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When Amazon acquired Whole Foods last year we knew good things were probably coming as Amazon is a leader on many fronts and Whole Foods, while awesome in some respects, could probably use a little Amazon in their life. Since the acquisition, we’ve seen a few cool promos such as discounted Whole Foods flowers at Valentine’s for Amazon Prime Members, free two-hour Whole Foods Prime delivery in select cities, and some price reductions, but now things are getting even sweeter for those who like to use rewards credit cards to maximize purchases at their favorite retailers.
Get 5% back at Whole Foods with no limits
Effective immediately, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card will now give Amazon Prime members 5% back in rewards on purchases at Whole Foods with no stated limits. Considering how much I spend every time I go to Whole Foods, 5% back could probably add up relatively quickly. Their stats show that Amazon Prime Members spend an average of $1,371 at Whole Foods annually, which would mean an average of $68.55 in rewards each year at a rate of 5% back. That’s not shabby for a card with no annual fee, and that doesn’t even factor in all the other bonus categories.
I’ll circle back to the new Whole Foods benefit on the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa in a minute, but if you aren’t familiar with this card, know that for Amazon Prime Members it also awards 5% back on Amazon.com purchases, 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores, and 1% elsewhere. If a cardholder does not have Amazon Prime, then the 5% bonus categories of Amazon and Whole Foods become 3% categories on the Amazon Rewards Visa. The rewards that this card earns can be used towards eligible Amazon.com purchases, for gift cards, or for cash back at a rate of one point equals one cent.
Beating the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa’s 5% back
With no annual fee and 5% back in a couple of categories, this card is a very solid contender for those who frequent Amazon and Whole Foods. Personally speaking, I spend a lot of money at Amazon and Whole Foods, have Amazon Prime, and love rewards credit cards, but I don’t think I will be adding this card to my wallet right now. The two main reasons why this card isn’t for me even though I am likely the target demographic are that it is a Chase-issued card and I am probably already at my limit of cards and credit with Chase, and I already earn roughly 5x on Amazon and Whole Foods much of the time. Not only that, but my 5x points are worth more than the 5% back this card would provide.
My own strategy to earn rewards at Whole Foods and Amazon is to sometimes use my Chase Ink Plus card that awards 5x transferable Ultimate Reward points at office supply stores such as Staples or Office Depot to purchase Whole Foods and Amazon gift cards. Those points are worth at least 1.5 cents each to me, so my 5x is worth at least 7.5 cents per dollar as opposed to the up to 5 cents per dollar back in rewards with the Amazon Visa. The Chase Freedom also regularly has ways to earn 5x points (up to the quarterly max) at Amazon and/or Whole Foods. For example, right now you can use the Chase Freedom for Whole Foods purchases to earn 5x points since mobile payments are a 2018 1st Quarter bonus category and Whole Foods accepts mobile payments such as Apple Pay. Grocery stores are another common retailer to make an appearance on the Chase Freedom 5x bonus quarterly calendar, and of course, Amazon gift cards are a regular feature on the gift card rack at grocery stores.
Different strategies to save at Whole Foods
I’m okay working the rewards card system by buying and keeping up with retailer gift cards to places like Amazon and Whole Foods to maximize rewards, but I also know that most families want to save money without any complications. For them, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is a very good way to easily get 5% back in rewards if you are a frequent Amazon and Whole Foods shopper with an Amazon Prime membership. While the card has no annual fee, to get the maximum benefits you do have to have Amazon Prime that sells for $99 per year. If you are just looking for a way to save money at Whole Foods and other US grocery stores without the Amazon tie-in, then the 6% cash back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year) available with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great option. That card has a $95 annual fee while its cousin, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, awards 3% back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year) with no annual fee.
There are many options to maximize your Whole Foods purchases, but I’m thrilled that the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is now one of them. Is the Amazon card a part of your wallet? Will today’s announcement of 5% back Whole Foods impact your decision to have this card or not?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.