If you’re a Prime Member or spend at least $2,000 a year at Amazon.com, this card is 100% worth your time.
By Joe Muscolino
If you’re like me, Amazon is the warden of your online shopping habits.
I don’t just buy books there — I buy greeting cards, clothing, furniture, kitchenware, luggage and dog food. I stock my own fridge with Prime Now groceries. New hobbies like calligraphy and rock climbing have been entirely sourced by that Sleepless in Seattle company.
|Product Name||Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card|
|Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)||15.49% to 23.49% variable|
|APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )||15.49% to 23.49% variable|
|Cash Advance Rate||26.24% variable|
|Interest Free Period|
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
|Up to 21 days|
|Returned Payment Fee||$37|
|Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (VISA)|
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
|0% of transaction value|
|Minimum Age||18 years of age|
|Returned Payment Fee||$37|
|Late Payment Fee||$37|
|Cash Advance Fee||$10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater|
As a loyal customer for seven years and a Prime junkie, what took me so long to get the Amazon Prime credit card? Up until a few weeks ago I never really considered it. I saw the enticing checkout offers — Save $70 with the Amazon Prime credit card! — and breezed by them. I’m wary when a financial product, no matter how shiny, is hawked in my direction.
Then I applied. It was an impulse spend: I didn’t calculate my monthly Amazon expenses or the savings I’d accrue. I didn’t even do much research beyond seeing the 5% cash back and thinking: That must be a better deal than what my current credit card offers, right?
Only afterward did I crunch the numbers. If you’re pressed for time, the TL;DR version is simple:
The Amazon Prime Credit Card is saving me money, and it can save you money too. If you’re a Prime member, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re not a Prime member but spend at least $2,000 a year on Amazon.com, you’ll cover the $99 Prime price tag and get the perks of a Prime membership — free two-day shipping, Prime Video and Prime Music — to boot.
If you’ve got a little more time to spend, here’s everything you need to know about the Amazon Prime Visa Credit Card, from the basic card details, to the competition, to reviews around the web, to the application process, to seeing how much you’ve spent on Amazon by exporting your orders to do your own cost analysis.
Alexa, play “Ride of the Valkyries.”
Your Amazon Prime Credit Card Guide
Amazon Prime Credit Card highlights
What had me at hello was the uncapped 5% cash back on Amazon orders. We’ll lead with that, but there are plenty of other perks to consider — like the instant $70 signup bonus.
- Uncapped 5% back on all Amazon.com purchases (for Prime members).
- $70 Amazon gift card instantly on approval.
- 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% on all other purchases.
- Rewards never expire and are redeemable on a near infinite array of Amazon.com products.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- No annual fee.
- Zero fraud liability.
- Travel and purchase protections, as well as 24/7 concierge service, through Visa Signature.
- Let’s not forget about style: While most store-branded cards are plastic, the Amazon Prime Credit Card is metal.
- If you use Amazon star ratings as shorthand for quality, the Amazon Prime Credit Card has nearly 25,000 reviews with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5.
A few things worth noting
- Of course, the “no annual credit card fee” assumes you’re already an Amazon Prime member — a $99 yearly price tag. If you order a lot from Amazon, the Prime membership pays for itself. If you don’t order a lot from Amazon, you probably don’t need to consider the credit card.
- “Cash back” isn’t exactly cash back until you hit 2,000 points. You can redeem your points anytime for eligible purchases at Amazon.com or wait until you hit at least 2,000 points to redeem for cash, which can be electronically deposited into your checking or savings account.
- Amazon has partnered with Chase, so you’ll use Chase’s online portal to manage just about everything: your payments, customer service, rewards, etc.
Does the 5% cash back work with Zappos, Audible or Prime Now?
Unfortunately, no. The 5% cash back applies only to Amazon.com purchases. While markets like Audible, Zappos, Prime Now, Prime Music and others are technically Amazon-owned, they don’t run on Amazon.com. I was especially peeved to find that my Prime Now purchases weren’t eligible, something Amazon should strongly consider.
I reached out to Chase customer service to confirm.
The Amazon Prime Credit Card’s 5% cash back applies to:
- Annual and monthly Amazon Prime subscriptions and members of their Amazon Household (excluding Amazon Prime Video and invited guests of an Amazon Prime account)
- Amazon Prime Fresh
- Amazon Family
- Amazon Prime Student
- Trial memberships of Amazon Prime
The Amazon Prime Credit Card’s 5% cash back does not apply to:
- Merchants using Pay with Amazon
- Purchases made at international Amazon retail sites — including Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr and Amazon.co.jp
- Any other website operated by Amazon, in Amazon’s sole discretion
Definitely keep this in mind when you calculate your expenses to see if the Amazon Prime Credit Card is worth it for you. Speaking of which …
Finding the worth in the Amazon Prime Credit Card
So here’s what I did belatedly to see if I made the right choice with the Prime Credit Card. First, I exported my Amazon orders dating back to January 2016. Here’s how to export Amazon orders, if you aren’t familiar. I calculated my monthly expenses and organized them in a spreadsheet. Then I just ran a simple equation — 0.05 x 2016 expenses — to see how much I would have saved in 2016.
Amazon Prime members spend on average $1,100 per year. I share my Amazon account with my wife, and we nearly tripled that number in 2016. We spent $3,037, which means we would have saved $150 using the Amazon Prime Credit Card. Combined with the $70 bonus, that’s a savings of $220 the first year and $150 after that. That pays for my $99 Amazon Prime subscription (which is already saving me money with its own benefits) with savings to spare.
A note about Prime Now
If Amazon included Prime Now in its 5% cash back offerings, my spending in 2016 would have jumped from $3,037 to $4,953, and my savings would have jumped from $150 to $230 — a $300 savings the first year with the $70 signup bonus. Their failure to include Prime Now (and other Amazon marketplaces) prevents this good credit card deal from being a great one.
Why the Amazon Prime Credit Card is worth it for me
- I have a joint account with my partner, which means more spending and more saving.
- I have good credit and could afford to open up a new credit card.
- I exported my orders dating back to 2013 and saw a healthy positive trend:
|Year||Amazon.com spend||YoY Growth||Savings|
All signs point to Amazon continuing to reward shoppers with broader merchandise, new media (music, movies and TV) and new technology (Echo). In 2017 and beyond, I will keep kissing the ring of my master by spending more and saving more in the process.
I’ve scoured the web for Amazon Prime Credit Card reviews from credit card comparison sites. Below is a sampling of what reviewers had to say. On the whole, they generally agree that the card is a no-brainer if you’re an existing Prime member. They differ, however, on whether it’s smart to get the card if you’re not.
It comes down to how much you spend. Consumer Reports, for instance, cautions users not to overspend just because you’re getting 5% back. That’s why it pays to review your historical buying habits on Amazon to predict the rewards you’d earn naturally.
|CreditCards.com’s Robin Ratclif||70%||“The unlimited 5 percent return on Amazon 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.” Read more|
|NerdWallet’s Paul Soucy||n/a||“A new credit card that combines the best features of the Amazon Prime Store Card and the existing Amazon Credit Card.” Read more|
|ValuePenguin’s Robert Harrow||94%||“If you have Amazon Prime, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is a good card to have. The 5% rewards rate it gives for your online shopping is unparalleled.” Read more|
|Motley Fool Site||n/a||“The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is one of the most rewarding co-brand cards.” Read more|
|Mybanktracker.com||80%||“The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card could be a great choice for anyone who does a lot of spending on Amazon but also uses their card for other purchases.” Read more|
As of this writing, there are 25,175 reviews of the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa card on Amazon.com. And they are predominantly positive: The card stands at a solid 4.3 out of 5 stars. Amazon reviewers are by their nature more frequent Amazon users, so the sampling is self-selected. Though you can be sure to trust reviews on Amazon — even on an Amazon-owned product — over the dubious star ratings presented by credit card companies like Bank of America or Chase. Below are some critical examples of a five-star (69% of reviews), three-star (6%), and one-star review (9%).
