8 Amazon hacks you’ll want to know before your next order
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You may have realized in the last few weeks you’re spending more time (and money) on Amazon than usual. Welcome to the club!
We likely don’t need to tell you that all those purchases can add up fast, especially while many of us are staying home due to the coronavirus outbreak and stocking up on essential items.
The good news, though, is that we have some tricks up our sleeves to not only help you save money on your Amazon purchases, but also to help you rack up bonus points you can use for your next trip — whenever that may be.
Don’t press “confirm” without reading this first.
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Save your points for travel
If you’re a frequent (or even semifrequent) Amazon shopper, you might have noticed the “Pay with Points” option when you go to check out.
As tempting as it sounds to have your items delivered to you without using a cent of your hard-earned cash, it’s a pretty terrible use of your points. That’s because your points have a monetary value — and the trick for getting the most value possible out of your points and miles is to redeem them for the maximum possible reward.
By using your points on Amazon, you’re essentially throwing money down the drain because the cash value they’re worth when redeemed in this manner is lower than many other uses. Getting under 1 cent in value for any of the major transferrable points is well under our recommended valuations.
But, in rare cases, it does make sense to use your points (or at least 1 point) — namely, when there’s an insane promotion to get $30 off a $60 purchase using 1 Amex point or $15 off a $60 purchase using 1 Chase point. Why? Because you’re using just 1 point, and getting a lot in return for it. (The current targeted offer to use 1 Amex Membership Rewards point and save 20% on your Amazon order ends on April 30.)
In the instances I just mentioned, 1 Amex point is worth a whopping $30 and 1 Chase point becomes equivalent to $15 — whereas both are typically valued at 2 cents each based on TPG’s most recent valuations. Paying the equivalent of 2 cents to get $30 or $15 worth of stuff? Yes, please.
Related: New to TPG? Read our Beginner’s Guide
Check your credit card offers
If you have an American Express card (yes, even a cobranded one like a Hilton or Delta Amex), you can take advantage of targeted Amex Offers. They’re based on your spending habits, and vary from card to card, but are a great way to rack up bonus Membership Rewards points or help you save money on purchases you might make anyway.
Amazon frequently appears in Amex Offers. For example, you may be able to earn 5x points on your Amazon purchases (up to 2,000 points) through the summer. Past offers have been similar, offering cardholders the opportunity to earn 4x bonus points on Amazon purchases.
The trick here is to check your Amex account frequently to see if you’re eligible to earn bonus points or additional savings. Your future trips will thank you.
Chase doesn’t have as robust of a program as Amex does when it comes to retail offers, although it’s always worth checking to see what’s available. I was recently able to find an offer for $5 off Amazon Prime Video for my Chase Freedom card. With it, I can save money on movies and television shows available on Amazon’s streaming platform.
Consider Amazon credit cards
The information for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
I’d argue that it’s one of the most underrated deals in the rewards credit card game. That’s because it doesn’t have an annual fee, and new cardholders will receive an Amazon gift card immediately upon approval. Right now I see an offer for a $70 Amazon gift card, though the amount varies at times. While the card is only available to Prime members, it can effectively lower the cost of your $119 membership to only $49 the year you get the Amazon gift card bonus. Even if you don’t shop at Amazon too frequently, it’s easy to justify giving this card a slot in your wallet.
Read our full review of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature.
You could also look at it as free money on top of the full membership, and use it for a little shopping spree. You’ll get 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, as well as 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1% cash back on everything else. Not a bad return on a card that costs you zero in annual fees, as long as you already had a Prime membership.
This tip shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but if you see a coupon available, use it. With coupons, you can save money with the click of a button.
You’ll know if there’s a coupon available for your item as there will be an icon that says “coupon” below the price. If you check the box next to it, the coupon will be activated. Coupons are sometimes only for a few cents or dollars, but saving money is, well, saving money. I was able to find the following coupon on wall shelves for my apartment.
Some items will also let you subscribe for repeat deliveries, where you can save between 5% and 15% depending on the frequency. I was able to find this deal for a moisturizer I recently ordered. This may make sense for you if you order the same product (or products) regularly.
You should also check Amazon’s promotion page frequently to see if any of the offers are relevant to products you want to order.
Track prices and set price alerts
On that note, it’s also a good idea to install a plug-in like Honey or CamelCamelCamel, both of which track price fluctuations over time (the latter of which is exclusively for Amazon). With CamelCamelCamel, you can also get alerted about price drops. Using one of these services can ensure you’re getting the best price possible — and if it’s not an urgent purchase, you can hold off until your item is on sale for a better deal.
Get paid for no-rush shipping
If you have plenty of time to spare, you can opt for no-rush shipping on your items and earn a credit that you can use for future purchases.
You’ll find this option during the checkout process when you’re prompted to enter your shipping information. By checking off this box, you can easily save a few dollars on future purchases, including movies and television shows.
Sign up for a free trial
You also might be able to sign up for a free, 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. This is a great way to try out the service if you haven’t already for no charge. You’ll be eligible to receive free, two-day shipping on eligible items, as well as get access to Prime Video, Prime Wardrobe, Prime Now and other programs.
If you’re not interested in continuing your membership, just be sure to cancel before the trial ends. If you want to continue your service, you’ll pay $119 for the yearly membership.
Take advantage of gift cards
Amazon has a little-known ongoing promotion where you can get a $10 reward when you reload a $100 (or more) gift card balance for the first time. Just keep in mind that it has to be your first time reloading your gift card balance, and you must be an Amazon Prime member logged into your account. You’ll also need to take advantage of it by July 31, and you can only do it one time.
Related deals (think: Get a $5 to $10 credit for texting an Amazon gift card to someone — including yourself) are also frequently available. You may even get a bonus for placing an order in the app rather than on your desktop.
You can also purchase Amazon gift cards at grocery stores with a credit card that gives cash back at that retailer. For example, if you buy a $100 Amazon gift card at Whole Foods and use your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, you’ll get 5% cash back on the gift card purchase.
Free money is always a win in our book, don’t you think?
Featured photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.