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8 Amazon hacks you'll want to know before your next order

April 30 2020
9 min read
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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.

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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.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Consider Amazon credit cards

While we're on the subject of the best credit cards for Amazon purchases, let's talk about Amazon's own — the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature.

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.

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

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.

Related: Is the Amazon Prime credit card still worth the cost?

Use coupons

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.

Screenshot courtesy of Amazon.com
(Screenshot courtesy of Amazon.com)

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.

(Screenshot courtesy of Amazon.com)
(Screenshot courtesy of Amazon.com)

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 NurPhoto via Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
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Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees