Although redeeming your points and miles for high-end international flights and luxurious hotels may seem like the most advantageous option, not everyone is interested in luxury travel. For those who prefer to save money, redeeming points and miles to cover everyday expenses can be more appealing.
If you are increasingly shopping online, consider using your points and miles for Amazon purchases. While this may not yield the highest redemption value (usually around 1 cent per point or less), you can still explore a few alternatives if you pursue this route.
Redeeming credit card rewards for Amazon purchases
Before we dive in, you should realize that redeeming points for Amazon purchases typically won’t yield a high redemption value. The tricky part is that most programs offer a less favorable rate when you directly redeem your points for Amazon purchases than redeeming them for Amazon gift cards.
Let’s look at the options provided by the most popular programs.
Chase Ultimate Rewards: 0.8 to 1.5 cents per point
Chase Ultimate Rewards allows you to link your Chase and Amazon accounts by logging in to your Ultimate Rewards account and clicking the Amazon button at the top. Once linked, you’ll see an option to pay with points when you check out with Amazon.
However, you’ll only get a paltry 0.8 cents per point when you redeem Ultimate Rewards points for Amazon purchases. This redemption rate is well below TPG’s valuation of Ultimate Rewards points at 2.05 cents each.
Chase also allows you to redeem your points directly for Amazon gift cards. Here, you’ll get a marginally better rate of 1 cent per point.
Perhaps the best option is to charge Amazon purchases to your Chase card and redeem Ultimate Rewards points for a statement credit. Not only will you get 1 cent per point, but you’ll earn more points on the purchase and get the benefit of purchase protection and an extended warranty if your Chase card offers those perks.
Alternatively, you might consider purchasing an Amazon gift card at a grocery store if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. After all, you can use the Pay Yourself Back feature to offset the purchase.
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Amex Membership Rewards: 0.7 to 1 cent per point
American Express Membership Rewards also lets you link your Amazon account and redeem points at checkout. If you have a card that earns Membership Rewards points like the American Express® Gold Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express, the redemption rate is even worse at 0.7 cents per point (again, compared to TPG valuing Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each).
Or, if you have a cash-back Amex card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express or the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, you’ll get 1 cent per point for Amazon purchases, the same value you’d get from statement credits.
Occasionally, American Express will run targeted promotions that allow you to redeem just 1 Membership Rewards point for $40 off an Amazon purchase.
Citi ThankYou Rewards: 0.8 cents per point
Capital One: 0.8 to 1 cent per mile
On cash-back Capital One cards like the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, your miles are worth 1 cent apiece, the same value you’d get from statement credits.
Redeeming hotel points for Amazon purchases
Hilton Honors: 0.2 cents per point
Hilton Honors lets you link your account to Amazon to shop with points at just 0.2 cents each. This makes it one of the worst offers out there, even after accounting for the relatively lower valuation of Hilton points.
IHG One Rewards: 0.2 cents per point
Marriott Bonvoy: 0.25 to 0.33 cents per point
Lastly, you can use Marriott Bonvoy points for Amazon gift cards at 0.25 to 0.33 cents per point. That’s well below TPG’s valuation of Marriott points at 0.84 cents each.
Limited-time offers at Amazon
To maximize your earnings when shopping on Amazon, there are a few strategies you can consider.
You can purchase Amazon gift cards from stores that offer category bonuses, such as office supply stores. For instance, the Ink Business Cash Credit Card allows you to earn 5% cash back on these purchases.
Another option is the American Express Gold Card, which rewards you with 4 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, up to a maximum of $25,000 per calendar year.
It’s important to note that using an Amazon gift card may have some trade-offs. A gift card might give up certain benefits like extended warranty and purchase protection.
However, there are additional opportunities to earn bonus points through American Express. The company regularly runs Amex Offers, which provide bonus points for select cardmembers. Plus, Amex Offers occasionally include promotions specifically for Amazon purchases. For example, certain cardmembers could earn up to 4 bonus Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on Amazon, with a maximum of 1,500 bonus points.
Amazon frequently offers targeted discounts for redeeming points on your order, too. For instance, some Chase cardholders have saved $10 on their next Amazon purchase by redeeming just 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point.
To make sure you receive any available targeted offers, it’s advisable to link all your cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards to your Amazon account. You can find instructions on how to link each type of card on the respective websites.
Our primary focus is on travel rewards because they tend to provide the most value. However, making informed decisions is important if you’re determined to use your points for Amazon purchases.
One option is to redeem your points for a statement credit, which allows you to still earn bonus points on the purchase. Alternatively, you could buy Amazon gift cards with a high bonus multiplier to maximize your value. You’ll want to also consider whether your payment method (a credit card or an Amazon gift card) offers benefits like purchase protection or extended warranty.