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.
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 😫.
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.
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.