Do you have an Amazon Prime subscription? If so, there is an easy way to save 5% on many of your purchases.
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card offers Prime members 5% back on purchases made at Amazon and Whole Foods.
And with special offers for cardmembers, some purchases can be discounted as much as 20%!
But is it worth adding the card to your wallet based on those benefits alone? It likely depends on how much of your monthly shopping you do with Amazon.
In this review, Team Clark will assess all the details of this card and compare it to some of the top cash back rewards cards on the market.
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What Is the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card?
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is a rewards credit card that offers cash back perks exclusively to Amazon Prime subscribers.
This card does not carry an annual fee as long as you’re an Amazon Prime member. It awards 5% back on purchases made at Amazon.com or Whole Foods and rewards of 1%-2% for purchases outside the Amazon ecosystem.
Card Specs and Perks
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card requires that you have an Amazon Prime membership in order to reap the benefits of this card.
To join Amazon Prime, which gives you access to free shipping and streaming TV among other benefits, you’ll need either a monthly or annual subscription:
- Monthly Amazon Prime subscription: $12.99 plus taxes
- Annual Amazon Prime subscription: $119 plus taxes
- Groups eligible for discounted subscription rates include: students, EBT recipients
If you don’t have a Prime membership, you have the option to apply for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card instead. It’s similar to this card but rewards only 3% back on Amazon purchases.
The top rewards opportunities for this card are Amazon-related, but they’re not limited to spending with the online retail giant.
Here’s a rundown of the rewards you can expect from this card:
- 5% cash back on purchases made through Amazon.com: An active Prime membership, which nets you free two-day shipping (or faster) on many items, is required to earn this level of cash back rewards.
- 5% cash back at Whole Foods: The well-known, high-end grocer is an Amazon property, so the online retail giant makes shopping at Whole Foods a big perk with this credit card.
- 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores: This matches the rewards you could get from everyday 2% cash back cards like the Clark-endorsed Citi Double Cash in three popular spending categories.
- 1% cash back on all other purchases.
You’ll receive your cash back in the form of rewards points.
You can use your accumulated points to pay for Amazon purchases directly, as credit card statement credits, or you can request a deposit of the cash back to a bank account you attach to your credit card account.
Top Cardholder Benefits
- Up to 20% off select Amazon products: Cardholders will gain access to discount opportunities on select Amazon products. These are limited time offers, may have some restrictions and must be purchased with the credit card to receive the big discount.
- Gift card freebie upon approval: This credit card does not have a traditional welcome bonus that offers a cash reward for a certain threshold of spending. Instead, it offers an instant gift card that is added to your Amazon account upon application approval. The amount on the gift card can vary. At the time of this article, the offer was for a $70 gift card. We’ve seen it as high as $100 in the past.
- Extended warranty on many purchases: If you use this card to make a purchase on an eligible warrantied product, it will extend the time period for the manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year. The manufacturer warranty has to be three years or less to qualify.
- Auto rental insurance: Amazon says, to get this coverage, you simply decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your Amazon card. The coverage is secondary to your personal auto insurance, but it can still save you money.
- Zero-liability fraud protection: If your credit card is lost or stolen, you’re not going to be held liable for any fraudulent charges made with your card.
- Annual Fee: None
- Balance Transfer Fee: 5% of the amount of the transfer with a $5 minimum
- Cash Advance Fee: 5% of the amount of each advance with a $10 minimum
- Foreign Transaction Fee: None
- Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
Amazon Prime Rewards Card vs. 2% Cash Back Credit Cards
Money expert Clark Howard’s standard credit card recommendation is to get a rewards card that pays unlimited 2% back on all purchases without an annual fee.
This Amazon card isn’t quite that, but could it actually be better for a segment of dedicated Amazon consumers?
Let’s do some analysis.
Since the merits of having this card are all about how often you spend money at Amazon or Whole Foods, the first thing you want to look at is how much money you spend at those two retailers each month.
Every dollar you spend at either retailer will earn you an additional 3% back on the purchases with the Amazon card versus a 2% card.
That adds up pretty quickly:
|Amazon + Whole Foods Spending Per Month||Amazon Card Cash Back (5%)||2% Card Cash Back|
Next, for the purposes of this spending analysis, you should throw out any monthly spending on dining, gas and drugstore purchases. That’s because the Amazon card and the unlimited 2% cash back cards are going to reward these purchases at the same rate of return: 2%.
Finally, you should add up all of the purchases that you’ll be making with the credit card each month that don’t fall into the reward categories we’ve already mentioned above: Amazon, Whole Foods, dining, gas or drugstores.
In all the rest of these spending categories, the 2% cash back card is going to give you twice as much return as the Amazon card (1%).
That, too, can add up quickly:
|Miscellaneous Spending Per Month||Amazon Card Cash Back (1%)||2% Card Cash Back|
At the end of the day, we think the best solution is to carry both types of cards in your wallet and use each when it is most advantageous.
However, if you’re picking just one, you’ll have to do some quick math on where you fall in that first table versus where you fall in the second table to figure out which card is going to give you the most cash back in a given month.
Here’s a quick look at some of the high-level details for the Amazon card vs. three of the top 2% cash back cards:
|Card Characteristic||Amazon Prime Rewards Visa||Citi Double Cash||PayPal Cashback Mastercard||Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature|
|Cash Back Rate||5% at Amazon and Whole Foods, 2% on gas, dining and drugstores, 1% on all other purchases||Unlimited 2% (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay your bill)||Unlimited 2%||Unlimited 2%|
|Welcome Bonus||Instant Amazon Gift Card ($70)||None||None||None|
|Intro APR Offer for New Purchases||None||None||None||None|
|Intro APR Offer for Balance Transfers||None||0% for 18 months||None||None|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||3% in U.S. dollars per transaction||None||1%|
|Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Cell Phone Protection||No||No||No||No|
The Big Takeaways
- 5% can add up quickly: There’s a reason this Amazon card is so appealing. If you shop frequently with the online retailer, there’s simply no beating that rate of cash back return on a card with no annual fee.
- 2% cards are the Little Engine That Could: With no spending or category restrictions, the possibilities for getting your 2% back are limitless. And that can really help your cash back returns add up by the end of a month.
- This card isn’t the place to look for welcome bonuses and promotional rates: When you’re dealing with a card that already offers some of the top rewards rates in the industry, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that it doesn’t come with any big introductory offers. And that’s OK. Clark Howard recommends evaluating cards on what they offer you in the long term — not on the deal they give you for the first few months of membership.
Are you considering adding the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card to your wallet? Let’s review some of the major pros and cons of the card before you make your final decision:
Pros and Cons
|5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases||Must pay for Prime subscription to receive cash back rewards|
|No annual or foreign transaction fees||High balance transfer fee|
|Auto rental insurance and extended warranty coverages included||No introductory APR periods on new purchases or balance transfers|
If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper and Prime subscriber, this rewards credit card is a great candidate to add to your wallet.
The 5% that you’ll get back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases is among the best returns that you’ll find from any credit card, and the 2% back on three other popular spending categories helps ensure your total rate of return is high.
And, with no annual fee and a rewards program that gives you cash, the card checks a lot of the boxes for what money expert Clark Howard looks for in a rewards credit card.
This card makes so many of our “best of” credit card lists for good reason.
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