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Spend American Express Membership Rewards at Amazon

I recently learned that you can now spend your American Express Membership Rewards [3] at Amazon.com as part of their Shop with Points [4] program. When you couple it with free Amazon Prime for students [5] (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.