Short Answer: If you’re an Amazon Prime member you should probably get the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa. It has a larger signup bonus, offers the bonus rewards rate at Whole Foods Market, and can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. However, if you only care about getting a high rewards rate for Amazon purchases and you’re not a Prime member, you may be better off with the store card.
If you are one of the estimated 304 million consumers that shop at Amazon, you probably have heard about Amazon’s credit cards: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card and Amazon Prime Store Card. They are hard to miss, with the ads all over the website and a final reminder at checkout.
It makes sense for frequent Amazon shoppers to earn rewards by getting one of these cards. But which one is best for you? A lot depends on how often you shop at Amazon and what you plan to do with the card. This in-depth comparison will help you determine which Amazon card is the best fit for you.
Amazon Prime Store Card
The Amazon.com Store Card and the Amazon Prime Store Card are options for frequent Amazon shoppers, the latter obviously being for people with an eligible Prime membership only, and offering the additional benefit of 5% cashback on all Amazon purchases. Issued by Synchrony Bank, neither version is a credit card in the traditional sense, as they are not part of any credit card network and can only be used on Amazon’s site and its companies, such as Audible and select Amazon Pay merchants. This is known as a “closed-loop” credit card. The Amazon Visa credit cards offered by Chase (covered below) are “open-loop” credit cards and can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted.
Besides the 5% cashback Prime members receive with the Amazon Prime Store Card, an additional 5-15% cashback is also available on select rotating items throughout the year. As of this writing, rotating categories and products featuring said bonus rewards include such things as magazines, batteries, and smart devices.
Amazon Store Card Perks
Both the Amazon.com Store Card and the Amazon Prime Store Card charge no annual fee and give you the reassurance of zero fraud liability, meaning you’re protected from any unauthorized charges. As an added perk, a $10 Amazon.com gift card is included upon approval for the Amazon.com Store Card. Amazon Prime Store cardholders qualify for the same $10 gift card bonus. Gift cards are loaded to your account once approved, and available for immediate use.
Undoubtedly one of the major perks of these cards is the access to promotional financing offers, which are the same for both the Amazon.com Store Card and the Amazon Prime Store Card.
Promotional Financing Offers
Amazon.com Store Cardholders and Amazon Prime Store Cardholders can buy now and pay over time with a variety of promotional financing options. These promotions are available in the form of equal monthly payments at 0% APR or special financing. When multiple financing options are available based on the cart total, the longest term option will be displayed at checkout.
Equal Monthly Payments:
Amazon.com Store Cardholders and Amazon Prime Store Cardholders can make equal monthly payments on Amazon.com purchases, at 0% APR, over the financing offer period:
- 6 equal monthly payments on purchases of $150 or more
- 12 equal monthly payments on purchases of $600 or more
- 24 equal monthly payments is available on select purchases
Amazon.com Store Cardholders and Amazon Prime Store Cardholders may qualify for special financing options on purchases of $150 or more:
- 6 months on purchases of $150 or more
- 12 monthly on purchases of $600 or more
- 24 months is available on select purchases
No interest will be assessed on the promotional balance if it is paid in full within the applicable promotional period.
Careful with the ‘free’ financing
While the promotional financing offers are appealing, the Amazon Store cards’ annual percentage rate (APR) is high– 25.99% as of April 1, 2020. It is also a variable APR subject to market changes based on the Prime Rate. To benefit from the 0% APR, you must pay off your purchases within the introductory period. You will be charged interest from the purchase date if you don’t pay the entire purchase within the introductory period, or you miss a payment. The total purchases must total $149 or more and $599 or more to qualify for six-month or 12-month financing, respectively. The 24-month financing is only available on select purchases over $800 or more by Amazon.com.
One final possible benefit of the Amazon Store Card is that both the regular and Prime membership versions are accessible to individuals with only a fair credit score. This makes them good options for people trying to build or rebuild credit.
Compare the pros and cons to make a better decision.
- No annual fee (although you need to be an Amazon Prime member, which costs $119 a year)
- On orders less than $149, 5% cashback will automatically be applied to Amazon Prime members
- On orders of $150 or more, cardholders can select either 5% back, equal monthly payment or promotional financing
- $60 Amazon Gift Card (limited time offer)
- 0% APR financing (as long as paid in full within the promotional period)
- Zero fraud liability
- Only accepted at Amazon.com
- You must have Amazon Prime membership ($119 a year) to earn rewards
- High interest rate
Who should get an Amazon Prime Store Card?
The Amazon.com Store Card and Amazon Prime Store Card are good options for people who frequently shop at Amazon.com, especially if you already have a Prime membership. The additional 5-15% cash back on select products is probably not enough to justify a $119 membership fee, but the Amazon Prime card is an easy way to earn rewards for existing members. If you spend $2,400 or more a year, the rewards alone will pay for the annual Prime fee. Spending less than $2,400 on Amazon’s site will not cover the $119 Prime membership fee difference, so in this instance between the offers, stick to the standard Amazon Store Card.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Amazon offers a Visa Signature credit card in two versions for people who qualify: the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature for Prime members. They are issued by Chase Bank and can be used wherever Visa is accepted. These Amazon credit cards are straightforward cashback credit cards with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. They offer identical benefits, with the exception of some additional perks included with the Prime Rewards credit card. Both come with a sign-up bonus gift card but the amounts differ.
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Perks
The standard Amazon Rewards Visa Signature reimburses customers with 3% cashback on Amazon and Whole Foods Market spending, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. You don’t need to be a Prime member to earn cashback on Amazon.com site purchases. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature is similar, however it rewards customers with 5% cashback on purchases made at Amazon and Whole Foods, as well as 10% back or more bonus rewards on select rotating Amazon categories and products. Additionally, there is an instant sign-up bonus of a $50 Amazon gift card upon approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card, and a $70 Amazon gift card upon approval for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card.
Rewards Visa Signature Card Premium Perks
In addition to the absence of foreign transaction fees (no additional charges on purchases made outside the U.S.), an array of mostly travel-related Signature card premium perks are available to those who qualify for an Amazon credit card, including:
- Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection with VIP Status: Access to 900 luxury hotels around the world, with access to the best available rate, automatic room upgrades (when available), complimentary in-room Wi-Fi (when available), and more.
- Complimentary Visa Signature Concierge Service: Access to Visa’s Concierge 24 hours a day for things such as hard-to-find sports and entertainment tickets, dinner reservations, and more.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Up to $3,000 per passenger in reimbursement if your luggage is lost or damaged
- Baggage Delay Insurance: You’ll be reimbursed for expenditures like toiletries and clothing if your baggage is delayed over six hours, up to $100 a day for three days.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance
- Travel Accident Insurance
Finally, Extended Warranty and Purchase Protections round out the Rewards Visa Signature card benefits, along with included Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and Roadside Dispatch for unexpected setbacks. It is worth noting that all Signature Card premium perks are available with either an Amazon credit card, whether you carry the Prime Rewards Visa Signature or the regular Rewards Visa Signature card. Furthermore, such premium perks are not what you would typically expect on a card with no annual fee, adding even greater appeal to these offers.
Promotional Financing Offers
Like the Amazon Store Card offered by Synchrony Bank, the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature cards from Chase come with attractive financing offers.
Equal Monthly Payments:
Individuals with the Amazon Rewards Signature and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card can make equal monthly payments on Amazon.com purchases, at 0% APR, over the financing offer period:
- 6 equal monthly payments on purchases of $50 or more
- 12 equal monthly payments on purchases of $250 or more
- 18 equal monthly payments on purchases of $800 or more
The 0% APR equal monthly payment option may be selected at checkout in lieu of earning 5% back on purchases, and is dependent on making all payments on time. After the 0% promo period a variable APR of 14.24% to 22.24% applies. A variable balance transfer APR of 14.24% to 22.24% also applies– (a balance transfer does not qualify for 0% APR monthly payments), while the cash advance APR is a variable rate of 24.99%.
It should be noted that the standard Amazon Rewards Visa Signature and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature are more exclusive and will require a good to excellent credit score to qualify for, so this is not the ideal rewards card for individuals trying to build credit or repair poor credit.
Points accrued with any Amazon credit card can be redeemed in a number of ways, though some are better than others. Some ways to make the most of your Amazon card bonus points is to redeem them for:
- eligible purchases at Amazon.com
- cash (starting at 2,000 points)
- travel rewards
- gift cards
- products or services
Redeeming Rewards Points for Amazon.com Purchases
When redeeming bonus points this way, every 100 points in your account is equal to $1. Amazon will give you an easy option at checkout to utilize your points: you’ll see the total in your account, how much it equates to in cash, and have the ability to apply the desired portion of your balance to your Amazon store purchase. While this is certainly convenient and advertised as one of the biggest perks of having an Amazon credit card, it isn’t actually the most cost-effective strategy for redeeming points. Redeeming bonus points for cash would be the optimal strategy.
Redeeming Rewards Points for Cash
Instead of applying points to your Amazon.com purchases, ideally you would want to use only your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. In this particular 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. By using your Amazon Prime Rewards credit card, you keep your existing points and add to them by still earning 5x the points of the entire purchase, all of which converts to actual cash back on a statement credit once you pass the 2,000 point mark.
