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Many American Express travel cards earn Membership Rewards points that are generally best used for amazing travel opportunities. But another lesser-known use for these points is to redeem them for purchases at Amazon. And right now, Amazon is offering two terrific promotions where you can actually save money by using your Amex points this way, and even earn extra points at the same time.
First, targeted Amex cardmembers can get 20% back on many Amazon purchases — for up to $50 in savings — when they use Amex points to pay for at least a portion of their purchase at checkout. But there’s only a little time left to take advantage of this offer, as it expires at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on April 30.
Targeted American Express cardmembers can get this offer for 20% off at Amazon, up to $50 in savings.
There are several steps to this promotion, and you’ll need to follow them all to get the discount. But we’ll take you through it step-by-step to help you save some money if you’re eligible.
How to save 20% at Amazon with your American Express card
To start, you must have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points. Amex cards that earn other types of rewards, such as cash back or airline miles, won’t work. But there are plenty of Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards points — a small sampling of them is at the end of this story.
Next, link your Amazon and American Express accounts. Add your American Express card as a payment method in your Amazon account if you haven’t already. Then look for the option to enroll in “Shop with Points” under the “Your Account” tab, and click the “Enroll” button for the Amex card you just added.
You need to enroll your eligible Amex card in Amazon’s “Shop with Points” program.
Once your accounts are linked, you’ll need to activate the offer by clicking on this link. Remember, this is a targeted promotion, so not everyone will be eligible for it. When you click on the link, if you see a message that you’re not eligible, then you’re unfortunately not targeted for this particular promotion. Note that if you just enrolled in “Shop with Points,” you may need to wait 24 hours for Amazon’s records to refresh before being able to activate the offer.
However, if you’re eligible, then activate the offer. You can then shop at Amazon as you normally would, though only products sold and shipped by Amazon are eligible for the discount. Additionally, Amazon gift cards are excluded, though other third-party gift cards sold by Amazon are eligible.
When you’re ready to check out, you’ll want to make sure to select your linked American Express card as your payment method. Then you’ll need to use at least 1 point to pay for your purchase for the discount to apply.
When paying with Amex Membership Rewards points at Amazon, 1 point equals 0.7 cents. That’s not the best value you can get for Amex points. CNN Underscored’s partner The Points Guy values Membership Rewards points as high as 2 cents per point when redeemed for travel.
However, it’s important to note that you don’t have to pay for your entire Amazon purchase with points to get the 20% discount. In fact, you can use just 1 point and pay for the rest in cash, and you’ll still see the 20% discount applied to your order.
To pay with the minimum number of points required, enter $0.01 in the points section, which will apply just 1 point to your payment. (If you don’t make this change, Amazon may automatically apply the maximum number of points to cover the entire purchase, so you’ll need to make sure to update the amount before you place the order).
You only need to apply 1 Amex point to your order to get the 20% discount.
Once you’ve applied at least 1 point to your payment, you’ll notice the 20% discount added to your order. The discount will apply on every order you place through April 30 until you hit the $50 maximum savings in total.
Earn 5 extra points for every dollar you spend at Amazon as well
American Express has also added another Amazon promotion, which lets targeted card members earn an extra 5 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent at Amazon from now through July 22. Even better, this promo will “stack” with the 20% Amazon discount, so you can actually get both 20% off and earn 5 bonus points per dollar if you’re targeted for both promotions.
Here’s how to find out whether you’re targeted for this 5x offer. Sign into your American Express account online at americanexpress.com, then scroll down to the section marked “Amex Offers & Benefits” and look for an offer to “Get +5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent” at Amazon. If you don’t see it, try clicking the blue “View All” button at the bottom of the section to see more offers.
Check your Amex Offers to see if you’re targeted for 5 extra points per dollar at Amazon.
If you have the offer, it’s important to activate it by clicking the “Add to Card” button next to the offer before you make your Amazon purchases, or you won’t get any bonus points. But once you add it to your card, you can charge your Amazon purchases to your Amex card just like usual and you’ll see the bonus points show up after you pay your statement.
This lucrative 5x promotion is capped at 2,000 bonus points, meaning on up to $400 in Amazon purchases. But you don’t have to spend that all at once — you can use it over multiple Amazon trips and each one will get 5x bonus points, up to $400 in total purchases. Unlike the 20% discount promotion, this 5x offer is good through July 22, so you have some time to take advantage of it.
The best part is these extra points come on top of any points you normally earn on your American Express card. So if you have a card like The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which already earns 2 points for every dollar you spend up to $50,000 per year (1x thereafter), you’d earn a crazy total of 7 points per dollar on your Amazon shopping if you’re targeted for this promotion.
Get 20% off and 5x points on some great Amazon products
Let’s look at a few examples of how this 20% discount works along with the 5x bonus points. In our recent CNN Underscored staff guide to 10 products that have been keeping us sane, you can get more than $17 off the Black+Decker 20V MAX Drill & Home Tool Kit with this Amex promotion, lowering the cost from $87.54 to roughly $70, and you’d earn an extra 350 Amex points on top of your normal credit card rewards.
Save over $17 on the Black+Decker 20V MAX Drill & Home Tool Kit with the 20% off Amex promotion.
Or, if you’re looking to enhance your in-home office with some of our picks for the best-selling light therapy lamps, an extra 20% discount can make a big difference on the Northern Light Technologies Boxelite 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Light Box, and earning 760 additional Amex points isn’t bad either.
The price of the Northern Light Technologies Boxelite 10,000 LUX Therapy Box drops as low as $151.99 with 20% off.
You can even pair these promotions nicely with many of Amazon’s daily deals or any of their other money-saving offers.
20% off third-party gift cards too
While the 20% discount doesn’t apply to Amazon gift cards, it does apply to many other third-party gift cards that Amazon sells. And Amazon literally has hundreds of options, including retailers that might be useful right now such as Netflix, DoorDash, Safeway and more.
Get 20% off your grocery bill by buying a Safeway gift card at Amazon with this promotion.
So even if you don’t have anything you need at Amazon at the moment, you can buy a gift card for yourself using the discount and bank the savings for later.
Which American Express cards earn Membership Rewards points?
If you’re not targeted for either of these Amex offers, the 20% off is a promotion that typically re-surfaces many times throughout the year, so there will hopefully be another opportunity later in the year. And if you don’t currently have an eligible Amex card, here are several options you might consider:
Also, if you don’t have an Amex card but do have a Discover card, Amazon is currently running a similar 20% off promotion for targeted Discover card holders — our story on that promotion has all the details.
And if you don’t have either an Amex or Discover card, make sure you check out our guide on the best credit card for Amazon purchases to be sure you’re using the best card you have available.
With many households upping their Amazon purchases over the last several weeks, this promotion is the perfect way to save some money if you’re eligible. But there’s only a little time left to take advantage of it, so make sure you take a look, and if you’re targeted, get a 20% discount when you buy from Amazon by April 30.
Find out which items CNN Underscored chose as our best selling Amazon products from 2019.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication. While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.