This post will share some of the ways I have used to maximize my returns on Amazon spend. If you are like me and buy a lot from Amazon.com (including Whole Foods, Prime Now, etc.), this will be worth your time!
1. Chase Amazon card (5% cashback)
The easiest, most straight-forward way to get 5% cashback on all your Amazon purchases, including at Whole Foods, Prime Now, etc. is to use the Amazon Prime card (referral link) by Chase. You can simply redeem your rewards as statement credit, directly on Amazon.com, or choose to have it deposited into your bank account. For Prime Day 2021, Chase Amazon Prime cardholders will also get an additional 1% (total 6%) cashback on their purchases:
For those who do not have a Prime membership, you will earn 3% back instead (still good!). In addition, this is a great no annual fee card that you can also use internationally as it doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees. Finally, from time to time the card will also offer an intro bonus of up to $150!
Summary: Solid return, low-risk, easy and hassle-free
2. Chase Ink Cash (5x UR points)
The Chase Ink Cash (referral link) business card offers 5% cashback (5x UR) at office supply stores, but if you have a premium Chase UR cards such as Sapphire Preferred (referral link), Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred, you can redeem your rewards for at least 25-50% more value, or even more if you transfer to partner airlines and hotels. If done correctly, this will give offer a return of more than 8.5%!
The catch is the process is more convoluted. You will have to visit an office supply store like Staples or Office Depot to buy Amazon.com gift cards. This is a strategy that has worked well for me for many years, as Chase is less strict on purchases of gift cards. However, I would advise not buying more than a couple hundred dollars worth at any one time, and to mix it with other organic spend from time to time.
Summary: Best return, low-risk, slightly more convoluted strategy
3. Amex Amazon Business card (5% cashback)
This is essentially the Amex business (public link) version of the Chase Amazon personal card described in (1), earning the same 5% cashback. There are slight differences in the 2% categories and at the time of writing does come with a $125 Amazon.com gift card welcome bonus on approval. Similar to the personal version, the card also doesn't have an annual fee and doesn't charge foreign transaction fees when used abroad.
Think you are not eligible because you do not have an official business? Check out this post for more info on how you may qualify. In general, Amex business cards are easier to get approved than Chase cards.
Summary: Solid return, low-risk, easy and hassle-free
4. Amex Gold (4x MR points)
The Amex Gold (referral link) offers 4x at U.S. supermarkets, many of which sell Amazon gift cards. This essentially means that you can earn 4x Amex Membership Rewards (MR) on your Amazon.com purchases, which at current valuation will give you a return of ~8%.
However, Amex has been known to crack down on individuals who abuse this. I would not recommend this method, but data points show that those who mix in small gift card denominations (~$100) into their regular grocery purchases do not have a problem. That being said, there has been precedent of Amex clawing back posts retroactively, so just proceed with caution when using this technique.
Summary: Great return, high-risk, slightly convoluted strategy
5. Chase Freedom / Freedom Flex / Freedom Unlimited (3x UR points)
The following Chase Freedom cards (all with no annual fees) have 3% drugstore earning category, where you can buy Amazon gift cards at places like CVS, Walgreens, etc:
- Chase Freedom (closed to new applicants)
- Chase Freedom Flex (referral link)
- Chase Freedom Unlimited (referral link)
Summary: Mediocre returns, low-risk, slightly convoluted strategy
In addition to putting your Amazon spend on the right credit cards, there are other tactics that can be used to help maximize your returns even more. For example, there are limited time promotions that allow you to get additional discounts for using just 1 Amex MR point:
From time to time, Amex cardholders can also check Amex Offers on the website or in the app to see if they are targeted for limited time promos, such as the example below:
Anyone who regularly shops on Amazon.com (and therefore most likely have Prime) should at the very least be getting 5% back ($5 for every $100 spent). However, for those more savvy with their credit card strategy, you can get significantly more value by earning Chase UR points instead.
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This site is for informational purposes only. Contents and opinions expressed are the author's alone and your experience may vary. The author is not a financial/investment/tax/legal professional of any kind. CreditFred strives to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, but the strategies and tips provided should not be replicated before you conduct your own research and, if needed, consult with a financial professional.