CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through the LendingTree affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective. 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.
Winter is quickly approaching, and for many, that means one thing — the holiday shopping season has arrived. But before you make those large purchases for your family members or friends, you’ll want to do a quick inventory of your credit cards to make sure you’re getting the best return on all of your Amazon shopping.
Even if you don’t already have one of the best credit cards for Amazon, we have good news — it’s not too late to get the right card for your Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even general holiday shopping, if you act quickly. But what’s the right card? We’ve gone through hundreds of options and picked out seven of the best credit cards for your Amazon purchases. Our list offers an array of cash back, points and perks — a card for everyone depending on your needs.
Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for cash back
Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for flexible rewards
Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express: Best for Amazon gift cards
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature: Best for Amazon Prime members
American Express® Gold Card: Best for purchase and return protection
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Best for simple travel rewards
Amazon Business Prime American Express Card: Best for businesses
How did we choose our best credit cards to use at Amazon? Let’s dive into each of these cards and see how they compare to one another.
If you want to keep just one credit card in your purse or wallet to earn cash back on everything you buy — including your Amazon.com purchases — the Citi Double Cash Card is the way to go. You’ll earn 2% cash back — 1% when you buy, and another 1% when you pay your statement — on all your purchases 365 days a year.
That’s a great return for a no-annual-fee card, and it’s simple — you don’t have to worry about bonus categories or figuring out complicated travel points. The card’s simplicity and solid earning rate is why CNN Underscored chose the Citi Double Cash as its benchmark credit card, and why we use it to compare and contrast other credit cards we review.
Where the Citi Double Cash lags is in its shopping benefits. Unfortunately, the card no longer comes with damage and theft purchase protection, return protection or Citi’s previously well-known Price Rewind benefit.
So despite earning great cash back on your purchase with the Citi Double Cash, if you’re buying something expensive, you might want to choose a card that has you covered in the event your item is broken or lost, or you potentially want to return it after the merchant’s return policy has ended.
Learn more and apply for the Citi Double Cash Card.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns cash back rewards that can also be converted to travel points with the right combination of cards.
If you’re not sure whether you want cash back or travel points, a good compromise option could be the Chase Freedom Unlimited. With this card, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, including those at Amazon. That’s less than the Citi Double Cash, but in exchange for a slightly lower earning rewards rate, you’ll earn rewards that are potentially more flexible and valuable down the line.
When you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can convert your cash back to travel points at a rate of 1 cent per point. Then you’re able to redeem those points for travel at an increased value of 1.25 to 1.5 cents apiece via the Chase travel portal, or in other categories by using Chase’s “Pay Yourself Back” tool.
Even better, once you’ve converted your cash back to points, you can transfer them to any of Chase’s 14 airline and hotel loyalty partners. This amazing flexibility is why frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece. At that rate, since you’re earning 1.5% cash back on the Freedom Unlimited, you could effectively end up with a 3% return on all of your Amazon purchases.
You’ll also find that the Chase Freedom Unlimited is an ideal card to use in several bonus categories. The card earns 3% cash back for dining (including eligible delivery services), 3% cash back at drugstores and 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Other benefits include a three-month subscription to DashPass, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
But perhaps the best feature of the Chase Freedom Unlimited is its current sign-up bonus. New card holders can get $200 in bonus cash back after spending $500 in purchases in the first three months after opening the account, plus 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. That’s a terrific deal and a strong reason to get the card if you don’t have it already.
Learn more and apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express doesn’t earn as much cash back as other cards when you use it to pay for your purchases at Amazon. But thanks to a small workaround, you can actually score a ton of cash back on your Amazon purchases with this card if you’re willing to take one extra step.
One of the best perks of the Blue Cash Preferred is that it earns 6% cash back (in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit) at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). Since many supermarkets sell Amazon gift cards, you can use your Blue Cash card to buy a few and load them into your own Amazon account to use on future Amazon purchases.
If you’re comfortable taking this extra step, you’ll earn 6% cash back for buying the Amazon gift cards at a U.S. supermarket, which means you’re effectively earning 6% cash back on Amazon purchases you make when you use those gift cards for yourself. That’s an even better return than Amazon’s own credit card.
Just be aware that when you use gift cards for your Amazon purchases, you’re losing any credit card protections you would normally get if you paid for them directly with your credit card, such as an extended warranty or purchase protection. Even if you use a credit card that offers those benefits when purchasing an Amazon gift card, the benefits don’t pass through when the gift card is redeemed.
So while the Blue Cash Preferred earns the most cash back at Amazon via gift cards on a regular basis (and the American Express Gold card mentioned below is another top contender for purchasing Amazon gift cards), for items where you might want purchase protections — especially on electronics — you might be better off using a credit card directly versus buying a gift card to earn a few extra rewards.
Right now, new Blue Cash Preferred card members can earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months of opening the account. With holiday shopping underway, this extra cash in your pocket can be well spent on purchasing gifts for friends or family. The card even has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 each year thereafter (see rates and fees).
Learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express.
If your No. 1 goal is to earn as much cash back as you can at Amazon on an everyday basis, then the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature is the way to go. This card always offers 5% cash back at Amazon and Whole Foods, 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on everything else. That’s a better return at Amazon throughout the year than any other card on our list.
And at certain times throughout the year — typically Prime Day and Black Friday — the Amazon Prime Rewards card earns an even higher cash back amount on select Amazon purchases.
The Amazon Prime Rewards card also currently offers new card holders a $150 Amazon gift card immediately after being approved for the card. Since there’s no minimum spend requirement to get this bonus, you can use this “free” money to snag your favorite Amazon item while you’re doing your holiday shopping.
