This episode is being released in early October 2023. That means that here in the Midwestern United States, at least, it's my least favorite time when it comes to the weather, but it’s my favorite time when it comes to points. Q4 presents some incredible points-earning opportunities, and I’m discussing one of the most lucrative points-earning methods that get even more rewarding over the winter.
Did you know you can earn boatloads of American Express Membership Rewards Points through the online shopping platform Rakuten? There are points to be earned on Rakuten, and I’m showing you how to take advantage of some amazing offers in today’s episode.
Tune in this week to discover how to use Rakuten to earn a ton of points this winter. Leveraging Rakuten is one of the most lucrative and reliable points-earning methods. It’s super simple, and I’m giving you some tips to make your points earning on Rakuten even easier if you’re new to the platform.
Welcome to Point Me to First Class, the only show for employed professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners who are looking to optimize their higher-than-average expenses to travel the world. I'm your host, Devon Gimbel, and I believe that your expenses are your greatest untapped asset if you know how to leverage them. Ready to dive into the world of credit card points and miles so you can travel more, travel better, and travel often? Let's get started.
Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the Point Me to First Class podcast. If you're listening to this episode relatively in real time, it's the beginning of October 2023, which means we have officially entered last quarter of the year.
I don't know how you all generally feel about the end of the year, but I will tell you this at this time of year where we in the Chicago area enjoy approximately 11 days of beautiful fall weather before rapidly transitioning into six to seven months of Arctic freeze in winter that never ends. Once the time changes, it gets dark here on four p.m. It seems like everything goes through progressive stages of dying until we hopefully emerge sometime around May or June.
Suffice it to say, this is not my favorite time of year weather wise, but it is my favorite time of year points wise. That's because Q4, the last quarter of the year, presents some incredible points earning opportunities which at least partially make up for the soul crushing doldrums of a Midwestern winter.
So today, we are going to be talking about one of my favorite most lucrative points earning methods that is actually available year round, but it gets even more rewarding in the upcoming months. That is the magic of earning boatloads of American Express membership rewards points to the online shopping platform Rakuten.
But before we dive into that, I do want to give a brief shout out to any of you listening who are Chase Freedom Flex credit card holders, and remind you if you haven't already activated your Freedom Flex card for the Q4 quarterly bonus category. Now is the time to do that.
The Chase Freedom Flex card is a cash-back rewards card that is issued by chase that can actually function as a point earning credit card in the right circumstances. I talk all about how you can turn the Freedom Flex card into a point earning card back in episode number 25. So go check that out if you haven't had a chance to hear that yet.
If you've already heard that episode then you'll know that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Chase Freedom Flex card because while it offers five times Chase points on rotating quarterly bonus categories, that bonus only applies to the first $1,500 that you spend on the card in the bonus category each quarter. So this card can be a powerful points earner, but only up to $1,500 spent each quarter.
This quarter the bonus categories on the Chase Freedom Flex card are good ones. From October 1 through the end of the year, you can earn five times points on spend through PayPal, charitable donations, and wholesale club purchases. This should be a super easy quarter for you to max out your five times points with those bonus categories. I'm not going to go into too much detail about using the Chase Freedom Flex for spend this quarter except to highlight one very specific aspect of the bonus categories.
I mentioned that this quarter you can earn five times Chase points on spend at wholesale clubs, and this includes places like Sam's Club and Costco. So it's great to be able to earn five points per dollar spent on your wholesale club hauls. But if you happen to favor Costco as your wholesale club of choice, you probably know that Costco only accepts Visa cards for in store purchases as far as paying with credit cards.
Peculiarly while the Chase Freedom Flex card has wholesale clubs including Costco in its quarterly bonus category list, you can't actually use a Chase Freedom Flex card to make in store purchases at Costco because it's a MasterCard. But there is an easy workaround to this if you have the Chase Freedom Flex card and want to be able to use it this quarter to earn five times points on Costco spend.
