An easy way to maximize the Rakuten new member bonus

Until December 7, 2021, Rakuten is offering the best bonus ever to new members sponsored by existing members:

  • If you refer a friend to Rakuten and they spend $ 40, the referred person and the referred person get $ 40.
  • To be eligible, the referred person must make a purchase within 90 days

In this article, I wanted to highlight the easiest way to take advantage of this offer, as it is an option that many people overlook. If you are eligible, there is simply no reason not to.

The easiest way to make a Rakuten purchase

Rakuten is an online shopping portal that partners with hundreds of retailers, offering Cash Back or Amex Membership Rewards points for purchases you make anyway. Sometimes there are even high bonuses, as we are seeing right now.

Receiving $ 40 off a $ 40 purchase is awesome, although I understand a lot of people might be thinking “Well I can’t think of anything I need to buy right now that costs around $ 40 ”.

In this article, I wanted to highlight the easiest way to earn this bonus – buy a $ 40 gift card and you will get $ 40 back. Below I will outline the process, for anyone who may not be a member of Rakuten yet.

Step 1: Create a Rakuten account

The first step is to create a Rakuten account through a referral link. You can subscribe through my link (thanks for your support!), Or others are free to leave their links in the comments section.

The registration process should only take a few minutes.

One of my favorite things about Rakuten is how you can earn Amex Membership Rewards points instead of cash back for your online purchases. Once you have opened your account, you can choose to select Amex Membership Rewards points rather than cash back as your earning preference.

Note that this change will not apply to the signup bonus, but will apply to everything else in the future. This is a great opportunity as I personally rate an Amex Membership Rewards point at well over a cent.

Step 2: Buy a $ 30 gift card

Once logged into your Rakuten account, you will need to make a qualifying purchase. There are several websites dedicated to selling gift cards in partnership with Rakuten, including,, and

You will want to purchase a gift card specifically through one of these websites, as the terms allow you to earn credit for gift card purchases, which is not the case when you purchase gift cards through many Rakuten business partners.

I have had issues with (I have found that orders are often canceled for unknown reasons), but is working fine in my experience.

So enter in the search bar at the top of the Rakuten website.

Then click on the “Buy Now” button, which will take you to All your purchases on this site will be automatically tracked.

The website sells a variety of gift cards from popular retailers including DoorDash, Uber, Delta, Southwest, Hulu, Netflix, Dominos, and many more.

For example, you can buy a DoorDash gift card for $ 40 at face value, and the code will be delivered by email within minutes.

Step 3: Wait for your credit to be posted

Once the purchase is complete, you should see Rakuten automatically track the purchase.

Within an hour the purchase should be fully reflected – the Rakuten account will display a credit of the signup bonus amount, along with the rewards for the actual purchase (which will vary depending on whether you choose to earn money or Membership Rewards points). As standard, offers either 1% cash back or one Membership Rewards point per dollar spent.

The only major problem here is the deferred payment period. You will only be paid once per quarter, and there is a limit for payments:

  • For an activity between January 1 and March 31, get paid on May 15
  • For an activity between April 1 and June 30, get paid on August 15
  • For an activity between July 1 and September 30, get paid on November 15
  • For an activity between October 1 and December 31, get paid on February 15

Is buying a gift card with Rakuten worth it?

Essentially, new Rakuten members will get $ 40 in cash in a few months if they spend $ 40 now. Based on this I would say:

  • It’s a good deal and a no-brainer if you were to spend $ 40 at a merchant that you could buy a $ 40 gift card from anyway; if you’re going to spend $ 40 with DoorDash anyway, why not earn $ 40 in cash a few months later in the process?
  • This could be especially lucrative if you can refer a friend or family member, as between the two of you you’ll get $ 80 worth (or potentially $ 40 and 4,000 Amex points, which is even better)

At the end of the line

Rakuten offers the best bonus of $ 40 to both the person referred and the person referred through the refer a friend program. I’m a huge fan of Rakuten in general, and there’s a lot of value to be had here.

If you are looking for the easiest way to complete this offer, purchase a $ 40 gift card from a retailer of your choice on You will then receive $ 40 in cash with your next payment.

If you would have spent money with a retailer anyway and are not yet a member of Rakuten, then it’s a no-brainer. Best of all, it will get you into the habit of using Rakuten and earning rewards for all your online purchases.

About Janet Young

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