The right rewards credit card can help you get the most out of your Amazon purchases. Find out which cards yield the best results.
Amazon credit cards are often the best option when it comes to earning rewards when you shop online. In fact, the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card* and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card* are hot options for consumers, mostly due to the percentage of cash back you earn on Amazon.com purchases.
Which rewards credit card is best for Amazon? That mostly depends on whether you’re an Amazon Prime member, plan to be soon or don’t really want a membership at all.
The Amazon Rewards Visa gives you 3% cash back on every Amazon.com purchase and the Amazon Prime Visa Signature ups that ante by offering 5% cash back for Amazon Prime account holders, plus a limited-time offer of 10% back or more on select products through Prime Day. Not surprisingly, though, you have to be an Amazon Prime member to qualify for the Prime version of the card.
With Prime Day right around the corner, you may be wondering: Which of these is the best card to use on Amazon purchases? For that matter, are there any other cards out there that could earn an even better rewards rate on Amazon purchases?
While the deck seems to be stacked clearly in favor of Amazon credit cards, there are some alternatives. This guide explains the major features of Amazon credit cards as well as some other rewards credit cards that yield good results.
Comparing Amazon cards
Let’s start by comparing the regular Amazon card to the Amazon Prime card. While the 5% cash back rate on the Amazon Prime Visa Signature card seems to be the best way to go, this is not necessarily the case. The best option may ultimately boil down to your shopping habits on Amazon. Here’s a breakdown of the two cards:
Amazon Rewards Visa vs. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature
Amazon Rewards Visa
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature
|Sign-up bonus||$50 Amazon.com gift card when you’re approved||$100 Amazon.com gift card when you’re approved|
|Estimated yearly rewards value ($350 monthly spend, including sign-up bonus)||$176||$310|
|Who should get this card?|
As you can see, though the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature offers a better cash back rate on Amazon purchases as well as a $100 gift card for new card owners (upon approval), you also need to figure in the cost of Amazon Prime membership. This can lower the overall value of the Prime card for you, depending on your spending habits and how much you value Prime membership by itself.
See related: Amazon store cards vs. Amazon Visa credit cards
Best for current and aspiring Amazon Prime members: Amazon Prime card
For current Amazon Prime members, it’s a no-brainer: 5% cash back with the Amazon Prime card is the way to go. Also, Prime membership comes with valuable benefits, such as free two-day shipping on eligible purchases, free streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video and Amazon Family discounts on diapers and baby items. Shelling out the fee for Prime membership and getting the Prime card is a good deal if you value these types of services.
Best if you spend more than $119 per year on Amazon shipping: Amazon Prime card
Amazon Prime comes with some awesome shipping benefits. Not only do you get free standard shipping on qualified Amazon purchases of any amount, but you also qualify for free two-day shipping and – in certain cities – free one-day, same-day and two-hour deliveries.
Amazon Prime free shipping
|Same-Day Delivery||Free in certain cities|
|Two-Hour Delivery||Free in eligible ZIP codes|
|One-Day Shipping||Free in certain cities|
|Standard Shipping (4-5 business days)||Free|
The convenience of getting expedited shipping on orders of any size is very valuable and could justify the cost of a $119 fee for many Prime members.
If you are weighing shipping costs to the costs of Prime membership, however, note that free shipping only extends to qualified items (items that you see the Prime logo next to in your shopping cart). While this applies to a lot of items on Amazon, there are many items that it doesn’t apply to – for example, items sold and shipped by outside vendors.
Also, be aware that Amazon already offers free standard shipping to non-Prime members for orders over a certain size. And, to compete with Walmart and Target, Amazon recently lowered the threshold for free shipping to $25 in qualified purchases.
In other words, you’ll need to do a close accounting of your shipping costs to see if the $119 Prime membership fee makes sense. Unless you frequently make small purchases from Amazon, Prime membership may not outweigh your shipping costs.
Best for Amazon shoppers who spend more than $5,950 per year: Amazon Prime card
For everyone else, the value breaks down to how much money you spend at Amazon on a yearly basis.
For cardholders purely interested in the value of the cash back rewards on the Amazon Prime card versus the cost of Prime membership, we figure that the magic number is $5,950 per year (roughly $496 per month). Here’s why: At $5,950 in spending, the amount of cash back you can earn with the Amazon Prime card minus the cost of the annual membership fee equals the cash back that you can earn with the regular Amazon Visa card.
Here’s the math for you:
Amazon Visa card cash back
Amazon Prime card cash back
|$5,950/year x 3% cash back = $178.50||$5,950/year x 5% cash back – $119 annual fee = $178.50|
If you spend more than $5,950 on Amazon purchases per year, your Amazon Prime membership stands to net a better value for you. However, that’s a hefty amount of spending on Amazon! If $5,950 is too rich for your budget, the regular Amazon Visa may be the better Amazon credit card for your wallet.
Best for casual Amazon shoppers: Amazon Visa card
Although the Amazon Visa card doesn’t sport a flashy 5% cash back rate, it does offer a pretty good 3% cash back rate on Amazon purchases, which is still higher than most other rewards cards. The card also offers a $50 Amazon gift certificate for signing up, the same seamless redemption options as the Amazon Prime card and many of the same purchase protections and Visa Signature benefits – all without requiring you to commit to a Prime membership.
It’s a good deal, though there is a smattering of opportunities to do better than the card’s 3% cash back rate. Read on to see how.
Best for the holiday season: Discover it Cash Back
|Discover it® Cash Back|
Where it comes out ahead:
The potential 10% cash back you get on Amazon purchases in the last quarter of the card’s first year beats every other card (but only applies during the first year).
Estimated yearly rewards value ($15,900 spend):
If you are signing up for the Discover it Cash Back card for the first time and plan to do a lot of Amazon shopping throughout the holidays, this card might easily beat both of the Amazon credit cards.
Upon enrollment, the Discover it Cash Back offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in categories that rotate quarterly (then 1%), and the fourth quarter category for 2021 (October through December 2021) includes Amazon.com purchases. Like some other Discover credit cards, the Discover it Cash Back then doubles all the cash back that you earn in the first year; so, essentially, you earn 10% cash back on Amazon purchases for a quarter of the first year.
No other card offers a 10% cash back rate on Amazon purchases. Unfortunately, the 10% rate only applies in the first year during the last quarter. After that, the rate drops to 5%. Plus, the 5% on Amazon purchases is active only from October through December 2021, which happens to be peak season for holiday shopping. Still, 5% by itself is not a bad deal – and it beats the 3% cash back rate on the regular Amazon Visa card at least for a quarter of the year.
As a side note, keep in mind that the Discover it Cash Back offers a lucrative 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfer for 14 months (11.99% to 22.99% variable APR after). That makes it a good option if you are looking for a way to avoid interest on your purchases for a limited time or need to consolidate high-interest debt.
|Citi® Double Cash Card|
Where it comes out ahead:
This card earns the highest flat cash back rate on the consumer credit card market, offering 2% cash back (1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off) on Amazon – and everywhere else.
Estimated yearly rewards value ($15,900 spend):
If you’re not a Prime member and are looking for a credit card that can consistently earn you solid cash back rewards on online shopping and everything else, a flat-rate cash back credit card may be your best bet.
Among Citi credit cards and cards from other issuers, the Citi Double Cash Card is hard to beat. The card earns 2% cash back on all purchases – 1% at the time of purchases and 1% when you pay your bill. There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn.
Meanwhile, the Citi Double Cash Card is a good option for consolidating debt since you get an introductory 0% APR on balance transfer for 18 months (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR after). Of course, debt consolidation and rewards don’t always go hand in hand, so you may not want to make new purchases if you’re using this card for balance transfers.
You could also consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express or Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, both of which currently offer 20% back on Amazon.com purchases made with either card for the first six months. (Bear in mind that the earning cap for this offer is up to $200 on the Blue Cash Preferred and up to $150 back on the Blue Cash Everyday.)
Bonus tip: Buy Amazon gift cards
An additional way to earn a bonus on Amazon purchases with an outside credit card involves purchasing Amazon gift cards at stores where your card offers a category bonus, such as office supply and grocery stores.
While some cardholders have success with this tactic, there’s no guarantee that your particular store will offer Amazon gift cards or allow you to purchase gift cards with a credit card. (Fraud concerns with gift cards have led some retailers to bar their purchase with credit cards.) It’s worth checking the gift card rack, however, especially if you are trying to collect points on a particular card.
The credit card that’s best for Amazon purchases depends on whether you’re an Amazon Prime member or not. If you belong to Amazon Prime already or are planning to join, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature is easily your best bet. If you’re on the fence about joining this membership program, on the other hand, you have some math to do.
In the meantime, don’t forget that general-purpose rewards credit cards and cash back credit cards let you rack up points on everything you buy. Many of them even come with no annual fee. You can get an Amazon credit card if you prefer, but you might also want to check out cards with different bonus categories instead.
See related: Guide: How to maximize your cash back on Amazon.com
*Information about the Amazon Rewards Visa and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.