It seems like every store has it’s own credit card nowadays, including Amazon. But is the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card right for you? And if so, is it worth it?
From card benefits and program basics to fees, drawbacks, and more, we’re outlining everything you need to know in this in-depth review.
The Amazon Rewards & Prime Rewards Visa Signature Cards at a Glance
|Amazon Rewards Visa Signature||Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature|
- Earn 3% back at Amazon.com
& Whole Foods
- Earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, & drugstores
- Earn 1% back on all other purchases
- Earn a $50 Amazon Gift Card when you’re approved
- Earn 5% back at Amazon.com
& Whole Foods
- Earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, & drugstores
- Earn 1% back on all other purchases
- Earn a $70 Amazon Gift Card when you’re approved
|APR||16.49% – 24.49% (based on creditworthiness; variable)||16.49% – 24.49% (based on creditworthiness; variable)|
|Late Fee||$15 – $37||$15 – $37|
|Special Qualifications||n/a||Must have a current Amazon Prime Membership to be eligible.|
There are currently 2 Amazon-branded Visa Signature Cards by Chase: Amazon Rewards and Amazon Prime Rewards.
The first is available to anyone eligible for approval. The Prime Rewards card is only available to customers with an eligible Amazon Prime membership.
As you can see, the main difference between these cards is in the benefits. Prime members get an extra bump up to 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods, which is a nice little bonus if you’re already paying a yearly Prime Membership fee (not to be confused with the annual credit card fee, which neither of these cards has).
Hot Tip: A great aspect of the 3% and 5% rewards benefit on Amazon & Whole Foods purchases? It’s UNLIMITED — as opposed to other cards that may cap benefits at a certain spending level.
Amazon Rewards & How the Program Works
You may have noticed that the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature & Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature cards don’t use the verbiage “cash-back” when listing their benefits.
This is because technically, cardholders are not earning cash-back. Instead, this program uses the term “percent-back.”
By making an eligible purchase, the cardholder is earning percent-back rewards, which are then converted to points before being issued to the customer.
Earning Your Rewards/Points
Thinking of your return in terms of earning percent-back rewards converted to points can get confusing. To simplify things, we’ll say each $1 of eligible purchases made with an Amazon Visa Signature Card equals a specific number of points.
This number of points is essentially based on where you’re spending your money.
|Amazon Rewards |
|Amazon Prime Rewards |
|3 points/$1 spent||5 points/$1 spent|
|Restaurants, Gas Stations, |
|2 points/$1 spent|
|All Other Retailers|| 1 point/$1 spent|
For example, if you spent $200 at Whole Foods, you’d earn 1,000 points if you used your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa, or 600 points if it was on the standard Amazon Rewards Visa.
Your $50 fill-up at the tank would earn you 150 points regardless of which card you used, and that $20 you spent at the movies to catch the latest blockbuster would earn you 20 points.
If you want to get nitty-gritty, the benefit earnings breakdown is as follows:
- 5% back = $0.05 in percent-back rewards, which equals 5 points per $1 spent
- 3% back = $0.03 in percent-back rewards, which equals 3 points per $1 spent
- 2% back = $0.02 in percent-back rewards, which equals 2 points per $1 spent
- 1% back = $0.01 in percent-back rewards, which equals 1 points per $1 spent
Hot Tip: It’s important to note that the percent-back does NOT apply to purchases from merchants using Amazon Pay, purchases made on international Amazon retail sites (e.g. Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, etc.), or international Whole Foods purchases.
Additionally, terms and conditions state percent-back is not earned via any other website operated by Amazon, i.e. Zappos, Audible, etc.
Also excluded are purchases of Whole Foods classes, tickets, or services through third-party sites like Eventbrite, Instacart, Google Express, Shipt, etc.
A Quick Note on Standard vs. Prime Account Benefits
Be careful if you’re someone who switches or uses multiple Amazon accounts regularly. In the terms & conditions associated with these cards and their respective benefits, Amazon states the following:
“If you switch Amazon.com accounts, use multiple Amazon.com accounts, or your card account is loaded into multiple Amazon.com accounts, then your card account may not automatically earn 5% Back and may instead earn 3% Back. In such cases, you will need to confirm your card account number and select your card account on that Amazon.com account with eligible Prime membership in order to earn 5% Back.”
The Amazon Visa Signature Cards intermittently offer cardholders ways to earn bonus points through the program or special promotions.
For example, last summer some cardholders received a targeted offer for a 10% bonus on earned points.
Redeeming Your Rewards/Points
Once points have been accrued, cardholders can utilize them in a number of ways:
- 🛍 Redeem for eligible purchases at Amazon.com
- 💵 Redeem for cash (starting at 2,000 points)
- ✈ Redeem for travel rewards
- ✌ Redeem for gift cards
- 💼 Redeem for products/services
Redeeming on Amazon.com
A lot of cardholders redeem their points in this way, and it’s widely advertised as one of the card’s biggest perks. While it’s certainly convenient, it’s not technically the best way to maximize your points.
However, let’s look at how to redeem for Amazon purchases if you choose to do so.
When redeeming at Amazon.com, every 100 points in your account = $1. At checkout, Amazon gives you an easy option to utilize your rewards points. You’ll see the total in your account, how much it equates to in cash, and have the ability to use that balance (or a portion of your balance) to apply to your purchase.
Simply select your preferred option, then complete check-out as usual.
Why Isn’t This the Best Way to Maximize Points?
Because using your Amazon Rewards credit card on Amazon is where you reap the most benefits (remember that 5% back)! When you use your points, Amazon’s not giving you 5% back on that part of your purchase.
Let’s look at an example. Say you’re buying a new Kindle Paperwhite for $80, and you’re an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Cardholder.
Option 1: Use only rewards points
- By using 8,000 points, you’re basically getting your Kindle for free.
- That’s definitely great, but since you used points instead of using your credit card, you’re not earning that coveted 5% back from Amazon.
Option 2: Use part points, part card
- By using 4,000 points and putting $40 on your card, you’re getting half the Kindle for free and earning 5x points on the other half = 200 points.
- This seems like a pretty good balance…but again, it’s not technically the best way to maximize points.
Option 3: Use only your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
- By putting the full $80 on your card, you’re earning 5x points on the entire purchase, or 400 points.
- With this specific program, once you reach 2,000 points, you can redeem them for statement credit or direct deposit them into your bank account at a value of 1 cent per point.
- This means that essentially, you’ve kept your 8,000 points and added 400 more points.
- If you were to convert this 8,400 points into a statement credit, it would equal $84. Meanwhile, your Kindle was only $76 (including the 5% discount).
Okay, okay…is saving $4 really worth it? Maybe not for just 1 transaction — but if you figure the number of transactions you make per year on Amazon, this strategy could add up. Especially since you probably got this card because you spend a lot on Amazon to begin with!
Redeeming for Cash
As we mentioned above, redeeming your points for “cash-back” is technically the best way to maximize your Amazon card. If you’d like to redeem your points for cash, the program gives you 2 options:
- Receive money back in the form of an account statement credit
- Receive money back in the form of an electronic deposit into an eligible checking/savings account
Either option may be enacted once you reach a minimum of 2,000 points in your account.
This is the best way to maximize your points as you’re utilizing your credit card to its full potential when you place purchases on it earning you 1%, 2%, or 3%/5% back. Using your points to redeem for items on Amazon.com would mean you’re not earning rewards on that purchase.
Redeem for Gift Cards
The program also allows cardholders to redeem their points for gift cards. In this case, 2,500 points are worth $25 in gift cards.
This appears to be the same return rate as opting for cash-back, so there’s not currently an incentive here to choose gift cards over cash-back.
Redeem for Travel Rewards
In terms of redeeming your points for travel rewards, the program states you can choose from flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and more. When cardholders log into their account, click through to the rewards link, and then visit the travel section, they’re presented with a phone number to contact a Chase Travel Advisor.
While Chase doesn’t elaborate on these redemption options, it does not appear that the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Program points and Chase Ultimate Rewards are linked.
Hot Tip: There have been a few reports of cardholders calling or emailing Chase to ask if their Amazon points could be transferred to Ultimate Rewards points. Some cardholders have lucked out, stating Chase agreed to a “one-time” transfer and notified them it would not be an action they could regularly perform. Others have reported this tactic hasn’t worked for them.
If you’ve got a big chunk of points, we think it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot! (If you try, leave us a comment below and let us know your outcome.)
A Note on Rewards/Points Expiration
Amazon’s current terms and conditions state that as long as a cardholder’s account remains open, their points won’t expire. However, if the account status changes or if it is closed for misuse, fraudulent activity, failure to pay, bankruptcy, etc., the cardholder will immediately forfeit all their points.
A Common Question
“Is it worth signing up for Amazon Prime to get the Prime Visa Signature Card that comes with 5% vs. 3% back?”
The answer? It depends.
Technically, the Amazon Prime card doesn’t have an annual fee, but you’re required to have an Amazon Prime membership (a $99 fee annually) to be approved for the card.
Strictly from a percent-back perspective, the math works out to a spending threshold of roughly ~$5,000 at Amazon and/or Whole Foods before you start reaping benefits that outweigh the $99 Prime membership fee.
So if you’re spending more than $5,000 annually on the card, then yes it’s worth it to upgrade. Otherwise, you’re better off utilizing the standard card with 3% back and no annual prime membership.
However, Amazon Prime comes with much more than just a 5% back benefit, which the math above doesn’t consider. Other money-saving perks include:
- 📦 Free Prime shipping on tons of items
- 🎬 Millions of movies and shows with Prime Video
- 🎧 Free streaming for millions of songs and albums
- 📖 Free Kindle e-books
- 📸 Unlimited photo storage
- 🙌 And more…
So if you’re utilizing a lot of these options as well, the math above works out differently. For example, if you watch just 1 Prime movie a month that otherwise would have cost you $5, you’re saving $60 over the course of a year.
The above math also doesn’t take into account the $70 vs. $50 you’ll get back in Amazon Gift Card credit when you’re approved for the Prime card over the standard card. That additional $20 essentially cuts the membership fee down to $80.
Bottom Line: If you’re likely to utilize additional benefits of Amazon Prime and generally spend a decent amount on Amazon throughout the year, then signing up for the Amazon Prime Visa Signature Card and it’s 5% back option is likely worth it. Especially if you also regularly shop at Whole Foods!
If you don’t already have Prime, you don’t think you’ll utilize any of the extra perks, and you aren’t likely to spend over $5,000 on Amazon in a year, don’t sign up for Amazon Prime just to get the extra percent-back. Go with the standard Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card and its 3% back.
Additional Benefits & Perks of the Amazon Visa Signature Cards
In addition to the main benefits above, each of the Amazon Visa Signature Rewards Card comes with some added perks.
- Travel & emergency assistance
- Lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000 per passenger)
- Baggage delay insurance (up to $100/day x 3 days)
- Travel accident insurance
Visa Signature Luxury Hotel perks:
- Room upgrades
- VIP guest status
- Exclusive benefits
Even more perks:
- Complimentary Visa Signature Concierge Service available 24/7
For more details related to these additional benefits, you can visit Amazon’s explanation of benefits page.
Fees & Drawbacks
When considering any credit card, you should always read up on the fees/penalties* you could possibly incur. We’ve outlined a number of the most important considerations below.
Hot Tip: Remember, the easiest way to avoid fees is to apply for (and use) a credit card only if you’re confident you can be a responsible cardholder. This means you pay off your balance on time and in full every month.
For the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Cards, fees include (but aren’t limited to):
- Annual Membership: NONE
- Foreign Transaction Fees: NONE
- APR (Purchase Annual Percentage Rate): 16.49% – 24.49% (variable)
- Balance Transfer APR: 16.49% – 24.49% (variable)
- Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater)
- Cash Advance APR: 27.24% (variable)
- Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater)
- Late Payment:
- Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100
- Up to $28 if the balance is $100 to less than $250
- Up to $38 if the balance is $250 or more
- Return Payment: $38
- Return Check: NONE
Depending on your creditworthiness, a higher APR could definitely get you into some trouble if you’re not acting as a responsible cardholder. That being said, rates like this are pretty much the norm across most credit cards nowadays.
*The above fees were recorded on the date this article was originally written. Please refer to official pricing & terms for the most updated information.
How to Apply
Customers can apply for either of the Amazon Visa cards online. After clicking “Apply Now,” you’ll be asked to sign in to your Amazon account before proceeding. Once you’re signed in, just fill out a few quick forms and submit. You may be approved instantly, or you may receive a message stating they need more time to review your application.
Among other fine print terms, the program points out that the following qualifications are important:
- Applicants must be a U.S. resident
- Applicants must have a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) or U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old (19 in AL and NE)
In general, the consensus across many credit card review sites is that a “good” credit score is needed to secure either of these cards. However, each application is reviewed on an individual basis, and reports of approval have been verified from customers with credit scores in the mid-600s.
Additional Amazon Card Options
Amazon also offers a “store card.” As with the Visa cards, there are 2: one for standard Amazon customers and one for Prime members.
Amazon/Prime Store Cards (by Synchrony Bank) at a Glance
|Amazon Store Card||Amazon Prime Store Card|
- Special financing on larger purchases
- Equal Pay financing on purchases over $60
- Special financing on larger purchases
- Equal Pay financing on purchases over $60
- 5% back
|Late Fee||Up to $35|
|Special Considerations||n/a||Must have a current Amazon Prime membership|
As this is a “store card,” it can only be used at Amazon.com — a major drawback for consumers who need a credit card for everyday purchases outside of Amazon.
The main benefit of this card is the special financing, which you may also see advertised as “0% Purchase APR for 6-24 months.” Plus, if you’re a Prime member, you’re granted the additional 5% back.
The breakdown for special financing as follows:
- 6-month special financing on any purchase totaling $149+
- 12-month special financing on any purchase totaling $599+
- 24-month special financing on select Amazon-sold items
Word to the Wise
One thing to note with special financing: it is defined as “no interest if paid in full within…” This means that if you pay off your balance in full by the end of the allotted time period, you’ve succeeded in stretching out your payments with 0% APR.
However, if you don’t, “deferred interest” is applied. Deferred interest means the full standard APR (27.24% variable) will be charged to your account for every month back to the purchase date. This can be a financial nightmare, especially for big-ticket items.
In terms of application, all consumers apply initially for the Amazon Store Card. If you’re approved and noted to have an eligible Amazon Prime membership, you’ll automatically be upgraded to the Amazon Prime Store Card.
Lastly, at the time of writing this article, Amazon was offering a $40 gift card as a sign-up bonus. This Amazon.com virtual gift card is applied to the customer’s account upon card approval.
Alternative Rewards Credit Cards
Unsurprisingly, the Amazon credit cards mentioned above aren’t the only options that you have! Consider these other travel rewards cards that we really like:
If you have a Chase credit card with an annual fee, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, then you can convert your cash-back into Ultimate Rewards points which are incredibly valuable.
Bonus: Purchase Amazon.com gift cards from office stores using the Ink Business Preferred and you’ll get 3pts/$1 spent.
As Chase Ultimate Rewards can be used for amazing travels, this card is great for those wanting to not only get rewarded for spending at Amazon, but also for a multitude of other business purchases.
For information on other alternative cards, check out our piece on The 10+ Best Credit Cards for Amazon.com Purchases.
Card Login & Online Account Management
Since the Amazon Visa Signature cards are offered through Chase, cardholders can log in to their Chase online portal to manage their account.
This portal offers the ability to:
- View your statement
- Pay your bill
- Monitor your account activity
- Enroll in paperless statements
- Set up alerts
- View exclusive offers
All in all, the Amazon and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature cards are rated quite well across trustworthy credit card review sites.
The percent-back benefits in a number of categories and bonuses in areas other cards can’t account for make these cards pretty good options. Since they require a “good” credit score to be approved, chances are most individuals utilizing them are responsible cardholders who won’t have to deal with the high APR or other added fees.
What do we think?
If you’re already a Prime member, it’s kind of a no-brainer to grab the card. Just remember that to truly maximize your returns, you’re better off redeeming your points for a statement credit or cash-back than directly for products on Amazon.
However, you might be a points and miles junkie who already has a system in place to maximize your spending through another travel rewards credit card. In this case, you may want to stick with a card that gives you a better option to utilize your hard-earned points for travel purposes.