so that I could earn MR (had an older account under another email that I rarely used). Applied for Ebates card today and was auto-approved and got the temporary number. Credit score is around 780 and I am about 7/24 at the moment (only 2 apps in past 12 months though).

Craig at Middle Age Miles
Guest
Craig at Middle Age Miles

Hi Greg – Great article. Thanks for the interesting and positive DP about 3x earning. I was trying mightily to experiment with MR earning with an Ebates Visa to provide DPs to the community. But alas, like some others here, I was unceremoniously denied by Synchrony. I wrote about the app process and denial a couple of weeks ago (“Experiment Foiled! Denied for the Ebates Visa Card”). I took it all the way to the “Chairman’s Office” but received no sympathetic ear and no shot at manual recon. Congrats to all who can get approved – this is an awesome opportunity!

Kalboz
Guest
Kalboz

Thank you for being a Ebates member. Only new members can choose to receive Membership Rewards points at this time.

Dave
Guest
Dave

I got the same message, then closed my Ebates account and got confirmation it was deactivated. Then still got the same message. Opened a different browser and created a new Ebates account linked to MR using a different email address. Success! Then applied and got instant approval for Ebates Visa with an instant temporary account number to use immediately.

Kalboz
Guest
Kalboz

How did you deactivate your first account?

Dave
Guest
Dave

While logged in to Ebates, I went to Help, Contact Us, and filled out the form. None of the pull-down topics fit, but I selected Email address/profile change. Then in the details box I put I want to close my Ebates account. They replied in less than an hour saying it was deactivated.

Kalboz
Guest
Kalboz

Excellent, you are awesome! Thank you

trackback

[…] applied for Ebates store card. In typical Synchrony fashion I was approved $5000ish credit limit. Frequent Miler mentions that that it is, for a store card, it is relatively difficult to get, but if I can get […]

Christian
Guest
Christian

Just approved. 5/24 but nothing in the last 6 months. Credit score in the high 700’s.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Greg, I was able to set up an MR-linked Ebates account and subsequently got instant approval for the Ebates Visa. When I went to open the Ebates account, it had me log in to Amex and then said I was verified for MR and switched right back to Ebates. I have several MR earning Amex cards (gold and platinum personal and blue business plus) bit it did not ask me to choose a card to link. Do you think that will be a problem?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Greg, or anyone that can chime in — Would the card only earn 3% on purchases already ‘eligible’ for the normal cashback/MR back rate? Example: TicketMaster is limited to 5 purchases per month that are eligible for cashback through ebates. If I were to use the ebates CC on my 6th+ order on Ticketmaster through ebates portal, am curious if I’d receive the 3x MR on that purchase, even though I’d be ineligible for the standard cashback/MR rate of return for using the portal. Thank you.

Bill
Guest
Bill

So if I buy a GC thru their site offering 1%, will I earn another 3% when using their cc?

trackback

[…] Ebates Visa with Membership Rewards. Everything you need to know. […]

Kent
Guest
Kent

Looking into this card for booking overseas accommodation when traveling, as Ebates offers 5% back (5x MR points) on Booking.com, which I often use, and with the card that could get bumped to 8%. However, I realized that the card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, and I imagine that would apply to any booking at a non-US hotel, which would negate the gain.

I’d love to hear I’m wrong if anyone who has been approved for the card can speak from experience.

trackback

[…] eight days after he applied for it.  He had applied for this card after being turned down for the Ebates Visa Card.  When the Chase application went pending, I figured that he most likely would be denied.  And, […]

Gmoney
Guest
Gmoney

Denied, 750 score, 200k income – too many recent inquiries

Cambio
Guest
Cambio

Not sure if credit is even a big factor, I’m around 650 with $110k/year income (poor past decisions). Credit not run in past 6-8 months and got approved for $3k.

Odelia
Guest
Odelia

Is it possible to change the Amex card to which the MR earning account is linked? Mine is currently linked to my platinum card, but I am thinking of canceling it when the fee comes around. This is currently my only Amex card. Will I be able to get another Amex card and maintain the MR ebates account with its link to the Ebates CC etc?

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Just approved. 804 FICO, 13/24, last app Feb ’19, 3 hard inquiries last 2 years.

Yuri
Guest
Yuri

Do I need to close Ebates cashback account first, before applying for this card? I have 2 Ebates accounts right now (cashback and MR), and no Ebates visa so far.
I have Citi AT&T Access More, which earns 3x TYP for most of online shopping, through any portal, so I’m not in a rush to get this card, but it’s good to have.