That's to go online to costco.com and use your Chase Freedom Flex card to purchase a Costco shop card. The Costco shop card is essentially a gift card that can be used at Costco to make purchases either online or in store.
For some inexplicable reason, Costco allows you to make purchases through their website using a MasterCard, even though they don't let you use MasterCard credit cards in store for purchases. So hop on costco.com, type Costco shop card in the search bar at the top of the page, and you should see an option to purchase one of these Costco shop cards.
Here are a couple of things to note, you have the option to purchase either a digital Costco shop card or a physical Costco shop card that will be sent to you in the mail. I recommend choosing the option for the physical Costco shop card that gets mailed to you because the digital version cannot be used in the Costco food court or to purchase gas at the Costco gas station. So do yourself a favor and get one of the physical Costco shop cards. You can use that for any of your Costco shopping, including filling up with gas and stocking up on Costco hotdogs after you're done shopping.
I did an experiment and ordered a $25 Costco shop card online just to see how long it would take to receive the physical card in the mail. After placing my order, my card showed up about 10 days later. So do take this into account and plan on ordering your Costco shop card online a good number of days before you actually need to use it to account for the shipping time.
When you're ordering your Costco shop card online, you'll also have the option to purchase it in several different denominations ranging from $25 up to $500 per card. So if you anticipate wanting to use your entire $1,500 of bonus spend this quarter on Costco purchases, you could go ahead and order three of the $500 Costco shop cards online and you'd max out the five times points earning on that bonus category for the entire quarter. Just remember to pay for your Costco shop cards with your Chase Freedom Flex card online.
Okay, now let's switch gears to the main topic of today's podcast episode, and that is pulling back the curtain on one of my favorite most lucrative and most reliable points earning methods. That is the online shopping portal known as Rakuten. We're going to cover the basics of what online shopping portals are, how they work, what makes Rakuten in particular so damn incredible when it comes to earning American Express points. I'm going to give you some tips to help make your Rakuten points earning even easier if you're new to this platform.
Okay, well let's start at the very beginning and talk about what online shopping portals are. Simply put, an online shopping portal is just a website that rewards you for making online purchases. Those rewards can come in the form of cash-back, points, or miles depending on which online shopping portal you choose to shop through.
Now, you're probably very familiar with just regular shopping online. When you want to order something, you go to that merchant’s website, whether it's Amazon, Target, PetSmart, whatever the case may be. You pick the stuff you want to buy and then you checkout online using whatever payment method you choose, preferably a points earning credit card, and you're done. The stuff you buy gets sent to you. If you use the rewards credit card to make the purchase, you earn some lovely points depending on how much money you spent and how much the card that you used for the purchase bonuses that type of spend.
Using an online shopping portal is almost identical to what you're already doing to make your purchases online. The only difference is that instead of going straight to the store that you want to shop at online, you first go to the website of an online shopping portal. From there, click on the store that you want to visit.
When you do that, just that one step of going to an online shopping portal website first, you get to earn additional points for that online shopping trip. Potentially a lot of additional points, but we'll get to that in a minute. Let me give you an example of how this works.
Say you want to buy some clothes online at J Crew. If you go straight to jcrew.com and make a purchase of $100, you get the clothes you ordered. If you paid for the purchase with the points earning credit card, you will also earn points for that $100 purchase. For the sake of this example, let's say that you haven't been listening to this podcast and you used a card that only earns one point per dollar spent for non-category spend, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. For that $100 purchase, you would earn 100 Chase points. One point per dollar spent.
But when you shop through an online shopping portal, you get to earn additional points or cash-back for that same exact purchase just by going to the website of the shopping portal first and then clicking on the store that you want to shop. In this case, J Crew.
Here's the first important thing to understand about online shopping portals. There's not just one single online shopping portal website. There's lots. Several credit card issuers each have their own online shopping portal, including Chase and Capital One, that allow you to earn extra points or cash-back when you do your online shopping through them.
Tons of different airlines have shopping portals, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines just to name a few. These allow you to earn extra airline miles in each of those individual programs if you do your online shopping using their specific shopping portal. There are also online shopping portals hosted by other companies like Swagbucks that allow you to earn cash-back or cash-back equivalents when you shop online through their platforms.
So let's come back to our example of making a $100 purchase at J Crew. The amount of additional rewards that we can earn on that purchase by first using an online shopping portal will depend on which online shopping portal we use since each one will have their own rewards rate for individual stores on any given day.
So here's a few examples of what that looks like. Today, the day that I'm recording this podcast, Chase is offering three times points at J Crew through the Chase shopping portal. United is offering two times points at J Crew through the United shopping portal. Top Cashback, a cash-back rewards shopping portal, is offering 4% cash-back at J Crew.
So if I went online to the Chase online shopping portal and from there did my online shopping at J Crew, I’d earn an extra three times Chase points, or 300 points, for that same $100 purchase. Remember that this is in addition to the points I'm earning from my credit card for the actual purchase. So I would earn 400 Chase points total for the $100 purchase compared to the just 100 Chase points that I would earn if I was only making the purchase with a Chase Sapphire Preferred card shopping directly at jcrew.com without going through the Chase shopping portal first.
If I wanted to earn United miles for my J Crew purchase instead of Chase points, I could go to the United shopping portal website first, then click through to J Crew. For my $100 purchase, I would earn two times United miles, or 200 United miles, in addition to the 100 Chase points that I would earn by paying for the purchase with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Now, if cash-back was my jam, which you all know it's not, I could use a cash-back shopping portal like Top Cashback to do my J Crew shopping. Since Top Cashback is offering 4% cash-back at J Crew today, I'd earn $4 in the form of cash-back rewards for my $100 purchase. I'd still earn my 100 Chase points for making the purchase with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card at checkout.
So I hope you can see from this example that online shopping portals, whether they're cash-back, airline shopping portals that reward you with miles, or bank shopping portals that reward you with points, are an incredible opportunity to earn extra points for your online shopping. You earn points for your purchase with whatever rewards card you're using to pay, but you also earn additional points from the shopping portal depending on the reward rate that they're offering for the day that you're doing your shopping.
There's really no reason to not be utilizing online shopping portals for your online purchases because it is such an easy way to earn extra points or miles or cash-back for the shopping that you are already doing online.
Now, one thing that I should mention is that not every single online website or merchant is offered on all of the online shopping portals. For example, you can't shop at Amazon from any of the online shopping portals. But a ton of online stores and merchants are available on online shopping portals. So it never hurts to check if the store that you're going to shop at online is supported by shopping portal and what the rewards rates are for that store on that given day.
Now, this does not take a lot of time. The easiest way to do this is by using one of my favorite websites, it's called cashbackmonitor.com. I have no affiliation with a site other than being an avid user of it. Whenever I'm going to do online shopping, I first go to cashbackmonitor.com and type in the name of the store that I'm going to be shopping at.
Cashbackmonitor.com will then automatically show you all of the options for online shopping portals that support that specific store and what rewards rate you're going to earn if you do your online shopping through them. It's super easy, super-fast, and it makes deciding which online shopping portal to use very straightforward.
But as I mentioned at the top of this episode, this episode isn't about all the different online shopping portal options. It's about one online shopping portal in particular, that is the American Express points earning powerhouse Rakuten. That's because while all online shopping portals work in basically the same way, in my opinion, Rakuten blows all the other shopping portals out of the water in terms of how many points you can earn by using it for your online shopping. That is never more true than during the end of the year holiday shopping period, which is why I want you all to know about it now.
Simply put, I don't think any other online shopping portal comes close to offering the level of bonus points that you can earn for your online shopping compared to Rakuten. But before we talk about what makes Rakuten different from all the other online shopping portals. First, a little background.
Years ago Rakuten wasn't Rakuten. Rakuten was actually another online shopping portal that you've probably heard of called Ebates. The way that Ebates worked was that when you did your online shopping through them, you'd earn rewards in the form of a percentage cash-back on your purchases. There was no option to earn points using Ebates which is why when Rakuten acquired Ebates back in around 2019, I didn't pay much attention.
But something very important happened after that, that has completely changed the value proposition of Rakuten in my eyes. What that is, is that Rakuten partnered up with American Express and started to offer the option of earning rewards for your online shopping either in the form of cash-back or in the form of earning American Express membership rewards points.
So what used to be fundamentally a cash-back earning online shopping portal was transformed into a point earning online shopping portal. Since I think American Express points holds tremendous potential value when it comes to using them to book travel, this change was significant.
It's really important that you understand that you can earn rewards for your online shopping through Rakuten as Amex points or cash-back. Because if you go to Rakuten’s website, you'll see that they only list the rewards rate for each store in the form of a cash-back percentage, but I do not want you to be fooled. You can absolutely earn American Express points through Rakuten for your online shopping. I'm going to teach you how to translate the cash-back rewards option into the Amex points earning option right now.
When you go to Rakuten.com, you'll see a bunch of different online stores listed. Or you can search for the store that you want to shop at to see if Rakuten specifically supports it. So let's use Macy's as an example. Today, if you look for Macy's on Rakuten, you'll see that it's offering a rewards rate at a rate of 10%. Remember that that is the cash-back rewards rate.
I just want to make a little note and asterisk here for those of you listening. Something that you might notice is that if you personally now go to Rakuten.com to start looking at some of the stores after you're hearing this episode, something that you might notice is that if you pull up some of the stores that I've mentioned, their cash-back rate might be different on the day that you pull it up than the numbers that I have been talking about today. That is not out of the ordinary.
A lot of times the rewards rate for individual stores not only on Rakuten but on other online shopping portals as well, it can fluctuate day to day to day. So you can actually earn more or less rewards depending on the day that you're actually doing your shopping. Okay, so don't be confused by that.
But if you click on Macy's and made a purchase on a day where the rewards rate is 10%, like it is today, you would earn 10% of your purchase amount as a cash-back reward. Spend $100 at Macy's, you turn $10 back as the cash-back reward. Spend $500 at Macy's, you'd earn $50 back as the cash-back reward. You get it.
But how do you know how many American Express points you would earn for that same purchase? It's really simple. If a store is offering 10% cash-back as the reward, the Amex points earning rate would be 10 points per dollar spent. Spend $100 at Macy's today, you would earn 10 times that, or 1,000 American Express points as your reward. Spend $500 at Macy's, and you would earn 10 times that, or 5,000 American Express points as your reward.
If a store is offering 1% cash-back as the rewards rate, that would translate to earning one Amex point for every dollar spent on your purchase at that store. If a store is offering 5% cash-back as the rewards rate, that would translate to earning five Amex points for every dollar spent on your purchase. If a store is offering 15% cash-back as the rewards rate, that would translate to earning 15 Amex points for every dollar spent on a purchase at that store.
Occasionally, certain stores offer 40%, 50%, or even 95% cash-back rewards. When you translate that into Amex points earned instead, that means that you can earn 40, 50, or 95 Amex points per dollar spent at these stores. This is what makes Rakuten so incredibly lucrative in terms of earning American Express points for your online shopping.
The rewards rates offered by Rakuten tend to be equal to or better than the rewards offered by other online shopping portals for the same stores in my experience. This is even more true during the holiday shopping period that usually falls right around Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. During this period, Rakuten routinely offers rewards rates of 10 to 20 times points for lots and lots of stores on its platform.
Just take a second and consider that. Consider the impact of earning 10 to 20 Amex points per dollar spent in addition to the points that you are earning by using a rewards credit card to make an online purchase. Now think about your holiday shopping plans for later this year. How much money do you anticipate spending on gifts for friends or family members, on stocking up for things when they're on massive sale that you can use throughout the year, on getting gifts of appreciation for your kid’s teachers, your employees, or service providers that you want to thank?
