|Cash Back Rating:||3.6 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||2.9|
In a Nutshell:
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card offers a great 5 percent rate on Amazon and Whole Food purchases, but Prime membership requires a high $119 fee, and Amazon points lack versatility.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Other Notable Features: Car rental insurance, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, extended warranty, baggage delay insurance, lost baggage insurance, Visa Signature luxury hotel collection, Visa Signature concierge, no foreign transaction fees
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card Review: More Details
The Amazon Prime Visa Signature card comes with a head-turning number: 5 percent on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. The card has many of the same features as its predecessor – the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card – and it improves on the regular Amazon Rewards card by offering an unlimited 5 percent rewards rate on Amazon.com purchases.
For current Amazon Prime subscribers, the Prime card is worth the hoopla. Besides the fact that you will have a shiny, metal card to show off (yes, the Amazon Prime card is made of metal), the card comes with some useful purchase and travel protections, and, of course, a higher rewards rate. However, you’ll need to shell out $119 for Amazon Prime membership just to obtain the card. While you can get far more than $119 worth of value out of Prime membership, the service doesn’t necessarily make sense for every cardholder.
|Tip: Amazon Prime membership on its own comes with very valuable benefits, including free two-day shipping and Amazon Video. If you aren’t currently an Amazon Prime member, we recommend looking in to the full list of benefits to see whether Prime Membership — and, by extension, the Amazon Prime card — make sense for you. (Learn more in our article, “Is Amazon Prime worth it?”)|
Amazon offers a $100 Amazon gift certificate to new cardholders as soon as their application is approved. This is a higher bonus than the card’s previous offering of a $70 Amazon gift certificate. Still, it’s a modest bonus compared to most cash back cards, many of which offer $150 as a statement credit (but, then, the bonus is not the main appeal of the card). On the plus side, the gift certificate is conveniently loaded into your account once you’re accepted, so you can use it right away.
Earning Amazon points
The unlimited 5 percent return on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases is the best thing the card has to offer. While there are competing cards that also offer a 5 percent rewards rate on Amazon purchases, they come with seasonal restrictions and limit the 5 percent rate to the first $1,500 in purchases. The card also offers 2 percent back on restaurants, gas stations and drug store purchases (and 1 percent back on the remainder of your purchases), adding up to a high earning rate overall.
For someone who already subscribes to Amazon Prime, an unlimited 5 percent bonus is mere icing on the cake. However, other applicants will need to weigh the value of Amazon Prime benefits before springing for the card. You’ll need to pay $119 for Amazon Prime membership before you apply, and, though Amazon Prime does offer very valuable benefits, the rewards that you earn from the card are unlikely to outweigh the membership fee.
Even when you factor in the $100 gift card that Amazon offers to new cardholders, the $119 annual fee for Amazon Prime membership takes a chunk out of your potential rewards earnings. If you spend less than $1,500 on Amazon purchases each year, you may be better off applying for an alternative rotating rewards card that offers 5 percent earnings on Amazon purchases and pairing it with a cash back card that offers a 1.5 to 2 cash back rate on everyday spending.
Bonus for Whole Foods customers
Whole Foods customers may be delighted to learn that the 5 percent bonus rate also applies to Whole Food purchases – both online and at the register. Frequent shoppers with Whole Foods can earn a substantial amount of rewards with the Amazon Prime card. In fact, if you spend at least $2,380 at Whole Foods each year, your earnings with the card will cancel out the cost of your Prime Membership.
Rewards earned on Whole Foods purchases
|Yearly spend||Cash back earned|
Redeeming Amazon points
Amazon aims to make sign-up for the Amazon Prime card and rewards redemption as seamless as possible. Current members of Amazon Prime with an Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card will be automatically upgraded to the new card. While you are waiting to receive your new Amazon Prime card in the mail, you can log in and link your current Visa Signature card to your account to start receiving the 5 percent bonus.
Amazon allows you to conveniently input at your points at the point of purchase
Once the card is linked to your Amazon Prime account, choose the card as your payment option, input the number of points you want to use, and Amazon will instantly apply them to your purchase.
If you don’t want to use your points for Amazon purchases, Amazon gives you a few other redemption options, including statement credits, deposit into a checking or savings account, gift cards and travel rewards.
You can redeem Amazon points for cash back, gift cards or travel
While you’ll need to collect a minimum of 2,000 to 2,500 points to qualify for one of these alternative options, the good news is that you get a value of 1 cent per point no matter which way you redeem your points. (However, you’ll need to call in to Chase’s travel center to redeem your points for travel – for convenience’s sake, you may want to avoid this option.)
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature redemption options
|Minimum points required||Point value (cents)|
|Amazon.com purchases||Redeem any amount for all or part of a purchase||1|
|Checking or savings account deposit||2,000||1|
|Travel||Depends on purchase||1|
Unfortunately, although this is a Chase card, there are no options to transfer points to other Chase cards. Also, points can be applied only to one Amazon Prime account. Cardholders searching for a card with more versatile points would be better off checking out Chase’s line of Ultimate Rewards cards.
The Amazon Prime card offers several protections to help protect your purchases made online. The card guarantees zero fraud liability – which means you are never liable for unauthorized purchases made with your card. The card also includes:
- Purchase protection – Your card covers you for 120 days against damage or theft of purchases, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
- Extended warranty protection – For eligible warranties of three years or less, your card will extend the warranty period by an additional year.
If you’re reading this review, it’s likely that you are considering the Amazon Prime card mainly for Amazon purchases. You may be surprised to learn that the Prime card also makes a good travel companion, thanks to its collection of Visa Signature benefits, including:
- No foreign transaction fees – The card doesn’t charge transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S. (which means the card also spares you a 2 to 3 percent fee for purchases on Amazon sites in foreign countries).
- Travel and emergency assistance – Cardholders are eligible for legal, medical and other emergency services while traveling.
- Lost luggage reimbursement—The card covers you and your family members for checked and carry-on bags that are lost or damaged by a carrier – up to $3,000 per passenger.
- Baggage delay insurance – The card will reimburse for you essential purchases in case your luggage gets delayed while traveling – up to $100 per day up to three days, for delays of six hours or longer.
- Travel accident insurance – The card offers up to $500,000 in coverage for accidental death or dismemberment while traveling.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver – The card offers secondary coverage (coverage that applies in case another policy doesn’t apply) for theft or damage to a rental car purchased with the card.
- Roadside dispatch – You can call 24-hour roadside service through the card (for a fee) if you have roadside emergency.
While this is a fair list of protections, if you’re looking for a card to cover you in case of travel emergencies, you may be better off searching for a card that offers broader travel protections, particularly trip cancellation and interruption insurance (The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is a good option).
The Amazon Prime Rewards card is issued through Chase bank, which has a fairly good record on customer service. Chase recently scored 807 on J.D. Power’s 2019 customer satisfaction, tied for third place out of 11 major issuers. The Chase mobile app also rates well with its users, scoring a 4.8 out of 5 on the Apple Store and 4.3 out of 5 on Google Play store. Chase offers convenient, round-the-clock customer service for its cardholders. One drawback: Chase doesn’t include mobile chat on its website – a loss for cardholders seeking to get a simple question answered quickly.
Is this card the same as the Amazon Store card?
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is not the same as the Amazon Store card. To some shopper’s confusion, Amazon also offers a store card that includes special financing and a 5 percent bonus on Amazon purchases when you subscribe to Amazon Prime. The Amazon Store card is not a credit card – it can only be used on Amazon purchases – is issued by a different bank (Synchrony) and features a much higher APR, so cardholders should take care not to mix the two cards up when applying.
Alternatives to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa signature card
If you’re looking for the best option for earning rewards on Amazon purchases, you can’t do much better than the Amazon Prime card. Still, if you’re not prepared to spring for Prime membership, and you’re looking for a good alternative to the Prime card, you have a few other good options:
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature
Discover it® Cash Back
Chase Freedom Unlimited*
|Other things to know
||Other things to know
||Other things to know
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card
With the 3 percent back at Amazon and Whole Foods, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card offers the next highest earning rate on Amazon purchases. It also features most of the same travel and purchase protections as the Amazon Prime card, including no foreign transaction fee, all for no annual fee.
Discover it Cash Back
For three quarters of the year, the Discover it Cash Back card only offers 1 percent cash back on Amazon purchases, but in the fourth quarter of 2019, the Discover it Cash Back is a winning proposition for Amazon purchases – especially for new cardholders. If you remember to enroll in the category that quarter, you will receive 5 percent back on your Amazon purchases, on up to $1,500 in purchases. And, since Discover matches your cash back at the end of your first year of card membership, new cardholders can essentially earn 10 percent cash back on Amazon purchases in the fourth quarter.
Chase Freedom Unlimited (along with other Ultimate Rewards cards)
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card can’t compete with the Amazon Prime or Amazon Rewards Visa’s rewards rate on Amazon purchases. However, if you’re not up for applying to the Amazon card and – especially if you’d rather earn points than cash back – you should consider applying for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. If you pair it with other cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards family, including the Chase Freedom card and a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card – you can boost your overall earning rate, get a 25 to 50 percent bonus on travel redemptions, transfer points to outside travel partners, and enjoy a host of great travel benefits, including lounge access through the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Why should you get the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card?
- You’re already an Amazon Prime member.
- You shop frequently enough on Amazon to justify the cost of a $119 Amazon Prime membership.
- You shop frequently at Whole Foods (especially if you spend more than $2,380 per year there).
- You spend a lot on restaurant and gas purchases.
- You’re a frequent traveler, who can take advantage of the card’s travel benefits, including the waived foreign transaction fees.
- You often shop on foreign websites and would benefit from the lack of a foreign transaction fee for those purchases.
How to use the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card:
- Sign up for an Amazon Prime membership to apply for the card.
- Use the Prime card for all your Amazon and Whole Foods purchases to earn the 5 percent bonus rate and take advantage of the purchase protections.
- Use your points at checkout on Amazon – you can instantly apply them with no minimum points required.
- You can use this card when you travel in foreign countries or shop on foreign sites without racking up foreign transaction fees.
- Use an online shopping portal such as eBates to stack up extra cash back on your Amazon purchases (yes, the rewards do stack with your card rewards).
*The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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