Prime Day is a good time to save money on certain purchases. But if you just focus on the deals on Amazon.com, you could miss out on other opportunities to save.
When is it?: 2020 Prime Day is two full days for the second time. The two-day event typically happens in July, but had to be postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Starting at 3 a.m. Eastern/12 a.m. Pacific on Tuesday, October 13, Amazon Prime members will have access to specials on the Amazon website for 48 hours.
New this year: Amazon has shifted this year’s Prime Day to focus on ways the company can help people save money on things they need during an economic downturn. Amazon has also implemented ways to support the small businesses that use its marketplace platform.
Prime members get a $10 credit to use on Prime Day when they spend $10 on items sold by select small businesses in Amazon’s store through October 12.
Similar to previous years, Whole Foods shoppers can start celebrating Prime Day now. As long as members spend more than $10 on any Whole Foods order prior to Wednesday, October 14, they will receive a $10 credit to their Prime account to use during Prime Day.
9 ways to make the most out of Prime Day
There is a lot of hype and excitement around Prime Day, but not every deal is extraordinary. And, other retailers will be competing to offer rock-bottom prices around Prime Day, too. Target and Walmart have already announced competing sales during that same time period.
“It’s going to be so tempting to charge more than you typically spend,” says Jacob Serfas, senior financial strategist with O’Dell Winkfield Roseman Shipp in Baltimore, “so you need to have a plan to pay it off.”
Consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch suggests creating a Prime Day shopping list to cut your risk of overspending.
“It’s easy to fall into the trap of overbuying and and ending up with items you don’t really need during sales events such as Prime Day,” she says. “The limited time creates a sense of urgency, and the number of deals can overwhelm people and lead them to make bad buying decisions.”
If you planned for Prime Day with an eye for deals on things you need and purchases you can pay off when the credit card bill arrives, great. If you can save even more on your purchases by paying with your rewards credit cards, even better.
To that end, here are three ways you can use your cards to stack your rewards and make the most of Prime Day:
1. Use your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa credit card
Throughout the year, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card holders get 5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases (and 10% off on specials throughout Whole Foods stores). Chase Amazon.com Rewards Visa card holders earn 3% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
See related: Which is the best card to use for Amazon purchases?
Plus, Amazon Prime Visa cardholders can qualify for an additional 20% off select best-selling products for Prime day – in addition to their standard 5% on Amazon purchases – for a total of up to 25% back on qualifying items.
2. Earn some cash back rewards
Pay with your cash back card and you can get a little extra back on any Prime Day purchases.
By paying with the right card, you can earn more rewards on your Amazon purchases. For instance, the Discover it® Cash Back card offers 5% back on rotating bonus categories that you must enroll in each quarter (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%) as well as 1% on all other purchases. And for the fourth quarter of 2020, the categories include Amazon.com purchases.
Even better, new cardholders are eligible for a welcome bonus, in which the Discover it Cash Back will match all the rewards you earn in the first year. That means those who just signed up for the card can get a return of up to 10% this Prime Day.
3. Reward yourself with an online shopping bonus
If you have the right credit card, you might be able to earn extra cash back just for shopping online. The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, for one, includes online shopping as a category eligible for 3% cash back (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
9 ways to make the most of Prime Day
1. Take Prime for a test drive
The best Prime Day discounts are on lightning or flash deals, says Serfas, who is an Amazon Prime member, and he suggests signing up now for the free 30-day Amazon Prime trial, then canceling before the $119 fee is due. Make a list of items you need and start looking at Amazon prices so you will know if a Prime Day price cut is really worth it, he adds.
See related: Is Amazon Prime worth it?
2. Be on the lookout for deals.
We still don’t know much about what this year’s Prime Day will look like. But you might be able to score some deals just by being observant. Though Amazon hasn’t officially announced it, they are targeting Facebook and Instagram users with an offer for a 5% credit toward Kindle e-books, which can be accessed after logging into Prime. It’s possible other offers like this one are also making the rounds on the internet.
3. Use Honey to get the lowest price
The Honey browser extension scans and applies coupon codes to cut your price on an item in your online shopping cart at checkout. Available for many online stores, Honey is particularly valuable on Amazon because it allows you to see an item’s price history and other offers for the same item that might be better. You can also set up price notifications on specific items.
4. Double-dip on cash back savings
You can stack your Prime Day savings with your rewards cards to earn cash back or points, and you can add to your cash back by using Ebates, ShopAtHome, Extrabux, TopCashback and Upromise sites.
As former CreditCards.com rates analyst Robin Ratcliff notes in “Guide: How to maximize your cash back on Amazon.com,” “These discounts do stack on top of your credit card rewards, meaning you can boost your rewards rate on your Amazon Prime card as high as 9% just by using these sites, with very few strings attached.”
5. Save now on back-to-school items
Though school bells won’t ring for weeks, you can use Prime Day savings to stock up on school clothes, pens, binders, glue sticks and furnishings for your child’s dorm room.
6. Wrap up some holiday gifts in summertime
If you shop through the year for holiday gifts, you may find yourself filling your Amazon shopping cart on Prime Day with presents for friends and family.
7. Don’t do your online shopping on public Wi-Fi
Using free Wi-Fi “makes you vulnerable to identity theft,” Woroch says. “Hackers can access your info and steal any sensitive information you’re sharing over these public hot spots.
“Use personal data or hook up to a secure network at work or home to snag these Prime Day deals,” she says.
8. Prep your shopping cart.
With lightning and flash Prime Day deals, it pays to be ready to grab that special price.
Woroch’s suggestion: “Save your payment info, update shipping addresses and add items to your cart that you want to buy so that if it’s only available for a short time, all you have to do is hit click to buy so you don’t miss out!”
9. Don’t overdo it on Prime Day
“A good deal today could hurt us much more down the road,” Serfas says. Saving 20% on a Prime Day special doesn’t do you any good if you can’t pay your credit card bill and end up paying 20% interest to your card issuer.
“The last thing you want to do is get in trouble on the back end,” he says. “But if you charge responsibly on Prime Day, it can be a great way to score some great deals.”