[Targeted] Chase Amazon: Earn 5% Back On Gas/Travel & 3% On Grocery

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Some Chase Amazon cardholders are being offered 5% cash back on all Gas & Travel purchases and 3% back on Grocery store purchases until June 30, 2022

Our Verdict

This might be a useful offer for people that don’t have a card that earns at a high rate at gas stations or grocery stores.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

12 Good Reasons to Cancel Amazon Prime

Rule number one: When the price of membership goes up, re-evaluate.

After all, you’re likely up to your neck in subscription services: Cable TV, streaming services including Netflix and Disney+, meal-prep services and the granddaddy —  Amazon Prime membership. And in case you missed it: Amazon raised its yearly subscription fee by 17%, from $119 to $139. If you pay monthly, that clip went from $12.99 to $14.99 a month, or $180 a year.

That’s your first reason to reconsider, even if Amazon Prime Day, that annual summer blockbuster sale with its 48-hour marathon of deals, deals, deals, remains a temptation.

Longtime Prime members often forget: You can buy from Amazon without being a Prime member. You’re just not going to get the other perks. To that end, we’ve listed a range of good reasons you might want to cancel your Amazon Prime membership. See if you agree.

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Amazon Prime Is Expensive

Amazon delivery man Joseph Sammarco of Mastic Beach, New York, aka "The Mystery Milk Bone Guy" delivering packages and Milk Bone dog treats for the homeowners who have dogs, on July 30, 2021 in Sound Beach, New YorkAmazon delivery man Joseph Sammarco of Mastic Beach, New York, aka "The Mystery Milk Bone Guy" delivering packages and Milk Bone dog treats for the homeowners who have dogs, on July 30, 2021 in Sound Beach, New York

If you pay your Amazon Prime membership in full (the least expensive route), it’s an annual $139 hit, $180 if you’re paying the soon-to-be $14.99 monthly fee. For the yearly fee, that boils down to $12 a month, about the cost of a streaming video service such as Hulu or Netflix. So just how much are you really using Amazon Prime — and how much value are you gleaning from it? Do the math.

“Because the membership has so many perks, one might assume that it’s worth it,” says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at True Trae. “For me, because I take advantage of many of the benefits, including free two-day shipping for my frequent purchases, and enjoy the video, music and book content, I have no question that it’s worth it for me. But if you do not shop frequently online, or use any of the many perks, it may not be.”

It’s easy to track how much you’ve spent and what you’ve bought (a gimmick that also works to Amazon’s advantage when you want to reorder an item). Click on “Returns & Orders” at the top of the Amazon.com home page after you sign in. It defaults to your orders for the last three months. On that drop-down list, you can choose yearly timeframes.

Since my Amazon membership renewal is due soon, I reviewed all my purchases in 2021 — 51 in total or $2,267.49 spent on Amazon (unusually high, but we were also buying items for a new home). I have a Chase Amazon Prime credit card that I charge my Amazon purchases to, garnering more than $200 in rewards points I credited toward Amazon purchases through the course of the year. Between the rewards and the free shipping, I was feeling good about my then-$119 annual investment. But, yes, I was reminded that many of these items were whirlygigs and junk-drawer fodder I probably wouldn’t have purchased in a physical store or if they hadn’t come with free shipping.

It’s those frivolous items — made easy for Prime members — that can really add up. Are you spending too much at Amazon throughout the year? Your call.

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Amazon Prime Isn’t Your Only Retail Membership

a display stack of large screen TVs at COSTCOa display stack of large screen TVs at COSTCO

Your Prime membership gets you access to electronics, groceries, clothing, household products and much, much more. But check your wallet, and evaluate your shopping habits and retail destinations.

As I consider renewing my Amazon Prime membership, I’m keeping an eye on our Costco membership. Both retailers require membership fees for the biggest discounts, but there’s considerable overlap in the offerings. (and bear in mind Costco is also ripe for a membership fee increase in 2022).

At one point I was stacking memberships to BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sam’s Club on top of Amazon Prime (when I had a much larger household), and that’s a costly line item in the household budget for membership fees alone. If you find yourself using one of the warehouse clubs more than your Amazon Prime membership, it may be time to set Prime free.

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You Can Join Amazon Prime Only for a Month or Two at a Time

Amazon Prime Now Delivery van on 4th avenue late in the day with Seattle's Space Needle in the background.Amazon Prime Now Delivery van on 4th avenue late in the day with Seattle's Space Needle in the background.

In the past, we’ve suggested taking advantage of Amazon Prime’s 30-day free trial, then quitting before the monthly fees kick in. That tip remains solid (the monthly rate is rising to $14.99).

You can rejoin Prime on the free trial just to take advantage of Prime Day deals. Or you can join for a month or two (one free, one paid) during the holiday shopping season to take advantage of deals.

Take note, though: You’re only eligible for one free trial of Amazon Prime every 12 months.

