Frequent Miler lays out an interesting set of developments.
- Cash back shopping portal Ebates will now award American Express Membership Rewards points
- They have a credit card that earns 3 points per dollar spent through their portal in addition to normal cash back earned for each merchant
Ebates is a cash back shopping portal. Click on a link from their site to the store you’re going to buy from and you’ll earn a percentage of the purchase back in cash. That’s similar to the many other online shopping portals where you may earn cash or airline frequent flyer miles for the purchases you’re going to make anyway.
The thing about Ebates is that their cash back percentages are usually strong and they’ve been around for ages. They’re reliable.
Ebates though now offers an option to earn American Express Membership Rewards instead of cash.
- This is only available to new account signups. You cannot ‘convert’ an existing Ebates account that earns cash to one that earns Membership Rewards points.
- You need to have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points to play, so you have a Membership Rewards account to ‘link’.
- Instead of earning a percentage of cash you earn that same amount in points. So a 5% back merchant earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar.
- That’s a great deal since you’re effectively ‘buying’ Membership Rewards points for 1 cent apiece by giving up your cash earnings through the site. I value Membership Rewards points at 1.8 cents apiece.
- If you already have an Ebates account, consider opening a new one through their Amex page with a new email address.
There’s even a signup bonus for the Ebates Amex offer:
That’s great to know on its own, so that when EVReward.com shows you Ebates as a cash back option you know you can also earn Membership Rewards points. It’s been a long time since American Express has had its own shopping portal.
The interesting way to leverage this is that there’s an Ebates Cash Back Visa from Synchrony Bank that earns 3% cash back on online purchases made through the Ebates portal. These are points that deposit to your Ebates account and if the account is linked to an American Express Membership Rewards account will presumably mean 3 points per dollar earned for all online shopping you can do with Ebates.
This hasn’t been verified yet as of this writing, the terms of the Amex Ebates program do say “Members must use an Eligible Card Account at checkout to earn Membership Rewards points in their Ebates account” though it’s hard to imagine this is the case in practice.
What it would mean though is a new best (3 Amex points per dollar) card for many online purchases (all that can be made via Ebates), and oddly the card isn’t an American Express.