If you are an existing Amazon Prime customer, now is a good time to apply for the Amazon Prime Store Card. This credit card offers a high 5% back on Amazon.com purchases - an offer matched only by the Sallie Mae MasterCard, and superior to the Amazon.com Rewards Visa card from Chase. Those consumers who are already Amazon.com Store cardholders AND an Amazon Prime member will be automatically upgraded to the Amazon Prime store credit card. If you are on the fence about signing up for Amazon Prime, or if you spend more than $750 per month on Amazon, we recommend this card as a worthwhile consideration to earn rewards.
Features we like about the Amazon Prime Store Card:
- The highest, and unlimited, rewards rate on Amazon.com purchases of 5%
- 0% APR financing options on select purchases
Things we think the Amazon Prime Store Card falls short on:
- No major card network affiliation makes it useless outside of Amazon.com purchases
- Extremely high APR of 25.99%
- Available only to Amazon Prime members (annual membership fee of $99)
We think the Amazon Prime card is a great option for frequent shoppers looking for extra rewards and savings on their Amazon.com. Like the Sallie Mae MasterCard, the store card offers 5% back on all Amazon purchases. If your shopping on the website exceeds $750 per month, we recommend the Amazon Prime Store card so you can earn extra rewards. If your spending is below $750 a month, we think most shoppers will be better off with the broader mileage they can get with the Sallie Mae card instead.
A major drawback to the Amazon Prime credit card is its limited use: this is a credit card made specifically for Amazon shoppers exclusively on the website. On the other hand, the Sallie Mae credit card is accepted at any location that runs on the MasterCard network. The Amazon Prime store card is also different from the Amazon.com Rewards credit card from Chase, which we'll cover below some more.
The store card comes with no annual fee, though you have to be an Amazon Prime member in good standing to qualify. Currently, membership costs $99 per year ($49 for students). If we think about this as the card's annual fee, then it actually ranks among the more expensive end of the landscape as far as rewards credit cards go. The Amazon Prime credit card would "pay for itself" after you earn 5% back from $1,980 of spending on the website. This of course ignores the extra services and perks associated with a Prime membership, such as expedited shipping and Prime Instant Video.
How are the APRs on this credit card? The credit card from Amazon Prime also lets users make certain purchases with 0% APR for some time (6,12, and 24 months). This is great, though activating this option will nullify the 5% discount for that particular purchase. As always, we recommend paying off your credit card balance in full each month and not having to worry about paying credit card interest. If you do run a balance onto your credit card which you cannot pay off immediately, we recommend using a balance transfer credit card instead. This credit card has a very high APR of 25.99%. This is over 10 percentage points higher than the average interest rate on credit cards, and slightly higher than the usual department store credit card offer. In order to avoid paying this high interest rate, we recommended that you do not make any purchases with the card that you cannot pay off, in full, at the end of the billing cycle.
The table below highlights a few of the major features of the Amazon Prime store credit card.
|Amazon Prime Store Credit Card Benefits & Features|
|Annual Fee||None, but Amazon Prime annual membership of $99 is required|
|Rewards||5% Back on Amazon.com Purchases|
|Additional Benefits||0% APR Promotional Financing Options|
|Limited Time: $10 Amazon.com Gift Card|
5% Cash Back on Amazon.com Purchases: As mentioned above, the Amazon Prime card's predominant and best feature is the unlimited 5% Amazon discount. 5% is the highest cash back percentage possible, and is usually reserved on rotating category cash back cards that reward seasonal purchases. Even with those, however, the savings is usually capped at anywhere between $1,500 to $2,250 per quarter. If your Amazon.com purchases exceed this amount, then the Prime card is the only way to go for maximum savings. The 5% back will be applied directly to your statement. It may take up to 2 billing cycles for your account to be credited, however.
Membership / Annual Fee: If we think of the Amazon Prime membership fee as being the equivalent to the card's annual fee, then you would need to spend $1,980 to just cover that cost in rewards( $1,980 x 5% = $99). That is why we do not recommend this card to anyone who is only interested in the discount, without the Amazon Prime benefits. Note that if you are a student you can qualify for a reduced fee of just $49 per year. Speaking of which, for those unfamiliar with the service, by being a member you receive benefits such as free two-day shipping, instant video streaming, and more.
|0% APR Period||Qualifying Purchases|
|6 Months||Purchases of $149 and more|
|1 Year||Purchases of $599 and more; Other Select Purchases|
|2 Years||Select Purchases Only|
Note that if you elect to use one of these financing offers for a purchase, that sale itself will not count towards the 5% cash back offer of the credit card. Furthermore, if you do not pay off the item in full by the time the financing period ends, you will incur interest that has compounded from the original date of purchase. The 5% refund will still be available for future purchases when you elect your rewards that way.
When checking out at Amazon.com, Prime cardholders will have the option to select either the 5% offer or a financing option. Be sure that the feature you want to use is selected. Those who were approved for the card before 3/16/2015 will have financing set as the default option, whereas anyone who was approved after said date will have the 5% offer be the default.
The only other way to get 5% off Amazon.com purchases is through either the Chase Freedom Credit Card or the Sallie Mae MasterCard. The Chase Freedom only offers the 5% discount October through December, and as stated above the savings are capped at $1,500 in spending. The Sallie Mae MasterCard gives 5% off bookstores, which non-digital Amazon.com purchases are classified under. Just like the Amazon Prime Store credit card, the Sallie Mae offers this discount year-round. However, the savings is capped at $750 in purchases each month. You also do not need a Sallie Mae loan in order to qualify for the MasterCard.
If you’re interested in saving 5% on Amazon.com purchases, and your purchases there are below $750, the Sallie Mae MasterCard is the better deal. On top of the Amazon offer, it also gives 5% back on gas and grocery purchases (on up to $250 per month) and 1% back on all other purchases. Its affiliation with MasterCard also means you can use it at all places that accept the MasterCard network – whereas the Amazon Prime Store credit card is only good for purchases with the website.
When it comes to Amazon purchases, both the Amazon Prime Store Card and Sallie Mae MasterCard are generally better than the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card from Chase. The Chase card provides just 3% back on Amazon purchases, compared to the 5% of the other two credit cards. The only instance when you should prefer the Amazon.com Rewards Visa card is if your monthly gas expenses and restaurant expenses are well over $250. If that's the case, the Rewards Visa card's 2% cash back on those two categories will reward you nicely, and close the gap on the higher Amazon.com savings you'd get with the Amazon Prime and Sallie Mae credit cards.
If you already are an Amazon Prime customer, then this card is a no-brainer. It should be in your wallet for all future Amazon.com purchases. However, recommending this card gets a little trickier for everyone else, as the $99 membership fee for Amazon Prime may not be for everyone. If the Amazon Prime features themselves justify the price tag, then go for it. Otherwise, if you're interested in just the 5% discount, we think the Sallie Mae MasterCard offers a better value for the general consumer.
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