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Amazon Prime’s Free Shipping Isn’t So Novel Anymore

 An Amazon Prime delivery driver wearing personal protective equipment delivers packages during the shelter in place order and quarantine. An Amazon Prime delivery driver wearing personal protective equipment delivers packages during the shelter in place order and quarantine.

Early into the life of Prime, the big get with the yearly membership dues was the free two-day (then one-day, and now in some regions, same-day) shipping. In the retail world, that was a rare perk. Now? Not so much.

Other retailers, including Walmart and Target, are offering free-shipping plans, as well as same-day, in-store pickup, without a $139 yearly membership fee. 

“Walmart and Target’s drive-up, pick-up options provide same-day purchase convenience without having to go in the store,” says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch. “If you need to buy something urgently like diapers or milk, choose drive-up, pick-up options when ordering from big box retailers like Walmart and Target. This doesn’t cost extra!”

Woroch makes another important point: “Not everything you need or want to buy is sold and shipped by Amazon, so it may not be available for Prime two-day shipping anyway. That means it will likely take longer to arrive in the mail. Plus, returns are often much more of a pain to deal with when it comes from a third-party retailer.”

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You Don’t Need a Prime Membership to Get Free Shipping from Amazon

Amazon packages stacked on porch with screen and storm doors openAmazon packages stacked on porch with screen and storm doors open

We’ve justified doling out the $139 each year by shrugging it off to “I get free shipping.” But everybody can get free shipping on Amazon — without paying the $139 a year.

“Amazon has a $25 free shipping threshold for non-Prime members,” says Bodge. “If you tend to buy items over $25 or you are patient enough to combine several items into one order, do you need to pay $139 per year [for Prime membership]?”

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There Are Better Sources of E-Books and Streaming Video

Senior reading on a Kindle deviceSenior reading on a Kindle device

If you’re in the Amazon hardware ecosystem, how much of the software are you actually using? I’m on my second Kindle reader, and I’ve yet to download to my e-reader any free publications from Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Prime Reading or Amazon First Reads.

The same can be said in our household for Amazon Prime Video, Amazon’s attempted Netflix slayer streaming service. I’ve watched a few movies and shows, including the Academy Award-nominated “CODA” and “Being the Ricardos” and the series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Ozark.” But I headed there only because I was already a Prime member — not the other way around. There are alternate, less expensive ways to get your reading and viewing fix.

“You can stream TV shows, movies and get audio/ebooks for free from your local library’s digital platform,” said Woroch. “Just apply for a library card online and forget Prime Video.”

I use our local library system to get book loans into my Amazon account and onto my Kindle or iPad.

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You’re Probably Not Using Amazon Photo Storage (Like They’re Bugging You to)

Hands of woman discovering a treasure chest full of photographs and holding an old black and white photograph of a smiling woman standing on a balcony in Rome in 1960s.Hands of woman discovering a treasure chest full of photographs and holding an old black and white photograph of a smiling woman standing on a balcony in Rome in 1960s.

Amazon Photos offers unlimited photo storage in the cloud. That’s a Prime perk Amazon will pursue you to no end to utilize. “Unlimited” is certainly a sweet appeal — Amazon users who aren’t Prime members get only 5GB of free storage — but if you’re like me and already utilizing the cloud for photo storage, Prime’s offer would be redundant (I’ve been in the macOS world since the late 1980s and using its Photos for macOS ever since it was called iPhoto. I have no plans to switch). 

Here’s a big drawback to Amazon Photos: If you’ve taken advantage of that service and decide to cancel your Amazon Prime membership, you could, according to Amazon’s service agreement, start losing some of those stored photos. “If you exceed your Service Plan’s storage limit, including by downgrading or not renewing your Service Plan or no longer qualifying for an Additional Benefit,” the policy states, “we may delete or restrict access to Your Files. We may impose other restrictions on use of the Service.”

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Grocery Delivery Is a Limited Amazon Prime Benefit

Whole Foods Market delivery van servicing the Silicon Valley area, south San Francisco bay areaWhole Foods Market delivery van servicing the Silicon Valley area, south San Francisco bay area

Until the pandemic, Amazon tacked on a monthly $14.99 charge for its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. Even Prime members had to pay it. That’s been lifted — it’s free — but there are still restrictions.

To be eligible for free grocery delivery, orders must be a minimum of $35 or $50 depending on where you live, a slight annoyance, perhaps, if you are a paying Prime member and your order doesn’t reach that minimum.

Also, per Amazon, free grocery delivery “is available to Prime members in select regions on AmazonFresh orders that meet the local free delivery threshold.”

Amazon members must sign into their account or punch in their zip code to see if they’re eligible. I did it. The response: “Amazon Fresh is not available for this location.” So this perk is no longer in my Prime wheelhouse.

