Get up to 40% off, or $20 off $80 at Amazon with targeted American Express cards

Jennifer Yellin, CNN Underscored
Updated Fri May 29, 2020

CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through The Points Guy affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.

Amazon is continuing to spread the love with its targeted American Express offers, so if you have an Amex card, you may have a great opportunity to save money at the online retailer right now.

Many Amex cards earn Membership Rewards points that are generally best used for amazing travel opportunities. But another lesser-known use for these points is to redeem them for purchases at Amazon. And Amazon is currently offering not one, not two, but three terrific promotions that allow you to save money by using your Amex points, and even earn extra points at the same time.

Only certain American Express cards are eligible for these offers, so scoring them can be a little complicated. But we're going to take you through it step-by-step to make sure you're getting as much of a discount as possible when you're shopping at Amazon this month.

Save $20 off $80, or up to 40% at Amazon

Let's start with the broad details of all three offers. First, eligible Amex card members can get either 30% or 40% off many Amazon purchases when they use Amex points to pay for at least a portion of their purchase at checkout.

Targeted American Express card members can get this offer for 30% off at Amazon for up to $30 in savings, or even 40% off for up to $50 in savings.

While this is a single promotion, there are two different variations. If you're targeted for the 30% discount, you're capped at a $30 savings. But if you're lucky enough to score the 40% offer, you can get up to $50 in savings. These particular offers end on June 30, so if you're targeted for one of them, you'll want to make sure you take advantage of it soon.

But if you're not eligible for either of those discounts, a second promotion has now popped up as well. This one offers targeted Amex card members $20 off an $80 Amazon purchase, again when they use Amex points to pay for at least a portion of their cart at checkout.

Some Amex card members can get $20 off an $80 purchase at Amazon.

If you're eligible for this offer, there's a longer chunk of time to take advantage of it, as it doesn't expire until July 31.

You can also combine either of these promotions with a third opportunity to earn 5 points for every dollar you spend at Amazon. That means you're earning extra points for any portion of your Amazon purchase that you pay for using your Amex card, plus getting a discount on top of it.

How to save money at Amazon with your American Express card

How can you get these Amazon discounts? To start, you must have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points. Amex cards that earn other types of rewards, such as cash back or airline miles, won't work. But there are plenty of Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards points — a small sampling of them is at the end of this story.

Next, you'll need to link your Amazon and American Express accounts. Add your American Express card as a payment method in your Amazon account if you haven't already. Then look for the option to enroll in "Shop with Points" under the "Your Account" tab, and click the "Enroll" button for the Amex card you just added.

You need to enroll your eligible Amex card in Amazon's "Shop with Points" program.

Once your accounts are linked, you'll need to activate each offer. Click on this link for the up to 40% off offer, and click on this link for the $20 off $80 offer.

Remember, these are targeted promotions, so not everyone will be eligible for them — you could be targeted for one of the offers, both or neither. When you click on the respective links, if you see a message that you're not eligible, then you're unfortunately not targeted for that particular promotion.

Also, if you just enrolled in "Shop with Points," you may need to wait 24 hours for Amazon's records to refresh before being able to activate the offer.

However, if you're eligible, then activate the offer — the enrollment page will indicate your particular discount. You can then shop at Amazon as you normally would, though only products sold and shipped by Amazon are eligible for these discounts. Additionally, Amazon gift cards are excluded, though other third-party gift cards sold by Amazon are eligible.

But wait! There's one more step. When you're ready to check out, you'll want to make sure to select your linked American Express card as your payment method. Then you'll need to use at least 1 point to pay for your purchase for the discount to apply.

When paying with Amex Membership Rewards points at Amazon, 1 point equals 0.7 cents. That's not the best value you can get for Amex points. CNN Underscored's partner The Points Guy values Membership Rewards points as high as 2 cents each when redeemed for travel.

However, it's important to note that you don't have to pay for your entire Amazon purchase with points to get either of these discounts. In fact, you can use just 1 point and pay for the rest with your Amex card, and you'll still see the discount applied to your order.

To pay with the minimum number of points required, enter $0.01 in the points section, which will apply just 1 point to your payment, You can use any number of points you want, but if you don't make this change, Amazon may automatically apply the maximum number of points to cover the entire purchase, so you'll want to make sure to update the amount before you place the order.

You can use any number of Amex points you want to get the discount.

Once you've applied at least 1 point to your payment, you'll see the discount added to your order. For the 30% or 40% off offers, the discount will apply on every order you place through June 30 until you hit a total of $30 in maximum savings on the 30% offer, or the $50 maximum on the 40% offer. For the $20 off offer, you'll need to spend a minimum of $80 in a single transaction between now and July 31 to see the savings.

