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Spend American Express Membership Rewards at Amazon

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I recently learned that you can now spend your American Express Membership Rewards at Amazon.com as part of their Shop with Points program. When you couple it with free Amazon Prime for students (my wife is a graduate student), you have yourself a nice little two-day shipping fueled by points I was having difficulty spending.

The key question is the conversion rate. How many points does it take to make a dollar? The conversion rate on many gift cards in the Membership Rewards catalog is 1,000 to $10, or a penny a point. It appears the conversion rate is at 0.7¢ a point. When I linked my business American Express card to my Amazon account, it told me that: “There are 30,248 Membership Rewards points available ($211.73 on Amazon.com) to Shop with Points.” Do the math and you get a fraction of a penny less than 0.7¢, likely due to rounding.

When Southwest pulled out of the Membership Rewards program, I lost my favorite reward in the catalog. While this isn’t exactly a great replacement, it does let me spend the points on something I know I want, rather than a gift card I think I might use. I believe taking a 30% discount on points is worth it if I’m buying something I want to buy since I have plenty of gift cards that languish in my desk drawer.

In the end, it’s cool to see American Express partnering up with Amazon to let you spend points directly, makes you wonder what’s next on the horizon.

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Spend American Express Membership Rewards at Amazon”

  1. zapeta says:

    Well, it doesn’t beat converting points directly in to cash, but there is plenty of stuff to buy from Amazon. Looks like a good way to use the points you have.

    • aua868s says:

      i agree moola is the way…also, stuff could be found cheaper in some places other than Amazon.

  2. debbie says:

    i too, was frustrated with membership rewards. lots of stores are part of the program, but none i shop in. (i wish they had staples!)

    anyway, i have over 70,000 points, and would be thrilled with amex gift cards, but the points’ redemption rate is double of ‘store’ gift cards.

    i finally found a way to use my points that is ‘cost effective’. i plan on buying home depot gift cards and selling them on ebay.

    would love to hear other’s experiences.

    • CK says:

      sell the card on craigslist, no transaction costs that way. a bit more of a hassle I’ll admit though.

  3. Debbie has got a good suggestion there. I found that using your points for higher denomination gift cards give you you more bang for your buck. At least at Citi Cards it did work that way.

    • ebow says:

      At AmEx it seems like different denominations of gift cards have the same exchange rate, at least for the ones I looked at.

      Like Debbie, I’m not thrilled with the gift card selections they offer, but I can make good use of Home Depot cards, and just my luck they have a “sale” on $50 and $100 HD cards right now! 80 points per dollar, instead of the usual 100.

  4. F says:

    If you’re regularly redeeming AmEx points on Amazon, you probably could get more rewards with a different credit card company. Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire, for instance, has no annual fee (unlike most AmEx cards) and will give you at least 1% cash back on each purchase. (There are some bonus point opportunities.) You can also purchase something on Amazon and have the purchase reimbursed from Chase at the same 1% rate. This will be a better deal than paying an annual fee to AmEx, to earn one point per dollar, and then redeeming the points for Amazon.com, worth only $0.007 each.


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