|Review site||Rating||User||Notable quotable|
|5/5||George OJ||“I like getting 5% back for amazon purchases, 2% at drugstores and for gas, and 1% for everything else. Comes with extra perks such as extended warranties and travel insurance (luggage, D&D, etc.). Easy to redeem points at amazon by adding them at checkout. Comes with a great iPhone app (Chase Bank) that lets you customize notifications to a minute detail – it can use email or push notifications (for example when any charge is over the limit you set, or for any purchase at gas stations, or for an international purchase, or 3 days before the payment is due, etc. – very flexible). Notifications are immediate. Works seamlessly with Apple pay. I like the heavy black-metal matte finish too. Very satisfied.”|
|3/5||Elaine Wingren||“Card is okay. I find the Chase site difficult to navigate. I don’t like that I have to earn 2,000 points or ($20) before I can credit my account. You can use the credit to shop but it only encourages you to charge more on the card. My bank cash plus lets me credit whatever I earned each month.”|
|1/5||Sherwood Rudin||“When I read the advertising pitch for this card, I was led to believe that the benefits accrued would be in the form of CASH REBATES, not simply “points” that could be exchanged for merchandise. Feels like a cheap bait and switch operation to me.”|
The Amazon Prime Credit Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
|Amazon Prime Credit Card||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|% Cash Back||5% Cash Back||1% Cash Back|
|Savings||$150||$30 ($46 when spent on travel)|
This isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, and the grid above is simplified. If you’re signing up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you’re probably more interested in the huge signup bonus and travel perks — not Amazon bucks. But the savings are clear, and the assumption is that you want the Amazon Prime Visa card because you’re a fairly frequent Amazon shopper.
For a top-level glance at the two cards’ pricing and terms:
|Amazon Prime Credit Card||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|Purchase APR||15.49% to 23.49% variable||17.49% to 24.49% variable|
|Balance transfer rate||15.49% to 23.49% variable||17.49% to 24.49% variable|
|Cash advance rate||26.24% variable||26.49% variable|
|Annual fee||$0 p.a. ($99 for Prime)||$450 p.a.|
|Bonus||$70 on signup||50,000 points (after spending $4,000 in 3 months)|
The Amazon Prime Credit Card vs. Discover It
The Discover It card is one of a few credit cards that participate in quarterly “rotating category bonuses.” Every three months, a new rotation of categories is revealed in which your cash back rate is boosted. For instance, from April 1, 2017, to June 30, 2017, Discover It cardmembers earned 5% cash back at home improvement stores and wholesale clubs. Amazon has been in rotation in the past, and it looks like they’ll be included in the October–December 2017 category as well. However, inclusion isn’t predictable, and Discover It caps the 5% cash back at $1,500. So even if you maxed out your Amazon spend for the quarter, you’d still earn only $75.
|Amazon Prime Credit Card||Discover it Card|
|Cash back||5% Cash Back||1% normally / 5% in rotating category|
|Savings||$150||$30.37 / $75 in rotating category|
Applying for the Amazon Prime Visa Credit Card
- Go to the Amazon Prime Credit Card page.
- If you’re a Prime Member, simply click Apply Now; if you’re not, first sign up for Prime.
- Once you’re able to apply, complete your relevant financial information.
- You may be instantly approved, or Amazon may need further time to process your application.
- If approved, double-check that the default card on your Amazon.com profile becomes your Amazon Prime Visa Signature Credit Card.
Is the Amazon Prime Visa Card different from the Amazon Prime Store Card?
Yes, the Amazon Prime Visa Card is an all-purpose credit card you can use anywhere Visa is accepted. The Amazon Prime Store Card is limited to use on Amazon.com, has a higher APR, and offers features like 5% cash back and a $40 signup bonus – opposed to the Prime Visa card’s $70 bonus.
How to export Amazon Orders
To see how much you’ve spent on Amazon:
- Log in to your Amazon account and create what’s called an Order History Report.
- Directly go to the Order History Report page.
- Select the report type.
- Select the date range.
- Name your report.
- Click “Request Report.”
- It will process and then download a .csv file. Amazon will also email your file.
The bottom line
Amazon is tight-lipped about the number of Prime Members it has, but estimates run between 65 million and 80 million. If you’re already a Prime member — and odds are increasingly that you are — and if you can easily open up a new line of credit, the Amazon Prime Credit Card is a no-brainer.
If you aren’t a Prime member and you spend at least $2,000 a year at Amazon.com, you not only recoup the $99 Prime member price tag, but you also get a nifty $70 signup gift card to Amazon.com and all the perks that come with Prime membership. You can review how much you spend at Amazon by exporting your orders.