Amazon's new Prime credit card adds extra perks

Online superstore Amazon (AMZN) is rolling out a new credit card that combines features of the Amazon Prime Store Card and the existing Amazon Credit Card. Available only to Amazon Prime members, the new card -- called Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card -- offers:

  • 5 percent back on Amazon purchases.
  • 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores.
  • 1 percent back everywhere else.

Rewards never expire and are redeemable at Amazon. Your rewards balance appears on the checkout screen when you make a purchase, and you can apply rewards to a purchase in any amount, with no minimum redemption. 

The new card has no annual fee, but it does require membership in Amazon Prime, which costs $99 a year and provides other perks such as free two-day shipping and unlimited access to streaming media. The card has no foreign transaction fees.

Amazon Prime customers who already have the existing Amazon Credit Card, also known as the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, will be upgraded to the new Prime product automatically. Existing accounts will start earning the new benefits immediately, and their new card should arrive soon, Amazon said. 

Also, the new card will be made of metal rather than plastic, latching on to the craze that surrounded the 2016 release of the metal Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Here’s a look at how the new card stacks up against other Amazon cards:


Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

Amazon Credit Card

Amazon Prime Store Card

Where can you use it?

Anywhere that accepts Visa

Anywhere that accepts Visa

Only at Amazon

Rewards on Amazon purchases

5%

3%

5%

Rewards at restaurants, drugstores, gas stations

2%

2%

N/A

Rewards on all other purchases

1%

1%

N/A

Annual fee for card

$0 (but requires $99 Prime membership)

$0

$0 (but requires $99 Prime membership)

For Prime members who already have the existing Amazon Credit Card, upgrading to the new card will mean higher rewards at no additional cost. For cardholders who might have been on the fence about ponying up the $99 for Prime membership, the new rewards rate for Amazon purchases -- a 67 percent increase -- might be just the push they’re looking for. 

For holders of the Amazon Prime Store Card, getting the same 5 percent back at Amazon, plus additional rewards elsewhere, makes the new card an enticing upgrade.

The biggest drawback, as with any store credit card, is that the rewards can be used at only one place. But in this case, that one place is Amazon, which carries so many different kinds of products that you won’t lack for opportunities to redeem rewards, whether on Cartier watches, Angel Soft toilet paper or anything in between.

“Think of the card as a 5 percent discount on every Amazon purchase, no coupons needed,” said NerdWallet credit cards expert Sean McQuay.

Paul Soucy is an editor at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: paul@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @paulsoucy.

The article New Card: 5% Back at Amazon, Rewards Everywhere Else originally appeared on NerdWallet.

» MORE: Amazon Prime Store Card: Is it right for you?

» MORE: Credit card reward program reviews