The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card was my first credit card, and it’s still the card I love the most.
This card was an easy choice for me because I shop online a lot and I was already an Amazon Prime member. I’ve set up Amazon Subscribe & Save orders for all kinds of recurring purchases, from rawhide bones for my dog to shampoo for me. Whenever I run out of something like cozy socks or office supplies, both of which are very important for writers, I check Amazon to see if I can get the product shipped to me in one to two days. I also enjoy perusing the on-sale Kindle books and grabbing any titles I want that are under $3.
Plus, every holiday season, my family and I send each other Amazon wish lists. Almost all of my holiday shopping happens on Amazon.
Rewards for Amazon and Whole Foods purchases
Because I buy stuff from Amazon so frequently, the unlimited rewards on purchases at Amazon.com were very appealing to me. The card gives 5 percent back in the form of points, with each point translating to 1 cent.
You can redeem points for cash deposited in your bank account, a statement credit, gift cards, or travel, but I almost always apply them to Amazon purchases. When you check out your Amazon cart and select this card as your payment option, you can see how many points you have available and apply them toward your purchase if you choose.
You also get 5 percent back on spending at Whole Foods. I don’t buy from Whole Foods as often as from Amazon.com, but when I do, it’s nice to know I’m getting a great rewards rate. If you’re an organic food aficionado but wary of Whole Foods’ reputation for pricey specialty items, using this card would be a good way to offset some of the cost.
And I may use the Whole Foods benefits more since Amazon has integrated its Prime Now grocery delivery service into its main site. With this change, I can seamlessly go from buying a pair of socks to buying a smoothie without having to log in to a separate app.
The Amazon Prime Rewards card offers decent rewards on non-Amazon spending. The 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores isn’t very important to me because I buy a lot of drugstore products on the Amazon site itself, I don’t own a car, and I don’t eat out much. However, I appreciate earning 1 percent rewards on all other purchases. I don’t feel restricted to shopping at Amazon because I always earn some rewards, even if I’m buying from a competitor.
I like that the card lets you choose to forgo rewards on large purchases and instead get an interest-free payment plan over six, 12 or 18 months, depending on the size of your purchase. I’ve got my eye on a robot vacuum that’s currently listed for $799, which is far more than my typical discretionary spending for a month. If I spring for it and choose equal monthly payments, I’ll owe $44.39 a month for 18 months. That would be a lot easier to budget for. I know I could get a balance transfer card or take out a card with a 0 percent introductory APR offer, but I rarely apply for new cards and I’m glad to have this benefit available without needing to fill out a new application or jump through any hoops.
And I’m happy that there’s no annual fee for the Amazon Prime Rewards card. It’s true that the $119 (plus tax) cost of a Prime Membership effectively acts as an annual fee, but I was already paying that anyway for the free two-day shipping, video streaming and other Prime perks. I earned about $175 in rewards on the card in the past year, which more than makes up for the membership cost.
Alternatives I’ve considered
I’ve looked into the Discover it® Cash Back card but ultimately decided against it. This card offers 5 percent back (upon activation, on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter, then 1 percent) on categories that change each quarter and 1 percent on other spending. I was hoping it might be a good card to match the Amazon Prime Rewards rate for Amazon.com purchases. But when I saw the Discover it Cash Back calendar, I knew there would be a few quarters each year when I wouldn’t get much out of the rewards program.
For example, one category this year–from April through June–is “gas stations, wholesale clubs, and select streaming services.” I don’t shop at gas stations or wholesale clubs, and I rarely spend more than $10 to $20 a month on streaming services outside of Amazon Prime Video. While some may enjoy changing up their rewards, having to stay on top of activating the rotating categories and trying to rearrange my spending every three months doesn’t really appeal to me.
Instead, I’m thinking about getting the Citi® Double Cash Card card because it offers 1 percent back when you spend, then an additional 1 percent back when you pay off the purchase. I typically pay my balance in full each month, so that would work out to a 2 percent rewards rate. That beats the Amazon Prime Rewards card’s 1 percent back on most other retailers. If I use this card when I’m not shopping at Amazon.com or Whole Foods, I could earn more cash back. I don’t think I’ll ever want to give up my Amazon Prime Rewards card, but I may want to pair it with this or another cash back card to maximize the rewards I earn.