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?: 2019 Prime Day is two full days for the the first time ever. Starting at 3 a.m. Eastern on July 15, Amazon Prime members will have access to specials on the Amazon website for 48 hours.
New this year: Amazon will feature a “dedicated page of Prime Day deals from U.S.-based innovators, artisans and entrepreneurs,” according to a press release. Prime members with an Alexa device also have early access to certain deals, like the Toshiba HD 43-inch Fire TV Edition Smart TV and Jabra 85h wireless headphones.
Whole Foods shoppers can start celebrating Prime Day now. After spending $10 at Whole Foods or on Prime Now, Amazon Prime members will also get $10 to spend at Amazon for 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 has already announced a competing sale 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 five 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 percent cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases (and 10 percent off on specials throughout Whole Foods stores). Chase Amazon.com Rewards Visa card holders earn 3 percent cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
See related: Which is the best card to use for Amazon purchases?
2. Get a $75 Discover statement credit
Another way Discover cardholders can save on Amazon: Get $10 to spend at Amazon when you change your one-click default payment to your Discover card.
Discover cardholders also can use your cash back bonus to pay for purchases on Amazon.
3. Earn some cash back rewards
Pay with your cash back card and you can get a little extra back on any Prime Day purchases.
Our cash back cards survey found that 3 percent cash back on all purchases was the favorite credit card feature. Though these cards might seem too good to be true, it is attainable.
For example: the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers new cardholders 3 percent cash back on all purchases in the first year (up to $20,000), while the Alliant Visa Signature Card offers 3 percent unlimited cash back for the first year.
4. Redeem AmEx Membership Rewards
For Prime Day, American Express card members can get 20 percent off eligible purchases up to $250 on Amazon. This offer is targeted to certain customers. But if you’re one of them, you’ll be able to receive the discount as long as you use at least one Membership Rewards point on the purchase.
5. Reward yourself with an online shopping bonus
The Uber Visa Card, introduced in 2017, gets most of its notoriety for its 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants, but cardholders also earn 2x rewards for online shopping purchases. The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card also recently added online shopping as a category eligible for 3 percent 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 percent 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 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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.”