Dying to try out Amazon’s new tech releases? Make sure you use the right card for purchases

Sep 28, 2019

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Amazon announced a new lineup of products and device updates this week, as part of a large media event held Seattle. A few of the more notable releases include Echo Buds, Echo Frames and new Alexa capabilities.

Echo Buds are Amazon’s answer to Apple’s AirPods and are the first native hands-free Alexa headphones on the market, with Bose noise-reducing technology. They will be released in October at a $130 price point. The Echo Frames will essentially be an inconspicuous way to carry around an Alexa-enabled device. Amazon is releasing limited qualities of this product to test out the market, but beta testers will be able to buy them this fall for $180.

Amazon is also adding quite a few upgrades to its Alexa system, including emotion recognition technology, the ability to add celebrity voices for $1 (starting with Samuel L. Jackson), new parental controls for child-friendly usage and updated privacy features.

With the holidays just around the corner, Amazon devices will likely be making their way onto many shopping lists. Whether you are a seasonal Amazon shopper or at the point where the online retail giant’s “Recommended for You” section knows you better than your best friend, you’ll want to make sure you’re using a card that maximizes your purchases from the site.

Determining which card is right for you requires looking beyond just earning rates and also considering other factors like rewards currencies and purchase protections. In some cases, you might even want to consider different cards for different types of purchases. Additionally, your best option may vary based on whether you’re a Prime member and what other cards you already carry. With all those things in mind, here’s a look at the top five cards to use when shopping on Amazon.

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Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

At first glance, Amazon’s own Prime Rewards card appears to be the most exciting option — and for most people, it is. The Prime member-exclusive no-annual-fee card — which is not to be mistaken for the basic Amazon Rewards card — offers an impressive 5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.

The biggest drawback is that is that the high return on spend is all the card really has to offer. While the card comes with purchase protection (it covers items up to $500 in value if they’re damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase) and extended warranty protection, it doesn’t include important purchase benefits like price protection or return protection so it’s not ideal for large purchases. The other drawback is that you need a Prime membership ($119 per year) to qualify, though with so many U.S. households already subscribed, that’s probably not much of an issue. The information for the Amazon Prime Rewards’ cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Discover it® Cash Back

Earn 5% cash back with the Discover It card.
Earn 5% cash back with the Discover It card.

Amazon’s Prime Rewards card isn’t the only one to offer 5% cash back on purchases — the no-annual-fee Discover it Cash Back does too (on rotating categories, up to $1,500 each quarter you activate), and doesn’t require you to be a Prime member. However, this earning rate is only available one quarter a year.

With the Discover it Cash Back, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in accordance with Discover’s cash-back calendar after enrollment. This year, Amazon is eligible for bonus cash back from October through December. Keep in mind that while this card is great for Amazon purchases during the holiday season, it isn’t the best card to use year-round. When Amazon is not a part of the quarterly cash-back bonus category, you’ll only receive 1% back.

What makes the card shine is that Discover will match your rewards at the end of your first card member year so you could get up to 10% back on Amazon.com purchases during that time. Unfortunately, the card discontinued other benefits, including extended product warranty, return guarantee, purchase protection and price protection.

American Express® Gold Card

The final card on this list is primarily for those who make a lot of high-value purchases on Amazon. With the Amex Gold Card, you’ll earn only 1x Membership Rewards points on Amazon purchases, yielding a return of 2% based on TPG’s valuations — unless there’s an Amazon deal available through Amex Offers, which isn’t too uncommon.

The pro to using the card is its generous purchase protection. While many cards carry this benefit, the Amex Gold Card provides an astounding $10,000 in protection per incident and up to $50,000 for all incidents in a calendar year. It also comes with other key shopping benefits like return protection and extended warranty. For tech purchases like Alexa devices, having return protection and extended warranty could be a wallet-saver.

The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), but benefits including up to $120 in dining credits each year, 4x points on dining worldwide and up to a $100 annual airline fee credit make the card worthwhile.

Bottom line

As you can see, picking a card to use for Amazon purchases isn’t as simple as going with the one at the top of this list. The best card for you depends on personal habits and priorities. So, while the Amazon Prime Rewards card offers a high return on Amazon purchases, it’s not everyone’s best option as it’s only available to Prime members and lacks key shopping protections which you’ll want for larger purchases.

Card benefits like return protection have proved to be extremely valuable and may be worth sacrificing 2-3% in rewards. Additionally, if you’ve been saving up on transferrable points for a specific redemption, it may make sense to earn rewards in that currency rather than cash back so that you can top off your account and book that award you’ve been dreaming about sooner.

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.

Featured image by Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.  

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at restaurants worldwide, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
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