Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chase Amazon Rewards VISA

I just finished my first month with the Amazon Rewards VISA from Chase, and it works as advertised. This card is a perfect fit for me because I am a heavy Amazon user, but I fell into it sideways. Okay, heavy user is probably an understatement. I pay the the $79 per year fee for Amazon Prime, and I get more than my money's worth from that. I placed 60 orders in 2010, 76 orders in 2011, and 38 orders through the first 7 months of 2012. I'm on pace for 65 orders, in line with the last couple of years and averaging 1.25 orders per week. It may even go beyond that due to holiday transactions near the end of the year.

I was in the market for a new card due to my decision to upgrade from the American Express Premium Rewards Gold Card to the Platinum Card, which I will discuss in another post. Suffice it to say that while the Platinum Card is great for the benefits of having the card, the 1X points earnings leave something to be desired. Previously I had just put all my spending on the Gold card; with this change, it became more advantageous to diversify.

I'd been reading up on rewards in terms of frequent flyer points, cash back, and whatever else I could find. I turned up the Amazon card in a google search, which is funny because I must have seen it advertised on Amazon a hundred times. Now that I was in the market, it appealed to me instantly. It's a "cashback" card, so the points translate to cash at $1 per $100 points. It earns points with the following multipliers:

-3 points per dollar at amazon.com
-2 points per dollar at Gas Stations, Restaurants and Drugstores
-1 point per dollar everywhere else

The signing bonus is not exciting at $30 currently, but it posts instantly and the spending rewards appear as soon as your statement month is over. I was able to get a $50 instant credit (it functions like a gift card) for Amazon.com when I signed up. Right now, the best deal I can see is only $30 though. I am not certain if it was available publicly the day I signed up or if it was a targeted offer because I was signed into my amazon account while viewing the details. If you want this card and already have an Amazon account, then better safe than sorry: make sure you are logged in before you apply!

Neither $30 nor $50 is an especially exciting signup bonus, but this is a card you buy to put spending on rather than for that perk. The only card I have seen with better Amazon rewards is the Citi Forward card which yields 5X points on bookstores, which currently includes Amazon. However, I worry that this classification will change in the future. The Chase Freedom card also gave 5% cash back on Amazon purchases several months ago, but those rewards rotate by quarter and were only good for the first quarter of 2012.

I get gas station rewards from another card, but this card will be my go-to for Amazon and drug store purchases. It will also get most of my restaurant spending for now, although that may change if I apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Speaking of which, I have heard that Chase is rather stingy with credit card applications relative to other issuers. This is my first Chase card, so I can't speak to that, but I did go into this card applications thinking it would be a good move to start a relationship with Chase so I'd have some history to back me up for future applications for more elite cards.

I don't have any affiliation with Amazon or Chase beyond being a customer, so I don't get anything if you sign up for either.

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