Update: When I first wrote about this offer a few days ago you could earn 100x points. That was quickly reduced to 90x points and then a few hours later to 30x points. Now it’s back up to 90x points. This could be an excellent opportunity to acquire Amex points for under a cent each, or possibly even a bit less. Personally I doubt we’ll see an offer for 100x points again anytime soon.
The below reflects my experience signing up for the offer with 100x points per dollar.
I just signed up for LifeLock exclusively for the points. At well under one cent per Amex Membership Rewards point, I simply couldn’t say no…
Amazing Rakuten & LifeLock deal
LifeLock is a US identity theft protection company, and signing up through an online shopping portal can potentially get you a significant return.
At the moment (and I would expect this to be very limited time), Rakuten is offering 100% cash back (or 100x Amex points per dollar spent) on a LifeLock membership. A $296.90 membership is going to earn me 29,690 Amex Membership Rewards points, which I value just over $500 (since I value Amex points at 1.7 cents each).
But it gets even better than that:
- If you’re new to Rakuten, you can earn an additional $40 cash back
- If you have a Chase Offers deal for LifeLock, you can earn $20 cash back on this purchase
- Citi is currently offering 5% cash back for online shopping, in addition to the rewards you usually earn, and that should work for this offer (though you have to choose either the Chase Offers deal or the Citi deal)
Personally I spent a total of $296.90, and for that I’m earning:
- 29,690 Amex Membership Rewards points
- $20 cash back through Chase Offers
- 446 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, since I paid with my Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which earns 1.5x points
That’s $276.90 out of pocket, and I earn over 30,000 transferable points, which is a cost of ~0.9 cents per transferable point.
Step-by-step guide to the Rakuten & LifeLock deal
Want to take advantage of this opportunity? Below I’ll share a guide on how to do so. There are a few things to consider and note upfront:
- You’ll only receive most of your rewards on February 15, 2021, since Rakuten pays out quarterly
- You will need to unsubscribe from LifeLock before you’re billed for your second year (and you won’t want to cancel until at least 60 days have passed, or else you could forfeit your rewards)
- The actual process of signing up is really fast, and took me less than five minutes
Anyway, here’s a step-by-step guide to this, assuming you’re starting from scratch.
Step 1: sign-up for Rakuten
If you’re not yet a Rakuten user, you’re in luck, because right now Rakuten is offering its best-ever bonus for new members. You and the person referring you can each receive $40 after you make your first purchase of at least $40 (and your LifeLock purchase would count towards that).
I’d of course be grateful if you used my Rakuten link, though you are free to use anyone’s link.
Once you’re registered, you can change your reward earning preference to Amex Membership Rewards points, through the “Account Settings” portion of your profile.
With this, you earn one Amex point in lieu of each cent cash back. Personally I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each. To me that increases the value of the rewards by 70%.
Step 2: decide which credit card you want to use
You can stack the cash back with yet another offer. Chase Offers has a deal for many that offers $20 cash back when you spend $89.99 or more on LifeLock. If you intend to use a Chase card then absolutely register for this.
Alternatively Citi is offering 5% cash back for select online shopping (I believe this would qualify, but I don’t have firsthand experience with this either), so you could register a Citi card and then use it. For example, if you registered the Citi® Double Cash Card (review), you could be earning up to 7% cash back after you paid your bill.
Step 3: access LifeLock through Rakuten
In order for the purchase to track you’ll want to click “Shop Now” under the area that shows the amount of cash back you’ll earn. This will bring you to the LifeLock website.
Step 4: sign-up for a LifeLock account
The process of signing up for a LifeLock account is easy. Personally I recommend selecting the LifeLock Ultimate Plus membership, which costs $26.99 per month (this earns you the most points).
The process of registering is easy. You’ll need to enter some personal details (including your SSN), though the whole process should take just a few minutes.
This is a key step — when it comes to the billing page, make sure you select the annual billing option, and not the monthly billing option. You only earn points on your first purchase, so you want to be billed the entire amount upfront.
So in this case I’m being charged $296.90.
Step 5: wait for Rakuten rewards to post
About two hours after I signed up for LifeLock, I noticed that my Rakuten account reflected the purchase, showing the 29,690 points that are pending.
Step 6: set a calendar reminder to cancel your LifeLock membership
Rakuten notes that canceling a LifeLock subscription within 60 days of signing up will cause the rewards to be voided. As a result, set a calendar reminder to cancel your subscription more than 60 days after you register.
You should be able to cancel this online under the “Membership & Billing” section, by clicking “Cancel Membership Renewal.” Again, you’ll want to wait before doing so, though.
With Rakuten offering 100% cash back on LifeLock annual subscriptions, this is also an opportunity to pick up Amex points for less than a cent each. The deal gets even better if you can take advantage of the Rakuten new member bonus, or the Chase Offers deal.
Personally this is a price at which I’m happy to speculatively pick up points, though I want to acknowledge the deal isn’t for everyone — there’s always some risk, you only get your points in a few months, and you have to remember to cancel.
But on balance I still found this deal to be worthwhile. I wouldn’t think this is worth the risk if we’re talking about earning an individual airline mileage currency, but transferable points offer so much flexibility that I feel comfortable with this decision.
Do you plan on taking advantage of the Rakuten & LifeLock promotion, or have you in the past?