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Prime Visa Review

Dayana Yochim

Written by Dayana Yochim
Fact-checked by Andrea Coombes
Edited by Carolyn Kimball

February 05, 2024

Why trust us? Investor.com has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.

The Prime Visa from Amazon is essentially a store credit card on steroids, offering the most attractive cashback reward terms to those willing to pay the annual Amazon Prime membership fee.

Calling the Prime Visa a “store credit card” is like referring to Amazon as a bookstore. Sure, the card’s earning structure is most beneficial for shoppers who use it in its stores. (Amazon.com and Whole Foods loyalists earn a smile-worthy 5% cash back.) But it also offers 1% to 5% cash back on gas, dining, travel and transit purchases outside of the Amazon ecosystem, and can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

After reviewing the fine print, the biggest downside I see with the Prime Visa is the annual cost of carrying the card. Although it’s technically a no-annual-fee credit card, only Amazon Prime members are eligible to receive the 5% cashback rates on qualifying purchases. At $139 a year or $14 per month, that’s no small expense. The other Amazon rewards card option is the plainer no-annual-fee Amazon Visa. It doesn’t require a Prime membership, but you’ll have to settle for 3% cash back instead of 5% on certain purchases.

» Looking for a business rewards card? Amazon offers two American Express cards designed for business owners. See Amazon Business vs. Amazon Business Prime to compare cashback rates and perks.

The basics: Earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market, and on Chase Travel purchases. Earn unlimited 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare). Earn unlimited 1% back on all other purchases. Amazon Prime membership required.

Credit Card Calculator
Monthly Spend
Spend Categories expand_more
Clear All
dining Dining
theater_comedy Entertainment
local_gas_station Gas
shopping_cart Groceries
monetization_on Other
local_pharmacy Pharmacy
card_travel Travel
local_shipping Amazon
storefront Costco
construction Home Improvement
shopping_bag Online Shopping
smart_display Streaming
local_taxi Transit
power Utilities
kitchen Whole Foods
receipt_long Wholesale Clubs

Amazon Prime Visa

Amazon Prime Visa Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
$100
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Amazon Prime Visa pros and cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases
  • 5% rewards for Whole Foods shoppers
  • No reward spending caps on any categories
  • Accepted everywhere Visa is
  • 0% APR payment plan on eligible purchases
  • Visa Signature benefits included
  • No foreign transaction fees

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Requires $139 Amazon Prime subscription annually
  • Measly 1% cash back at regular supermarkets
  • Uncompetitive 1% default cashback rate
  • Skimpy “welcome bonus”

Amazon Prime Visa cashback rewards spending categories

The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.

Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (aka the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g., $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”

Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 2.00% - - -
Travel 1.00% - - -
Dining 2.00% - - -
Entertainment 1.00% - - -
Pharmacy 1.00% - - -
Groceries 1.00% - - -
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

Tip: Expand the “Spend Categories” in the investor.com credit card rewards calculator above to incorporate additional rewards categories (e.g., Transit, Wholesale Clubs, Utilities) into the cash back per year total.

Note: The cashback rewards calculator applies the 5% rewards rate to the entire amount you type into the “Amazon” spend category. However, some Amazon.com purchases are ineligible (e.g., purchases from Amazon Music, Amazon Games, and other exclusions described below).

Cashback calculator tip: The Prime Visa card also pays 5% cash back on purchases from Amazon Fresh. For the most accurate tally of how much cash back you could earn per year, add the amount you spend each month at Amazon Fresh in the “Whole Foods” spend category field.

What we like

5% unlimited cash back at nearly everything you can buy on Amazon.com is a very, very compelling selling point if you rely on the e-tailer for necessities like tennis racket grip tape, gadgets that remove dog fur upholstery and hard-to-find hair conditioner brands. (Just me?)

Whole Foods shoppers score 5% cash back, too. This is one of the highest grocery cashback rates I’ve come across, and it also applies to Amazon-owned Whole Foods as well as Amazon Fresh online and in-store purchases. Even more impressive: The Prime Visa card has no reward spending caps in this or any bonus category. The closest competitor is the Citi Custom Cash Card, which pays 5% cash back on your largest eligible monthly spending category, but only up to $500 in spending per billing cycle. Amounts above that earn just 1% cash back.

5% cash back on prepaid travel comes courtesy of Amazon’s partnership with Chase. Airline tickets, hotels, car rentals and cruises booked through chasetravel.com (or by calling the number on the back of your card) turns the Prime Visa into a viable travel-oriented rewards card.

Fast reward redemptions are available through the “Shop with Points” program. This allows you to apply the cash you earn towards a qualifying Amazom.com purchase as quickly as the day after you earn the money. Simply make sure your Amazon Visa is one of your Amazon.com account payment options to get this option during the checkout process.

Commuters get 2% cash back at gas stations and on transit and commuting costs, including rideshares, taxis, bus and passenger train fare, highway and bridge tolls and parking lots/garage fees. (If you drive a gas guzzler, check out our picks for Best Gas Rewards Cards to earn a higher cash back rate when filling up.)

Additional cashback earning opportunities are offered both through Chase (by activating Chase Offers via the mobile app or on the web portal) and on a revolving limited-time-only lineup of Prime Card Bonus Deals in various retail categories. Cardholders can also get a 10% discount on select Amazon-branded products.

Gift card at sign-up. In lieu of a traditional “welcome bonus,” Amazon offers a $100 (“or more”) gift card for applicants who are approved for the Prime Visa card. It’s instantly loaded into your Amazon account’s Gift Card Balance upon approval, and unlike other welcome bonuses, there’s no spending requirement attached.