You’ll earn 5% cash back at both Amazon and Whole Foods with the Amazon Prime Rewards credit card.
But there’s one caveat: You must have an Amazon Prime membership to get an Amazon Prime Rewards card, and that can cost as much as $119 per year. Of course, if you’re looking for a card specifically for Amazon purchases, there’s a good chance you’re already a Prime member, in which case this card could be your best option.
The Amazon Prime Rewards card technically earns points, but the points can only be redeemed for a maximum of 1 cent apiece for a statement credit, a direct deposit to a checking or savings account or to pay for Amazon purchases. The card also offers extended warranty protection and purchase protection, but the coverage isn’t as comprehensive as some other credit cards.
For instance, with the card’s extended warranty protection, you’ll get an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or fewer. On the purchase protection side, you’ll be covered on your purchase for 120 days against damage or theft, but only up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. If you’re making expensive purchases, these protections won’t cover you as well as some other cards on our list.
And if you’re a regular Amazon shopper but would prefer to just get a store card instead of a credit card, you can apply for the Amazon.com Store Card, which offers financing options depending on the size of your Amazon purchases. Store credit cards are also typically easier to be approved for as they generally require a lower credit score. But unlike the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa, the Amazon Store card can’t be used anywhere but at Amazon.
Learn more and apply for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa.
While maximizing cash back or points earned on your purchase is important, there are sometimes other factors you’ll want to consider when making large purchases. Two credit card benefits that you’ll especially want to factor in are purchase protection and return protection.
Purchase protection protects eligible items you buy against damage or theft. With this protection, you’ll be covered against the cost of replacing or repairing the item. With the American Express Gold card, you’ll get purchase protection for 90 days from the date of purchase, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per card member account per calendar year.
This makes the Amex Gold a fantastic card to use on eligible Amazon purchases, especially the more expensive ones (think big screen TVs, SLR cameras and computers). Purchase protection is a common benefit among credit cards, but many other cards are capped at $500 to $1,000 per claim, which can be limiting for those more expensive items.
Another great credit card benefit is return protection, and truth be told, American Express is one of the best card issuers on this front. With return protection, if you’re looking to return an eligible item that you bought on your Amex Gold within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express will refund the full purchase price (excluding shipping and handling).
The one major caveat to this policy is that you must purchase the item in its entirety with your eligible American Express card — you can’t use a gift card or other credit card to pay for a portion of it. Also, claims are capped at $300 per item and up to a maximum of $1,000 per card account per calendar year.
Learn more about the American Express Gold Card.
You may want to earn miles for a future trip with the Capital One Venture card.
If you’re starting to plan for a vacation by earning miles you can redeem toward any travel purchase you make, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is one to consider.
With the Capital One Venture, you’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on every purchase, and the miles can then be redeemed for any travel purchase on your credit card statement in the previous 90 days. This includes hotels, airfare, train rides, taxis, Ubers, Airbnb stays and more. When you redeem Capital One miles this way, you’ll get 1 cent per mile in value.
Alternatively, you can also transfer your miles to many airline and hotel loyalty programs, such as Wyndham Rewards, British Airways Avios and many great partners. Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Capital One miles at 1.85 cents apiece because they can be transferred to these partner programs, which means your miles can potentially be worth more than just 1 cent each.
The Capital One Venture card also comes with extended warranty protection and up to a $100 credit toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. It has a $95 annual fee, but no foreign transaction fees.
Earn a great sign-up bonus with the Capital One Venture credit card.
For businesses that make a lot of purchases at Amazon, the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card has a unique feature that could be extremely valuable right now. The card offers a choice of either 5% cash back on U.S. purchases at Amazon — including Amazon Business, AWS and Whole Foods Market — on the first $120,000 in purchases each calendar year (then 1% cash back thereafter), or an interest-free 90 days to pay for those purchases. The cash back is earned in points, which can then be redeemed for eligible purchases at Amazon.
With cash flow tight over the last year for many businesses, having the ability to pay for your Amazon purchases in 90 days without accruing any interest could be a huge help. And the card also earns 2% cash back at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases.
There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees on the Amazon Business Prime Amex card, and new card members can earn a $125 Amazon gift card upon approval with no spending requirement at all. That’s a pretty decent welcome bonus for a card that doesn’t cost anything to keep year after year.
Just keep in mind that you need to have an Amazon Prime or Business Prime membership to be eligible for this card — businesses without a Prime membership can consider the Amazon Business American Express Card instead.
The best credit card to use at Amazon depends on your priorities.
With so many credit cards available to use at Amazon, you’re probably wondering which card is best — especially for your upcoming holiday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases.
If you want a card that offers straight cash back, you might find the Citi Double Cash to be the ideal choice. Or, if your goal is to earn points for travel, you’ll want to consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Capital One Venture.
But during Amazon’s major yearly sales, such as the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday holidays, you’ll most likely find that the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa is your best bet, since there are so many promotions exclusively for card holders. And if you’re a small business owner, then the Amazon Business Prime American Express may be the best choice when shopping at Amazon.
Now, if your chief concern is protecting your purchase, regardless of the cash back or travel rewards you’d earn, consider the American Express Gold card. And if you’re willing to go the extra step of purchasing Amazon gift cards at U.S. supermarkets, then the Blue Cash Preferred or Amex Gold can earn you the most cash back or travel rewards.
Looking for the best overall credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards of 2021.
Get all the latest personal finance deals, news and advice at CNN Underscored Money.
Leave a Reply