Traveltheworld
Guest
Traveltheworld

I had to open a new MR earning Ebates but opened my Ebates Visa with my old email account. Is this not going to work? How do I fix it?

trackback

[…] The biggest downside of this new feature is that there is currently no way to convert a cash back Ebates account to a Membership Rewards Ebates account.  Instead, members have to cancel their cash back account and sign up for the Membership Rewards version.  Again, details can be found here.  For some members, cancelling and setting up new is not an option.  For example, if you have an Ebates Visa card (which earns 3% on purchases that track through the Ebates portal), cancelling your current Ebates account would be a disaster.  There’s no way to change which account it is linked to.  See: Ebates Visa with Membership Rewards. Everything you need to know. […]

sam
Guest
sam

Which Credit Bureau are they pulling from? Thanks!

trackback

[…] Another standout is the Ebates Visa card when tied to an Ebates account that earns Membership Rewards points.  With this Visa card, you’ll earn 3X Membership Rewards in addition to portal rewards anytime you shop through Ebates, earn portal rewards, and pay with your Ebates Visa card.  Complete details can be found here: Ebates Visa with Membership Rewards. Everything you need to know. […]

USB
Guest
USB

Which credit bureau are they pulling from ?

Corey
Guest
Corey

Mine was transunion, I’m in NC.

Corey
Guest
Corey

Denied. Pulled from TU, 789 score with 5 inquiries. Reason given was: “Number of recent credit requests.” Not a new customer either – have had the BR card for 9 yrs – thought that might help.

Yuri
Guest
Yuri

DP: I applied for Ebates Visa yesterday, and was instantly approved. I have ARS and SageStream frozen. I’m at LOL/24, but my credit score is above 800.

Alan
Guest
Alan

When does the 3% extra post? I made a purchase though the portal with this card. In Ebates app, I’m seeing 5% before tax and 1% after tax. The latter is categorized as “credit card rewards”.

Am I missing something?

Robert Becker
Guest
Robert Becker

I just got the card (what a process)…and I have an account earning membership rewards…I linked the card in that account and the email address is the same on the card registration as it is on rakuten. Will it matter if I am not the main card holder? I had too many cards. If so, in order to fix that will I need to
1. sign up the main card holder for a rakuten account,
2. link that card and then
3. change the email in the account at Synchrony to match the main card holder?

Joe
Guest
Joe

DP: Denied for card. Froze credit reports as recommended. Applied again with instant approval. Thx Greg!

R G
Guest
R G

So you can get MR on Rakuten Visa? I tried to shut down and merge my accounts but was told there was an issue because of the visa attached to the old account. They told me due to their contract with Amex this action was prohibited… that the Rakuten credit card is NOT allowed to be linked to an MR earning account.

Unclesam
Guest
Unclesam

I have been trying to reach Sage Stream to freeze my credit report for over a month but with no luck. I have faxed the paperwork 2 times, Called and left voice mail messages 4 times and even sent a postal letter with certified acknowledgement due (received signed acknowledgment card back) but there is pin drop silence from their side.Not sure what else I can do. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Dont want to apply for the ebates card second time without confirmation of freeze being complete on their side.

trackback

[…] If you have a special Membership Rewards Rakuten account, then you’ll earn Amex Membership Rewards rather than cash back.  And if you sign up for the Rakuten credit card after establishing this Membership Rewards account, that credit card will also earn Membership Rewards.  This means that you’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards when buying Visa gift cards online!  Please see this post for full details before getting started: Ebates Visa with Membership Rewards. Everything you need to know. […]

trackback

[…] For online purchases, it’s hard to beat the Rakuten (formerly Ebates) Visa.  All purchases made through the Rakuten online portal earn 3X when paid with this card (that’s in addition to the rewards earned from the portal).  Plus, if you setup your accounts correctly, you’ll earn Membership Rewards points rather than cash back.  See this post for details: Rakuten (formerly Ebates) Visa with Membership Rewards. Everything you need to know. […]

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Does the +3% for the Rakuten Visa compound with the 5% for restaurants, or is it just online? Could be a good to have that as well as Sapphire Reserve as options for +3 MR/UR (yes the Amex Gold gets 4 MR, I know..)

Theresa
Guest
Theresa

I haven’t seen a 3% reward for using my Rakuten Visa for restaurants. I don’t think it works.

Tommy
Guest
Tommy

Has anyone experienced issues getting the transfers into your MR?