Rakuten doesn't just support traditional merchandise offer type of stores. You can also find merchants like Viator on Rakuten, which allows you to book tours or activities in major cities around the world and can be great for planning activities or tours on your upcoming trips. You can find meal delivery services on Rakuten and other subscription based services like password protection services and VPN services.
You can earn Amex points for purchases at any of the merchants supported by Rakuten. How big an impact on your points balances with your spending have if it was earning you five, 10, 20 Amex points per dollar spent or more in addition to the points that you earn with a rewards credit card that you use to make your purchases?
I can tell you the impact that Rakuten has made on my points balances. 751,241 Amex points. I have earned 751,241 Amex points for online shopping through Rakuten in the last two years. Over 200,000 of those points came from online shopping in Q4 of last year.
Now if I sound like a walking billboard for Rakuten and Amex points, it's not because I'm affiliated with them or earn some sort of commission or bonus from them. I wish I did. That would be really amazing. I actually have zero relationship with Rakuten or Amex other than being someone who has and uses Amex credit cards and shops online through Rakuten.
If I rave about either of them, and obviously I do, it's because I genuinely find them that valuable for my own points earning. Earning tons of Amex points for the online shopping that you're doing anyway is such an easy way to boost your points balance year round, but especially during the holiday shopping season that's ahead of us.
So if this episode has piqued your Amex points earning interest, there are a few nuts and bolts that you need to know and do in order to leverage Rakuten for your online shopping to earn lots and lots of extra Amex points. But before you can start earning Amex points for your online shopping through Rakuten, there are four basic steps that you need to take.
Number one, this is really easy. You need to have a Rakuten account setup. If you don't already, make sure to go to Rakuten and open an account so that you can start earning Amex points for your online shopping. Now, if you do not currently have an Amex points earning card, you can still open up a Rakuten account.
It's just that your only option to earn rewards for your online shopping will be to earn them in the form of cash-back. But you can go ahead and start shopping and then at some point if you do get an Amex points earning card, you can always change your rewards method inside of your Rakuten account.
All right, step number two. Here's something that you really need to know is that just because a card is issued by American Express doesn't mean that it's a membership rewards points earning card. You have to have specifically a membership rewards points earning card issued by American Express in order to link it up to your Rakuten account. Okay.
If you hold an airline or hotel specific card issued by American Express, like one of the Delta Airlines credit cards or a Marriott or Hilton credit card, these do not work with Rakuten to earn you Amex points. You have to have an Amex card that earns membership rewards points such as the Personal Amex Gold Card, the Amex Business Platinum card, or the Amex Blue Business Plus card in order to earn Amex points as rewards through Rakuten. Now, you can have a personal Amex points earning card or a business Amex points earning card, and you only need one. You don't need one of each.
Number three. In order to earn American Express points as rewards for your online shopping through Rakuten, you have to change your account settings from the default in Rakuten, which is to earn rewards in the form of cash-back. To do this, you just have to go to the settings tab in your Rakuten account.
This is a little bit weird. But before you can choose Amex points as your preferred rewards method, you first have to go and actually choose one of the cash-back options. So click on one of the options there. Either receive a check or receive a payout through PayPal. Then once you filled out that information, it should give you the option then to actually switch and choose Amex points as your rewards method.
Number four. Once you choose Amex points as your preferred rewards method, you have to link your American Express account to your Rakuten account. This is what enables Rakuten to shoot all of your Amex rewards points out of Rakuten and into your American Express account.
This step is really easy. You should be prompted to do this once you've chosen Amex points as your preferred rewards method. So just follow the prompts to log into your Amex account, and Rakuten should sync up with your American Express account.
One thing to note, you have to actually have your physical American Express points earning card in order to link your American Express account to your Rakuten account. I know that some super eager folks have been approved for a new American Express card and tried to use the temporary digital account number that Amex issues to link their account to Rakuten before the physical Amex card is received in the mail, and this will not work.
So in order to link your American Express account to your Rakuten account, you have to actually have received your physical American Express card in the mail. If you already have an American Express points earning card, then you should be good to go to link it to your Rakuten account right away.
