Using AmEx Membership Rewards at Amazon Is a Poor Value

If you have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points, you can use them to buy stuff at Amazon. But it’s a subpar redemption option if you want to get good value from your rewards.

Here’s why, and what you could do instead.

Value of Membership Rewards points at Amazon

You can redeem Membership Rewards points to buy items on Amazon through the Amazon Shop with Points program. Points are worth 0.7 cent each this way, meaning that if you have 10,000 points, you can exchange them for $70 worth of Amazon merchandise. There’s no minimum redemption amount.

The problem is, other ways of using Membership Rewards points are more valuable. As a general rule, you should hold out for redemptions with a point value of 1 cent or more — that’s 43% more value than you get using them at Amazon.

Better redemption options

But here’s a sampling of potentially better ways to spend Membership Rewards points:

  • Book travel. Value: 0.7 cent to 1 cent when booked directly through American Express Travel or Expedia.

  • Transfer points to travel partners. Value: Transfer rate varies by partner. Look for 1:1 transfers.

  • Redeem for gift cards. Value: Up to 1 cent each, depending on the merchant.

When to use Membership Rewards points at Amazon

If you’re short on cash and need to make Amazon purchases, using your Membership Rewards at less-than-ideal value is better than going into debt.

To use points, link your rewards points to your Amazon account, and the points will become a currency you can use to pay during checkout. Amazon tells you how at “Shop with Points.”

Examples of NerdWallet’s favorite cards that earn Membership Rewards points:

All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express® Green Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. All information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.  To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page.To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page.

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