How to earn more points when making Amazon purchases
Using the right card can help rack up major rewards on the giant e-tailer
Rewards expert who writes the "Cashing In" reader Q&A column for CreditCards.com
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In the holiday season that just ended, chances are that Amazon delivered something to your house. The company started as an online bookseller but over the years has become a retailing juggernaut offering just about anything you would want to buy – and plenty that you wouldn’t.
Amazon now accounts for nearly half of all online sales to consumers, which is causing major headaches for traditional retailers trying to compete.
But when it comes to earning extra reward points for purchases, Amazon can be a tough nut to crack. Ordinarily, if you are buying online, you can go first to a shopping portal that links to a retailer and earn extra points. For instance, if you have a Chase card, you can go to Chase’s shopping portal and select from nearly 300 retailers – some that give you as much as 10 points per $1 spent, in addition to the points you earn from charging the purchase on your card. It can be a smart way to add points for online shopping. Airlines also offer these shopping portals for extra frequent flyer miles. But Amazon generally does not participate in online shopping portals.
Still, if you are a heavy Amazon user, there are ways to reap extra points. Consider these strategies:
1. Amazon gift cards.
A lot of shops and even online retailers sell Amazon gift cards. If you have a credit card that gives bonus reward points with certain kinds of retailers, see if you can find a store in that category that sells Amazon gift cards. For instance, if you have a card that offers extra points at grocery stores, check to see if your grocery store sells Amazon gift cards. If you have a card that gives category bonuses at office supply stores, check a nearby Staples or Office Depot to see if it sells Amazon gift cards. This way, you will receive extra reward points for the purchase of the gift card, which you can then apply to Amazon.
2. Credit cards with bonuses for online purchases.
If you do a lot of online shopping, you might consider signing up for a card that gives bonus points for online purchases. Card issuers are rolling out more cards with this as a bonus category. The Citi AT&T Access Card (no annual fee) gives two Citi points per $1 on online purchases and on AT&T purchases. The Barclaycard Uber Visa (no annual fee) gives double points for online purchases as well as bonuses in other categories. In addition, there is a class of cards that rotate bonus categories quarterly, such as Chase Freedom, which often provide big bonuses for a quarter on certain online purchases or on Amazon.
3. Amazon credit card.
If you buy a lot from Amazon, an obvious tactic would be to sign up for an Amazon credit card. There are two different kinds, each with no annual fee: the Chase Amazon Prime Visa Signature card, open to Amazon Prime members ($99/year), which gives 5 percent back at Amazon and 2 percent at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores. Then there’s the Chase Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card, which gives 3 percent back at Amazon and 2 percent at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores. As with most retail cards, these Amazon cards make the most sense for frequent Amazon buyers.
As Amazon grows bigger and more dominant, it might make sense to consider some of these strategies to pad your rewards accounts. The retail landscape is shifting. Maybe it’s time for your rewards strategies to shift along with it.
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