The Prime Visa offers big rewards earning opportunities for anyone who shops on Amazon. Which, according to Statista, included over 200 million Amazon Prime members in 2020. But is this Prime Visa worth it for everyone?
No, it’s likely not worth it for everyone, as the value this card brings depends on your spending habits. But for avid Amazon shoppers, there might not be a more rewarding credit card out there. Let’s dig into the details to see whether the Amazon credit card aligns with your situation, or whether you should consider alternative options.
The basics: Prime Visa
Sign-up bonus: $150 Amazon gift card upon approval (plus earn 5% cash back on up to $2,500 in your first 3 months)
Rewards rate: 5% cash back at Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market, and on Chase Travel purchases; 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, and on local transit and commuting; 1% cash back on all other purchases
Annual fee: Technically $0, but an eligible Prime membership ($139 per year) is required for this card
Review: Check out our Prime Visa review.
The Prime Visa is easily one of the top credit card options for frequent Amazon shoppers. Being able to earn 5% back at Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market, and Chase Travel is likely the best you’ll find for Amazon purchases. Other bonus categories for everyday purchases are also helpful.
Other perks include no foreign transaction fees and plenty of Visa Signature benefits. Here are many of the provided benefits for cardholders:
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty protection
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Roadside dispatch
- Travel and emergency assistance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Baggage delay insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- 24/7 Visa Signature concierge service
In addition, the Prime Visa offers different options for making Amazon purchases and paying for them over time. For eligible purchases, you can choose an option for equal monthly payments at checkout. Depending on the total purchase amount, the monthly payments could be spread out over six, 12, or 18 months. You won’t earn rewards for choosing to make equal monthly payments, but you can avoid any interest rate for these purchases as long as you make your payments.
How to make the Prime Visa card worth it
If you compare credit cards, it’s typically easy to discover how much you would have to spend on a rewards credit card to offset its annual fee, if applicable. For the Prime Visa, you would need to spend at least $380 your first year and at least $2,380 your second year (more on these calculations below) to offset the $139 Amazon Prime annual membership fee.
Keep in mind that it’s not necessarily a fair comparison to only judge the value of your Prime membership in relation to having this credit card account. Amazon Prime offers loads of benefits that have nothing to do with Amazon credit cards, such as fast and free deliveries, as well as access to Prime Video streaming, Amazon Photos, Amazon Music Prime, and Prime Gaming. These benefits together could easily offset your annual membership fee.
But to make things simple, we’ll ignore these benefits in our calculations of how much you might have to spend on your Prime Visa to offset an Amazon Prime membership fee of $139.
Scenario 1: First year of membership
It shouldn’t be too difficult to offset the annual membership fee the first year because the card’s welcome bonus is a $150 Amazon gift card upon approval (plus earn 5% cash back on up to $2,500 in your first 3 months). After a quick subtraction ($139 - $100), we end up with $39 as our overall cost.
Let’s see how much you would have to spend on your card to offset the remaining $39:
- Earning 5% from Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market, and Chase Travel: For purchases in this category, you would have to spend $780 ($39 / 0.05).
- Earning 2% from restaurants, gas stations, local transit and commuting: For purchases in this category, you would have to spend $1,950 ($39 / 0.02).
- Earning 1% from all other purchases: For purchases in this category, you would have to spend $3,900 ($39 / 0.01).
To offset the $39 by spending in two or more of these categories, you would have to spend between $780 and $3,900 during the first year of account opening. To break it down more, divide these numbers by 12, and you get about $65 to $325 in spending per month.
Scenario 2: Second year of membership
Unfortunately, you don’t get another welcome bonus (Amazon.com gift card) for every year of card membership, which means you won’t be able to immediately offset $100 of your $139 Amazon Prime membership for the second year.
Let’s see how much you would have to spend with the Prime Visa to offset the $139 fee for the second year:
- Earning 5% from Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market, and Chase Travel: For purchases in this category, you would have to spend $2,780 ($139 / 0.05).
- Earning 2% from restaurants, gas stations, local transit and commuting: For purchases in this category, you would have to spend $6,950 ($139 / 0.02).
- Earning 1% from all other purchases: For purchases in this category, you would have to spend $13,900 ($139 / 0.01).