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Amazon Prime Makes You a Lazy Shopper

Bored girl checking mobile phone at homeBored girl checking mobile phone at home

It’s easy to become a complacent shopper when your go-to retailer is Amazon. You search for your product, add to your cart, check out and, boom!, you’re done. But did you get the best price?

“People often assume that shopping on Amazon means that you’re getting the best price, but that is not always the case,” says Bodge. “If having a Prime membership means that Amazon is your go-to place to shop and you’re not comparing prices elsewhere, your membership might be working against you, rather than for you.”

Bodge and fellow savvy shopper Woroch say you would do better to shop around.

“You can often find better prices at competitors, and most big box retailers will even price-match Amazon if they do have a lower price — including Walmart, Target and Best Buy,” says Woroch.  “So why pay for Prime when you can get Amazon’s low prices at a regular retailer anyway?”

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Prime Day Is Mostly a Huge Garage Sale

Little girl at garage saleLittle girl at garage sale

If you’re holding onto your Prime membership to get a better angle on deals for Prime Day, really, was it worth it in past years? Most of the “deals” are on Amazon’s proprietary products and third-party items that likely didn’t sell well. Just like a garage sale, there may be a hidden treasure among the tchotchkes. You will find some flash and dazzle — good deals on televisions and computers, for instance. But buyer’s remorse can quickly set in, as it did with my Ancestry DNA kit and Kindle impulse purchases.

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Maybe Those Amazon “Deals” Aren’t

Pizza rolls on a white background at an angled view.Pizza rolls on a white background at an angled view.

Do you assume that you’re always getting the lowest price on Amazon? Of course you do. That’s why it’s your default online shopping site.

Slow your roll, savvy shopping experts say.

“While Amazon has a vast selection and often very good prices, those prices aren’t always the lowest, said Bodge. “If you have a renewal coming up, try installing a browser extension that compares prices on Amazon versus other sites, like Cently from CouponFollow.”

Bodge suggests this shopping strategy to measure if what you’re buying on Amazon is a great deal:

“For your next several orders, pay attention to the Cently alert as you browse,” said Bodge. “If you’re consistently getting the best price on your chosen items on Amazon, you might want to hang onto your Prime membership, but if you find that other sites have better prices on what you’re shopping for, think about canceling.”

Or simply do your own price comparisons, especially, in my experience, when you get an email pitch directly from Amazon for product “suggestions.” Mine was for Totino’s frozen pizza rolls, sold from third-party vendors on Amazon. One of them wanted to sell me a box of 160 pizza rolls for $38.98, or 24 cents per appetizer. I checked with Walmart.com. A package of 130 Totino’s pizza rolls was selling for $10.98, or 8 cents per pizza roll, two-thirds cheaper than the Amazon offer.

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Jeff Bezos

 Jeff Bezos laughs as he speaks about his flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space during a press conference on July 20, 2021 Jeff Bezos laughs as he speaks about his flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space during a press conference on July 20, 2021

Maybe you aren’t a fan of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, who grew his upstart online-bookstore into one of the world’s largest online marketplaces of nearly … everything.

Amazon has made Bezos into one of the world’s richest individuals and enabled Amazon to gobble up other, smaller players in the retail and tech worlds. That wealth enabled Bezos to buy the Washington Post and Whole Foods Markets, among others, as well start his own commercial aerospace company, Blue Origin, which sent him and others into space. 

As Big Tech increasingly undergoes scrutiny from the federal government, some consumers join the fight by not buying into the services of those major players. 

Or, maybe you don’t want to support a company that has fought hard against efforts by its employees to unionize.

Source: kiplinger.com

Chase Cards Not Subject To 5/24 Rules?

Update: Seeing some approvals on Southwest Personal & United Explorer cards as well.

Currently there are some datapoints of people being successfully approved for the Chase Amazon credit card despite being over 5/24. That card is currently offering an increased sign up bonus of $200. Earlier this year Chase increased credit limits on existing cardholders Amazon cards by a lot.

Amazon has been considering replacing Chase as a co-branded partner so Chase removing the 5/24 rule could be due to either trying to keep them as a partner or pad the stats if another issuer plans to purchase the backbook from Chase.

If you do apply, share your 5/24 stats and application status in the comments below.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

[Targeted] Chase Amazon: Earn 2% Back On All Purchases

The Offer

Targeted offer, sent out via e-mail.

  • Some Chase Amazon cardholders are being offered 2% cash back on all purchases until November 30, 2021.

Our Verdict

Amazon has been considering partnering with another card issuer for this card. Chase recently increased credit limits on these cards. There are a few reasons why Chase might have done this 2% deal:

  • Standard promotion that sometimes runs
  • Chase wants to continue being a partner on this card
  • Chase eventually wants to sell the backbook for this card to the new issuer and higher spend/credit limits will increase the price they can ask for it

Source: doctorofcredit.com