Buyer Beware, Amazon Is Up To Their Same Old Pay With Points Tricks

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Amazon Used Membership Rewards For My Order

Amazon Used Membership Rewards For My Order, Now What?

Well, Amazon got me, they got me real good. To be honest, my wife got me, thanks to Amazon.  She ordered some birthday presents for her brother last night and paid for it with my hard earned Membership Rewards points. As soon as I received the Amex “points used” email I got a pit in my stomach.  I can’t totally blame her since Amazon auto populated the points option even though I have that turned off.  And, I had a buddy have the same thing happen to him last week so it isn’t a one off glitch.  I will explain how I think Amazon used Membership Rewards for my order, how I am trying to get it corrected and how I plan to avoid it going forward.

Update 6/22/21: I am getting a ton of reports of this happening during Prime Day and Amazon is auto defaulting to pay with points even when it is not supposed to so double and triple check your order.

What Happened?

My wife was doing some holiday shopping for her brother and we decided to get it from Amazon so we could easily ship him the items.  She got everything together and then asked if I still had a gift card balance on the account, to which I replied, of course!  I think this was key because she had made some recent purchases with the gift card balance and was used to the total showing zero on the payment screen.  Once she hit submit I got the dreaded congrats, you paid with points email.

I may have yelled some things to myself as I opened the email 😂, but it confirmed my fears. She had paid for the order with American Express Membership Rewards points. This is a horrible way to use Membership Rewards points since you only get $0.007 per point when paying this way. I can cash out the points at $0.0125 when using my Charles Schwab Platinum.  So these presents cost me almost double 😫.

Amazon Used Membership Rewards For My Order

How I Think It Happened

I immediately logged into my Amazon account to make sure that automatically paying with points was still turned off, it was.  If you want to check your account, you can go here. I was curious how it happened then.  My Amazon Prime Business card is my default payment.  If she had paid with that it wouldn’t have been a big deal, since I would have earned 5% on the purchase.  I would have preferred using my gift card balance first but no big deal.  So how did this option even pop up?

My previous purchase had been one using pay with points to get a 20% off deal.  Somehow that defaulted the Amex card for the next order too.  I went to reorder the presents, more on that later, and it auto populated the pay with points option and used Membership Rewards points.  This was a tricky move on Amazon’s part since this almost never happens.  I could see why my wife would go ahead with the zero balance order, thinking the gift card had been applied.  How many people has Amazon fooled with this trick?  At least one other buddy fell victim to it last week as well.

How I Fixed It

I had a couple of options to correct this.  I could chat with an Amazon rep and have them try to change the payment option.  That seemed messy and my buddy has been unable to get them to do it after the fact last week. So, I decided to simply cancel the orders and reorder them. Two items cancelled immediately but the third was from a 3rd party seller that needed to approve it first.  I am batting .500 on canceling 3rd party orders recently.  Half the time they say they didn’t see the message and it already shipped so we shall see how that works out.

Once I performed the cancellation I fired up Amazon chat to see how long the points would take to be refunded. It wasn’t done immediately like they are taken for payment. The rep said they should be in my account within 3-5 days.  I hope that is true and this isn’t a long drawn out battle.  If it is, you know I will be getting some of that sweet, sweet Amazon apology credit. I also hope that they don’t just give me the monetary value back that I spent versus the actual points. I’ll be sure to update everyone if that happens.

My buddy was given a statement credit for the value of the points from Amex when he cancelled. My fear is I face the same fate, and will then need to argue with Amex to get it corrected.

Amazon Used Membership Rewards For My Order

Our Plan Going Forward, Return To The Norm

Normally my wife just adds stuff to the Amazon cart and then tells me to order it.  This has always worked no problem and I can then confirm the best points option is being used for payment.  During the holiday shopping season we broke from the norm. And since she was going to use our gift card balance, what could go wrong?  Well, fool my once…we won’t be trying that again.  I think this is the best way to do it honestly. I always double check to make sure points are not being used, since Amazon tries to slip them in there from time to time.

Update – How I Got My Points Back

Once the order was canceled by Amazon and settled I received a credit on my American Express card statement for the dollar amount of the order. I then fired up Amex Chat and explained what happened and asked them to turn the refund of money back into points.  They were able to quickly take care of it and my account was right as rain in no time.

