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Amazon's Prime Rewards Visa: An in-depth look

How does its cash-back offers stack up against other cards?

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Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

If you're planning on shopping via Amazon this holiday season, there are compelling reasons to do it with the company's flagship cash-back credit card. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card* features a considerable sign-on bonus -- a $150 Amazon gift card, rewarded to you instantly upon account approval -- and up to 25% back on select items in rotating categories. 

The card provides 5% cash back on purchases at Amazon and Whole Foods. You also get 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores, and 1% back on other purchases. So whether you're buying groceries at Whole Foods or from Amazon Fresh, this card will help maximize your savings this holiday season. 

As an alternative to earning cash-back rewards on a purchase, cardholders can choose 0% intro APR financing on equal payments for purchases of at least $50 for six to 18 months (14.24% to 22.24% variable APR thereafter). This feature could help you stretch out the payment period on a larger purchase, though you may be subject to paying interest.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Card Highlights
Intro Bonus$150 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval
APR14.24% to 22.24% Variable
Recommended Credit N/A
Reward Rates
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Balance Transfer APR14.24% to 22.24% Variable
Late Payment Fee Up to $39
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*

Our Take

The Amazon Prime rewards card has no annual fee and the eligibility requirements aren't particularly stringent. Applicants with a "fair" credit score (approximately 580 or higher) stand a good chance of being approved.

Amazon also offers a slimmed-down version of its Rewards Visa for people who are not Prime members -- the Amazon Rewards Visa Card*. The Amazon and Whole Foods cash-back rate with this card is only 3% and signup incentive is lower: a $75 Amazon gift card. But if you're looking to maximize your Amazon cash-back potential, you're probably better off becoming an Amazon Prime member first -- which costs $119 per year -- and then applying for the full-featured Prime version of the card. Since you'll earn a $150 Amazon gift card as a sign-up bonus with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, it can fully cover your first year of Prime membership, which features many worthwhile Amazon benefits

Some alternatives to Amazon credit cards for holiday shopping

Another alternative for the Amazon-heavy shopper is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which offers 6% cash back on groceries at US supermarkets -- including Whole Foods -- on up to $6,000 per year (after which the cash-back rate decreases to 1%). You can also earn 6% cash back on select US streaming service purchases, including Amazon Prime Video. Lastly, you can get a $300 statement credit by spending $3,000 within the first six months of membership. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. 

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 Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card* is another great option for those who do much of their holiday shopping online but not primarily on Amazon. This card offers a customizable 3% cash-back category that doesn't rotate, and online shopping is one of the available categories, as well as 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for up to a combined $2,500 in choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases per quarter, then 1%). You receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. Note that you have to manually select this category through your account to receive these benefits, as the default category is gas. You'll also receive a $200 online cash rewards sign-on bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

More credit card advice

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, click here.

*All information about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, Amazon Rewards Visa Card and the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card 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.