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Use American Express Membership Rewards Points on Amazon.com

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I’m a fan of alternative currency; that is to say, I’m interested in how concepts like “points” and virtual currency are adapted to real transactions. In a move that makes complete sense, American Express has teamed up with Amazon.com to allow Membership Rewards points as an additional payment method.

If you have an eligible American Express card enrolled in a Membership Rewards program, you can link your program to your Amazon.com account. Go to this page on Amazon.com to get started. The exchange rate between Membership Rewards points and dollars on Amazon.com will determine whether cashing in points is worthwhile when compared to receiving other rewards or using other Amazon credit cards. From the first reports, it appears each point is worth $0.007 when used on Amazon.com — that is less than one cent per point. If you’ve linked your account, let us know your conversion rate in the comments below.

This isn’t the first time American Express has come up with a method of using points directly with a merchant as currency rather than requiring an intermediary step such as requesting a statement credit or cashing in points for a check. Earlier this year, the credit card issuer devised ways for taxpayers to use Membership Rewards to pay the IRS.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

Important Note! The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit or charge card prior to applying.

Updated January 19, 2014 and originally published September 13, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 14 comments }

avatar Michelle

I just linked mine. I had previously cashed out almost all the points, so there wasn’t much available. Here’s the readout:

There are 530 Membership Rewards points available ($3.71 on Amazon.com) to Shop with Points.

avatar Anna

I tried this out and it seems that the rate is about 142 points to $1. Which is pretty high, especially since the Chase Amazon Card gives you a 100/1 exchange AND gives you 3 points/$1 on Amazon purchases.

avatar Hawkeye52241

The Amex rate sucks. I can get an airline mile per dollar spent, and those net me 2 cents per point (or 50 points gives me a dollar).

With my Amex card I accumulate the same 1 point per dollar, and I have to spend 140 points to get one dollar.

My Hilton Honors card gives me 3 points per dollar, and usually I can spend 100 points to save 1 dollar.

The Schwab Visa simply gives back 2% cash (and has no foreign exchange surcharge). That’s the same as 50 points per dollar.

SUMMARY
Airline card = 1 dollar spent on the card = 2 cents towards a flight
Hilton card = 1 dollar spent on the card = 3 cents towards a hotel
Schwab card = 1 dollar spent on the card = 2 cents back (and potentially another 3 cents if abroad)
Amex card = 1 dollar spent on the card = 0.7 cents towards Amazon

I guess this is useful if you get Amex points from a company card and have nothing else to do with them.

avatar uest

Same here, 142 points for one Amazon dollar – had some trouble getting it linked up and AmEx has zero idea how to help

avatar sachi

how did you eventually geting linked up? I have been trying for over a week with countless calls to Amex who continue to say they are waiting for Amazon to fix the glitch and the Amazon reps have been no help thus far.

avatar Polosatik

Well think about that: thru Amex rewards site you can convert 10’000 points and get $100 store gift card (like Brooks Brothers, for example), i.e. your 52000 will give you ~ $520 in gift cards. E.g. for the benefit of spending your points towards wider spectrum of goods, you are loosing roughly 30% of the value. Honestly I expected the rate to be more fair.

avatar Christopher

I use Amazon all the time and I’d certainly pay with Amex rewards points if they converted at 100 points per dollar. However, at 142 points per dollar, I’ll not bother to link my accounts. I just used 20,000 Amex rewards points to get a $200 Avis car rental and I’ve previously only used my points for travel except for a Saks gift certficate once, all at 100 points per dollar.

avatar Mike

I agree with the previous posters that the AMEX point exchange rate on Amazon isn’t very favorable. I just registered and it says my 45,584 points are worth $319, so that works out to about .007.
Usually, if I redeem my points directly with AMEX, then you get about one full penny for each point. I often buy rental car certificates at $100 for 10,000 points. I won’t be redeeming them on Amazon unless I see something I really want that isn’t available through the AMEX membership catalog.

avatar Bill

I’m gonna dump my amex card. Better deals out there. Also, I had two disputes that amex was not very helpful with (very pro merchant)

avatar AGAME

Exchange rate might be lower to purchase an item w/ points directly through the AMEX membership catalog but good luck getting anything accomplished if something goes wrong with the item. I had a problem with a Garmin unit I bought that way and pretty much wasted my points on an intermittently working gps. I am hoping the return policy through Amazon works better.

avatar Mark

The problem with redeeming directly with Amex is lack of choices and high prices. Even with the bad Amazon exchange rate mentioned, we were much better off buying computers via Amazon that buying the high priced junk Amex made available.

avatar Jeff

I agree with Mark. Look, if you don’t use Amazon a lot for purchases, then there’s really no reason to spend your Amex points at the .007 exchange. However, if you’re like me and use Amazon for 75% of my own entertainment budget and 95% of all the B-day and Christmas gifts I purchase on an annual basis, then the Amex conversion makes total sense. The fact is you can buy virtually anything off Amazon these days, so that kind of variety alone makes up for the $0.30 loss off of every reward dollar. Paying with points is also incredibly convenient AND you’re getting Amazon’s awesome return policies. I have almost 60,000 points on my Amex Gold Rewards (which I ONLY use for gas, groceries and/or airfare at 2-3X points). I also have a Chase Amazon Rewards Visa which I ONLY use for Amazon purchases at 3X points. Those combined with my Amazon Prime member savings (free 2-day shipping on most purchases) are giving me a very nice alternate Amazon cash-flow. I would NEVER use my Amex points on anything out of the Amex member catalog except for gift cards or hotel/car/travel vouchers. You’d be very foolish to redeem those points for actual merchandise. All of that stuff is last year’s models (or older) and procured by Amex at a bargain discount.

avatar ersilia Heilman

after reading all these complaints, I will do away with my card next year after being a long time holder of AE over 20 years. Bye American Express. If you notice no more purchases for three months.

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