Holiday Shopping Challenge: Purchasing Gifts Using American Express Membership Rewards Points

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Two years ago I didn’t know anything about American Express. I knew they were a credit card company, and that was about it. Since I worked with them on the Zync Card and now have my own Amex, I really enjoy everything that American Express has to offer. I swear I’m not just saying that, either.

Before I “found” American Express, I used my debit card 100% of the time. I liked my debit card because I received 4 airline miles for every dollar I spent, which is a a pretty awesome payout, especially when you’re saving up for a honeymoon on the other side of the world. Thanks to new debit card reforms that went into place this year, however, my debit card rewards program was dropped and I no longer earned anything for paying with my debit card. Thus, I was happy that I had my American Express because I do not believe in paying with something when you won’t get a reward. I know – that sounds funny – but if the rewards are there for the taking, why not earn them and use them?

Additionally, I love the protections that American Express has in place. For instance, their Fraud Protection Services are second to none. This is super important to my fiance and I, as my fiance had his identity stolen two years ago. We haven’t ever had fraudulent charges appear on our American Express statement, but it’s reassuring to know that if we did we wouldn’t be held liable for those purchases. While fraud sucks, but the partnership American Express has with Foursquare is fun! Did you know you can link your American Express card to your Foursquare account and you’ll gain access to special treats just for American Express card holders?True story. Last week I was at my favorite deli. When I went to check in on Foursquare I had a special perk waiting for me – when I made a $10 purchase at said deli I would receive a $10 account credit. I wasn’t planning on spending $10, but I did because basically that became a free purchase!

If you couldn’t tell, I’m a little fan girl-ish about American Express. So let’s get to the shopping.

While I have quite a few American Express Membership Rewards Points saved up in my account, American Express generously gave me an additional 40,000 points to complete my Holiday Shopping Challenge. In the last post I showed you how I utilized daily deal sites, sample sale sites, coupons, and cash back shopping to score some amazing deals for those people on my gift-buying list. I actually finished the majority of my shopping last week when I wrote that post, so with my American Express Membership Rewards Points I decided to add a couple of extra special gifts.

Of course, I was geeked when I logged into my American Express account and saw this little message:

20% off gifts when you purchase them using American Express Membership Rewards Points? I’ll take it!

Keurig Mini

My fiance is an avid coffee drinker, yet he works in an office that doesn’t provide coffee. Each day he treks out to Starbucks or Caribou – twice – to get his coffee fill. This is driving me a little bit crazy because the cost of two coffee drinks each day really adds up quickly! Normally this Keurig Mini-Brewer costs $99.99, or 20,766 Membership Rewards Points, but thanks to the 20% offer I got mine for 16,621 points.

My fiance is going to be excited when he opens this one. I’ve kind of hinted about getting him a Keurig and he said that was something he’d really like, but that was months ago so I’m sure he has forgotten about it by now.

UGG Australia Women's Coquette Slipper

Some people – like me – love shoes. My mother loves slippers. One of the first things I ever remember her raving about, in fact, was a pair of slippers. I’ve gotten her fake UGGs in the past, but decided to put my points toward getting her the real deal. Normally these¬†UGG Australia Women’s Coquette Slippers sell for $99.99 or 19,998 Membership Rewards Points. Since the handy dandy 20% off sale is going on now, I was able to score these for 15,998 points!

SEPHORA by OPI GLEE 6 Piece Mini Kit GleeMy sister loves nail polish, Sephora, and Glee, so when I saw this set was available I had to pick it up for her. I was actually eyeing this SEPHORA by OPI GLEE 6 Piece Mini Kit at Sephora when I was there last week because I know so many people that would love it. It sells for $24, or you can normally get it for 5,990 Membership Rewards Points. Thanks to the 20% off I snagged it for 4,792.

MoneyballFinally, I decided to add one more gift recipient to my list. The original goal was to only shop for five people, but since I’d gotten my original 5 quite a bit already I decided to add my future Father-in-Law to the mix. He is notoriously hard to shop for because he doesn’t ask for anything. Ever. His one true love is baseball so I decided to get him a copy of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball. He hasn’t read it yet, so I’m sure he’s going to love it. (If the movie were out already I’d package them both together.) The book normally costs $9.28, or 2,654 points. Thanks to the discount I got this book for just 2,123 points, which hardly seems like anything at all!

Total Points Spent: 39,594

That’s some pretty good shopping, I think. You know, what I love about shopping while using points is that it feels like it’s free shopping, even when American Express isn’t giving me points to use. Since you accumulate points anytime you use your American Express card, the points are just sitting there waiting for you.

To recap, I purchased 14 gifts using my $250 budget, and added on additional 4 gifts today using my 40,000 Membership Rewards Points. Merry Christmas, indeed.

Reminder: Today is the LAST DAY to enter our Holiday Shopping Challenge and win a $250 American Express Gift Card. Click here to enter the giveaway now. The winner will be announced tomorrow.


Disclosure: American Express provided me with a $250 American Express Gift Card and 40,000 Membership Rewards Points to complete my holiday shopping challenge. However fan girl-ish I may be, all opinions expressed above are my own.

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