Amazon Prime Day runs from October 13 to 14, but you can use credit card points from Citi, Amex, and more to save on Amazon purchases year-round
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- Amazon Prime Day 2020 will run from October 13 to 14.
- Prime Day offers discounts on a huge variety of items, and it's possible to save even more by "stacking" credit card rewards offer.
- You can pay for Amazon purchases with various credit card points, but the best options are the various "use one point" promotions offered by Amex, Citi, and Chase.
- Using a credit card that offers rewards or bonus cash back on Amazon purchases can help you save money on Prime Day as well.
- See Business Insider's list of the best Amazon Prime Day deals »
Amazon Prime Day 2020 is just around the corner. From October 13 to 14, the online retailer will be offering Amazon Prime members discounts on everything from tech to kitchen supplies to clothing.
This event is a great way to save money on the contents of your Amazon cart, and you could be able to "stack" deals to save even more on purchases, during Prime Day and beyond.
Credit card points programs offer plenty of ways to redeem rewards for Amazon purchases, but they're not all created equal, and in many cases, knocking down your Amazon bill isn't the highest-value way to redeem your points.
Here's a look at all the options for paring down your Amazon purchase prices.
Swap points for Amazon gift cards
Many points programs allow you to cash in your points in exchange for gift cards, and in some cases, Amazon gift cards are among the choices.
But while it may sound like a great option at first glance — after all, many of us aren't using our points for travel right now, and who doesn't like shopping for free?— redeeming points for gift cards usually isn't a great use of those points. Doing it can mean sacrificing major value; in other words, your points can save you a lot more money if used elsewhere.
Let's look at Chase Ultimate Rewards as an example. Chase lets you buy Amazon gift cards for 1 cent per point, meaning 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points can net you a $300 gift card.
But 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points can also go a lot further. Transferred to airline partner United, those points can get you a one-way ticket from the US to Europe in economy, which normally costs well beyond $300. And transferred to Hyatt, those same points can get you a night in any Category 7 hotel — including the Park Hyatt Sydney, which routinely goes for more than $1,000 per night. Use the points on an Amazon gift card, and you're walking away from $700 in potential value!
Of course, the pandemic hasn't been easy on many people financially, and if you're in a pinch, you may be more than willing to sacrifice that potential value in order to procure necessities without dinging your bank account.
Here's a look at the programs that will let you trade your points for gift cards:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: Redeem points for gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point; physical gift cards start at $25, or 2,500 points, while digital gift cards start at $20, or 2,000 points
- Marriott Bonvoy: 10,000 points for a $25 gift card; 17,500 points for a $50 gift card; 30,000 points for a $100 gift card
- IHG Rewards Club: 13,000 points for a $25 gift card; 25,000 points for a $50 gift card
Shop with points
A number of programs take it one step further, letting you use your credit card points to shop through Amazon itself.
After linking your credit card to your Amazon account, you can simply select your points as a payment method at checkout, eliminating the process of having to buy a gift card first (and consequently locking yourself into a certain denomination).
But like going the gift card route, redeeming your points through Amazon directly will result in poor value.
Here's a rundown on the programs that let you shop with points:
- American Express Membership Rewards: Link your card here and redeem at a rate of 0.7 cents per point
- Capital One miles: Link your card here and redeem at a rate of 0.8 cents per point
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: Link your card here and redeem at a rate of 0.8 cents per point
- Citi ThankYou Rewards: Link your card here and redeem points at a rate of 0.8 cents per point
- Hilton Honors: Link your card here and redeem at a rate of 0.2 cents per point
'Use one point' promos
Luckily, there's a way to use your points to reduce prices without leaving a ton of value on the table — at least, sometimes.
American Express, Chase, and Citi have all recently offered targeted promos that awarded discounts to shoppers as long as they used at least one point at checkout.
American Express offered certain customers the opportunity to take 40% off select purchases to save up to $50 if they used at least one point to pay; Chase gave some of its cardholders a chance to save $15 on orders of $50 or more if they redeemed one point or more at checkout; and Citi extended 20% off at Amazon to customers who used at least one point with a cap of $30.
Of course, promos don't last forever, and again, these are targeted, meaning they're only available to certain cardholders. But the ability to unlock that type of savings while only having to sacrifice a single point is a great opportunity, so if you're eligible, you'll want to pounce. If you're not, remember to check back later; you may be eligible even if you haven't been in the past.
To see if you can score the savings, you'll first have to link your eligible card to your Amazon account as part of the retailer's Shop with Points program. (Link Amex cards here, Chase cards here, and Citi cards here.)
Once your cards are enrolled, see if you're eligible for any of the promotions by visiting these links:
- Amex one-point promo
- Chase one-point promo
- Citi one-point promo
And remember: Don't use more than the one required point if you can avoid it, as you can make more of your points if you use them for travel!
Use an Amazon credit card
As you might expect, the points you earn using an Amazon credit card can also help you save money at the retail giant.
When it comes to Amazon credit cards, there are a few choices: the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, the Prime Store card, and the Business Prime American Express Card, none of which carry an annual fee.
With the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, you'll earn % cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases (assuming you have an Amazon Prime membership — if not, you'll earn 3% back). You'll also earn 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, along with 1% back on all other purchases. You can redeem as much cash back as you'd like at Amazon checkout, where you'll see your available stash show up as a payment option.
Amazon also offers the Amazon Prime Store Card, which, like the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card, nets you 5% back on Amazon purchases that can either be used as Amazon savings or returned to you as a statement credit.
With the Amazon Business American Express Card, meanwhile, you'll rack up 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, along with 2% cash back at restaurants, at gas stations. and on wireless phone services purchased directly from US service providers.
But before you go running to take out an Amazon card, there's an important question to consider, and that's what type of rewards you want to be earning.
Every dollar you put on an Amazon card is a dollar that won't earn you more flexible travel points that, as we've discussed, can go a long way toward saving you some major money.
And even if you're not interested in travel, you may be able to find a cash-back card that offers bigger rewards or bonuses in categories that better suit your spending habits. You may find after weighing your options that an Amazon card is the best fit, but it's never a bad idea to read up on what's out there before making a selection!
Buy gift cards strategically
No Amazon card? No problem. Even if you have a more general cash-back card, you can still use the points you earn with it to save money on Amazon purchases.
Let's say you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, which offers 5% cash back — at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in the first 12 months card membership, as well as 3% cash back at drugstores.
Both of those are places you can purchase Amazon gift cards, and if you do, you'll earn bonus points that you can convert into cash back. Essentially, you'll be buying Amazon gift cards at a discount!
Drugstores and grocery stores aren't the only two places you can find Amazon gift cards, either. Cards such as Chase's Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card earn 5% cash back at office supply stories on the first $25,000 you spend each year (then 1%), while the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is currently offering 5% cash back on PayPal and Walmart purchases (once activated) up to $1,500 between now and the end of the year. Both represent easy ways to save on Amazon gift cards and ultimately buy more with the retailer for less.
While this approach isn't as convenient as some of the others we've looked at, it represents a great way to maximize your rewards.
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.
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