Are you using the best credit card to buy on Amazon?

Jennifer Yellin, CNN Underscored
Tue March 24, 2020
Are you maximizing the rewards on your Amazon purchases with the right credit card?

CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through The Points Guy affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.

As people stay inside and shopping at Amazon soars, having a credit card that will maximize the rewards you earn at Amazon is more important than ever. By using the right credit card, you can earn cash back — as much as 5% on every purchase — or points and miles to put toward future travel. Or, you might want a card that will extend the manufacturer's warranty in the case of loss or damage.

We've gone through hundreds of options and picked out six of the best credit cards for your Amazon purchases. Our list offers an array of cash back, points and perks — a card for everyone depending on your needs. Let's dive into each of these cards and see how they compare to one another.

The best credit cards for Amazon

Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for cash back
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Best for easy travel rewards
Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for flexible rewards
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature: Best for Amazon Prime members
American Express® Gold Card: Best for purchase and return protection
Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express: Best for Amazon gift cards

Best for cash back: Citi Double Cash Card

If you want to keep just one credit card in your purse or wallet to earn cash back on everything you buy — including your purchases at Amazon — the Citi Double Cash Card is the way to go. You'll earn 2% cash back — 1% when you buy, and another 1% when you pay your statement — on all your purchases.

For a no-annual-fee card, this is a great return, and it's simple — you don't have to worry about bonus categories or figuring out complicated travel points. The card's simplicity and solid earning rate is why CNN Underscored chose the Citi Double Cash as its benchmark credit card, and why we use it to compare and contrast other credit cards we review.

Related: Read CNN Underscored's complete review of the Citi Double Cash Card.

Where the Citi Double Cash lags is in its shopping benefits. Unfortunately, the card no longer comes with damage and theft purchase protection, return protection or Citi's previously well-known Price Rewind benefit.

So despite earning great cash back on your purchase with the Citi Double Cash, if you're buying something expensive, you might want to choose a card that has you covered in the event your item is broken, lost or you potentially want to return it after the merchant's return policy has ended.

Best for simple travel rewards: Capital One Venture Credit Card

Even though you can't travel now, you may want to earn miles for a future trip.

Undoubtedly you aren't looking to travel right now, but eventually hotels will reopen and airlines will be back in the air. So if you want to plan ahead for a future vacation by earning points you can redeem toward any travel purchase you make, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is one to consider.

With the Capital One Venture, you'll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on every purchase. The miles can then be redeemed for any travel purchase on your credit card statement in the previous 90 days. This includes hotels, airfare, train rides, taxis, Ubers, Airbnb stays and more. When you redeem Capital One miles this way, you'll get 1 cent per mile in value.

Alternatively, you can also transfer your miles to 17 airline and hotel loyalty programs, such as JetBlue, Wyndham and many international airlines. CNN Underscored's partner The Points Guy values Capital One miles at 1.4 cents apiece because they can be transferred to these partner programs, which means your miles can potentially be worth more than just 1 cent each.

Related: New hotel partners improve the already-strong Capital One Venture credit card.

The Capital One Venture card also comes with extended warranty protection and up to a $100 credit toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. It also charges no foreign transaction fees and has no annual fee for the first year, then $95 each year thereafter.

Best for flexible rewards: Chase Freedom Unlimited

If you're not sure whether you want cash back or travel points, a good compromise option could be the Chase Freedom Unlimited. With this card, you'll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, including those through Amazon. That's less than the Citi Double Cash, but in exchange for a lower earning rate, you'll get rewards that are potentially more flexible and valuable down the line.

When you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can convert your cash back to travel points at a rate of 1 cent per point. Then you're able to redeem those points for travel at an increased value of 1.25 to 1.5 cents apiece via the Chase travel portal.

Even better, once you've converted the cash back to points, you can transfer them to any of Chase's 13 airline and hotel loyalty partners. This amazing flexibility is why CNN Underscored's partner The Points Guy values Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece. At that rate, since you're earning 1.5% cash back on the Freedom Unlimited, you could effectively end up with a 3% return on your purchases.

Aside from a flexible rewards program, you'll also find that the Chase Freedom Unlimited is an ideal card to use for Lyft rides. You'll receive 5% cash back — 3.5% cash back in addition to the normal 1.5% cash back you already earn — on all Lyft rides through March 2020. Other benefits include a three-month subscription to DashPass, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.

Best for Amazon Prime members: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

If your number one goal is to earn as much cash back as you can on every Amazon purchase, then the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature is the way to go. This card offers 5% cash back at Amazon and Whole Foods, 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1% cash back on everything else. That's a better return at Amazon than any other card on our list.

You'll earn 5% cash back at not only Amazon, but also Whole Foods with the Amazon Prime Visa credit card.

But there's one caveat: you must have an Amazon Prime membership to get this card, and that can cost as much as $119 per year. Of course, if you're looking for a card specifically for Amazon purchases, there's a good chance you're already a Prime member, in which case this card could be your best option.

During different parts of the year — typically Amazon Prime Day in July and Black Friday in November — the Amazon Prime Visa credit card sometimes offers up to 20% cash back on select purchases (including the regular 5% cash back you normally receive). Of course, there's no guarantees that will happen again in 2020, but it's been a common promotion over the past few years.

The Amazon Prime card technically earns points, but the points can only be redeemed for a maximum of 1 cent apiece for a statement credit, a direct deposit to a checking or savings account or to pay for Amazon purchases. The card also offers extended warranty protection and purchase protection, but the coverage isn't as comprehensive as some other credit cards.

For instance, with the extended warranty protection, you'll get an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less. On the purchase protection side, you'll be covered on your purchase for 120 days against damage or theft, but only up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. If you're making expensive purchases, these protections won't cover you as well as some other cards on our list.

Best for purchase and return protection: American Express Gold

While maximizing cash back or points earned on your purchase is important, there are sometimes other factors you'll want to consider when making large purchases. Two credit card benefits that you'll especially want to factor in are purchase protection and return protection.

Purchase protection protects eligible items you buy against damage or theft. With this protection, you'll be covered against the cost of replacing or repairing the item. With the American Express Gold, you'll receive purchase protection for 90 days from the date of purchase, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per cardmember account per calendar year.

This makes the Amex Gold a fantastic card to use on eligible Amazon purchases, especially the more expensive ones (think big screen TV, SLR cameras and computers). Purchase protection is a common benefit among credit cards, but many other cards are capped at $500 to $1,000 per claim, which can be limiting for those more expensive items.

Related: Earn bonus points for both eating in and dining out with the American Express Gold card.

Another great credit card benefit is return protection and truth be told, American Express is one of the best card issuers on this front. With return protection, if you're looking to return an eligible item that you bought on your Amex Gold within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won't take it back, American Express will refund the full purchase price (excluding shipping and handling).

The one major caveat to this policy is that you must purchase the item in its entirety with your eligible American Express card. Also, claims are capped at $300 per item and up to a maximum of $1,000 per card account per calendar year.

Best for Amazon gift cards: Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express may not earn the most cash back directly through Amazon. But this card shines when it comes to purchasing Amazon gift cards at select retailers.

One of the best perks of the Blue Cash Preferred is that you earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets for up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). You'll find that many supermarkets sell Amazon gift cards, which you can buy and easily load into your own Amazon account to use for purchases. If you're comfortable taking this extra step, this method will earn you the most cash back possible at Amazon — even more than Amazon's own credit card.

Just be aware that when you use gift cards on your purchase, you'll be losing any credit card benefits you would have potentially received, such as extended warranty and purchase protection. Even if you use a credit card that offers those benefits when purchasing the gift card, those benefits don't follow through when the gift card is actually redeemed.

So while the Blue Cash Preferred can earn you the most cash back at Amazon via gift cards (and the Amex Gold mentioned above is another top contender for purchasing Amazon gift cards since it earns 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets up to $25,000 in purchases per year and 1x thereafter), for items where you might want purchase protections — especially on electronics — you might be better off using a credit card directly versus buying a gift card to earn a few extra rewards.

Which credit card is best for your Amazon purchases?

The best credit card to use at Amazon depends on your priorities.

With so many credit cards available to maximize your Amazon purchases, you're probably wondering which card is best for you. If you want a card that offers straight cash back, your best bet is the Citi Double Cash, or the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa if you're an Amazon Prime member. If your goal is to earn points toward travel, then you'll want to consider the Capital One Venture or Chase Freedom Unlimited.

But if your chief concern is protecting your purchase, regardless of the cash back or travel rewards earned, consider the American Express Gold. And if you're willing to go the extra step of purchasing Amazon gift cards at U.S. supermarkets, then the Blue Cash Preferred or American Express® Gold Card can earn you the most cash back or travel rewards.

Learn more about the Citi Double Cash Card.
Learn more about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Learn more about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature.
Learn more about the American Express Gold Card.
Learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express.

Looking for the best overall credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards of 2020.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.