Out of the multiple ways to redeem American Express membership rewards points, one of the convenient ways is to utilize them to shop from their partner brands — while checking out products online. Characteristically, in the world of American Express credit card holders, this benefit is referred to as “Pay With Points at Checkout.”
How Amex Pay With Points at Checkout Works
Generally speaking, you’d have to either link/a.k.a add an eligible credit card on their partner’s website, and when you’re checking out, in one form or the other, you will get the choice of using membership rewards points that are equivalent to a certain dollar amount — contingent on who the partner is.
Some partner websites may have a unique link you may need to visit to enroll in the program. Whereas, some don’t have anything special except using an eligible card wherein the system will automatically detect that you have points you can use to pay for things.
Understanding This With an Example
Dell.com is one of the current websites where you can use Amex membership rewards points for paying during checkout. To leverage this perk, there isn’t a specific set of instructions you need to follow.
All you need to do is enter your card information, and you’ll see your points balance. Take a look at the screenshot below that’s directly grabbed from the Amex global site.
On the other hand, Amazon requires you to register at https://www.amazon.com/membershiprewards first before you can enjoy shopping with Amex membership rewards points. At least, officially.
How Many Brands Has Amex Partnered With Where You Can Pay With Points at Checkout?
As of writing this, there are fourteen partner brands amongst all eligible cards where you can use American Express membership rewards points to shop online. These brands are:
- Best Buy
- NYC Taxi
- Rite Aid
- Saks Fifth Avenue
How To Know What Dollar Value the Membership Rewards Point Will Amount To
Except for NYC Taxi and Ticketmaster, all other partners will yield $7 for every 1k membership rewards points. Note that this is for the Amex Platinum card, and the calculation might be a little different if you have another type of card.
To know for sure, make use of the calculator from American Express. Before trying it out though, keep the following two things in mind:
- Ensure you’re on the “Pay with Points at Checkout” tab.
- Verify that you have selected the card that you’d be using.
See the image that follows for visual reference.
Can I Still Use Membership Rewards Points Even if the Points Aren’t Matching Up to the Total Price?
Yes. I haven’t tried all fourteen sites, but in my experience, you can max out your points — whatever they amount to, and then for the remaining balance, you pay it yourself via that same Amex card.
For example, say your final price came out to $100. And say you only have points worth $50. Then, in this situation, you can use points to pay for $50 and the card for the other half.
Although, keep in mind that you do not always have to use all points available. In this same example, you could manually tweak membership reward points that are worth the first $20, followed by paying the rest of the $80 out of your pocket.
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Is Pay With Points at Checkout Worth It?
If you’re solely focused on ensuring that your per-point dollar value is maximized, then no. And again, depending on your card, other activities such as booking travel may give you the best return. For example, the same 1k membership rewards points are worth $10 on an Amex Platinum card if you book travel from Amex’s travel site. That would make sense as the Platinum card is best known to provide the most fruitful results for travel and luxury.
However, buying a $250 toaster oven from Amazon with the pay with points functionality might be more valuable to you even though the per point output is lower.
Ultimately, you determine if you want to leverage this benefit from American Express. There is no requirement or pressure, and from what I know, membership rewards points don’t expire for a lot of these cards anyway. So you can either keep accumulating or take advantage of the pay with points at checkout feature or save it for something else. Totally up to you!
Sidenote: this post is written from the perspective of personal credit cards only. Corporate or any business cards are not considered.