Maximizing purchases at Amazon has changed a lot in the last couple of months due to COVID-19. And, while it’s not as easy to maximize purchases at Amazon anymore, there are still a couple of options!
In general, there are two ways to maximize purchases at Amazon: using the right credit card and finding the best shopping portal.
In March of 2020, Amazon pulled itself from many of the cashback shopping portals. Before COVID-19, it was possible to use different cashback portals to get a percentage of your purchase back in your pocket. Amazon isn’t a member of any airline shopping portal or a mainstay as a credit card bonus category, however, they used to be parts of portals like Rakuten.
Additionally, as we will cover below, the best way to maximize purchases at Amazon is to earn American Express Membership Rewards when using Rakuten.
Using Cash Back Portals with Amazon
Cashback 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. At the current moment, Amazon is not a member of these portals in response to COVID-19. We will update this post if they come back.
The cashback portals for Amazon all work pretty much the same way. – you simply go to the website and click the link for Amazon. They were Mr. Rebates, Rakuten, RebatesMe, and Top Cashback.
Unlike many of the other traditional shopping portals, Amazon typically isn’t a set percentage for every purchase. Instead, it’s 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 of the item that is purchased.
Once Amazon hopefully returns to the different cashback shopping portals, I would suggest picking one portal and sticking to it. Despite the different percentages and cashback amounts, it’s going to be easier than spending a lot of time figuring out which category to use (And this is supposed to be fun, right?). Your cashback 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 cashback or cash bonuses after spending a certain amount (e.g. $25 cashback after spending $200 before Friday).
You can also earn even more cashback by sharing your referral link with friends. Not only will you benefit, but your friends will be able to maximize purchases at Amazon too!
As we mentioned, we’ll update this post once Amazon returns to these cash back portals.
Earning Membership Rewards with Rakuten
At the current moment, Amazon is not a member of Rakuten so you are not able to earn Membership Rewards while shopping at Amazon. We will update this post if they come back.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Rakuten users with Membership Rewards earning credit cards from American Express could earn Membership Rewards instead of cashback.
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.
Is It Smart to Get the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card?
Currently, using the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is the best way to maximize purchases at Amazon. The 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% — Amazon.com and Whole Foods
- 2% — Restaurants, drug stores and gas stations
- 1% — All other purchases
If you don’t already have Amazon Prime, it’s going to be hard to get value out of this card. If you sign up for Prime to get this card, you are essentially throwing away $119 of the cashback. Unless you spend $2,400 at Amazon and Whole Foods every year, your cashback 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 cashback 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% cashback.
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 cashback 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.
Take Advantage of American Express Offers
We’ve covered American Express Offers in detail here. However, it’s worth noting that from time to time, there will be Amex Offers for Amazon.com.
These can range from offers such as earning 3,000 Membership Rewards after spending $150 to even earning 5x the Membership Rewards up to $2,000.
Before making purchases at Amazon – or at least large purchases – make sure you don’t have any Amex Offers available.
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. Hopefully, once the economy returns to normal, Amazon will re-join portals like Rakuten.
If you already have Amazon Prime, it could be worth it to open up the Amazon Prime Visa Signature card. Doing this would 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 cashback through cashback portals. These portals are stackable with your credit cards. This means you earn your points through your credit card AND the cashback 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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