Amazon’s Shop with Points feature has triggered an emotional rollercoaster of reviews over the years. People hate the terrible valuations (often one of the worst ways to use points in most programs). People love the deals that come with using points (often >30% off an order by paying with points). People hate when an order accidentally uses points (often set as the default during enrollment in promotions). People love that promotions are triggered even if only a single point is used for a purchase (often making incredible valuations at thousands of cents per point)1.
To take advantage of this payment feature, you need to re-brand it in your mind as Amazon Shop with A Single Point. Follow these steps to feel all the love and eliminate all the hate (at least while shopping at Amazon).
- Secure Amazon: As a PointHead, you probably don’t need a reminder, but protect your Amazon account to avoid a hack-n-drain.
- Enroll Your Reward Program(s): Enroll relevant cards/loyalty programs with Amazon Shop with Points, ensuring the use by default is disabled to avoid an oops-n-drain.
- Sign Up for Deals: At least 24 hours after enrolling, check your eligibility for Amazon’s targeted Shop with Points offers.
- Shop With A Point: Be on the lookout for a product eligible for a “pay with points” deal, use a single point to activate the deal without any crappy-point-value-n-drain.
- Stay Alert: Keep an eye on your notifications about Amazon purchases. Whether by Amazon error or user error, double check the payment details to ensure purchases don’t use more than one cent worth of points.
Enroll Your Reward Programs
Before you can take advantage of any promotional offers, you must have your “points” payment method registered for 24 hours. Enroll your credit card or loyalty program (only Hilton at the time of this writing).
HEADS UP: Before you start, know that every time you enroll, Amazon will try something sneaky to make it your default payment method. Be on the lookout while you are going through the prompts, and be sure to turn it off when you see it. If you don’t notice one, double check after successfully linking the account to ensure it is turned off.
- Navigate to Amazon Shop with Points
- Log in (too obvious?)
- Click on the logo of the program and follow the prompts.
- CRITICAL: Find the part that says Apply by Default and make sure it is off/unchecked/negating whatever clever way Amazon tries to make it your default payment method. Two different ways Amazon will try to make you do an oops-n-drain after enrolling. Screenshots courtesy of Amazon.
- Double Check: After linking the account, open it up and verify Apply by Default is off. Phew, apply by default is off. Screenshot courtesy of Amazon.
Sign Up For Deals
While Amazon may occasionally offer you incentives to use points, the surefire way to get an offer is to sign up for one. These “targeted offers” are generally hard to find, but luckily there are some kind people aggregating them for you. Here are some of our favorites for you to periodically check for new opportunities (because we are too lazy to aggregate them ourselves!).
HEADS UP: Once again, Amazon will try something sneaky to make points your default payment method. Be on the lookout while you are signing up for a promotion, and be sure to turn off anything related to Apply by Default. If you don’t notice one, you can double check the linked the account to ensure it is turned off (the same way you did when enrolling initially).
Shop With A Point
Once you are enrolled in Shop with A Point and (optionally) some targeted offers, it’s time to be on the lookout for eligible purchases. A good sign that a product is part of a deal is in Amazon’s unofficial “extra promotion” section of their product webpage. Sometimes they will be explicit (e.g. 40% off after using available Chase Ultimate Rewards points). Other times it’s a subtle hint (e.g. Pay
$20.00 $0.00 after using available Chase Ultimate Rewards points).
In honor of Mario day (MAR 10, get it? We had to look it up too), we decided to use Super Mario Party as an example how to stack savings on top of savings with a single point. First, notice Amazon gave us a subtle hint about using American Express points (note: we had not signed up for any targeted deals for AmEx).
Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
Add it to the cart and go to the checkout. In the payment method section, we change from our default Visa to select American Express using the Change link to the right of the payment info.
Default payment with no indication of potential discounts. Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
And once again, Amazon tries to trick us into using more points than necessary. Remember, it’s Shop with A Point!
By default it uses as many points as possible. Don’t let this fool you! Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
We change it to one cent worth of points and see that it only costs a single point. Now we are ready to choose this as the payment method and see the (potential) magic happen.
Change to use 1 cent worth of points, AKA 1 point. Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
Just like magic and out of the goodness of their hearts, Amazon has decided to take 40% + 1 cent off our (already discounted) total.
Additional 40% off the order thanks to the use of 1 American Express point. Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
We are ready to go ahead and place the order. But just for fun, let’s see what happens if we use points from other linked accounts.
We cheated and signed up for a promotion to get $10 off a purchase of $30 or more when using a Chase point (from the links above). Turns out this item is eligible for that discount. Hooray!
Additional $10 discount for using 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point. Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
We cheated and signed up for a promotion to get 40% off a purchase when using a Discover cent-point thingy (from the links above). Turns out this item is eligible for that discount. Hooray!
Additional 40% discount for using 1 Discover cent-point thingy. Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
We tried to cheat and sign up for a promotion for using a Citi point (from the links above), but we weren’t eligible for any. We get no goodwill discount here. Boo Citi!
No discount for using 1 Citi ThankYou point. Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
We tried to cheat and sign up for a promotion for using a Hilton point (from the links above), but we couldn’t find any. We get no discount here. Also notice that Hilton points are so diluted it takes 5 to make one cent, completely ruining the Shop with A Point concept. Boo Hilton!
No discount for using 5 Hilton Honors points. Screenshot courtesy of Amazon
We tried to cheat and sign up for a promotion for using a Capital One mile (from the links above), but then remembered we don’t have any Capital One credit cards. Boo us!
After finalizing the order (we went back to American Express after all that), you’ll receive an e-mail congratulating you for Shopping with A Point. You can also giggle at grammar mistakes if that’s your thing.
You Used Points for Your Amazon.com Purchase
Thank you for using Membership Rewards® points at Amazon.com.
1 Membership Rewards points from American Express were used for your recent Amazon.com purchase.
Double check it (and any other similar e-mails you receive) to verify
- You meant to order this.
- You only used one cent worth of points.
If you see any points drain-type mistake, don’t panic. As detailed by Basic Travel Couple, you have time to recover.
And now you know everything you need to save money while Amazon Prime takes over your life.
Considering the most optimistic valuation of most programs will put them at a few cents per point, that’s an opportunity worth pursuing! ↩