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Amazon Prime Day, which runs from July 11 to July 12 this year, offers a large number of deals across a huge selection of purchases. Whether you’re in the market for a new piece of tech or something for your home, it’ll likely be on sale. With Prime Day just around the corner, you might be searching for the right rewards credit card to earn cash back on your Amazon shopping spree or get purchase protections or extended warranty benefits on your new purchases.
Among the many Amazon-branded credit cards out there, the Prime Visa* is our top pick for this event -- but if you frequent Amazon only during Prime Day or want a card that’s more useful for everyday spending, we’ve compiled some other options. These cards offer good rewards on other spending categories besides Amazon, so you can get lasting value out of them long after Prime Day ends. Here’s how they stack up to the Prime Visa:
When it comes to Amazon purchases specifically, pretty much no card beats the Prime Visa. The card offers 5% back on Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market and on Chase Travel purchases, 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare) and 1% back on all other purchases. It also has a pretty great welcome offer right now -- you can earn a $100 (or more) Amazon gift card instantly upon approval. Unlike many credit card welcome offers, you’ll get the $100 welcome bonus instantly, without needing to spend a certain amount first -- meaning you can put it toward your Prime Day shopping spree as soon as you get the card.
Amazon also sometimes runs limited-time deals where Prime Visa holders can earn extra cash back -- typically ranging from 5% to 20% -- on select products in addition to the card’s base 5% cash back on Amazon purchases. If you can take advantage of these deals, you can boost your total cash-back rate up to 25%.
The card has no annual fee but requires an Amazon Prime membership (which costs $139 for an annual membership or $180 a year if paying month-to-month) to hold. But if you already have -- or plan to get -- a Prime membership to shop Prime Day deals, you can pick up the card for no additional cost.
You can learn more in our Prime Visa review.
Blue Cash Everyday from American Express
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a great choice for both Prime Day and beyond thanks to its bonus categories. The card earns 3% cash back (on the first $6,000 spent annually, then 1%) on U.S. online retail purchases, which includes Amazon purchases. Once Prime Day ends, you’ll still have a solid rewards card that earns 3% cash back on U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases each year in each category, then 1%), helping you cut down on everyday expenses through its rewards.
This card also has a welcome offer with a higher spending requirement than the other cards on this list, but if you’re already planning to spend money on Prime Day, it may offer the perfect opportunity to knock out a good chunk of the spending threshold.
You’ll also receive purchase protection*** which covers your new purchases against damage and theft -- something that could come in handy if you’re planning to buy anything expensive.
You can learn more in our Blue Cash Everyday review.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card* gives cardholders more flexibility over how their card earns rewards.
You can earn 3% cash back on one spending category of your choice, of which online shopping is an option. You’ll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Once you reach $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, your cash-back rate for those categories will drop to 1%. While the card’s baseline rewards are on par with the other options here, it won’t be as good of an option if you plan to spend more than $2,500 in the bonus categories each quarter.
One nice feature about this card is that you can choose a new 3% category every month from a good selection of options, including dining, travel, drug stores and more. Even if you don’t shop at Amazon frequently outside of Prime Day, you can still use this card to earn substantial rewards on your everyday spending. However, this card doesn’t include purchase protections.
You can learn more in our Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card review.
Should you get the Prime Visa for your Prime Day shopping?
The Prime Visa has the highest rewards rate for Amazon purchases -- 6% cash back on Prime Day -- of any credit card. It does require a Prime membership which costs $139 annually or $14.99 monthly (paying monthly works out to $180 a year) -- but if you’re shopping Prime Day, you’ll need this anyway, so we aren’t counting this requirement against this card.
But if you only want to apply for one new credit card right now, the Prime Visa might not be the best card for you in the long run, unless you’re an avid Amazon shopper. This card offers rewards on purchases outside of Amazon, but the rates are just so-so: 2% cash back on gas stations, restaurants and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare); and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Both the Blue Cash Everyday and Customized Cash cards may give you better ongoing value with higher rates on certain everyday purchase categories, while still offering a respectable cash-back rate on Amazon purchases.
When you take into account other categories that the average American spends their money in, you could be leaving rewards on the table with the Prime Visa. The average consumer is planning to spend $250 on Prime Day and competitor sales this year, according to a recent study from Axios. And in 2019, Prime members spent an average of $1,400 on Amazon each year, according to a study by Statista. However, that number is dwarfed by how much consumers spend on essentials like food and gas. The average household spent $5,259 on food at home and $2,148 on gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Using the average numbers above as an example, here’s how much you could earn with the Prime Visa vs. the non-Amazon cash-back cards mentioned above each year:
|If you spend:||$250 in Amazon purchases on Prime Day*||$1,150 in additional Amazon purchases throughout the year*||$5,259 in grocery store/U.S. supermarket purchases annually*||$2,148 in gas/U.S. gas station purchases annually*||Total cash back|
|Amex Blue Cash Everyday||$7.50||$34.50||$157.77||$64.44||$264.21|
|Bank of America Customized Cash**||$7.50||$34.50||$105.18||$21.48||$168.66|
*The Bank of America Customized Cash earns 3% cash back in the category of your choice and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, then 1%). Blue Cash Everyday earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. online retail purchases and U.S. gas stations (up to $6,000 per year in purchases in each category, then 1%). In the example above, the $5,259 in annual U.S. supermarket spending and $2,148 in annual U.S. gas station spending does not exceed the $6,000 cap for each category with the Blue Cash Preferred. Assuming the total combined amount of annual Amazon and grocery spending ($6,659) is broken down evenly across four quarters, the combined amount each quarter ($1,664.75) doesn’t exceed the Customized Cash’s $2,500 quarterly cap.
**This example assumes that you choose online shopping as your 3% back category on the Customized Cash Card every month for a year.
Note that the above calculations don’t take into account any welcome bonuses or limited-time offers, which vary by card and are subject to change. But in terms of regular rewards over the course of a year, the extra rewards you’ll get from groceries, gas and other everyday purchases from a standard cash-back card can easily outweigh the rewards you get from your Prime Day shopping spree using the Prime Visa, unless you plan to spend an inordinate amount of money on Amazon.
The best card for you depends on your spending habits. If you spend a lot on U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, as demonstrated in the example above, the Blue Cash Everyday pulls ahead. On the other hand, if most of your everyday spending comes from a category not shown above but is on the list of choice categories for the Customized Cash -- such as travel or dining -- then the Customized Cash might be a better fit.
Which brings us to our final point: the Prime Visa could influence your spending habits. On average, Prime members spent $800 more on Amazon each year than non-Prime members, according to the Statista survey mentioned above. If having the Prime Visa or even Amazon Prime itself might push you to spend more than intended on Amazon, you might be better off without it -- even if it means missing out on some rewards and deals.
As with any credit card, you should be realistic about how much you intend (or can afford) to spend and not let the prospect of earning credit card rewards encourage you to overspend or buy things you don’t need.
*All information about the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card and the Prime Visa has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
***Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
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