Update: The Amazon Prime benefit is no longer offered for the Platinum Card, Blue Cash Everday, Blue Cash Preferred and Business Gold Rewards card and the Prime annual membership is now $99 instead of $79.
I’m not a huge Amazon shopper, but I have plenty of family and friends who are borderline addicted. Not only can you get great prices, shopping on Amazon can save you time and earn you more points than shopping in traditional stores (more on that in a minute). Amazon launched their Prime membership,
which gives two day shipping for $79 a year, However American Express recently added a year of Amazon Prime membership as a sign-up bonus on the personal Platinum, Business Gold Rewards, Blue Cash and Blue Cash Preferred cards.
To be eligible, you must be a new cardmember and meet the minimum spending requirement listed on the application for your card’s sign-up bonus within the specified time period.
One year of Amazon Prime usually costs $79, but when you purchase it with your eligible new card within the first three months, you will get a statement credit back for the amount.
Some of the eligible cards including the Blue Cash Everyday and Preferred are offering special sign-up bonuses that are higher than the public offers out there via the Card Match Tool, so if you are eligible for one, I’d suggest checking it first to see if you have any targeted offers there with higher sign-up bonuses. Though the site asks for the last four of your social security number, there is no credit check unless you actually apply for one of the cards.
What Exactly Does Amazon Prime Include?
Amazon Prime membership includes free 2-day shipping on purchases, instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, and one Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
If you were to make two purchases a month through Amazon which would each normally get charged $5.99 in shipping and handling fees, you would be spending $143 on shipping alone each year – and keep in mind that shipping cost is for ground shipping. So you’re potentially saving hundreds of dollars the first year, and even past the free first year.
According to the FAQ page on Amazon Prime, all items on Amazon.com with Amazon Prime listed on their product page are eligible. Free 2-day shipping is available to nearly all addresses in the 48 continental United States, and Free Standard Shipping to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, as well as on irregular items like hazardous materials or oversize packages. The following items are not eligible:
- Items fulfilled by Amazon Marketplace sellers.
- Magazine subscriptions.
- Personalized gift cards.
- Any item that doesn’t have a message indicating that it’s eligible for Prime on its product page.
Maximizing Amazon Purchases
Whether you get one of these eligible Amex cards, you can also try it with a free 30-Day Trial, and I thought I’d put down some thoughts on maximizing Amazon purchases with other cards as well.
As with all potential bonuses, I first check out EVReward.com, which is a handy site that lists current shopping portal bonuses for various merchants. According to EVReward, EBates is currently offering 3% cash back on purchases, and there are product-specific points bonuses as well.
It pays to keep an eye out for changing offers each month because they change.
Apart from rebates, there’s a great way to maximize purchases using your Chase Ink Plus/ Bold / Cash / Classic cards offer 5 points per dollar at office supply stores and many Staples / Office Depot/ Office Max stores sell Amazon gift cards, so if you have a business and can get one of these cards, this is your best bet. I value Chase points at about 2 cents apiece for the time being, so using an Ink card is essentially a 10% rebate in spend.
Chase also offers an Amazon Visa, which currently gets you a $30 credit upon approval and earns 3 points for every $1 spent on Amazon.com; 2 points for every eligible $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores; and 1 point for every other $1 spent.
Those Amazon points are then redeemable at 1 cent each when shopping on Amazon. I’d take 5X Ultimate Rewards points over 3X Amazon points any day of the week since I value them at much closer to 2 cents apiece (double Amazon points’ value) since I can transfer them to ten travel partners as well as redeeming them for 1.25 cent apiece for travel with Pay With Points if I so choose.
That said, you do have to take a few extra steps to maximize that Chase Ink angle, so for those of you who prefer ease of use, the Amazon Visa might still be your choice in this respect. Still, with the Prime offer for new cardholders on those four Amex cards and the ability to earn 5X with the Ink cards, there are plenty of ways to maximize Amazon purchases.
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