Amazon revamps branded Visa card to reward Prime members
Amazon and Chase on Wednesday announced they are upgrading the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature credit card with new benefits that favor the e-commerce giant's Prime subscribers.
Existing Amazon Rewards Visa Signature cardmembers with an eligible Prime membership will automatically be upgraded to the new Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (a newly designed metal card with no foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad or shopping across borders) and enjoy 5% back on all Amazon purchases. Prime members will receive these new benefits using their existing card until their new card arrives, the companies said.
Non-Prime members with the Chase card will now benefit from no foreign transaction fees and a refreshed card design, in addition to 3% back at Amazon, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1% back on every other purchase.
Amazon’s move to tweak its signature Visa card is just the latest perk it’s giving Prime members — a sticky, relatively wealthy pack of 49 million, or 44% of U.S. households according to financial services firm Cowen & Co., which predicts that number could jump up to 50% very soon, and eventually could exceed 60 million households nationwide.
Prime subscribers (who pay $99 annually to access a range of benefits including free two-day shipping and a growing library of award-winning original films and television series) are extremely valuable to the company, with some $143 billion in sales over their lifetimes, according to Cowen analyst John Blackledge. Prime members buy from Amazon more than three times each month on average, compared with twice per month for non-members, and bring the company profits 80% higher than non-subscribers.
That explains Amazon’s efforts to make Prime attractive to shoppers — a push that now includes expanded credit card advantages. “We are adding even more value to Prime by offering rewards on Amazon and everywhere else you shop,” Amazon Vice President Max Bardon said in a statement.
Indeed, in his annual letter to shareholders last year, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos put it this way: “We want Prime to be such a good value, you’d be irresponsible not to be a member.”
Follow Daphne Howland on Twitter