If you love to shop at Amazon.com, the high cash back rewards you can earn with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card will likely appeal to you.
However, if you like to shop at stores beyond this one retailer, and you want the opportunity to choose your bonus category each month, you may be better off with the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.
But, which rewards card offers the best value for your money? Let’s dig in and find out.
|Cards||Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card||Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards|
|Welcome bonus||$100 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval||$200 online cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening|
|Intro APR||N/A||0 percent for 15 billing cycles|
|Annual fee||$0 ($119 Amazon Prime membership required)||$0|
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards highlights
Both of these cash back credit cards offer generous rewards for your money, but each one stands out in different categories.
The following benefit comparisons may help you decide whether Amazon Prime Rewards or Customized Cash Rewards is the best card to meet your needs.
Welcome bonus winner: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards
The sign-on bonus for Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards stands out by offering $200 online cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. While this isn’t the most lucrative welcome offer, it doubles the value of its Amazon counterpart. Also, the spending threshold is easy to reach, and you don’t have to pay an annual fee.
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card offers a $100 Amazon gift card upon approval with no spending requirements. While we like the instant bonus, the $100 gift card value falls below the usual $150 to $200 floor of most sign-up bonuses in the marketplace. And while the Amazon Prime Rewards card comes with no annual fee, you must have an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $119 per year.
While it’s not a part of the welcome bonus, Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards does offer new cardholders a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles (if made within the first 60 days, a 3 percent fee, minimum $10, applies). After that, there’s a variable APR of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent.
Rewards rate winner: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards
If you spend a lot on Amazon.com or at Whole Foods Market, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card might make sense for you since it offers 5 percent cash back at these stores. The card also provides 2 percent cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1 percent back on all other purchases.
The rewards program for the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card provides more flexibility, pushing it over the line here. You can choose one category (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstore or home improvement) to earn 3 percent cash back each month. Are you planning on purchasing flights and hotels for your next trip? Designate travel as your top bonus category. Do you have an expensive home improvement project coming up? Switch your bonus category to home improvement before you pay the bill. You’ll also earn 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
Be aware of limits, however. You’ll earn 3 percent and 2 percent back on the first $2,500 in combined purchases per quarter from your chosen spending category and at wholesale clubs and grocery stores. You’ll earn unlimited 1 percent cash back on these purchases after that.
Annual fee winner: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards
In order to get the $0 annual fee for the Amazon Prime Rewards card, you need to have an Amazon Prime subscription ($119 per year). On the other hand, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card doesn’t charge an annual fee, nor does it have any fine print terms attached to the annual fee.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature charges no foreign transaction fees, while the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent. Thus, the Amazon Prime Rewards card is a much better option if you travel overseas frequently.
Which card earns the most?
Determining which of these credit cards earns the most rewards may depend on your monthly spending habits. If most of your card usage comes from Amazon and its related stores and offerings, you might earn more with the Amazon Prime Rewards card. But if your usual spending falls into several different categories, you may find the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card is a better option for you.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards spending example
Let’s say you use your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card to charge $500 worth of groceries from Whole Foods during your billing cycle. With a cash back rate of 5 percent, you’ll earn $25 back. Let’s also say you spend a combined $400 on dining and gas during the month. You’ll earn 2 percent cash back on those expenditures, which comes out to $8. Add in another $100 in non-category spending at 1 percent cash back, and you’ll earn another $1. That brings your total rewards on $1,000 worth of spending to $34.
In a similar scenario, you may earn fewer rewards using the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card. If you choose dining as your 3 percent cash back category and spend $500 on dining, you’ll earn $15 cash back. (Gas is also an option for the 3 percent category, but you can only choose one). Spend $400 at qualifying wholesale clubs for a 2 percent cash back rate and you’ll make another $8. And if you spend $100 in a non-category, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back, or $1. In this case, you’ll earn $24 when you spend $1,000 with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card. That’s $10 less than you’ll make with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa with similar purchases.
So, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature is the winner, right? Not exactly. Figuring out what card will bring you the most cash back rewards will depend on how and where you shop.
For example, if there isn’t a Whole Foods in your area and you purchase groceries at another store, instead of earning 5 percent cash back, or $25 on $500 worth of spending, you would only earn 1 percent cash back, or $5. Using the spending example above, your total rewards for the Amazon Prime Rewards would now be $14, not $34.
Why should you get Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature?
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa comes with a surprising number of perks for a co-branded retail card. For starters, the card offers standard travel protections like accident insurance coverage (up to $500,000), lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000 per passenger) and baggage delay insurance (reimbursement up to $100 per day for three days). You’ll also get shopping protections that cover new purchases against damage or theft up to $500 per claim ($50,000 per account) and extended warranty protection that increases eligible warranties (of three years or less) by one year.
As a Visa Signature credit card, the Amazon Prime Rewards card also grants access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and Concierge Service, which includes perks like automatic room upgrades when available.
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa markets itself as a cash-earning card. In reality, you’re earning points at a 1:1 value. You can redeem your points for cash back, travel, gift cards or Amazon purchases.
If you plan on regularly shopping at Amazon.com, subscribing to streaming services through Amazon Channels or getting groceries delivered from Amazon Fresh, you might appreciate the card’s options. Unfortunately, you can’t use points on all Amazon products and services, including music and Kindle.
If you’re not keen on redeeming points through the Amazon ecosystem, your best option may be to redeem points for cash.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Amazon Prime Rewards card, which typically means a FICO score of 670 or higher. Applicants with higher credit scores have the best odds of approval for the card.
Why should you get Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards?
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card centers around cash back, with few frills or extra benefits besides its 0 percent introductory APR offer and the standard features that Visa Signature cards offer.
One valuable benefit Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards offers is access to Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, which can boost your points by 25 to 75 percent on every purchase, according to your enrolled tier. Unfortunately, the Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors tiers require a three-month average balance across all of your Bank of America accounts of at least $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000, respectively. With balance requirements so high, the benefits of the Preferred Rewards program may be out of reach for many cardholders.
You can also log in to BankAmeriDeals and activate promotional offers worth 5 to 15 percent extra bonus cash back through participating restaurants and stores.
As its name suggests, the Bank of America Cash Rewards only allows you to redeem your points for cash rewards. You can choose to receive your cash rewards as a direct deposit to a Bank of America checking or savings account, a statement credit or a credit to a qualifying Merrill account.
Like most cash back credit cards, this card’s rewards are worth 1 cent apiece. That means the purchases you make in your 3 percent category will yield 3 cents per dollar.
Recommended credit score
This credit card typically requires FICO credit scores of 670 or higher for acceptance. The higher your credit score, the more likely your application will be approved, although approval is never guaranteed.
The bottom line
If you’re an avid Amazon shopper and already subscribe to Prime, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card may be a good fit for you. With its high rewards rates on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, along with no spending limits and Visa Signature perks, there’s a lot to love about this credit card.
Of course, if you want a higher rewards value on shopping that extends beyond this one retailer, you may prefer the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card. This card is an attractive option to consumers whose lifestyle and spending habits don’t always align with pre-determined bonus categories. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards puts you in the driver’s seat to choose your bonus category each month, which is an outstanding option for those with untraditional spending habits.