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Best credit cards for holiday shopping on Amazon for December 2021


If you’re shopping at Amazon for your last-minute gifts, using the right cash-back credit card can help you maximize your savings. There are several rewards credit cards that offer Amazon-specific incentives during the holidays and beyond — and some don’t even require a Prime membership.

Keep in mind that cash-back rewards are a worthwhile pursuit only if you use your credit card strategically. That means only spending within your limits and paying off your balance each month. Otherwise, you risk paying more in interest than you could earn back in rewards, potentially dinging your credit score in the process. Here are our top picks for the best credit card for holiday shopping on Amazon.

Intro Bonus$150 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval

APR14.24% to 22.24% Variable

Recommended Credit N/A

Reward Rates

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR14.24% to 22.24% Variable

Late Payment Fee Up to $39

Foreign Transaction Fees None

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*

Our Take

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card* is a solid choice for earning cash back. New cardholders receive a $150 welcome bonus in the form of an Amazon gift card upon approval. And you’ll earn 5% cash back on any Whole Foods or Amazon purchase — a compelling cash-back bonus, especially if you’re a frequent Amazon.com or Whole Foods shopper — that can be redeemed at checkout or as a credit statement from Chase. You must have an Amazon Prime membership to apply for this Amazon Visa Signature card.

Intro Bonus$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

APR13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
  • Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
  • Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.

Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR up to 29.99% APR

  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
  • Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
  • Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Our Take

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card* allows you to choose your own bonus category: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishings. If you select online shopping as your rewards category, you’ll be eligible to earn 3% cash back at Amazon.com, plus many other online retailers. It’s worth noting that you only earn 3% on your selected category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesalers for purchases up to $2,500 each quarter. After that, your cash-back rate goes down to 1%.

Intro BonusEarn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

APR13.99%-23.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Excellent,Good

Reward Rates

  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases

Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Intro Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months

Balance Transfer Fee N/A

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Penalty APR 29.99% Variable

  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases

Our Take

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great option for anyone who shops at Whole Foods for groceries, whether online through Amazon or in person. It earns you 6% cash back at all US supermarkets (on the first $6,000 spent per year, then 1%). While Whole Foods is included, groceries from Amazon Fresh and other Amazon stores are not. 

You’ll also earn 6% cash back on select US streaming subscriptions including Amazon Prime Video. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. New members can earn a $300 statement credit welcome bonus by spending $3,000 within the first six months of card membership. 

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Intro BonusGet a $60 Amazon Gift Card

APR25.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit

Reward Rates

  • Get 5% back at Amazon with an eligible Prime membership.

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APRN/A

  • Get 5% back at Amazon with an eligible Prime membership.

Our Take

The Amazon Prime Store Card* offers 5% back on Amazon purchases with a Prime membership just like the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card — though it doesn’t offer the same cash-back rates for other categories. Still, this card has its place if you intend to make a large purchase on Amazon that you would be best off financing for six, 12 or 24 months. You can enjoy equal monthly payments with 0% APR for purchases of at least $150, $600 and select qualifying purchases, respectively. There are also other special financing options available. You can receive an Amazon gift card of up to $60 upon account approval.

Note: If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account, you would apply for the non-Prime equivalent, the Amazon Store Card.

Intro BonusEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

APR14.99%-24.99% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Balance Transfer Fee up to 5%; min: $5

Balance Transfer APR14.99%-24.99% Variable APR

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR None

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Our Take

While this card doesn’t feature any Amazon-specific perks, we’re a big fan of its flat 2% cash-rewards offer on purchases, which makes it easy for you to earn rewards no matter where you shop. It’s a great all-around cash-rewards card that offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (14.99% to 24.99% variable APR thereafter) and a sign-on bonus. If you don’t want to think about rewards categories and various cash-rewards rates, this card will take you far whether on Amazon or beyond.

FAQs

Do you need to have a Prime membership to shop at Amazon?

For our Amazon-backed credit cards, you need to have a Prime membership to open an account. For our other recommendations, you do not need to have a Prime membership to enjoy the cash-back rewards. A Prime membership ($119 annually) is not necessary to shop at Amazon.com, but if you use Amazon frequently enough it will save you money and time via 2-day shipping and other perks.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles — with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different — and the designated function of a card. 

For cash-back credit cards, for example, key factors include the annual fee, the “welcome bonus” and the cash-back rate (or rates, if they differ by spending category). For rewards and miles cards, we calculate and weigh the net monetary value of a card’s respective perks. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer after you open the account.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, click here.

*All information about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card, the Amazon Prime Store Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.



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