Best ways to maximize purchases at Amazon

Like it or not, Amazon has turned into a global giant when it comes to buying almost anything. Because of the amount of money many people spend at Amazon, we will explore the best ways to maximize purchases.

There are two ways to maximize purchases at Amazon: using the right credit card and finding the best shopping portal.

Until recently, it was difficult to earn anything other than cash back from shopping portals with Amazon. Amazon isn’t a member of any airline shopping portal or a mainstay as a credit card bonus category, however, there are good options for cash back in a couple of different ways.

However, as we will cover below, shoppers can now earn American Express Membership Rewards when using Rakuten.

Cash back portals

Cash back portals work exactly like shopping portals (which we discussed in our Beginner’s Guide). You can find these by searching “Amazon” at Cashback Monitor or EV Reward. The five cash back portals for Amazon all work pretty much the same way. – you simply go to the website and click the link for Amazon. All of them have advantages and disadvantages.

Top CashbackUp to 10%
Be FrugalUp to 10%
Mr. RebatesUp to 8%
Rakuten Up to 5%
Shop at HomeUp to 5%
Ebates can allow you maximize purchases at Amazon.

Recently, Rakuten allows its users to earn American Express Membership Rewards instead of cashback. We will cover this in more depth below.

Unlike many of the other traditional shopping portals, Amazon isn’t a set percent, but instead a range dependent on the type of item you’re going to buy.

So, for example, while the range for Rakuten might be up to 5%, it depends on the category you are shopping for.

As you can see on the list to the right, the cash back ranges from 2-5%. After you click the Shop Now button, you will be rewarded your cash back based on the category.

There are several different cash back options to choose from all with different percentages dependent on the category.

I would suggest picking one portal and sticking to it. Despite the different percentages and cash back amounts, it’s going to be easier than spending a ton time figuring out which category to use (And this is supposed to be fun, right?). Your cash back balance will also pool much faster. Most of these sites will require you to have a minimum to cash out.

From time to time, these portals will have bonuses allowing you to maximize purchases at Amazon even more. The bonuses will give either higher percentages of cash back or cash bonuses after spending a certain amount (e.g. $25 cash back after spending $200 before Friday).

You can also earn even more cash back by sharing your referral link with friends. Not only will you benefit, but your friends will be able to maximize purchases at Amazon too!

Earning Membership Rewards with Rakuten

Rakuten users with Membership Rewards earning credit cards from American Express can now earn Membership Rewards instead of cash back.

There are many great credit cards for everyday spenders that earn Membership Rewards. These include the American Express Everyday Card and the American Express Gold Card.

Once logged onto your Rakuten account, go to My Account and click Account Settings located on the left side of your screen.

Once in Account Settings, you will see a section with a heading of “How would you like to get paid?”

Simply click the options to Switch to Membership Rewards points. You will then be prompted to log into your American Express account.

And that’s all you have to do to maximize purchases at Amazon to earn American Express Membership Rewards.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card has no annual fee, but you must have an Amazon Prime membership ($119/year) to be eligible for it.

When you use the card, you will earn the following:

  • 5% — and Whole Foods
  • 2% — Restaurants, drug stores and gas stations
  • 1% — All other purchases

Given the price of the Amazon Prime, if you don’t already have it, it’s going to be hard to get value out of this card. If sign up for Amazon Prime to get this card, you are essentially throwing away $119 of the cash back. Unless you spend $2,400 at Amazon and Whole Foods every year, your cash back won’t make up for the “annual fee”.

The Amazon Prime Visa Signature card is stackable meaning that you could get 5 percent from the card as well as another 5% from Rakuten (or any of the other cash back portals).

Maximize purchases at Amazon with other credit cards

When all else fails, be sure to use the correct credit cards to maximize purchases at Amazon. Those credit cards should be ones that are earning more than 1x points or 1% cash back.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5% back on every purchase. The American Express Everyday Preferred card earns just 1x per dollar, but brings along a 50% bonus after 30 purchases in a calendar month. And, finally, the Chase Freedom card will periodically have Amazon as a quarterly bonus category allowing you for a 5% return.

There are a number of other cash back cards that earn 1.5% – Citi Double Cash Card (2%), Capital One Quicksilver (1.5%) and the Discover It Miles card (1.5%).

Similar to the Amazon Prime Visa Signature card, using any of the above cards are stackable as well.

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty simple: you spend money at Amazon, so it’s important to maximize purchases at Amazon. With the ability to earn American Express Membership Rewards through Rakuten, using the Rakuten shopping portal is the best way to maximize purchases with Amazon.

And, while using a credit card that earns more than a point is also important, if you already have an Amazon Prime account, it can be worth it to open up the Amazon Prime Visa Signature card to get the most cash back for your purchases.

Even if you don’t have Prime or don’t want to open a new card, you can still earn cash back through cash back portals. These cash back portals are stackable with your credit cards – meaning you earn your points through your credit card AND the cash back through the portal.

While cash back is not points nor miles, getting money back for doing something so easy is a no brainer.

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