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Many American Express 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 the online retailer is currently offering not one, but two terrific promotions that allow you to save money by using your Amex points.
But there’s only a few days left to take advantage of the best of these offers, so if you have an Amex card, you’ll need to move quickly to save money when shopping at Amazon right now.
Only certain American Express cards are eligible for these promotions, so scoring them can be a little complicated. But we’re going to take you through it step by step to make sure you’re getting as much of a discount as possible when you’re shopping at Amazon.
Save up to 40%, or as much as $10 off $50 at Amazon
Let’s start with the broad details of these two promotions. If you’re targeted for the first offer, you can get up to 40% off your Amazon purchases when you use at least one Amex point to pay.
While this is a single promotion, there are two variations. Most eligible recipients will see a 30% discount, capped at a $30 savings. But there are some lucky people who will score a whopping 40% discount, capped at a $50 savings.
This ongoing offer is currently set to end on September 30. So if you’re targeted, you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of it between now and then.
But if you’re not eligible for either of those discounts, a second promotion is also available. Similar to the first offer, there are two different variations of this promotion. If you’re targeted, you can save either $5 off a $30 purchase or $10 off a $50 purchase at Amazon. You’ll see which offer you’re eligible for, if either, when activating the offer.
This second promotion doesn’t expire until December 31, which means you’ll have the rest of 2020 to reap your savings. So even if you don’t have any Amazon shopping on your radar at the moment, you should be able to apply the offer to a future purchase down the line.
How to save money at Amazon with your American Express card
How can you get these Amazon discounts? 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, you’ll need to 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.
Once your accounts are connected, you’ll need to activate each offer. Click on this link for the up-to-40%-off offer, and click on this link for the $5-off-$30 or $10-off-$50 offer.
Remember, these are targeted promotions, so not everyone will be eligible for them — you could be targeted for one of the offers, both or neither. When you click on the links, if you see a message that you’re not eligible, then you’re unfortunately not targeted for that particular promotion. (Though if you just enrolled in “Shop with Points,” you may need to wait 24 hours for Amazon’s records to refresh before knowing if you’re targeted, so check back in a day or two.)
However, if you’re eligible, then activate the offer by clicking on the “Activate now” button — the enrollment page will indicate your particular discount. You can then shop at Amazon as you normally would, though only products sold and shipped by Amazon are eligible for these discounts. Additionally, Amazon gift cards are excluded, though other third-party gift cards sold by Amazon are eligible.
But wait! There’s one more step. 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 each 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 either of these discounts. In fact, you can use just 1 point and pay for the rest with your Amex card, and you’ll still see the 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, You can use any number of points you want, but if you don’t make this change, Amazon may automatically apply the maximum number of points to cover the entire purchase, so you’ll want to make sure to update the amount before you place the order.
Once you’ve applied at least 1 point to your payment, you’ll see the discount added to your order. For the 30% and 40% offers, the discount will apply to every order you place between now and September 30 until you hit a total of $30 in maximum savings on the 30% offer, or the $50 maximum on the 40% offer.
For the $5- and $10-off offers, you’ll need to spend a minimum of $30 or $50 in a single transaction — depending on which offer you’re targeted for — between now and December 31 to see the savings.
Save money on some great Amazon products
Let’s look at a few examples of how both of these promotions work. Since the $5-off-$30 offer and 30% discount seem to be slightly more common among targeted Amex customers, we used those offers to demonstrate the potential savings on some popular items.
With kids now back in school, whether in person or remote, it’s important to outfit your child with all those essential school supplies. And this Crayola Masterworks Art Case has all of their coloring needs in mind. Currently on sale at Amazon for $44.99, once the discount is applied with the $5-off-$30 offer, you’re looking at just under $40 plus taxes and shipping.
And with parents working from home themselves, if you’re looking to enhance your in-home office with some of our picks for the bestselling light therapy lamps, an extra 30% discount can make a big difference on the Northern Light Technologies Boxelite 10,000 Lux Bright Light Therapy Light Box.
You can even pair these discounts nicely with many of Amazon’s daily deals or any of the retailer’s other money-saving offers, like saving $20 when you spend $60 on select beauty products.
Save on third-party gift cards too
While the discount offers don’t apply to Amazon gift cards, they do apply to many other third-party retailer gift cards that Amazon sells. And Amazon has literally hundreds of options, including retailers that might be useful right now such as Netflix, DoorDash, Safeway and more.
So even if you don’t need anything 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?
Even if you’re not targeted for these particular Amex promotions, offers like this typically resurface many times throughout the year, so keep on checking back. Amazon is also currently running similar promotions for Capital One credit card holders, Chase credit card holders and Discover credit card holders, so check out all of CNN Underscored’s guides for the details.
You might also find that even if you aren’t eligible now for one of these offers, you could magically become targeted at any point before the offers expire, so keep on checking the offer links to see if you’ve been granted access.
Amazon has been eagerly offering some lucrative promotions throughout 2020 — some of the best we’ve ever seen — so keep your eyes peeled for any other savings that may come your way. And if you’re targeted for either of these offers, make sure you use them before they expire.
If you don’t currently have an eligible Amex card, here are several options you might consider:
Amex personal cards:
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Green Card
Amex Everyday® Credit Card From American Express
Amex business cards:
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
American Express® Business Gold Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Also, make sure you read our guide to the best credit cards for Amazon to be sure you’re using the best card you have available when you buy at Amazon.
Check out which items CNN Underscored chose as our bestselling Amazon products.
Find all the latest personal finance deals, news and advice at CNN Underscored Money.