Standard Amazon Rewards Visa Signature v. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
While the 5% back on Amazon.com purchases and at Whole Foods Market granted by being an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa cardholder is preferable to the 3% back for Rewards Visa Signature cardholders without a Prime membership, it would not be worth the membership fee to sign up unless one were spending a significant amount of money. Strictly from a percent-back perspective, the math works out to a spending threshold of $6,000 at Amazon.com and Whole Foods before one starts reaping benefits that outweigh the $119 Prime membership fee. However, this does not take into account the many other money-saving benefits of an Amazon Prime membership, which include:
- Free 2-day Prime shipping on thousands of products
- Exclusive Prime Day offers and huge savings on thousands of products
- Millions of free movies and TV shows with Prime Video
- Free streaming for millions of songs and albums
- Free Kindle e-books
- Unlimited photo storage
- And more…
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Extra 5% Back for First Three Months
As well as 5% back, Prime Rewards Visa Signature cardholders get on everyday Amazon.com purchases and at Whole Foods. Those who qualify for this credit card will also earn an extra 5% back on all card purchases for the first three months from account opening on a maximum of $2,500 in total spending. This 5% back rewards rate applies to not only Amazon site and Whole Foods purchases, but to credit card purchases that would normally qualify for the 2% back rewards rate at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else. After reaching the earlier of three months from account opening or the $2,500 spend, Prime Rewards Visa Signature cardholders will continue to earn the 5% back at Amazon and Whole Foods, the 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and the 1% back on all other purchases as set forth in the credit card terms.
Another benefit of the Amazon credit cards– both the standard Rewards Visa Signature card and the Prime Rewards Visa Signature– is that they do not cap your rewards earnings! In fact, the vast majority of credit cards have a cap on the number of points that you can earn in a month or a year through spending.
Compare the pros and cons to make a better decision.
- No annual fee
- $60 immediate signup bonus
- Accepted everywhere Visa is accepted
- Cashback of 3% on Amazon purchases
- You don’t need to be a Prime member to earn bonus rewards
- Cashback of 2% at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
- You can start using it immediately after approval
- Only items sold directly by Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market purchases qualify for 5% cash back
Who should get an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card?
As you can see, the Amazon Prime Store Card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (and their counterparts for people without an Amazon Prime membership) vary considerably in their sign-up bonuses, approval odds, and other cardholder benefits. Frequent shoppers at Amazon who have good credit and are looking for a straightforward cashback credit card with no annual fee should consider the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card. The $70 immediate signup bonus for Prime members and $50 bonus for non-Prime members (no minimum purchase requirement) helps to sweeten the deal. Remember, the 3-5% cashback only applies to products bought directly from Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. However, the 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and the 1% on all other purchases are smart advantages that make this one of the best credit cards for earning rewards and potentially turning those rewards into cash on a statement credit.
Amazon Store Card vs Amazon Credit Card
Amazon Store Card: Best for Building Credit
If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper with so-so or thin credit, one of the Amazon Store Cards from Synchrony Bank can be a fine choice for helping to boost or build it. The approval odds of qualifying for an Amazon Store Card are much more favorable than those of more selective credit cards. Assuming you pay on time and keep your balances low, store cards like these can be a great entry point as you work to build or rebuild your credit.
The wide variety of items available on Amazon.com may also make these cards a smarter financial choice than typical closed-loop store cards, as you can use your Amazon store card for practically any of life’s necessities, as well as the occasional splurge. Prime members earn 5% cashback rewards on all Amazon purchases, and unlike many unsecured credit-building cards, the Amazon store cards charge no annual fee.
Even if you’re not approved for an Amazon store card, you can still be considered for their secured version of the card, the Amazon Credit Builder. The Amazon Credit Builder looks identical to its non-secured cousin and is also issued by Synchrony Bank; the only difference is that it requires you to put down a deposit of $100 to $1,000, which doubles as your credit limit. The card carries the same 5% back on Amazon.com purchases for Prime members and gives you a chance to graduate to an unsecured Amazon Store Card after seven on-time payments.
Amazon Rewards Visa Credit Card: Best for Earning Rewards
The Amazon credit cards from Chase Bank are top contenders among rewards cards offers, whether you’re a Prime member or not. They offer numerous opportunities to earn rewards on everyday spending. Another benefit is the flexibility they offer. They also include benefits that are rarely seen on credit cards with no annual fee. With it’s 5% cash back on spending on Amazon’s site and at Whole Foods, the Amazon Prime Rewards credit card takes the cake for best rewards-earning potential.
Even with its lower rewards rate on Amazon spending, the standard Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card beats out the Amazon Prime Store Card, thanks to rewards flexibility and a higher average rewards rate across spending outside of Amazon’s site.
The Amazon gift card sign-up bonus amounts are also significant differences. Amazon Store cardholders get a $10 Amazon.com gift card upon approval regardless of Prime membership. However, cardholders of the standard Amazon Rewards credit card get a $50 gift card. Cardholders with the Amazon Prime Rewards get a $70 gift card loaded directly to their accounts. That’s nothing to sneeze at. A $70 gift card more than half the cost a Prime membership.
The bottom line
The deciding factor in which Amazon card is the best fit for you may be your credit score. Stick with one of the Amazon Store Cards issued by Synchrony Bank if you’re working to repair or build credit. If your credit is good, the Chase-issued Amazon Rewards cards are very hard to beat.
Andrew is the managing editor for SuperMoney and a certified personal finance counselor. He loves to geek out on financial data and translate it into actionable insights everyone can understand. His work is often cited by major publications and institutions, such as Forbes, U.S. News, Fox Business, SFGate, Realtor, Deloitte, and Business Insider.