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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
For in-depth information on the best ways to use Membership Rewards points, see our guide to American Express Membership Rewards. You can also look up values for redemption options based on your credit card using a tool on the American Express Membership Rewards website.
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 the AmEx Travel site 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 credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points:
Nerd tip: Not all American Express rewards cards earn Membership Rewards. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the American Express Cash Magnet® Card earn cash back in the form of Reward Dollars, which can be redeemed as a statement credit. And if you have a co-branded AmEx hotel or airline card, you'll earn points or miles in that partner's rewards currency instead.