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Amazon Revamped Two of Its Best Credit Cards With Some Enticing Features

Earn more rewards and a higher welcome bonus for a limited time with these credit cards.

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The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card have a new name and look.

They’re now the Prime Visa and Amazon Visa*, respectively and have a great limited-time offer along with new reward categories that’ll stick around. You can also redeem rewards even faster now, as soon as the next day. We’ve outlined all the details.

Which card is the better deal?

Both newly revamped cards offer a solid return on purchases, but which one is right for you will depend on how much you shop at Amazon, whether you’re a Prime member, and the other credit cards in your wallet.

Despite requiring a Prime membership, for frequent Amazon shoppers, the Prime Visa may offer a better value. In addition to a higher welcome bonus ($150 gift card versus $60 gift card), you’ll also have a higher introductory rewards rate and spending limit.

The Prime Visa also earns a higher ongoing cash-back rate, providing better long-term value for Amazon loyalists.

But if you only occasionally shop on Amazon, and aren’t interested in becoming a Prime member, you may be better off going with the Amazon Visa.

How to get the most from your Amazon cards

If you’re a new cardholder, you should use either Amazon card for any purchase you feel comfortable charging during the first three months (or until you reach your spending cap) -- unless you have a credit card that earns a higher rate. Since 5% is typically the upper limit of what cash-back cards offer outside of niche categories, the Amazon Prime card will likely be your best option on most purchases.

You don’t want to overspend to earn the higher cash-back rate. Only charge what you can comfortably afford to repay -- otherwise the interest you accrue will likely offset the rewards you earn.

Once you’ve earned the maximum rewards from their welcome bonus, these cards work best when you use them for Amazon-related expenses. And, both cards also now earn rewards for local transit and commuting -- including rideshares -- so unless you have a credit card that provides greater rewards for those conveniences, use either Amazon card for those purchase types too.

How does the welcome offer compare to other reward cards?

It’s rare to find a welcome offer that doesn’t require you to spend a certain amount within a set timeframe to earn a bonus. The only other credit card that rivals the new welcome offer is Discover. Discover’s credit cards have the Cashback Match™ bonus, which means the issuer will essentially double any rewards you earn in the first year of the card at the end of your first year. But, Amazon’s bonus is instant, so you won’t need to wait a year to earn it.

There are other worthwhile welcome bonuses that require a certain amount of spending to reach, but we like that the Amazon card doesn’t require extra spending. And, since you’ll receive your bonus as soon as you’re approved for the card, you can immediately use it toward an upcoming purchase -- a boon for anyone who shops regularly at Amazon. 

Alternative cards

If you’re unsure of the value you can get from the new Amazon cards, or if you’re not a frequent Amazon shopper, there are other general cash-back cards that may offer a more flexible way to earn rewards on your everyday spending. Here are a few of our favorites: 

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: The no-annual-fee Active Cash is one of the best credit cards. It earns 2% cash rewards for purchases regardless of category, providing a good deal of flexibility. It’s also a Visa Signature card that comes equipped with some useful consumer protections. It could pair well with either Amazon card too. 
  • Discover it® Cash Back: The welcome offer on the Discover it Cash Back* could rival the value you’d get from either Amazon card, depending on how much you spend. Its rewards work a bit differently, however. The reward categories change quarterly and require manual activation, but they have included Amazon purchases in the past.
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: As the name suggests, this is a great card for expenses you make frequently. It even includes purchases at U.S. online retailers and at U.S. supermarkets, in case you don’t shop frequently with Amazon. Its welcome offer does require a certain amount of spending first to reach, but it’s still a good deal.

The bottom line

The new Amazon card features beat out many of the best credit cards on the market. Between the new welcome offers, higher limited time rewards rates and boosted travel and transportation rewards, there are many ways to maximize rewards with either card. However, consider how much you spend with Amazon annually to decide which card -- if either -- will provide the greatest value to you.

*All information about the Amazon Visa and Discover it Cash Back has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Evan Zimmer has been writing about finance for years. After graduating with a journalism degree from SUNY Oswego, he wrote credit card content for Credit Card Insider (now Money Tips) before moving to ZDNET Finance to cover credit card, banking and blockchain news. He currently works with CNET Money to bring readers the most accurate and up-to-date financial information. Otherwise, you can find him reading, rock climbing, snowboarding and enjoying the outdoors.
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