A couple months ago I noticed that a few people on FlyerTalk were posting that they received notice that they could earn 3X Membership Rewards points per $1 on certain Amazon purchases when using their American Express Premier Rewards Gold card for purchases at the online retailer.
I decided to try it for myself and bought a few random things that I needed like iPhone chargers, screen protectors and some treats for Miles. Those purchases were made on April 24, which ended up being included in my May 2013 Membership Rewards statement. Since Membership Rewards statements don’t post until a month after the statement closes, I was only able to check those transactions yesterday, and sure enough, I earned 3X points per $1 on them.
After making my original purchase on Amazon I tried my luck at a few other just to see how many points each purchase would earn depending on the merchant. To my surprise once my bonus detail for that period posted, I saw 5 different Amazon transactions that each earned 3x points! Here is a breakdown of my purchases and the 3rd party Amazon merchants that they were purchased and shipped from:
|DATE||PRODUCT||3rd PARTY MERCHANT||TOTAL PRICE||POINTS EARNED|
|April 25, 2013||3 iPhone 5 USB Chargers||Summercomm LTD.||$8.55||27|
|April 25, 2013||Blue Buffalo Dog Food||Petco||$26.68||81|
|April 26, 2013||Blue Buffalo Mini BonesiPhone 5 Screen Protector||Orange CasaTech Armor||$26.94||81|
|May 17, 2013||3 Bags Blue Buffalo Dog Food||Petco||$67.01||201|
|May 17, 2013||3 Bags Blue Buffalo Dog Food||Petco||$65.87||198|
It looks like any purchases that are categorized in your card activity as “Merchandise & Supplies – Internet Purchase” will receive the 3x points.
On May 31, I purchased a wireless Apple mouse which I now see on my statement is categorized as “Merchandise & Supplies – Department Stores.” I also see that the merchant for the Apple mouse is listed as Amazon.com LLC and not a 3rd party merchant so I’m curious to see how many points that purchase earned, though my guess is it will only be 1 point per dollar.
I was pretty happy with the 3X Amex points per $1 I earned, but I looked around to see if there were any other bonuses out there at the moment on Amazon purchases. EVReward.com – my go to compendium for current shopping portal bonuses – came up with none, unfortunately, and a quick check of individual shopping portal sites confirmed that. I’m still going to keep an eye out month by month, though, because I figure I might as well earn multiple points or miles per dollar by going through a shopping portal on top of the 3X Amex points I now earn.
The Chase Ink Bold / Plus/ Cash / Classic cards offer 5 points per dollar at office supply stores and many Staples / Office Depot/ Office Max stores sell Amazon gift cards, so if you have a business and can get one of these cards, this is your best bet. I value Chase points at about 2 cents a piece so using an Ink card is essentially a 10% rebate in spend.
Citi Forward Angle
The Citi Forward card also gives 5 points per dollar spent on books/movies/music (and restaurants) and Amazon purchases qualify for this bonus. Those points can be used to purchase travel at about 1 cent per point- so a 5% rebate. I value Amex points at about 1.8 cents each, so I’d rather have 5.4 cents per dollar spent at Amazon (plus a 15k point bonus when you spend $30,000) than 5%, but Forward is an option if you spend a lot on Amazon and want a card with no annual fee.
Compared to the Amazon Credit Card
Chase offers an Amazon Visa, which gets you a $50 credit upon approval and earns 3 points for every $1 spent on Amazon.com; 2 points for every eligible $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores;and 1 point for every other $1 spent.
Those Amazon points are then redeemable at 1 cent each when shopping on Amazon. I’d take 3X Amex points over 3X Amazon points any day of the week since I value Amex points at much closer to 2 cents apiece (double Amazon points’ value) since I can transfer them to dozens of partners as well as redeeming them for 1 cent apiece for travel with Pay With Points if I so choose.
That said, it doesn’t seem like I’ll be earning 3X Amex points on every $1 spent on Amazon with my Premier Rewards Gold, so if you spend a lot on Amazon and you just want to redeem your points for Amazon purchases, you might still want to stick with the Amazon Visa.
Apart from spending bonuses, what I like most about shopping through Amazon (besides the extra points that I’m now earning) is Amazon Prime. You can sign up for a free one month trial where you’ll get unlimited free two-day shipping, Prime Instant Video, and access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
After the one month trial there is an annual fee of $79, which may seem steep but I think it’s worth it. If I make two purchases a month through Amazon which would each normally get charged $5.99 in shipping and handling fees, I would be spending $143 on shipping alone – and keep in mind that shipping cost is for ground shipping. By spending the $79 for Amazon Prime you’re essentially saving about $65 and will have your items at your door in 2 days instead of 5.
I am a big online shopper and love the convenience of having what I need delivered right to me instead of making a trip to the store so with Amazon Prime and now earning 3 points per dollar on my purchases (as long as through a 3rd party merchant), Amazon.com has quickly become one of my favorite sites to shop on.
This 3X earning opportunity is just another reason why I’m going to be using my Premier Rewards Gold card more often and why I continue to renew it each year. Some of the other current benefits of this card include 25,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months and 15,000 points after you spend $30,000 in one calendar year – essentially giving you a 1.5X per $1 earning rate.
You’ll also earn 3X points on airfare, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Another perk is that when booking hotel stays through American Express Travel you’ll receive $75 back at checkout and you have access to benefits like a Baggage Insurance Plan, Extended Warranty and Return Protection when shopping. Although this card comes with an annual fee of $175, it is waived for the first year and you can get a much more value out of using this card that will far outweigh that cost.
Have you had 3x success when shopping through Amazon? Comment below with your experience or if you have any other tips for earning 3x Membership Rewards points with your Premier Rewards Gold card.
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