Amazon Used Membership Rewards For My Order – Final Thoughts

Hopefully this situation is a small hiccup and canceling the Amazon order will get my points put safely back into my account. I fear that I will need to haggle with American Express to get them to turn the statement credit back into points.  That is something I am not looking forward to.

I know people are doing a lot of shopping on Amazon this holiday season and figured this “glitch” was worth alerting you to. If your pay with points option is turned off this should never happen but it appears it still can.

Do you use the two player set up we normally do to avoid this? Do you have your significant other just add the items to the cart so you can complete the purchase? Has this ever happened to you? Share that all in the comments below.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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30 COMMENTS

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30 COMMENTS

  1. I did that to myself a few years ago. Sucks to be ADD. 🙂 I have since been very careful.

    My husband and I each have our own Amazon account. You can share one Prime account with family at the same address. I manage his payment method in his account, as I have his log-in. I connect his “pay with points” when there’s a promo and deactivate it afterwards.

    If you set up an account for your wife, you can still pay with your Amazon card, Mark. I manage my 101-year-old mother’s Prime account and have my card for payment in her account.

    Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to deactivate all “pay with points” in my Amazon acct. I got one promo this year and don’t think I’m getting another.

  2. I had this happen to me and just called Amex right away and they removed it without issue and reverted to a regular charge. No issues on the Amex side

  3. Same thing happened to me as well. I didn’t even get the 20% off but Amazon defaulted to pay with points just by trying, which really pissed me off. In my case I caught the mistake before confirming because I was scrutinizing my order anyway to see if digital credits would apply in exchange for delayed shipping. Still, a nasty move by Amazon.

  4. In my experience any time you use a point to get a discount the default payment is changed. This is usually maybe always spelled out in the offer.

  5. Not sure it is right to blame Amazon. I have both my Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve card set up on my Amazon account and have used both Membership Rewards and Ultimate points occasionally (only when paying any part of it with them gets a 10-20% discount and I’m careful to only use 1 point). I also have my Chase Marriott card set up since you currently get 5X points on Amazon.

    I ALWAYS check the payment method before hitting enter to buy anything. Anyone that doesn’t do that frankly is negligent and blaming Amazon is just looking for a scapegoat. Try to be more careful (or tell your wife not to make the mistake again).

    Clickbait misleading article

    • I disagree completely. Did you see where he said that pay with points is turned off? This should never without clicking the box. It almost happened to me today, but I caught it. I just set default payment to my Amazon card yesterday. Something odd going on here.

    • AA Flyer I know you like to complain on basically every article we write and side with the corporation pretty much always…which is funny to me. But when I set my account to not auto populate pay with points and it automatically populates pay with points that is 100% Amazon’s fault. And if you read everyone else’s comments it isn’t a one off thing. Their system is screwing their customers…you really can’t argue otherwise.

  6. After using the 20% deal, I deleted these Amex cards from Amazon to avoid this happening to us, especially second player!

  7. Happened with me as well.I accidently used my points for a $100 gift card for Bestbuy . It was an egift card . Had to chat with amazon , they cancelled the order. ( Yes they actually deactivated the Bestbuy Egift Card and refunded the $$ amount back to my card) . Then i had to chat with Amex to convert those back to points. Took a few days . Hope this helps Mark .

    • Thanks – it does. I am waiting for the credit to post so I can chat with Amex now. Glad you were able to get them all restored.

  8. Eek. I haven’t been targeted for one of the “use 1 MR point for $20” or whatever in at least 3 years. Thanks for the reminder so I can just unenroll from using points.

  9. Linked the Amex Gold and CSP, got the discount offers, then unlinked both cards. Solves the issue easily.

    • Very true – removes any potential issues. Can lead to not being targeted in the future but can always add back and wait a few days and see if targeted then.

  10. Happened to me to. I now personally don’t think it’s worth linking your MR, UR, or TYP accounts. While you might get a few bucks off, the damage done to your points balances when this invariably happens isn’t worth it.

  11. Another data point. I have had to change the form of payment from Amex rewards to my gift card three times in a row. I can’t seem to get my payment method back to my gift card being my default. I caught it right before I hit pay. It has happened ever since the Amex reward promo from a few days ago.

  12. I nearly had this happen as well a few days ago. Somehow, the check box for paying with Amex points populates even though I never changed it. Thank goodness I checked before paying!

  13. Hey Mark thanks for this. I just got that dreaded email but haven’t found the culprit yet. Also really enjoy you all’s content. Don’t think I mention that enough

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