I had one transfer back in September but it still hasn’t shown in my AMEX portal. Contacted AMEX and they are looking into it but haven’t heard anything.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

Hi! I’m a bit confused at these changes. So I’ve had a Rakuten card for a few years now – I called Rakuten and they merged my accounts, so I have both the Rakuten Card on there and my AMEX – does this mean I can earn the 3-4x points?

I can’t post the screen shot here, but in my Wallet on the Rakuten page, I show both AMEX and Rakuten…any insight?

Thanks!

Russ
Guest
Russ

You also need to make sure your Rakuten account is set to earn MR points not cash back.

KonMarie
Guest
KonMarie

Switched my account to MR and applied for the visa.
It’s my first Synchrony card. It was approved instantly.
It seemed to pull Transunion report. My score was at 810.
2 Hard Pulls on account.

Just opened an Amex Green last week.
I figured that hasn’t hit the credit report, so I went for it.

Marriott Marty
Guest
Marriott Marty

Is it possible to product change a different card with The same bank (Sync) say a Total rewards card to avoid denial for lol/24

toomanybooks
Guest
toomanybooks

50 times I have tried to link my Amex account. Every time:

Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again.

Joke.

Theresa
Guest
Theresa

I heard the sign-up fails when you use Safari. Chrome worked for me!

trackback

[…] Cancel my wife’s Amex Gold card unless she is offered a retention bonus.  Keep in mind that I get 4X Membership Rewards from my Rakuten card, so I value the Gold card’s 4X grocery less than many others do.  See: Rakuten (formerly Ebates) Visa with Membership Rewards. Everything you need to know. […]

John
Guest
John

Just got approved for only a $1000 credit line. I put a freeze on the two credit places and waited a few weeks. I picked up the Green Card and Double Cash since placing the hold on credit reports.

Just did a $1000 giftmall order and it went through. Just wondering if Amex will squawk, when this is one bank removed from Amex dishing out the points.

Anyone with any data points on this?

Anyone got the credit limit increased?

Anyone having any issues buying gift cards with this card?

K-man
Guest
K-man

Are you over 5/24? Just curious

JoeJ
Guest
JoeJ

Hey John. How do you plan to liquidate the GC you bought from giftcardmall?

Thanks 🙂

Byron
Guest
Byron

Just bought 5K today from giftcardmall. I pay an extra $2 to get them shipped UPS. Our post office screws our mail up enough, that it is worth having it on my front porch. I have a WM 5 miles from my house. I go there 3-4 times per week for grocery runs. Since my credit line is 7.5K on this card, I will not milk it for all it is worth. I will just do slightly less than $1000 each time to keep from handing over my license and hopefully stay under the radar. I will leave a few cents on the card to stay under the 1K. Then I go 2 miles further to WF and do a ATM deposit. I once did the rabbit run and got shutdown at a couple of places. This time I will be the rabbit. Hope everyone else is too. If you watch pointchaser, you will see she spreads her MS across alot of cards.

Just wondering a bit how a Visa card is giving Amex points. Not wondering long if the points keep flowing.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Hey Byron. You’re doing MOs at WM, right?

(Not sure if you’re using loadable cards or something else)
Thank you.!

Byron
Guest
Byron

No reloadables. Strictly Metabank Visa Debit cards from gift card mall. I never say the words “gift card” at WM. I tell them I have two ea. $500 debit cards and I want one $999.00 money order.

By the way, when I order $5K I always pay a little more to get these delivered to my front door. We don’t have porch pirates here.

K-MAN
Guest
K-MAN

Approved, $1000.00. That’s it I am done, no more applying for cc for 6 months or so. In recent, I have been trying to get a credit card with price protection! Would not get approved for USA Bank or Citi AA because of too many inquires, over 5/24. Now that I have got this. I am going to garden. Came to this post through the Points Guys and was able to get more info from all comments. I do have relationship already with Synchrony Bank, Paypal Card 25K if that helps. I might try to call and increase the limit once I get it.

Byron
Guest
Byron

Greg, or anyone, know if there have been any shutdowns by Synchrony or Rakuten on just buying gift cards with the Rakuten Visa? How many $’s per month is anyone doing on the Rakuten Visa.

I just don’t know how aggressive I can be. Looking for data points.

Yo Yo
Guest
Yo Yo

subscribe

duncan
Guest
duncan

Any other reports of gift cards from giftcardmall and giftcards.com only giving 1x bonus instead of 3x? I have seen different reports on reddit stating such.