Amazon’s Sneaky Trick to Get You to Pay With Points & How to Avoid It

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amazon automatically applies membership rewards

Amazon’s Sneaky Trick to Get You to Pay With Points & How to Avoid It

American Express Membership Rewards points are very versatile and can be redeemed in a number of ways. The best value will be when redeeming them for travel or transferring to travel partners, but there’s also other options. One of them is Amazon. You can use Membership Rewards points to pay for your Amazon purchases. The reason that you don’t hear much about it is that the redemption value is terrible, only 0.7 cents per Membership Rewards point.

Nobody should ever use Membership Rewards points at that value, unless you only have a few points left and want to use them up. But apparently Amazon and I’m sure American Express as well, are trying to trick you into using them this way. I came across a post from Mommy Points today describing an issue which I’ve noticed in the past. When you select a Membership Rewards earning credit card as payment on Amazon, it automatically defaults to using Membership Rewards to pay the whole balance. If you’re not careful that could wipe out a good chunk of your points on a large Amazon purchase.

There is a solution. You can go here and turn OFF this “Apply by Default” option. You have to do it for each enrolled credit card separately. I would suggest doing it now, before you forget, so you avoid any problems in the future.


Using American Express Membership Rewards points at Amazon is a bad idea. So make sure you’re careful when checking out, or just turn off the option of applying points automatically. I would still keep the Membership Rewards earning cards enrolled for promotions such as this one, where you just need to use one Membership Rewards point.

Have you unknowingly used Membership Rewards or any other currency at terrible value? Let us know.


  1. I have the opposite problem, I can’t ever get Amazon to let me use MR points for purchases! I find the MR program to be the least useful of all the reward programs I use. I realize that many folks have a more positive experience, but I just keep finding hurdles to burn up my points.

  2. Hey, folks… BEWARE OF RITE-AID too! I had a cashier NOT ask me if I wanted to use points and tapped the screen FOR me before I could stop her (and I wasn’t paying enough attention). I ended up using points for a purchase. I was seriously dented about it, but it was only, fortunately, for a few bucks so let it slide with a chewing out of a manager.

    But, ya gotta pay attention all the time on stuff like this!

  3. Pretty sure they require you to use the same card as the points you’re applying to (if you’re using MR, the Amex card, if you’re using Discover cashback, the Discover), not mix and match.

  4. is there a way to split pay using using CC pt & amazon gc? earlier this week, paid with 1 MR pt & wanted to apply amazon gc balance for the remaining balance, but all got charged to amex cc acct

  5. Be VERY aware of this and make sure it’s off. A few years ago, someone hacked my Amazon account and bought a bunch of gift cards using my Amex points. It was a HUGE hassle to get the points back. All Amazon wanted to do was give me the monetary value of the cards, not the points. No matter how many times I tried to explain to them the points had much more value than the amount of the gift cards, they just did not understand. Finally, Amex got involved and I finally got the points back. It took several weeks and many hours of my time.

    • I don’t shop on Amazon anymore. Haven’t in a long time. It’s become like a flea market from my nightmare. Prices aren’t that good and if there’s ever an issue, there’s no one ever to talk to. I’ve found prices on everything from electronics to clothes to be cheaper (And often tax free) from just about any of the many normal online retailers (like B&H).

      This sneaky crap is just another reason to avoid them


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