Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card Review: 5% Back at Amazon

primecreditChase and Amazon have rolled out the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, a new credit card (not store card) available only to Amazon Prime members. I’m surprised how much mainstream press coverage this card received. Highlights:

  • 5% back at Amazon.com for Amazon Prime members. If you stop your Prime membership, you’ll be downgraded to 3% back.
  • 2% Back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores.
  • 1% Back on all other purchases.
  • Sign-up bonus of variable amount based on each person’s account. I was offered a $70 Amazon Gift Certificate. Click on the “Apply Now” link to see your personalized offer, you’ll have time to stop the application.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee.
  • Extended warranty protection. Extends the time period for the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.
  • Purchase Protection. Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Existing Amazon Rewards Visa Signature cardholder? If you have the original card and are an Amazon Prime subscriber, you should be “upgraded” to this new card automatically. You may see the change online first (your linked purchases will start earning 5% back instead of just 3% back) before you actually receive a new physical card.

Commentary. I recently did a Amazon Store Card review, about a retail card issued by Synchrony Bank that was only valid at Amazon.com. My overall opinion of this credit card is similar, except for the extended warranty protection. If you use gift cards to buy things at Amazon, you will forgo the extended warranty protection and purchase protection that many other credit cards offer. With this card, you will get the extended warranty protection and 5% cash back. How much is an extra year’s warranty worth? Depends on how many big-ticket items you buy at Amazon and how likely you’ll actually remember to use this benefit.

My rough rule of thumb is that a “hard” credit check can reliably net me at least $500 in value, usually from “try me! try me!” credit card incentives but also potentially from bank bonuses and higher interest. It is very rare that I shop at any specific retailer enough to get $500 in savings. For example, it would take $10,000 of Amazon purchases at 5% back to net me $500 in cash back. If the sign-up bonus gets high enough, then I may take another look.

(2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores only draws a yawn when I can get that much cash back on everything. 1% cash back on everything else… zzzz.)

For the casual Amazon shopper, 5% rotating category credit cards often have Amazon or a place that sells Amazon gift cards as an eligible category. Other cards like the American Express Blue Cash Preferred offer 6% back at grocery stores (that sell Amazon gift cards) or Chase Ink Business cards offer 5% back at office supply stores (that sell Amazon gift cards). Basically, there are other ways that I can stock up on Amazon gift cards at 5% off without having this card.

In the end, if you are a loyal Prime member that spends a lot of money at Amazon and prefer simplicity, then this card can make sense. Link it to your Amazon account, and don’t use it for anything else. You’ll then track all your Amazon spending on one card, and also get extended warranty protection and purchase protection. As with any rewards credit card, you should always pay off your bill in full as the annual interest rate on balances is significantly higher than 5%.

Comments

  1. My hurdle for signing up for new cards is much lower than your $500. In my experience, the damage done to my credit rating for getting a new card is small and very temporary. But I guess there is a “simplicity” factor also to consider, and the less stuff you have (included credit cards), generally the better.

  2. Given that this card is issued by Chase, I’d say thatwasting a slot of the 5/24 rule is worth a lot more than even $500. As Jonathan stated there are a ton of ways to get 5%+ with all the places that sell Amazon GC.

    Look into the more lucrative cards from Chase first, say the CSR, CSP or even the 2 Chase Freedoms. They’d be better for almost anyone long term.

    • According to various online reports, the Chase Rewards Visa is not subject to 5/24. (Not all Chase card are subject to 5/24, that part is definitely true.) There is also no such language on the application page that I could find.

      • Correct, it’s not subject to 5/24, but it doesn’t seem worth the hard pull and filling a slot in the (5 cards in 2 years) rule. Much better cards out there for consideration, in my opinion.

  3. This is really where the 5/24 rule hurts Chase. I would sign up without hesitation for this card, and at a minimum put all of my Amazon purchases on it ($5-7k/yr), except I can’t because of the 5/24 rule. So instead I use a Citibank card. I’m sure there are many more in a similar situation, so the effort to shut down churners instead as locked out actual users.

    • Please see my other comment. According to various online reports, the Chase Rewards Visa is not subject to 5/24. (Not all Chase card are subject to 5/24, that part is definitely true.) There is also no such language on the application page that I could find.

      There will be another card on your file though, which is why many couples have one person do only Chase applications and the other person does all the other issuers.

      • Right, I think that’s what Jim and others are getting at — Applying for this puts a card application on your file (as would a card from pretty much any issuer). And as I understand 5/24, pretty much all cards apply towards the 5, so this, like any card, will turn back the clock for getting most Chase cards with high-value signup bonuses. Thus, they’re hurting themselves in that people are reluctant to get cards from Chase (as well as the other providers) that they’d normally want to acquire and use consistently.

        • If the two options are (1) apply for only 5 cards every 24 months so I can get into Chase 5/24 offers or (2) apply for whatever cards I want and give up Chase 5/24 offers, I would probably pick #2. You’d get Barclay/Citi/AmEx/Chase non-5/24. If Chase is going to be restrictive like that, then I’ll just say goodbye to Chase. In real life, if you have a spouse/partner that doesn’t like applying for credit cards, I would have one person do #1 and the other person do #2 and ONLY apply for Chase 5/24 cards. So Mrs. MMB has all the new Chase cards.

          • Yeah, that’s pretty much where I’ve landed as well. I’m not interested in carefully catering my application activity to please Chase, so the only change 5/24 resulted in for me is that I stopped applying for Chase cards it applies to (and I understand that same philosophy is what informed your comments, I just know there are those who consider Chase bonuses traditionally good enough to heavily prioritize them).

            That’s not a bad idea, to keep my wife’s credit history in a Chase-friendly state. Though pragmatically, if the best financial outcome for my identity resources is not to cater to 5/24, then the same should be true for hers. I suppose it could be thought of as hedging bets though — keeping at least one relatively clean slate in case Chase comes out with something amazing.

    • Christine Herrera says:

      I have opened up around 15 credit cards in the past 2 years and I just got approved for the Amazon Prime Visa signature. I know opening that many cards is a bit excessive but I finally got my credit in order and went a bit App happy. I’m a hardcore Amazon shopper so to me the HP was definitely worth it…and the instant $70 GC was icing on the cake.

  4. Mary Anna says:

    I’ve had this for at least 10 years (maybe more? don’t feel like checking) – and am an Amazon Prime junkie – so was happy to see that they pushed it to 5% up from 3%, for Prime members. I’m guessing the fact that Discover had Amazon as a 5% category two quarters running last year may have influenced them. I know I switched all my amazon spending to the Discover, whereas normally I would have used this card.

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