One word of warning about switching your rewards payment from cash-back to earning American Express points. Once you choose to earn American Express points for rewards in your Rakuten account, do not switch it back to one of the cash-back options. For some reason Rakuten does not allow you to toggle back and forth between the rewards options a bunch of times.
So if you choose American Express points and then switch back to cash-back as your preferred rewards method, you're going to be stuck there. You won't be able to earn Amex points for your online shopping unless you open up an entirely new Rakuten account. So save yourself the headache. Set up your account to earn rewards in the form of Amex points, and then never ever touch that setting again.
Once your Rakuten account is set up and linked to your Amex account and you've set your account up to earn rewards in the form of Amex points, then you are ready to start raking in the rewards for your online shopping.
Here are my top four recommendations for earning Amex points through Rakuten when you are ready for some online shopping. Number one, this is going to sound really obvious, but first, remember to go to Rakuten.com before you do any online shopping. It is this step of going to Rakuten and then clicking on the store that you want to shop at that activates your ability to earn your rewards, your Amex points, for your online purchase.
Number two, before you load up on a bunch of purchases from a store make sure that you read any fine print or exclusions to see if any purchases from that store will be excluded from earning the bonus points advertised. Often certain services like gift wrapping or monogramming won't qualify to earn bonus points.
Sometimes certain products sold by that store also won't qualify to earn bonus points. You don't want to make some huge purchase expecting to earn a ton of points only to find out that one specific thing that you bought was excluded from the bonus points offer. So do yourself a favor and review the rewards terms and exclusions before you make your purchase.
Number three, Rakuten is great but it is not perfect. Sometimes purchases don't track correctly through their system, and you don't get all the bonus points that you're supposed to for a certain purchase. Especially during the holiday season when many stores offer elevated bonus rewards rates compared to other times of year, you want to make sure that you don't miss out on earning the points offered.
Before you click through to shop at a store, just take a second and take a screenshot of the rewards offer for that store and just save it in a Rakuten folder on your computer or your phone. That way if the bonus points don't track correctly in Rakuten’s system, it's very easy for you to submit a claim showing the bonus rewards rate for the day that you made your purchase.
Finally, number four, pay for your purchase with whatever rewards card or form of payment is going to give you the most points for the purchase. Remember that the Amex points that you earn for shopping through Rakuten is entirely separate and in addition to the points that you earn from the actual form of payment that you use to make your purchase.
That means that you can use a Capital One Venture Card to actually pay for your online shopping purchase through Rakuten so that you can earn two Capital One points for every dollar spent in addition to the Amex points that you earn from Rakuten. You do not have to pay for your online shopping purchases with an American Express card in order to earn your Amex points from Rakuten.
I know this is confusing because I've just spent the last half hour or whatever talking about earning Amex points for your online shopping through Rakuten. But you only need an Amex card in order to link your Amex account to your Rakuten account in order to earn Amex points for your online shopping. You do not have to pay for your online shopping purchases with an American Express card. You will still earn your bonus Amex points no matter what.
So the smart play here is to pay for your purchase with whatever card is going to give you the highest number of points for that purchase. Whether it's a new rewards card that you're working on earning the welcome bonus for, whether it's a rewards card that offers you 1.5 or two times points for any spend, like a Chase Freedom Unlimited card or a Capital One Venture Card, or whether that's a store specific gift card that you purchased for extra points with one of your other points earning credit cards.
That's it. It's really that easy to earn tens of thousands and, over time, potentially hundreds of thousands of extra Amex points for your online shopping. It's not very often anymore that points or any opportunity that seems too good to be true is actually real. But for now, earning Amex points through Rakuten is one of those rare opportunities. So don't sleep on this if you have an American Express points earning credit card or are considering getting one.
One last thing that I want to note about earning rewards through Rakuten, whether you choose the cash-back option or the American Express points earning option, is that your rewards don't post immediately to your account like they might in other online shopping portals that you can use.
