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Although school is going to look different this year, it’s never too early to get a head start on your back-to-school shopping. And with many people preferring to shop online these days, Amazon is the perfect place to grab your necessities — especially with a promotion that can save you a decent amount of money.

Now through August 30, Amazon is offering American Express card members $20 off their back-to-school purchases when you make a minimum purchase of $50 in eligible items and redeem points for at least a portion of the purchase. Typically, Amex Membership Rewards points are best used for travel opportunities, but with this offer, all you have to do is use at least 1 Amex point toward your purchase at Amazon and the $20 discount is yours.

Use at least 1 American Express point to get $20 off your Amazon back-to-school purchases.
Use at least 1 American Express point to get $20 off your Amazon back-to-school purchases.
PHOTO: Amazon

This is a targeted promotion, so not everyone with an Amex card will be able to take advantage of it, although it appears to be more widely available than some other joint Amazon/American Express offers we’ve seen. But we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to show you how to find out if you’re targeted for this offer — and how to utilize it to save money if you are.

How to save money at Amazon on your back-to-school shopping

For starters, to use this offer, you must have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points. This includes popular cards such as the American Express® Gold Card and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. However, if you have an Amex card that earns points or miles for a specific hotel or airline, those cards are not eligible. (A sampling of eligible Amex cards is listed at the end of this story.)

If you have one of these cards, you’ll need to link it to your Amazon account. Add your card as a payment method in your Amazon account if you haven’t already, then look for the option to enroll in “Shop with Points” under the “Your Account” tab (or click on this link) and click the “Enroll” button.

You'll need to enroll your eligible Amex card in Amazon's "Shop with Points" program.
PHOTO: Amazon

Once your accounts are linked, you’ll need to click here to activate the offer. Since this is a targeted promotion, you might see a message that you’re not eligible to participate, in which case you’re out of luck for the moment (though Amazon often adds more people over time, so check back every so often to see if you’ve been newly targeted).

Also, if you just enrolled in “Shop with Points,” you may need to wait 24 hours for Amazon’s records to refresh before being targeted for this promotion. And if you’re still not targeted for this offer, you can also check to see if you’re targeted for one of the other American Express promotions that Amazon is currently running.

If you’re eligible, then activate the offer by clicking on the “Activate now” button, and shop at Amazon as you normally would. Remember that you need to have a minimum of $50 in eligible “Ready For School” items in your cart in order to get the discount. You can shop all Amazon school products here, or narrow down your search by select categories:

Once you’re ready to check out, you’ll want to make sure to select your linked American Express card as your payment method. Then you’ll need to use at least 1 point to pay for your purchases in order for the discount to apply. Once you’ve applied at least 1 point to your payment, you’ll see the discount added to your order.

Your discount will appear as part of your total in your Amazon cart when you pay with at least 1 point at checkout.
Your discount will appear as part of your total in your Amazon cart when you pay with at least 1 point at checkout.
PHOTO: Amazon

We suggest using only 1 point and not more, since you’ll get better value by using your Amex points for travel down the line. To pay with the minimum number of points required, enter $0.01 in the points section, which will apply just 1 point to your payment. You can then pay for the remaining cost with your American Express card.

If you don’t manually enter the amount, Amazon will automatically apply the maximum number of points needed to cover the entire purchase, so you’ll want to make sure to update the amount before you place the order.

Save $20 on some great school supply products

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how this promotion can net you a substantial discount. If you’re anything like my family and find yourself using your printer significantly more these days, this could be the perfect opportunity to stock up on printer paper.

We found the eight-ream case of AmazonBasics Multipurpose Copy Printer Paper to be the best deal. Order two of them for a total of 16 reams and your total price is currently $57.56. After the $20 discount, you’re looking at just $37.56 — or just over $2 per ream of paper before taxes and shipping.

Get a $20 discount on multipurpose copy paper with Amazon
Get a $20 discount on multipurpose copy paper with Amazon's back-to-school offer.
PHOTO: Amazon

Or, if you have a child entering a grade where calculators are needed, this Casio Prizm FX-CG50 Color Graphing Calculator is currently selling for $79, but after the $20 discount, your price is just $59 plus taxes and shipping.

This graphing calculator is $20 cheaper if you
This graphing calculator is $20 cheaper if you're targeted for this American Express offer at Amazon.
PHOTO: Amazon

Although this discount is advertised as being for “back to school” supplies, many products that fall under this category might be a staple in your household on any given day. You can purchase popular items such as backpacks, pencils, planners and even face masks at a nice discount. I personally bought many arts and crafts supplies using this promotion — these items go quickly in my household, as they’re often used for a rainy day (or when we’re stuck inside during a pandemic).

So whether you have kids going back to school or not, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to save money on your next Amazon purchase using this offer — as long as you’re an American Express Membership Rewards card member. If you don’t currently have an eligible Amex card, here are several options you might consider:

Amex personal cards:
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card From American Express
American Express® Green Card
American Express® Gold Card

Amex business cards:
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
American Express® Business Gold Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Also, make sure you read our guide to the best credit cards for Amazon purchases to be sure you’re using the best card you have available when you buy at Amazon.

Find out which items CNN Underscored chose as our bestselling Amazon products.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication. While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.