Amazon Shop With Points – Not a Good Deal for Most!

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Amazon allows you to use credit card points for purchases.  But most folks should NOT use points that could also be used for travel!  I’ll explain why AND I’ll show you better ways to save money at Amazon.

Most of us collect miles and points to get Big Travel with Small Money.  But some folks might not have travel plans, or may have small points balances they don’t know what to do with.

I’ve written about using Citi ThankYou points to pay Amazon purchases.  But did you know you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards points at Amazon, too?

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Short on Cash or Have Points You Don’t Know What to Do With? You Can Spend Them at Amazon..but They Won’t Be Worth Much

I’ll show you how to set-up your Amazon account to shop with Chase Ultimate Rewards and AMEX Membership Rewards points.  And I’ll explain why most folks (even those who don’t travel often) should NOT do this!

How Does It Work?

Link:   Amazon

Link:   Amazon Shop With Points

By linking your Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards point earning credit cards to your Amazon account, you can use points to pay for part or all of your Amazon purchase.

Not all Amazon items are eligible.  Kindle downloads, some digital items, Subscribe & Save items, Amazon Fresh, or pre-ordered items don’t qualify.

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Most Amazon Purchases Are Eligible for Shop With Points

But your points will NOT be worth much:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points: 1 cent per point
  • American Express Membership Rewards points: ~0.7 cents per point

Here are some of the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards you can use to pay with points:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Ink Plus
Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Bold (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Chase FreedomChase Ink Cash
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Sapphire (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Note: Points earned from the Chase Freedom, Sapphire, and Ink Cash cards can only be transferred to travel partners if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card.

And you can use these American Express Membership Rewards cards:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Premier Rewards Gold Card From American ExpressThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
American Express® Mercedes-Benz PlatinumThe Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Enhanced Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Green Card
Blue from American Express® Note: These are the ONLY AMEX cards that earn Membership Rewards points that can NOT be transferred to airline & hotel programs. But you can use these points on the Membership Rewards website for other redemptions. Includes personal AND small business versions of the card.

Again, I don’t recommend using points to pay for Amazon purchases unless you’re definitely not going to use them for travel!

Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points at Amazon

To link your Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit card to your Amazon account, go to this page and click “Get Started.”

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Click “Get Started” to Add Your Chase Card to Your Amazon Account

You’ll be asked to log into your Amazon account.  If you already have Chase cards saved to your account, you’ll be prompted to choose which card you want to register for Shop With Points.

You can add more than one.  Or, you can select a different card and add your details.

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Register Existing Cards on Your Account for Shop With Points, or Add a New Chase Card

Once you’ve linked the your card account(s), select the card as your payment method at check-out.

You’ll see an option to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the check-out screen.  Each point is worth 1 cent, so 100 points = $1.  Use points to pay for the whole purchase, or just part of it.

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Pay for All or Part of Your Amazon Purchase With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

If you use points to pay for only part of the order, the balance will be charged to your Chase card.

Deal or No Deal?

No deal!  Because you could be EARNING Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you buy from Amazon.  Then you can use those points for a statement credit later on!

Note:   The minimum number of points for a statement credit or direct deposit is $20.

Chase points are worth 1 cent each when you use them for Amazon purchases, or if you redeem them for cash back or statement credits on your Chase card.  Either way, that’s not the best value.

That’s because they’re worth 1.25 cents each when you use them towards travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

And you’ll get much more from your points by transferring them to travel partners like United Airlines, Southwest, or Hyatt.

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Usually Worth Much More Than 1 Cent Each When You Transfer Them to Travel Partners Like Hyatt

If you really want to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for an Amazon purchase, you’ll do better by paying for the purchase with your card, then redeeming points for a statement credit afterwards.

Consider this:

  • $100 Amazon purchase earns 100 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $1 in statement credits
  • Redeem 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a $100 statement credit (pays for Amazon purchase)
  • This way you gain 100 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($1)
  • Final cost of item = $99 ($100 – $1 in Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned)

This works out even better if you use your Chase Freedom at a time when Amazon purchases earn 5 points per $1 you spend!  That’s because you’d earn 500 points on the purchase, worth $5 in statement credits.  So your final cost is $95 ($100 – $5 in Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned).

Folks looking to save money at Amazon could also use their Chase Ink Plus, Ink Bold, or Ink Cash card to buy Amazon gift cards at office supply stores.  Because you get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (good for 5% cash back) at Staples, OfficeMax, etc.

For these reasons, I’d avoid using Amazon Shop With Points with your Chase cards!

Using American Express Membership Rewards Points at Amazon

The process for linking your American Express card to your Amazon account is similar to adding a Chase card.  Click Get Started” on this page and sign-in to your Amazon account.

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Connecting Your AMEX Card to Your Amazon Account Is Simple

Again, you can add cards that are already saved to your Amazon account.  Or, add a new AMEX card by filling in your billing and card details.

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Enter Your Card Details to Add an AMEX Card to Your Amazon Shop With Points Account

After linking the your card account(s), choose the card as your payment method at check-out.

