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It’s here – Amazon Prime Day. I was excited to see what Amazon would do today (July 12th, 2016) after the disappointing selection last year.
It looks good – there are many worthwhile deals for items like TVs, tablets, portable readers, clothes, even cleaning supplies.
Discounts are around 25%, with some items even more reduced. So it might be worth it to stock up – or at least see if something catches your eye today.
In This Post
What’s Prime Day?
For the second year, Amazon has many big-ticket items on sale exclusively for Prime members. It’s something of a mid-year perk/annual sale that props up the summer shopping lull.
This being Amazon, a huge number of items – pretty much anything you can think of – are available with double-digit markdowns for one day only (today, July 12th, 2016).
Prime Day last year had much hype but was a bust – so I think Amazon felt compelled to up the ante this year and maybe even overcompensate, which means better deals for buyers.
You can get electronics, books, shirts, toys, cleaning supplies, even toothpaste, at steep discounts.
If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can get a 30-day free trial. If you’ve already had a free trial, you can sign-up for $10.99 per month – which might be worth it if you want to buy a big-ticket item, like a TV.
Best cards for Amazon shopping
Shopping at Amazon is a topic that is near and dear to my heart because, well, I shop there a lot. So I’ve experimented with all kinds of ways to pay for items in the past.
Here’s my shortlist of the best cards.
1. Chase Ink cards
- Link: Apply for Card Offers
Absolutely the best because of the 5X category at office supply stores.
There’s an Office Depot right around the corner that sells gift cards, including Amazon in any value between $25 and $500.
A $500 purchase at any office supply store will net you 2,500 Ultimate Rewards points – a nice chunk of points for a quick jaunt. It adds up fast.
I’ve had my eye on the Hyatt Zilara Cancun for a while now.
Rooms can easily be $1,000 per night for 2 at the standard rate – a rate I don’t plan on paying. Instead, you can book it for 25,000 Hyatt points per night – and Chase Ultimate Rewards point transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.
Because of the ability to transfer not only to Hyatt, but also to United, British Airways, and several other travel partners, I’d rank the Chase Ink cards as the best ones for Amazon shopping.
2. Citi AT&T Access More
I’ve written extensively about this card. It’s fantastic for paying your rent or mortgage, and for online shopping in general. That’s because you earn 3X Citi ThankYou points for online shopping purchases.
That category is thankfully very broad – and includes Amazon. Better yet, you get 10,000 bonus Citi ThankYou points if you spend $10,000 or more during your cardmember year (which more than makes up for the $95 annual fee).
Combined with another Citi card, like the Citi ThankYou Premier, or especially the Citi Prestige, the card’s earning power and points value get quite the boost – including the ability to transfer to Citi’s travel partners. in the case of the Citi Prestige card, each point is worth 1.6 cents toward American Airlines flights.
Links to this card are elusive, but I’ll do my best to keep mine updated.
When you use this card for Amazon shopping, be sure to buy a gift card through the MileagePlus X app to earn an extra 2X United miles per $1.
Combine that with the 3X category on the Citi AT&T Access More card, and you’re up to 5X (3X Citi ThankYou points + 2X United miles). An excellent 5X option for the lazy (or if you don’t feel like going to an office supply store).
3. Chase United Explorer
- Link: Apply for Card Offers
Hmmm, why is this one on the list?
Two words: “Chase Bonus.” I’ve been using the MileagePlus X app a lot lately – and you get 25% more miles if you have the Chase United Explorer card. So far, I’ve gotten a few thousand extra miles for having it.
The sign-up bonus isn’t stellar, but you can sometimes find better targeted offers by logging in on United.com.
You also get access to more award seats on United metal – but I like using United miles for partner award flights.
In any regard, depending on how much you spend on the MileagePlus X app, you can rack up some serious miles if you have this card. A 25% bonus is nothing to sniff at, and might make it worthwhile to add to your wallet. Added bonus: you don’t have to pay with the card and the $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year.
Are there downsides?
Yes, absolutely. When you pay with a gift card, you effectively lose any purchase protection that would be offered by your credit card.
In that case, I’d still recommend using the Citi AT&T Access More card to earn a straight 3X Citi ThankYou points. You’ll also have access to Citi Price Rewind and the card’s purchase protection. This would be a good option if you want to buy something expensive, like a TV or big electronics purchase.
But, if you just want to buy a few new shirts, or stock up on cleaning products, I’d still go the gift card route and leave it up to Amazon to replace any defective items. They have a solid return policy and anything under $50 should be pretty low-risk (and therefore safe to buy with a gift card).
I already bought an Amazon Fire TV stick today (with method #1 above).
Have you heard of it? You plug it into your TV’s HDMI port and it allows you to access Netflix, Hulu, and obvi stream from Prime Video. You can also add games and apps to it. Really cool, and adds a lot of options to your TV (and it’s only $25 today!). A friend showed it to me and I had to get one for myself.
Have fun finding the deals on Amazon today.
Did I miss any good ways to earn extra miles and points for Amazon purchases?
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.