How to get a 10% return on your Amazon purchases
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
If you’re among the nearly 150 million Amazon Prime members in the U.S., chances are you spend a significant amount with the online retail giant.
We’ve previously dug into the best cards for Amazon purchases, including cards that earn up to 5% cash back on your purchases. However, if you’re willing to take an extra step before making your Amazon purchases, you could walk away with up to 5 points per dollar spent or an effective 10% return. And that’s before factoring in any American Express Offers or other special Amazon promotions.
The secret to earning the most points on Amazon purchases is gift cards. While very few credit cards offer Amazon as a bonus category, some offer high category bonuses at places that sell Amazon gift cards, such as grocery stores, gas stations and office supply stores.
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Earning up to 5 points per dollar on Amazon purchases
One of the best cards for purchasing gift cards is the Ink Business Cash Credit Card. On the surface, the card earns 5% cash back at office supply stores on the first $25,000 in spending each account year.
However, the return jumps to 10% if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. After all, then you can convert your cash back to transferable Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth 2 cents each according to TPG valuations.
So, you could buy an Amazon gift card at Staples or OfficeMax and earn 5 points per dollar spent for an effective 10% back. Then, you can use that gift card like cash at Amazon.
The Amex Gold offers 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year (then 1 point per dollar). Four points per dollar spent means an effective 8% return since TPG values Amex points at 2 cents apiece.
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card from American Express could also be a good option. It earns 3 points per dollar spent, on up to $6,000 per calendar year, at U.S. supermarkets, then 1 point per dollar spent thereafter. But what makes this card stand out is that it offers a 50% points bonus if you use it more than 30 times in one month. That means you could be earning as many as 4.5 points per dollar spent at grocery stores, a 9% return.
The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Finally, there’s also the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex, which offers 5% back (or 5 points per dollar spent when paired with an Ultimate Rewards-earning card) on rotating categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate. The card currently offers a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Something to keep in mind
There are many options for maximizing your Amazon gift card purchases. However, there’s one important caveat to keep in mind. Although all of the cards mentioned offer purchase protection, the coverage does not apply when purchasing an item with a gift card instead of a credit card. So, you may want to avoid using gift cards on certain purchases.
You also can’t return gift cards, but this shouldn’t be much of an issue if you order from Amazon frequently anyway. Plus, you can use your Amazon gift cards to buy gift cards at many other third-party retailers like Starbucks, Southwest Airlines and Airbnb.
A little time and effort can go a long way. An effective 10% return on Amazon purchases is as good as it gets, though it’s important not to forget the trade-off between earning points and getting purchase protection.
Featured photo by AdrianHancu/Getty Images.
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