On the check-out screen, you’ll see the option to use American Express Membership Rewards points.  In this case, each point is only worth ~0.7 cents, so ~143 points = $1.

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Not a Very Good Deal! A $10 Discount Costs 1,429 AMEX Points!

You can pay for the entire purchase or just part of it with points, and the balance will be charged to your AMEX card.

Deal or No Deal?

Read my post about what American Express Membership Rewards points are worth before using points for Amazon purchases!  Redeeming points for ~0.7 cents each is a very poor value!

American Express Membership Rewards points are worth 1 cent each when you buy flights, hotels, or cruises through the American Express Travel portal, which could be good for folks who can’t find available award seats but still want to travel using points.

Or you can redeem them for gift cards to dozens of retailers.

Amazon Shop With Points Not A Good Deal For Most

Need Body Wash or Hand Sanitizer? Your Points Are Worth 1 Cent Each Toward Retailer Gift Cards

And it’s usually much better to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners, like Delta, Air Canada Aeroplan, or British Airways.  Your points will be worth much more!

I would NOT consider paying for an Amazon purchase with my AMEX card, then redeeming points for a statement credit (like I described with Chase).

That’s because points are only worth ~0.6 cents each when used towards AMEX statement credits.  Even worse!

Instead, you can save 5% on Amazon purchases by using your AMEX SimplyCash card at US office supply stores to pick up Amazon gift cards.

Or use any of the AMEX cards that earn cash back or points at supermarkets.  Because many groceries sell Amazon gift cards.

Again, using American Express Membership Rewards points for Amazon shopping is NOT a good deal.  I’d only do it if I absolutely had no other use for the points!

Bottom Line

You can use Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards points to pay for Amazon purchases using Amazon Shop With Points.

This is NOT a good deal, as you’ll only get ~0.7 to 1 cent value per point.  But if you have no other use for the points (or have a small balance you just want to get rid of), it’s an option.

You’re almost always better off transferring your points to airline, hotel, and rail partners.  Or using them to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Travel portals.

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10 responses to “Amazon Shop With Points – Not a Good Deal for Most!

  1. I have the Discover IT card that is offering 5% cashback this July – December when shopping at Amazon and I’ll get another 5% cashback bonus after a year of holding the card. I noticed that whenever I shop at Amazon it keeps asking me if I want to use my cashback rewards now. I keep answering no because I assume I should just take a statement credit at some point in the future. Is my thinking correct?

  2. Instead of using Amex SimplyCash to get 5% cash back, can’t you use your Chase Ink Plus or Cash card at office supply stores to get 5x UR points on Amazon gift card purchases? (If you redeem UR points optimally, they’re worth at least 1.5 cents each, so that would give you at least a 7.5% return.)

  3. Actually doing a bit more research, it looks like I can answer my own question. The Discover website shows various gift cards / ecertificates. Some of them offer a fairly good value, in particular the car rental and cruise certificates (iff they can be combined with other promo codes / discounts).

  4. even if you are definitley not going to use them for travel this still makes no sense. You should just put the amazon purchase on your card and then redeem the points for a statement credit that way at least you are also earning points on the card. You can get 1 cent per UR point anytime so get the points on the purchase and then cash out the points if you are going to do this.

  5. Greetings,

    I have 60,000 miles with Lufthansa from their Miles and More with MasterCard. I thought I could transfer them to United Airlines through the Star Alliance but the Lufthansa web site doesn’t offer that and when I try to contact them, it just keeps rejecting my email. Do you know of a way to transfer the points?
    Thank you,
    Robert

  6. @Robert- Lufthansa miles cannot be transferred to United. However you can search for availability for the flight you want on United and call Lufthansa to make the partner award booking. That being said there are some good uses for them on United without fuel surcharges such as a domestic business class flight within the continental U.S. For only 17,500. United charges 25,000 one way.

  7. @Allen – You’ll get the same amount of cash back whether you take a statement credit or use it when you’re shopping at Amazon. You’re right, you can buy gift cards at reduced cost and save 10% to 50% – but it’s not always a good deal. See my post: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2015/09/07/redeeming-discover-cash-back-for-travel-gift-cards-is-it-a-good-deal/

    @UA Phil – Yes, I mentioned it in the post.

    @Adam – Good point!

    @Stephen – Thanks for helping a fellow reader!

    @Robert M Jones – Stephen is correct!

  8. I was wondering, when making purchases on Amazon with your AMEX points, does AMEX send you a notification email each time you do so? Just want to make sure that they will update you with your new point summary & the transaction you made.

  9. I never linked my Amex with an Amazon account for shopping with points. But unfortunately they did took points of my American Express without my authorization, now they said I did change my payment method when I didn’t. The window showing the rip off never opened and now I am “disputing” my points with both companies but nobody helps. Is very frustrating they know what they are doing. I only got $1000 points from Amex as a “courtesy for the frustration”, after a 11,000 points ripped off my rewards. I do not recommend use your Amex points in Amazon. Is the worst deal.

  10. Instead of doing all this math, and worrying about maximizing chicken feed, just be rich and unconcerned. Put this much work into planning your career and choosing the right city to live in, and you’d be far too rich to count all these pennies.