Here’s what happens when you use Amazon’s credit card to shop for deals


Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Amazon Prime Day has wrapped but if you are still on the hunt for deals, there are some compelling reasons to check out Amazon’s own rewards credit card.

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card typically earns you 5% cash back on purchases at Amazon and Whole Foods — however during some events like Prime Day, you’ll receive 6% back on Amazon purchases. It’s one of the best cash-back credit cards if you’re a regular shopper at those stores. And, at the moment, there are a few other compelling benefits. First, the company will drop up to a $150 gift card in your Amazon account when you’re approved. Second, you can earn up to 25% back on select items from rotating Amazon categories.

That noted, the Prime Reward Visa’s cash-back rates for purchases at non-Amazon stores aren’t as impressive. You get only 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores, and 1% back on other purchases. So, if you’re not a regular Amazon or Whole Foods shopper, you may be better off with the Citi Double Cash Card, which offers 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you buy plus an additional 1% when you pay for those purchases). 

Another alternative for Prime Day is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which offers 6% cash back on groceries at US supermarkets — including Whole Foods — on up to $6,000 per year (after which the cash back rate decreases to 1%). You can also earn 6% cash back on select streaming service purchases, including Amazon Prime Video. Lastly, you can get up to $300 in cash back by spending $3,000 within the first six months of membership. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Terms apply. 

Still, the Amazon Prime rewards card has no annual fee and the eligibility requirements aren’t particularly stringent. Applicants with a “fair” credit score (approximately 580 or higher) stand a good chance of being approved.

Amazon also offers a slimmed-down version of its Rewards Visa for people who are not Prime members, but the Amazon and Whole Foods cash-back rate is only 3% and signup incentive is lower: a $50 Amazon gift card. But if you’re looking to maximize your Amazon cash-back potential, you’re probably better off becoming an Amazon Prime member first — which costs $119 per year — and then applying for the full-featured Prime version of the card. Since you’ll earn up to $150 as a signup bonus with the Amazon Prime Rewards Card, it may fully cover your first year of Prime membership, which features many worthwhile benefits

Once you have the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, you can redeem your rewards points when checking out at Amazon or as a statement credit, starting at 2,000 points — equivalent to $20. Check out all of the rewards and redemption details here.

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