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In case you missed it, Amazon Prime Day is approaching quickly. We’ve previously dug into the best cards for Amazon purchases, which included cards that earn up to 5% cash back from the online retail giant. However, if you’re willing to take an extra step before making your Amazon purchases, you could walk away with up to 5x points per dollar or an effective 10% return.
The secret to earning the most points on Amazon purchases is using gift cards. While very few credit cards offer Amazon as a bonus spend category, there are a decent amount of products that offer high category spend bonuses at places that sell Amazon gift cards, such as grocery stores, gas stations and office supply stores. These types of merchants also happen to be where credit cards target their category spend bonuses.
One of the best cards for purchasing gift cards is the Ink Business Cash Credit Card. On the surface, the card earns 5% cash back at office supply stores on the first $25,000 in spend each year. However, the return jumps to 10% when it’s paired with a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Sapphire Reserve card since cash back could then be converted to full-fledged transferable Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth 2 cents each according to TPG valuations. So, you could buy an Amazon gift card at Staples or Office Max, which would earn you 5x points per dollar or an effective 10% back, and then just use that gift card like cash at Amazon.
If it’s American Express Membership Rewards points you’re after, or you aren’t eligible for a business credit card, you might want to consider the American Express® Gold Card. It offers 4x Membership Rewards at US Supermarkets, up to $25,000 a year. Four points per dollar means an effective 8% return on spending, since TPG values Amex points at 2 cents apiece. Alternatively, the Amex EveryDay® Preferred card could be a good option too since it earns 3x points on up to $6,000 a year in US supermarkets; then 1x thereafter. What makes this card stand out is that it offers a 50% point bonus if you use it more than 30 times in one month. That means you could be earning as many as 4.5 points per dollar spent at grocery stores, or a 9% return.
There’s also the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom which offers 5% back, or 5x points when paired with an Ultimate Rewards earning card, on rotating categories for up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter. Right now one of the categories to earn 5% back/5x points is at gas stations, and many gas stations sell Amazon gift cards. Chase often features other bonus categories like grocery stores or drug stores — also places that sell Amazon gift cards.
There are a lot of options when it comes to maximizing your Amazon gift card purchases. However, there’s one important caveat to keep in mind. Although all of the cards mentioned offer some form of purchase protection, the coverages do not apply when purchasing an item with a gift card instead of a credit card, so you may want to avoid doing so on major purchases. It probably goes without saying that you also can’t return gift cards, but this shouldn’t be much of an issue if you order from Amazon frequently anyway. Plus, you can use your Amazon gift cards to buy gift cards at many other third-party retailers like Starbucks, Southwest Airlines or Airbnb.
A little time and effort can really go a long way. An effective 10% return on Amazon purchases is as good as it gets, though it’s important not to forget the trade-off between earning points and getting purchase protections either.
Stay tuned to TPG for more tips on maximizing your Prime Day purchases. And then check back on July 15 for our roundups of the best deals available.
Featured image by AdrianHancu / Getty Images.
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel