I do a ton of shopping on Amazon and we have Amazon Prime because it's freaking awesome.
One of the things that is less awesome is how often they pitch the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card. I understand why they do it because credit cards are big business and at least they're offering something legitimate as a bonus. If you walk through a Wal-Mart, all they'll give you for signing up to their credit card is a 2-Liter of Pepsi and a bag of chips! (I joke… I don't know what they're offering now but I know it's a pittance)
So the other day, I'm doing my usual shopping at Amazon when I see their pitch again:
Seventy bucks is a good promotional offer for a card with no annual fee. (and a great deal on an elongated toilet seat!)
But is the card worth it? Let's take a deeper look.
Two Cards with Similar Names
Amazon offers two credit cards:
- Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card
- Amazon Prime Store Card
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card gives you 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. They will also give you 1% back on all other purchases. If you are a Prime member, you also get 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.
The Amazon Prime Store Card gives you 5% back at Amazon.com if you're a Prime member plus special financing on purchases of $149+ and “access to 0% interest 12 Month Equal Pay Financing on select Amazon-sold items.”
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is a regular rewards credit card with no annual fee and a variable APR that's in line with other similar credit cards. The Amazon Prime Store Card only works at Amazon.com, gives you access to special financing, and has a higher APR with no annual fee. It's their version of your classic “credit card and short term financing offer” you see at electronics and furniture stores. We won't be looking at the Amazon Prime Store Card today.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card
The main benefit of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is the generous rewards structure when you shop at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market when you have Prime. Without this added bonus, the 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores plus 1% elsewhere is an average offer.
Almost all the Prime memberships are included – annual/monthly Prime subscriptions, Amazon Households, Amazon Prime Fresh, Amazon Family, Amazon Prime Student, and even trial memberships.
By default, the rewards come in the form of Amazon.com credit. The rewards are issued in “points” and 100 points = $1 on Amazon.com. You can spend the points on Amazon.com just like cash or you can convert them to a statement credit or electronic deposit to your bank. You are not locked into spending it on Amazon.com but they make it really easy to spend it on Amazon.com, probably because you won't earn rewards when you spend these credits. Points don't expire but you lose them if you close your account (which is common).
As for ancillary benefits, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is also a Visa Signature card (with no annual fee!) so you get all of the typical perks of Visa Signature. Roadside Dispatch, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection, and Extended Warranty Protection are all part of the card.
If you are a traveler, there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made internationally. The suite of protections is pretty solid too including Travel and Emergency Assistance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Baggage Delay Insurance, Travel Accident Insurance (these are all standard Visa Signature perks).
Is It Worth It?
It depends on how much you spend on Amazon… but if you're Prime, chances are you spend a lot.
You can pull your Amazon order history by going to the Order History Reports page and make a request.
I looked at my order history for 2017 and saw our household ordered 400+ items with a total price of $9,744.60. (My eyes were going to bug out at how much we spent until I realized it's not all us, we share our account with my sister's family and my wife's sister's family! — I'm not going to go through the report and itemize who purchased what)
If we use a standard 1% cashback credit card, that's $97.44 in cashback.
If we used the Amazon Prime Rewards Card and its 5% cashback, that's $487.23!
(this doesn't even take into account the $70 in Amazon credit they bribe you with to sign up!)
When it has no annual fee and such a rich rewards structure, you should check your order history and see if it makes sense for you.
(by the way, bad news on the toilet seat… it was so cheap because it was an Amazon Warehouse deal and it was missing parts!)