Instead, your rewards collect in your Rakuten account, and they automatically get paid out once quarterly or four specific times per year on designated dates. On the payout date, your accrued points will automatically be transferred to the American Express account that you have linked it to your Rakuten account where they will combine with whatever American Express points you've already earned in your Amex account.
Once the points are transferred over from Rakuten, you can use them just like you would the American Express points that you earn from your Amex rewards cards. Just don't be surprised if you start online shopping through Rakuten and you see your Rakuten points balance climbing. Don't be shocked that those points are not automatically transferring over to American Express. Don't be surprised that there's no setting that you can go into to click a button to shoot them all over there. Rakuten will automatically transfer your accrued points, again, on designated dates four times per year.
Now, I don't have a crystal ball. But if this year is anything like the last few years, we should see some really high bonus points earning rates through Rakuten come this holiday season. If you have an American Express points earning card or if hearing this episode makes you strongly consider getting one so that you can reap the points rewards that Rakuten offers, here are my suggestions of the top three things that you can start doing now to ensure that you are in prime position to earn tons of points for your online shopping later this year.
First, start planning now what you expect to buy or what you can wait to buy during the holiday shopping season. Obviously during the holiday sales is a great time to purchase Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or other holiday gifts. But this is also a great time to stock up on other items that you can use a year round to take advantage of the increased bonus points offered during the holidays.
Now this isn't an excuse to buy crap that you don't need just to earn points, but it is a great time to stock up on things that you know that you'll use throughout the year. So take a little time now to take inventory of what those products might be for your household.
Second, check to see if you can purchase the items that you expect to buy from stores supported by Rakuten. Over 3,500 online stores and merchants are supported by Rakuten so there's a good chance that at least one of them is going to carry the products that you're wanting to purchase.
One really convenient feature the Rakuten website has is a search bar at the very top of the website where you can just type in an item that you're looking for, like say a weighted blanket, for example. Rakuten we'll show you all the stores that sell that type of product so that you can pick the one with the highest bonus points offering.
I highly recommend using this approach if you're buying something that is not brand specific but might be carried by several different stores so that you can easily identify which store will earn you the most bonus points for that purchase.
Third, once you have an idea of what you want to purchase this holiday season and about how much money you're planning on spending, you can make a strategy for which rewards cards you want to use or potentially get in order to further maximize the number of points that you can earn for your shopping.
You may choose to apply for a new rewards card and use your holiday spin to qualify for a new welcome bonus on that card. Or you may want to be sure that you have a rewards card that offers increased bonus points for non-category or non-bonus spend so that you can earn extra points for your online shopping using that card.
If you spend a little time now making a plan for what you want to buy later this year, where you want to buy it from, and which rewards card will be ideal for making your purchases. You might be surprised just how many points your Q4 purchases can earn you.
In fact, the points that you earn this quarter can help set you up to book your dream points vacation next year. I hope this episode has shown you one specific way to leverage your upcoming spend to earn tons of points. But utilizing online shopping portals is actually just scratching the surface of the high yield points earning opportunities that are available during the last quarter of the year.
So if you want to learn how to combine using online shopping portals with additional points earning strategies so that you can earn enough points to book your next dream trip, I want to invite you to join me inside Points Made Easy, my online course where I walk you through exactly how to earn and use points to book thousands of dollars’ worth in travel.
Not only do you get access to an entire online library of high yield points earning strategies inside of Points Made Easy, but it's also the only place where I offer live hands-on workshops and classes where you can get personalized help creating your points earning and redeeming plans.
The course opens for enrollment to new members for the last time this year on October 14, and you have until October 21 to join. If you want to attend my hands-on workshop on maximizing your holiday spend or and tons of points that I'm going to be holding this year, you have to be a member of Points Made Easy. Grab your spot on the waitlist now at www.pointmetofirstclass.com/pointsmadeeasy. Have a great week everybody, and I will see you back here next week.
Thank you for joining me for this week's episode of Point Me to First Class. If you want more tips on turning your expenses into travel, visit pointmetofirstclass.com to learn more. See you next week.