How to Use an Amazon Gift Card with a Shop-with-Points Order

[Update 6/26/19: Reposting as the 20% deal has returned.]

If you’ve been following this blog, you’re probably aware that there’s a great offer available now on Amazon to get 20% off when you use at least one American Express Membership Rewards point at checkout, and even working a second time for many people, up to $100 discount.

Separately, some people have been noticing an offer on their Amazon account to get $30 off $60 when using shop-with-points, presumably that’s from this deal we posted a while back which they never got around to using up. You can do both of these deals if targeted, and you can even order third-party gift cards with these deals (affiliate links are in this post), but you can’t get both discounts on a single checkout, they need to be used independently (use the $100 one first). Be sure to activate each of these offers separately and see if they work for you.

When using shop-with-points, the way it works is that you assign how many points you want to use (as little as one point or as much as the entire order), then Amazon automatically charges the remainder to the associated card. For example, with this Amex deal, most of us are ordering $500 in gift cards for $400, applying 1 MR point, and the remaining $399.99 gets automatically charged to the Amex card.

Using a Gift Card

In brief:

  1. If your gift card balance is less than the purchase amount.
    • As an added tip, you can increase your cart quantity until it’s above the gift card balance, then, on the final screen, reduce quantity. The gift card will stick.
  2. If you apply a gift card it ‘unlocks’ your gift card balance.
  3. If you set the points card as your default payment method.

Longer explanation:

  • A lot of people want to use up their Amazon gift card balance, yet Amazon won’t always allow them to use a gift card on a Shop-with-Points purchase. For a while I’ve been vaguely aware that it sometimes works and sometimes does not, without quite figuring out why. I now bumped into an explanation that if your Amazon gift card balance is less than the purchase amount, the Amazon system uses up the gift card and allows you to apply Shop-with-Points for the balance. But your Amazon gift card balance covers the entire purchase amount, it won’t allow you to then apply the Amex point to the purchase. (hat tip to myi on DDF)
    • You can ‘trick’ the system by adding a larger quantity than desired so as to make your cart higher than your gift card balance. Then, at checkout, adjust the quantity down and it’ll keep the gift card payment.
  • Another trick I discovered yesterday is that you can initiate the Amazon checkout with Shop-with-Points alone, then on the final checkout screen apply a new Amazon gift card to the order, and the system will allow you to pay for your entire order with the Amazon gift card. A reader notes that when using this method, you can even apply a small $1 Amazon gift card, and this ‘unlocks’ your Amazon gift card balance and allows you to pay for the order using the gift card balance already attached to your Amazon account.
  • A third method mentioned by a reader is to set the points card as your default payment method. This then allows you to apply points along with gift card payment. (Update 7/1/19: I can’t seem to get this one to work anymore. YMMV.)

These methods help for using an Amazon gift card in conjunction with Amazon Shop-with-Points. It also helps someone who doesn’t want to put the remaining charge on their Amex card: simply purchase an Amazon gift card with your chosen card type, and use the methods described to have the gift card applied in conjunction with shop-with-points.

Two notes:

  • Reader Kyle adds the caveat that some/all of these methods won’t work if you are buying something pegged “This is a gift”.
  • Do not try ordering and ‘apply gift card balance’ afterward. I tried it and it removed the 20% discount when applying the gift card.

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John
John

I used the work-around of reducing the number of items after checkout successfully in the past but today for the first time it didn’t work. It sent me back to the payment method step. I bought a $1 gift card and applied that it that did unlock the rest of my gift card balance.

A
A

Just made a purchase today using the Chase UR promotion and had a quite different experience. On the final checkout page, the system defaulted to covering the entire purchase using UR points. After changing the point redemption amount to $0.01, the system automatically applied my gift card balance to cover the entire remaining amount. I was expecting to have to mess around with the workarounds above (as has been my personal experience in the past), but the system surprisingly worked without any intervention from my end. My Chase card is not set as the default payment method.

Some additional info:

Purchase amount: $150 (before $10 discount)
UR balance: ~82,000 (~$650 per Amazon redemption rates)
Gift card balance: ~$170

Sergei
Sergei

Adding larger quantity and then reducing it on the last page doesn’t work anymore. As soon as you click ‘update’ for the quantity change it takes you back to the payment selection and you have to again either select to pay with GC thus forfeiting the discount or pay with CC without the use of GC funds.

austin
austin

Still working for me as of today

Don
Don

“You can ‘trick’ the system by adding a larger quantity than desired so as to make your cart higher than your gift card balance. Then, at checkout, adjust the quantity down and it’ll keep the gift card payment.” -Still works

wany
wany

Did Amazon fix this loop hole? Lately, I have orders checked out applying 1 points and use my gift card balance for the rest. But when the order is shipped, my credit card is being charged for the rest instead of gift card balance.

CJ
CJ

Was not aware of this. Good to know if it still works.

Mike
Mike

This is the only one that worked for me:

> You can ‘trick’ the system by adding a larger quantity than desired so as to make your cart higher than your gift card balance. Then, at checkout, adjust the quantity down and it’ll keep the gift card payment.

EastSideBK
EastSideBK

I agree with Mike. This “paying with an Amazon giftcard” loophole has been reduced to only adding a larger quantity to your cart and then adjusting the quantity down.

Superman
Superman

Capital One coming soon. Hope this means we see a $30, $15, or 20% discount in near future. https://www.amazon.com/b?node=20753140011

Superman
Superman
Josh
Josh

I’ve been trying to figure this out, and of course DoC comes through! Method #1 worked perfectly.

SB
SB

Thanks DoC! Used the method of adding a new $1 Amazon gift card at the pay step) & it let me then use the full amount of my existing GC balance to pay for the order. Was driving me crazy til i came across this post.

Jae
Jae

3rd method worked for me (7/15 pm)
Changed default method to non mr card and reverted. Then worked.

HK
HK

Another quick method is:
Say, you have $250 Amazon GC balance, then adding two of $250 BBY GC to the cart first, since the GC balance is lower than the total amount, shop with points would apply.
Then in the checking out section, changing the number of BBY GC to one, you will still see the points promotion works in the page. Assuming you use 1 point, then you will see $249.99 Amazon GC balance is used for this purchase.