The Only Time It’s OK To Pay For Amazon Purchases With AMEX Membership Rewards Points

by joeheg

I find American Express Membership Rewards to be the most versatile program to pay for our travels. AMEX’s transfer partners fit our travel style and there are plenty of ways for us to use points and get great value.

While transferring points to airline partners for award flights can be worth up to 6 cents per point, like for this flight from the US to Bali, using points for other redemptions bring much lower value.

For example, your Membership Rewards points are only worth 0.7 cents each if you use them to pay for purchases on That’s why Amazon automatically signs up cardholders for the ‘pay with points’ option after adding a new American Express card to their profile.

My advice is to turn off this option as you don’t want to pay for a purchase with points accidentally. However, there are occasions when it’s OK to use a Membership Reward point toward an purchase.

A promotion comes around every year or so that gives a discount on Amazon purchases when paying with American Express Membership Rewards points.

I checked my account and received this offer.

When spending up to $100, I’ll receive a 15% discount on the purchase. Sharon received an even better offer on her Amazon account.

She can spend up to $160 and get 50% off. This is a great deal.

There are reports of other offers floating around:

  • Max discount of $80 off of $160 (50%)
  • Max discount of $60 off of $120 (50%)
  • Max discount of $75 off of $150 (50%)
  • Max discount of $15 off $100 (15%)
  • Max discount of $30 off $100 (30%)

The benefit for American Express is that you’re using your points on Amazon instead of transferring them to a travel partner, which undoubtedly costs them more.

There is a way to take advantage of the promotion and not use your AMEX points to pay for the purchase. Here’s how:

Amazon lets you select how many AMEX points you want to apply to your purchase. To trigger the promotion, you only have to pay for a part of your purchase with points. In fact, you only need to pay 1 cent with points and you’ll still get a discount.

At checkout, select your AMEX card that earns Membership Rewards points. In the field to pay with points, change the amount to 0.01. You’ll spend 1 Membership Rewards point.

You can click on this this link to see if you’re targeted for one of the bonuses. You need to be signed in to your Amazon account to see the offers.

This is a limited-time offer. Each promotion will end at 11:59 pm PT on 12/31/2021 or when a maximum number of people have signed up for each offer. Sign up now, even if you’re not making a purchase today. The discount is only good on a single purchase, so make sure you are maxing out the offer. Amazon gift cards are not eligible but third-party gift cards work for most people. Since this is an AMEX offer, I would try to avoid gift cards if you’re using a card that you are still meeting a minimum spending requirement.

H/T: Frequent Miler

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