Of course, the amounts you have to spend in the second year and onward are much higher compared to year one. You’re now talking about spending between $2,780 and $13,900, depending on your spending habits. Divided by 12, that’s about $232 to $1,158 per month.
Overall, these calculations amount to more than the typical Amazon Prime member is found to spend on a yearly basis, which is $1,400. But again, these scenarios only account for spending on the Prime Visa and don’t account for other benefits.
Would the Amazon Visa be better?
Believe it or not, you can still make purchases on Amazon if you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership. You lose all the benefits of Prime, but you also get to skip the $139 membership fee. Removing the fee creates situations where the Amazon Visa, which doesn’t require a Prime membership, can shine.
Here are the basics of the Amazon Visa:
Sign-up bonus: Earn a $60 Amazon gift card upon approval of credit card application (plus, earn 3% cash back on up to $1,500 in your first 3 months)
Rewards rate: 3% cash back at Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market, and on Chase Travel purchases; 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, and on local transit and commuting; and 1% cash back on all other purchases
Annual fee: $0
Review: Check out our Amazon Visa review.
As you can see, this card isn’t much different from the Prime Visa Signature version. The welcome bonus is lower, and the earning rate maxes out at a 3% cashback rate, but the bonus categories are the same, and the annual fee is $0. And this $0 is for real because you don’t need a Prime membership to qualify for the Amazon Visa.
This means you wouldn’t have to spend a certain amount of money per year to offset an annual cost like you might with the Prime Visa. If you don’t spend loads of money on Amazon each year, but do shop there occasionally, this card might make sense for you. However, there are more credit card options to consider (see below) that might make more sense and offer increased cashback rewards depending on your situation.
The benefits you might miss out on by not having the Prime card and an Amazon Prime Membership include Prime shipping options (free two-day shipping) and access to Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music Prime, Amazon Photos, and Prime Gaming.
Alternatives to Amazon credit cards
This may surprise you, but some of the best credit cards for shopping on Amazon aren’t Amazon credit cards. You might find that Amazon cards don’t completely align with your financial situation or goals. For example, if your spending habits are spread out between Amazon and other popular retailers, you might want to consider a cashback card with an overall higher earning rate.
One possible alternative is the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. This card offers 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
The key here is the 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. This type of increased earning rate for general expenses could prove useful if your purchases are spread out between different categories. You can also transfer Chase Freedom rewards points to a Chase Sapphire credit card for a boost to your travel redemptions.
For more information, check out our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.
If you want to avoid bonus categories altogether, it’s easy to earn cash back with the Citi® Double Cash Card card. This card offers 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. That’s not quite the 5% you could earn with the Amazon Prime Visa card, but you also aren’t limited to Amazon.com, Whole Foods Market, and Chase Travel. In many situations, earning up to 2% on your purchases could make more sense.
For more information, check out our Citi Double Cash Card review.
Can I use my Amazon credit card anywhere?
It depends on which Amazon credit card you have because Amazon store cards aren’t the same as Amazon Visa cards. The major difference between Amazon store cards vs. Amazon Visa cards is that the store cards will only work on Amazon and their card issuer is Synchrony. The Amazon Visa cards will work anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted and their card issuer is Chase.
Does an Amazon credit card improve your credit score?
Like virtually any credit card, an Amazon credit card could help improve your credit score if you aren’t missing any payments and don’t carry high balances. But like most credit cards, late payments and high credit utilization (typically using over 30% of your available credit limit) could negatively impact your credit score.
What are the benefits of an Amazon credit card?
Amazon credit cards are designed to offer rewards for online shopping, specifically on Amazon. They typically don’t have annual fees (though some require an Amazon Prime membership) and might offer bonus rewards for other non-Amazon expenses, such as grocery or restaurant purchases. If Amazon is one of your top places to shop, an Amazon credit card could make sense for you.
The Prime Visa card won’t be worth it in every situation — mainly if you don’t spend enough in the bonus categories — but it could make sense for plenty of individuals. Since Amazon sells basically everything you could ever want or need, it’s likely not too difficult for some people to be able to offset the Prime membership fee and then some.
But if you don’t shop on Amazon as much as you thought you did, another credit card offer might make more sense. For shopping trips, cashback cards are typically some of the best options for earning rewards on your everyday purchases. Check out our list of the best cashback credit cards.
Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards
$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases