Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card review


In a Nutshell

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card could be a great pick for frequent online shoppers. It offers 5% back on purchases at Amazon.com and Whole Foods, and you can redeem your points in a variety of ways. Plus you’ll get a gift card added to your Amazon account as soon as you’re approved. But it’s only available to Amazon Prime members, and the cost of Prime membership might not be worth it for everyone.


Louis DeNicola is a personal finance writer and has written for American Express and Discover. Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when it’s posted.

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This offer is no longer available on our site: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Pros

Cons

No annual fee or foreign transaction fees Only available if you have an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $119 a year
5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases Potentially high APR
Rewards redeemable on Amazon.com, or for cash, gift cards or travel
$70 Amazon.com gift card when you’re approved for the card

What you should know about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

No annual fee … sort of

Technically, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card doesn’t have an annual fee, which is a good thing for cardholders who want to save money. But there’s a catch: You must be an Amazon Prime member to apply for the card, and that costs $119 per year (or $12.99 per month) for a nonstudent membership.

Of course, that $119 goes toward more than just maintaining your card each year. Amazon Prime benefits include free two-day shipping, Prime Video and additional savings at Whole Foods Market, along with a long list of other perks.

If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, then the cost isn’t a concern. But if you’re considering signing up just so that you can apply for the card, think about the cost carefully — you’d have to spend more than $2,380 at Amazon.com or Whole Foods each year to offset the $119 annual fee. A different cash back card with a lower annual fee (or none at all) might make more sense (and cents!).

Cardholders who cancel their Amazon Prime membership can keep the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, but they earn 3% back, instead of 5%, on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases.

You can earn a lot of rewards

The number of points you can earn with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card depends on where you shop.

  • 5% back on purchases at Amazon.com and Whole Foods
  • 2% back on purchases at gas stations, restaurants and drug stores
  • 1% back on all other purchases

You can then redeem those rewards toward an eligible purchase on Amazon.com. But it’s worth noting that you have other options for redemption, like cash back, gift cards and travel. In these cases, $1 of rewards is equal to 100 rewards points, and vice-versa.

In other words, you can get the same value out of this card with cash back as you could with eligible Amazon.com purchases. That makes this card more versatile than many store-branded credit cards, which usually require that you use your rewards only at the store and its affiliates.

Similarly, while other cards offer 5% cash back on purchases, they may switch which stores or categories you’ll earn with throughout the year and limit how much you can earn.

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card offers unlimited earning potential. Plus Amazon sells a wide variety of products — there’s a reason it’s sometimes called “The Everything Store.” And though it’s not called out specifically on Amazon, you may even be able to get 5% back when purchasing gift cards for businesses other than Amazon or Whole Foods through Amazon.com.

You can use this card anywhere Visa is accepted

Some store-branded or retail credit cards are only accepted at the associated store, and possibly with other affiliated brands.

But you can use the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card for purchases anywhere that Visa is accepted.

A potentially high APR could cost you

Retail and rewards cards tend to have a higher annual percentage rate than other types of credit cards. According to the Federal Reserve’s November 2018 data, the overall average credit card APR was 14.73%. Compare that to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card — even the most-creditworthy applicants will receive a higher rate, as the card has a variable APR of 16.49% to 24.49% on purchases and balance transfers.

A high APR isn’t a concern if you pay your bill on time and in full each month. But if you carry a balance, then you might wind up paying a lot in interest. We don’t recommend using credit cards for purchases you can’t afford to pay off by your due date, but the APR is still a consideration if you have to cover emergency expenses that don’t easily fit into your budget.

Other Amazon cards to consider

There are a few more details that might help you decide if the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is a good fit for you.

There are four Amazon credit cards in total

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card isn’t the only Amazon card — there are four choices in total.

  • Amazon.com Store Card
  • Amazon Prime Store Card
  • Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

You can only use the two store cards on Amazon.com.

The other Amazon Visa card is similar to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card in that you can use it elsewhere, but it doesn’t require an Amazon Prime membership. It also only gives you 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods.

Also, know that you’ll be considered only for the card you apply for, so be sure to apply directly for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card if that’s the card you want.

Part of an Amazon Household with Prime? You might still qualify.

Even if you’re not the main Prime accountholder, you might qualify if you have Prime benefits that someone shares with you via an Amazon Household (which allows you to share Prime benefits between members of the same household, including up to two adults, four teens and four children). This could lower the card’s “annual fee” for you, depending on if (and how much) you contribute to that Prime membership fee.

Don’t unlink your card from your Amazon.com account

If you choose to remove the card from your Amazon account, you’ll no longer earn 5% back on Amazon or Whole Foods Market purchases. You can relink the card to get the higher rate back, though.

Understanding your points and redemption options

We’ve touched on earning points with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card — now let’s take a look at how you can use your points. The good news is that there are lots of options here, as well.

On Amazon.com, you can redeem your points to pay for part or all of your purchase. (There are a few cases when you can’t use your points, such as when purchasing digital music, Amazon Kindle downloads, AmazonFresh items and textbook rentals.)

To use your points at Amazon.com, select the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card as your payment method when checking out. You can then choose the dollar amount you want to cover using your points. Using your points this way gets you a redemption value of $1 per 100 points.

You can also redeem your points for cash back, gift cards or travel on the Chase website. The redemption value may vary for other types of redemptions, but 100 points also equals $1 for Amazon.com, travel, gift cards and cash back. Take note though: Redemption for cash starts at 2,000 points.

Who is this card good for?

If you do most of your household shopping on Amazon.com and grocery shopping at Whole Foods, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card could be a match.

Even if you only occasionally shop at these stores but tend to make large purchases when you do (like doing all your holiday shopping on Amazon.com), it could still make sense to get the card, because it technically doesn’t have an annual fee. Plus, the 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores might cover a lot of your other everyday purchases.

But the rewards probably won’t be worth it if you don’t think you’d get much use out of an Amazon Prime membership or you’d wind up carrying a balance from month to month. Make sure you can afford to pay off your card on time and in full each month, and don’t get tempted to make more (or costlier) purchases just because you’ll earn bonus points.

While there isn’t a foreign transaction fee, you also won’t earn a higher rewards rate on travel-related purchases with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. It might make sense to keep a travel rewards credit card in your wallet for when you’re booking travel or you’re away from home.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card isn’t a perfect fit for everyone. If you’re looking for a new card but haven’t fallen in love yet, take a look at these other options.

  • Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card: This card could be a good alternative for non–Amazon Prime members who frequently shop on Amazon and at Whole Foods. Read up on other Amazon credit cards for a closer look.
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: People who spend a lot on groceries and like to shop at a variety of supermarkets should consider this card. Read our review of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to learn more.
  • Uber Visa Card: If you frequently dine out, travel and shop online at a variety of stores, this card’s rewards structure might align with your spending. Check out our review of the Uber Visa Card for more details.



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