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If you’re an avid Amazon shopper, it should come as no surprise that the second annual Amazon Prime Day is here. For those not familiar, the event is essentially Black Friday for those with an Amazon Prime membership, with thousands of exclusive deals throughout the day. Even if you’re not currently an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up today for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of the sale. In addition, Prime Student allows college students to receive a free six-month trial membership.
The sale officially began at 3:00am EST this morning, with new deals starting as often as every five minutes. And while the discounts are exciting in and of themselves, there are also ways to maximize your return on Amazon spending during this one-day sale. Here are the best credit cards to use (in no particular order):
Discover it Card
The Discover it Card has a rotating 5% bonus category similar to that of the Chase Freedom Card (which unfortunately isn’t offering 5% back on Amazon purchases this quarter); you’ll earn 5% cash back on categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. This quarter’s bonus category (through September 30, 2016) includes home improvement stores and purchases on Amazon.com — perfect for all of your Prime Day shopping. There’s no annual fee on this card, and it charges no foreign transaction fees.
TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen included the Discover it Card in his list of the best cash-back credit cards for 2016 thanks to its rotating category bonuses and 1% cash back on all purchases. Plus, if you sign up for the card now, Discover will match all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of the first year.
As the name might suggest, the Amazon Credit Card is a good option for your Prime Day purchases. Upon approval, you’ll get a $50 gift card automatically loaded into your Amazon.com account — so, theoretically, if you apply for the card today and are approved, you’ll have that $50 credit to use in time for the day’s sales. In addition to the gift card credit, you’ll earn 3% points back on Amazon.com purchases, in addition to 2% points back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% points back on all other purchases. The points you earn from spending can then be used directly on purchases — 100 points equal a dollar when redeemed on Amazon.com.
By using this card for your Prime Day purchases, you’ll be able to earn 3% points back — a pretty good margin, especially if you’re planning on making a number of purchases. The card charges no annual fee.
It’s no secret that Starpoints are one of the most valuable points currencies out there. In fact, in TPG’s most recent valuations, he values them at 2.5 cents apiece — tied with Amtrak points as the most valuable loyalty currency — largely due to the massive amount of transfer partners and redemption options in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. For that reason alone, earning Starpoints on your Amazon Prime Day purchases gives you a great return.
The card comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You’ll earn 2x points per dollar on Starwood stays and 1x on all other purchases. During any calendar year, if you spend at least $30,000 you’ll get automatic Gold status with SPG.
The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card is a viable option for your Prime Day purchases for two reasons. First, earlier this year Amex announced that cardholders of Membership Rewards-earning cards (including the EveryDay Preferred) could earn 2x points on Amazon purchases through July 31. Keep in mind that in order to make your card eligible for this offer, you’ll need to enroll through Amex Offers ahead of making any purchase — the offer may no longer be available if you haven’t added it already, so make sure you consider another card on this list in that case.
This card is also a good idea for your Prime Day purchases thanks to its purchase bonus. If you use the card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period, you’ll get 50% more points on those purchases. So if you intend to buy many separate things during Prime Day, those could help you get to the 30-purchase threshold for the month.
The card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 15,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. You’ll earn 3x points at US supermarkets, 2x points at US gas stations and 1x points on other purchases. The card comes with an annual fee of $95.
If you’re interested in cash back (or Ultimate Rewards points), the Chase Freedom Unlimited could be a good option. If you’re a cardholder of a premium Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus Business Card, you can choose to receive your sign-up bonus and any additional cash back earned in the form of valuable Ultimate Rewards points. The card will earn you 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit, which equals 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar — a 3.15% return based on TPG’s valuations. Having the choice of earning cash back or valuable Ultimate Rewards points makes this a great option for those making purchases on Amazon Prime Day.
The card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of $150 (or 15,000 UR points) after you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn a $25 (2,500 UR points) bonus when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within the same three-month period. There’s no annual fee with the card.
If you’re planning on grabbing any Amazon Prime Day deals, not only will you be saving money, but — provided you use the right card — you’ll also be maximizing the return on your purchase(s). Amazon is playing this year’s Prime Day up as bigger than last year’s, with more than 100,000 deals exclusively for Prime members, so there’s plenty to get excited about.
How else are you planning on maximizing your return on Amazon Prime Day?
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards