I have a cousin who lives in New York City. Like many New Yorkers, she walks to work and doesn’t own a car. I once asked her, “What happens when you buy something too big to lug across town?” She replied, “I use Amazon to order just about anything that doesn’t fit in my purse.”
It’s not just city dwellers who are big fans of Amazon. Rural folks no longer have to drive miles to the nearest store, and even busy suburbanites have grown tired of navigating big box retailers.
And as with their brick-and-mortar competitors, Amazon makes it difficult to make a purchase without being pitched an offer for their Amazon.com Rewards Visa from Chase.
Should you apply?
This card offers 3-percent back from your purchases at Amazon.com, 2 percent back from transaction at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores, and 1 percent back on all other purchases. These rewards come in the form of credits towards future purchases at Amazon.com, and there’s no annual fee. The standard offer also includes a $30 Amazon gift card for new cardholders.
That 3 percent from the Amazon credit card is currently the highest rate of return you can receive for shopping at Amazon. The next best cards are ones like the Fidelity Rewards American Express card, which offer 2 percent cash back deposited in a qualifying account, or the Capital One Venture Rewards and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, which both offer double miles that are worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel related expenditures.
While this card seems to make sense for fans of Amazon, there’s a good case to be made for skipping this card. First, the $30 gift card isn’t a very competitive sign-up bonus. For example, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers 40,000 miles, worth over $400 in statement credits towards travel. I suspect most people would rather have $400 worth of free travel than a $30 Amazon gift card.
A somewhat subversive technique is also available that will offer even more rewards at Amazon…
The idea is to purchase Amazon gift cards using a credit card that offers more than 3 percent at a particular category of retailers. For example, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers 6 percent cash back at grocery stores on up to $6,000 spent annually.
If your grocery store sells Amazon gift cards, you could essentially earn 6 percent cash back. Also, Amazon gift cards are sold at office supply stores such as OfficeMax and Staples, and you could use cards such as the Chase Ink Bold or the American Express SimplyCash business rewards card that offer 5-times rewards at office supply stores.
If you shop a lot at Amazon, look at the cards above as a way to save big. And if you don’t shop a lot at Amazon, other cards can earn you more rewards.