Interest-free payments available. Need a short-term financing breather? On qualifying purchases of $50 or more, Amazon cardholders can opt to pay it off in equal monthly payments over six months without incurring interest charges. Payments on purchases over $250 can be spread over 12 months. The main tradeoff is that you won’t earn cash back on purchases financed under the 0% APR equal-monthly-payment program.

Although it dropped “Visa Signature” from its name — it was previously known as the “Amazon Prime Visa Signature Card” — the card still includes the same coverages, including roadside dispatch, purchase protection (up to $500 per claim and $50K per account), extended warranty protection, baggage delay and travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and auto rental collision damage waiver.

No foreign transaction fees. Avoiding this fee saves you around 3% of each purchase made in a foreign currency.

What we don't like

It’s not exactly a no-annual-fee rewards card. True, the Prime Visa doesn’t technically charge an annual fee. But cardholders are required to have an active Amazon Prime membership which costs $139 per year, or $69 annually for a student membership. (If you’re willing to settle for lower rewards rates, the plain Amazon Visa lets you skip the Prime membership requirement. See our Amazon Visa review for more.)

To cover the cost of an Amazon Prime membership, you’ll need to spend $2,800 in the 5% cashback categories 👏 every 👏 single 👏 year. Take a beat to review your Amazon.com past purchases — and how much you used Prime services — to see if it’s worth the cost. While you’re at it, take a look at your other monthly/annual subscriptions (streaming services, gym memberships, etc.) and drop the ones you’re not milking for every last drop. [/personal finance writer lecture]

Not all Amazon purchases earn 5% cash back. Excluded from the list of items eligible for 5% cash back are purchases from Amazon Music, Amazon Games, international Amazon retail sites, merchants who use Amazon Pay, Buy With Prime, and specific retailers like Zappos, Ring, Woot and PillPack.

Just to reiterate, Amazon Pay transactions — where you choose the Amazon Pay option when checking out at online retailers that accept it — are not technically “Amazon.com” purchases and therefore not eligible for the 5% cashback rate.

Not a top-of-wallet pick for groceries. Yay for the 5% cashback rate! Boo about it being store-specific. (It only applies to purchases at Whole Foods Market or Amazon Fresh.) Purchases at other supermarkets earn just 1% — a rewards rate that falls well short of what many no-annual-fee cashback cards pay. (See my picks for best rewards cards for foodies.)

Skimpy “welcome bonus.” Although the $100 Amazon Gift Card for those approved for the Prime Visa is a nice touch, I like to see higher-dollar welcome bonuses from cards that require an annual out-of-pocket cost to carry. On the plus side, there is no spending requirement to earn it.

Interest-free payments only apply to certain purchases. The Prime Visa’s “equal monthly payments” no-interest option is only available on purchases on Amazon.com or via retailers that accept Amazon Pay. Plus (bummer alert) …

You’ll forfeit the 5% cashback rate on any purchases you choose to pay with the 0% interest plan.

There is no introductory 0% APR balance transfer offer on the table with this card, but it’s still good to know that if you do want to move an outstanding balance onto your Prime Visa, be prepared to shell out a fee: Either 4% of the amount of each transfer or $5, whichever is greater.

The bottom line

Is the Amazon Prime Visa the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the investor.com Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.

Amazon Prime Visa fine print

Read more about the Amazon Prime Visa’s pricing information and Amazon rewards program rules.

Does the Amazon Prime Visa charge an annual fee?

No, there is no annual fee for the Amazon Prime Visa.

tips_and_updates Trivia time!

Roughly 14% of the consumer cashback cards we track in our database charge an annual fee. The average annual fee is $72.60, while the median is $95.

Does the Amazon Prime Visa offer a welcome bonus?

Yes, the Amazon Prime Visa has a welcome bonus of $100.

tips_and_updates Fun fact

Of the more than 60 cashback credit cards in our database, 66% offer a welcome bonus. Currently, the average sign-up bonus on a new cashback card is $210.71, with the median being $200.

How much cash back can I earn with the Amazon Prime Visa?

The average American that spends $1000 per month will earn $154.20 in cash back per year using the Amazon Prime Visa. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $191.26, and $180 is the median.

These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the Amazon Prime Visa depends entirely on your unique spending habits.

Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the Amazon Prime Visa by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.

Even more good stuff



Methodology

The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)

About the Editorial Team

Dayana Yochim
Dayana Yochim

Dayana Yochim has been writing (articles, books, podcasts, stirring speeches) about personal finance and investing for more than two decades, focusing on bringing clarity and the occasional comedic aside to what is often a murky, humorless topic. She’s written for NerdWallet, The Motley Fool, HerMoney.com, Woman’s Day, Forbes, Newsweek and others, and been a guest expert on "Today," "Good Morning America," CNN, NPR and wherever they’ll hand her a mic.

Andrea Coombes
Andrea Coombes

Andrea Coombes has 20+ years of experience helping people reach their financial goals. Her personal finance articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, MarketWatch, Forbes, and other publications, and she's shared her expertise on CBS, NPR, "Marketplace," and more. She's been a financial coach and certified consumer credit counselor, and is working on becoming a Certified Financial Planner. She knows that owning pets isn't necessarily the best financial decision; her dog and two cats would argue this point.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is Managing Editor for Reink Media Group and the lead editor for content on investor.com. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

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