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Black Friday Amazon hack: Get up to 50% off when you use credit card rewards points

Cash-back bonuses are expanding for the 2020 holiday shopping season -- but you'll need to be "targeted" and navigate the fine print to cash in.

Amazon logo
Credit card companies are boosting cash-back rewards -- for some cardholders -- this year. 
Screenshot by Justin Jaffe/CNET

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

Black Friday is right around the corner and some of the best deals are already here. But it's not just that TVs, headphones and Apple Watches ($349 at eBay) are on sale -- a handful of credit card companies have launched new cash-back promotions in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to sweeten these deals even further. 

AmazonAmerican Express, Chase and Discover are each running special promotions for some cardholders through the end of November. Most of them are being offered by invitation only and feature extra cash-back incentives and/or product discounts. Taking advantage of these deals may require a bit of legwork -- and luck -- but they're worth exploring.

Key terms and conditions

It's important to note that these deals are not universally available, nor do they apply to all products. Here are the three key things to know before you start shopping:

  • Check your points page: These are known as "targeted" promotions -- so not everyone will be invited to participate. Each customer may be eligible for a different discount tier. We don't know exactly how or why the companies decide to offer specific deals to some customers and not others. (Amazon did not immediately respond to a CNET inquiry.)
  • Opt in: Many credit card companies require you to explicitly opt in or activate their cash-back programs before you can earn rewards.

Make sure the product is sold by Amazon.

  • Sold by Amazon: All of these cash-back offers are available only for products sold by Amazon. That doesn't necessarily mean Amazon-branded products like an Alexa smart speaker -- but products that are only sold on Amazon or are just shipped by the company are not eligible. 

Read on for an overview of the deals, how to take advantage of them and other details.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

All year long, Amazon's own rewards card earns you 5% cash back on every purchase you make at Amazon and Whole Foods. That's enough to make it one of our top cash-back credit card picks. The company will also drop a $100 gift card in your Amazon when you're approved. And for the remainder of November, cardholders are eligible for additional cash-back rewards up to 15% on certain products purchased on Amazon.

This invite-only promotion from American Express can be used to earn cash back on purchases at Amazon.com. You need to use rewards points to qualify -- but you only need to use one reward point to take advantage of the promotion. To check your eligibility status, visit the American Express Shop With Points page on Amazon and confirm that you have an enrolled rewards account. 

If you are eligible, Amazon will offer you 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% or 50% off of any product -- as long as you use at least one Membership Reward point when checking out. We've seen reports of 40% cash back on purchases up to $125 and 50% cash back on purchases up to $120, and it appears that you can extend the offer across multiple products until you hit the maximum (which ranges from $100 to $125).

Read more: Get 5% cash back on every purchase with Prime Rewards Visa

Discover cardholders may be invited to a similar promotion. Check out your Shop with Points page at Amazon to enroll your card and check eligibility. This promotion features discounts up to $30 on products sold by Amazon when you redeem at least one reward point as part of the purchase. Note that this discount will not apply to products you find on Amazon that are sold by other companies.

In addition, Discover is offering cardholders 5% cash back when they shop online at Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart through the end of the year (on combined purchases up to $1,500).

Chase's promotion is similar, requiring cardholders to redeem at least one Chase Ultimate Rewards point. To qualify, you'll need to make sure you've enrolled your Chase card at Amazon. Then, if you're invited, you'll be eligible for $10 off products sold by Amazon (with a minimum purchase of $30). This particular deal is valid until the end of January 2021. 

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