Earn 5 extra points for every dollar you spend at Amazon as well

American Express is also currently offering another Amazon promotion, which lets targeted card members earn an extra 5 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent at Amazon from now through July 22. Even better, this promo will "stack" with the other Amazon discounts, so you can actually get both discounts and earn 5 bonus points per dollar as well if you're targeted for multiple promotions.

Here's how to find out whether you're targeted for this 5x offer. Sign into your American Express account online at americanexpress.com, then scroll down to the section marked "Amex Offers & Benefits" and look for an offer to "Get +5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent" at Amazon. If you don't see it, try clicking the blue "View All" button at the bottom of the section to see more offers.

Check your Amex Offers to see if you're targeted for 5 extra points per dollar at Amazon.

If you have the offer, it's important to activate it by clicking the "Add to Card" button next to the offer before you make your Amazon purchases, or you won't get any bonus points. But once you add it to your card, you can charge your Amazon purchases to your Amex card just like usual and you'll see the bonus points show up after you pay your statement.

This lucrative 5x promotion is capped at 2,000 bonus points, meaning on up to $400 in Amazon purchases. But you don't have to spend that all at once — you can use it over multiple Amazon trips and each one will get 5x bonus points, up to $400 in total purchases.

The best part is these extra points come on top of any points you normally earn on your American Express card. So if you have a card like The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which already earns 2 points for every dollar you spend up to $50,000 per year (1x thereafter), you'd earn a crazy total of 7 points per dollar on your Amazon shopping if you're targeted for this promotion.

Related: Earn up to 50,000 bonus points each year with the Amex Blue Business Plus credit card.

Save money and earn 5x points on some great Amazon products

Let's look at a few examples of how these discounts work along with the 5x bonus points. Since the 30% discount seems to be slightly more common among targeted Amex customers, we used that offer when demonstrating the potential savings on some popular items.

With cooking being a primary activity these days, having quality pots and pans is important. And in our recent CNN Underscored roundup of the best nonstick pans of 2020, we chose the T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Inch Fry Pan with Lid as our best overall pan.

But you can get roughly $12 off that 10" fry pan with this Amex promotion, lowering the cost to about $28, and you'll earn an extra 140 Amex points on top of your normal credit card rewards with the 5x bonus points.

Save around $12 on our pick for the best nonstick pan with the 30% off Amex promotion.

Or, if you're looking to enhance your in-home office with some of our picks for the best-selling light therapy lamps, an extra 30% discount can make a big difference on the Northern Light Technologies Boxelite 10,000 LUX Bright Light Therapy Light Box, and earning 800 additional Amex points isn't bad either.

The price of the Northern Light Technologies Boxelite 10,000 LUX Therapy Box drops as low as $159.99 with $30 off.

You can even pair these discounts nicely with many of Amazon's daily deals or any of the retailer's other money-saving offers, such as the current $5 off school supplies promotion. And of course, if you're eligible for the 40% discount, you'll see even higher savings.

Save on third-party gift cards too

While the discount offers don't apply to Amazon gift cards, they do apply to many other third-party gift cards that Amazon sells. And Amazon literally has hundreds of options, including retailers that might be useful right now such as Netflix, DoorDash, Safeway and more.

Get 30% off your grocery bill by buying a Whole Foods gift card at Amazon with this promotion.

So even if you don't have anything you need at Amazon at the moment, you can buy a gift card for yourself using the discount and bank the savings for later.

Which American Express cards earn Membership Rewards points?

If you're not targeted for either of these current Amex promotions, they typically resurface many times throughout the year, so keep on checking back. Amazon is also currently running a similar promotion for Discover card holders — check out CNN Underscored's guide to that promotion for all the details.

You might also find that even if you aren't eligible now for one of these offers, you could magically become targeted in a few weeks, so keep on checking both the up to 40% off link and the $20 off $80 link to see if you've been granted access.

Amazon has been eagerly offering some lucrative promotions over the last few months — some of the best we've ever seen — so keep your eyes peeled for any other savings that may come your way. And if you don't currently have an eligible Amex card, here are several options you might consider:

Amex personal cards:
Amex Everyday® Credit Card From American Express
American Express® Green Card
American Express® Gold Card

Amex business cards:
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
American Express® Business Gold Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Also, make sure you read our guide to the best credit cards for Amazon purchases to be sure you're using the best card you have available when you buy at Amazon.

Find out which items CNN Underscored chose as our best selling Amazon products.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication. While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.