Best Credit Card for Purchases: 3x Points With Amex Premier Rewards Gold

by on June 27, 2013 · 50 comments

in Amazon, American Express

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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.

Each purchase that I made through Amazon earned 3x points!

Each purchase that I made through Amazon earned 3x points!

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:

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 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.

Other Bonuses?
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. – 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.

Ink Angle
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; 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.

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 11.12.17 AM

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 $99, 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.

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), 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 towards the first $30,000 per year .

You’ll also earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. 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 comes with some great benefits.

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Daniel

    i used mine for an amazon payment and got 3x the points!

  • Coop

    Chase Ink Bold allows you to buy $50k a year of Amazon gift cards at 5% back (250k UR pts) so although this 3% back is exciting, if you have both cards the Ink Bold through gift cards is still the way to go I believe

  • Alan Penner

    If I wasn’t so lazy about it, all my Amazon purchases would be made by buying Kindle GCs at Staples with my Ink Bold, for 5 UR/$1. Also, Fatwallet has 3% cash back on rotating categories, currently Apparel and Personal Care Appliances.

    Amazon Visa points can be a little more valuable than that. The best redemption is probably a domestic coach ticket (roundtrip, 21 day advance purchase, Saturday night stay, all one airline) up to $400 for 25k points, making them worth 1.6 cents each if you max it out. They’ll let you pay the difference if the ticket is over $400. The nice thing about these is they’re purchased tickets, not award flights, so you get to earn miles with them.

  • Matt

    Do you like the Premier Rewards Gold more than Chase Sapphire Preferred for booking airfare?

  • Derf

    TPG, the value of Amazon Visa reward points can be up to $0.02 in value vs. the $0.01 you state. You can redeem 20,000 points for up to $400 in airfare (or 40,000 points for $800 in airfare, and so on). Plus you can choose your airline, still earn the miles when you fly, and can purchase any available seat you want. It’s a very overlooked, but incredible benefit of this card.

  • MrWho

    So, you have no other tricks to offer so that people will use your affiliate link. And you quote only a single thread? Why don’t you give the complete link?

  • ryan

    Is this a mistake on Amex’s part? Officially Amazon doesn’t fall into any of the categories that offer 3x the points.

  • Rudy Rosenberg

    Unless you have to have it within two days, ground shipping is free on many of their items ($25 min). Devalues AMZN Prime.

  • Jeffrey

    A coworker of mine saw the same thing back when the 50k/1k PRG was offered. He made a single amazon payment, but received 53000 MR. I never understood why until now. Thanks,

  • Bryan

    We started paying our babysitter with Amazon Payments earlier this year and have enjoyed the 3x points. For purchases on, we try to use gift cards purchased with an Ink for 5x points.

  • MrWho

    It’s the mysterious “Internet Purchase” and yes, most likely it’s AMEX’s mistake. It’s probably the ghost from “Bonus Online Mall” existed before.

  • Fat Ted

    How can you redeem amazon reward points for airfare?

  • Come on

    Come on, at least acknowledge the Citi Forward, which give 5% on amazon purchases.

  • Fat Ted
  • Grant

    Ink Bold/Plus 5x is great at office supply stores. Don’t forget 6% cash back with amex blue cash preferred by buying Amazon GC at grocery stores.

  • Karl Mitchell

    I was involved in this thread. Unfortunately, in the past few weeks I have noticed that these 3x membership rewards on Amex Premier Rewards cards (only) for internet purchases seem to have vanished. My last statement was disappointing.

    Note that they only ever applied to Amazon purchases that were classified as “Merchandise & Supplies – Department Stores” as opposed to “Merchandise & Supplies – Internet Purchases”. This includes Amazon Marketplace purchases to third parties, but excludes regular direct-from-Amazon purchases. Hotel and car hire purchases also got the 3x bonus, as well as many (not all) other items classified as “Merchandise & Supplies – Internet Purchases”. There was speculation as to whether this might be a trial for a more general post-Earnings Mall MR program (many of the 3x bonuses mirrored the former Mall bonuses, but not perfectly), but this seems rather optimistic.

    In any case, it looks like it’s over.

  • blake

    doesn’t hurt that with Amex PRG you get purchase protection as well (vs using gift cards purchased at 5x)

  • Alan Penner

    I thought it was 25,000 points for $400 in airfare. Where have you seen it for 20k?

  • Fv Ille

    Ya, this is really the way to go for those without a card that gives you % back at Amazon. Also you can stock up on Amazon GCs with your Freedom when they roll around.

  • Dan

    What happened to the “old” TPG who used to write valuable posts? Sad to see that most of your posts nowadays are just infomercials trying to get as many people to sign up for your links so you can continue pulling 6 figures and travel first class and stay at hotel suites…

  • thepointsguy

    Didn’t realize that- will add!

  • thepointsguy

    How is this post not valuable? Earning 3x points through an unadvertised method??

  • thepointsguy

    Agree- but not everyone has a business/ Ink card- but I did note that in the post

  • thepointsguy

    They must be giving away millions of points through this.. so not sure how it would be a mistake… but I’ll take it as long as they are giving it!

  • thepointsguy

    I use it to hit the 30k spend and get the 15k bonus- all while getting 3x. I have lots of Chase points from bonuses/signups so I primarily use the Premier Rewards to bulk up my Amex account so I can take advantage of transfer bonuses (though I do value Chase points more than Amex in general)

  • Dan

    If you want to play with semantics, it’s valuable. Is it original? Of course not. As the above comment pointed out, it’s lifted off FT and passed as your own “research.”

    Can you really say with a straight face that this wasn’t an opportunity to push you affiliate link for the PRG or your whole portfolio of affiliate links for that matter?

  • thepointsguy

    In the very first sentence I hyperlink to FT as a source for this post. How is that “lifting” it and passing it as my own?

    A lot of my readers don’t read Flyertalk, so this information is valuable to them. The point of this site is to help people maximize points. This is a method to do so.

  • Grant

    The BCP can pay for its annual fee in the first 1-2 months if you buy a ton of gift cards.

  • Ben Price

    For the record, I read TPG for a whole year before even discovering FT. TPG is like weed…it’s a gateway drug. (Ain’t nothing wrong with that!)

    Dan, if you think TPG is pushing an affiliate link w/ little or no value, why do you keep reading it? Check back every so often. If there’s a valuable article, read it. If not, walk the other way.


  • BostonSun

    thanks for this post. in april i had 2 small purchases on Groupon which got 3x bonus points. it was for normal daily deals (not travel related) but i had figured maybe amex categorizes Groupon as travel.. however after reading this, i checked and it shows as being merchandise & supplies – internet purchase..

  • Phillip

    Does this apply to the Amex Business Rewards Gold Card also?

  • Herbtrain

    SO… After reading this I went to check my bonus statement, but the only Amazon purchase I’ve had since opening my card was too recent to have posted to MR (it was classified as “Merchandise & Supplies – Internet Purchase” though, so it will be interesting to see what happens next month).

    BUT… And to me this is a big but. I noticed that my order from GrubHub had gotten x3 points!! I went and checked and for whatever reason, GrubHub was also classified as “Merchandise & Supplies – Internet Purchase”.

    For those who don’t know, GrubHub is a food ordering site that lists all the places that deliver or offer carry-out around your location (most, I should say, there are restaurants that don’t participate). I’ve usually only ordered from restaurants that offer the ability to order online through GrubHub’s website (some places you have to call, not sure if it goes through GrubHub or not then). My experience here in the Chicago area has been fantastic, though, and I imagine those in similarly densely populated areas would be satisfied with the available options.

    Anyway, assuming this isn’t some AmEx mistake, and if you’re a person who orders out a lot, or you travel a lot for business and order out, this could be a great way to earn that x3 bonus on your food purchases!

  • OreillySpringer

    And now till June 30 ( 2nd Quarter) you can buy Amazon gift cards at Lowes. Next quarter at any gas station.

  • Emily D

    Is there another credit card that routinely offers multiple points for drugstore purchases? CVS is the only place I’ve found to buy Vanilla reloads with a credit card.

  • Dennis

    If you don’t like what TPG is writing about, go start your own blog, link to every FT post and offer some value to the travel community. Otherwise, it is easy to critique from the sidelines. I’m tired of trolls criticizing TPG for his posts. Go read Mommy Points, you sound like you need a bottle and your diaper changed.

  • ItsDead

    I’m in the same boat. This has died on my last statement. No more 3x.

  • disqust101

    @Ben – a year and you didn’t know about FT? You ain’t the brightest bulb…

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  • Fanfoot

    And… a typical FT’ers response to a newb is once again witnessed.

  • Jeff

    I noticed this Amazon 3X bonus on my account today, although it wasn’t on the latest statement so I can’t argue with those that say it seems to have stopped. However I’ve seen some other weird 3X bonuses lately. Advance Auto Parts, for one – a $10 purchase that became 30 points. Also something called “CID Purchase” which was 1 point multiplied to 3 – anyone know what that is? Another surprising 3X bonus was for my Shen Yun tickets, which I bought online through the Lincoln Center web site. That was a nice unexpected 770 points right there!

  • Jen

    How do you take advantage of transfer bonuses? I’m new to TPG and don’t understand how they work. Please instill some wisdom….

  • thepointsguy

    Amex periodically runs bonuses when you transfer points to partners. So instead of getting 1 British airways avios per 1 Amex membership rewards point, you may get an extra 20-50% bonus avios depending on the promo. They are usually hardcoded so when you transfer at the bonus shows up automatically in your frequent flyer account

  • Justin

    Also makes Amazon way more money, when you’re sitting at $15 dollars looking at $5 shipping, you’re totally willing to spend $10 more for some item you don’t really need.

  • Rudy Rosenberg

    I can always find something I will need, if not immediately, in the near future. So I get a $10 item for $5 your way.

  • Garrett

    For the life of me I can’t find any spending bonuses for opening a new Premier Rewards Gold Card. Just opened one, and no one seems to know. Is the 25,000 mile for $2,000/3 month offer still current?

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  • QG

    Well done! Thank you for killing it. :(

  • Thee Gooch

    Is Chase Ink a consumer card?

  • Jon

    How did you get to the screen that showed how many points (and bonus points) you earned for each transaction. I’ve looked everywhere on the Membership Rewards site but the only transaction detail I see says how many points I earned in each statement cycle. I have Amex Platinum (consumer) if it matters.


  • Guest

    Is this still a valid perk of PRG, the 3x Membership Rewards per $1 points at Amazon ?

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