Amazon Visa 5% Back on Whole Foods and Why the Ink Business Card Still Beats It

Chase Amazon Visa 5 Percent Bank on Whole Foods

The Chase Amazon Visa Now Earns 5% Back at Whole Foods, if you have an Amazon Prime membership. This is a logical offer given Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, and Amazon's goals of increasing its understanding of its customers' preferences. Many of Amazon's most desirable customers, with high disposable income, shop at Whole Foods frequently, and also are Amazon Prime members. But will they add another card to their wallets? Here are the updated Chase Amazon Visa details:

  • Earn 5% back at and Whole Foods Market, if you have an eligible Amazon Prime membership (if you don't have Prime, you'll earn 3% back)
  • Earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores
  • Earn 1% back on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

Although we're Amazon Prime members and also do quite a bit of fill-in shopping at our local Whole Foods, in between major shops at Trader Joe's, here's why we won't be applying for an Amazon Visa:

The Chase Ink Business Cards Earn 5X

I have the Ink Plus and my husband product changed his Ink Plus to the Ink Cash recently. Both cards earn 5X on the following categories:

  • Cell phone services
  • Internet and Cable TV
  • Office Supply Stores

We regularly pick up Whole Foods gift cards at our local office supply store, earning 5X on all of them.


Why Earning 5X Ultimate Rewards Points with the Ink is Better Than 5% Back with the Amazon Card

If you have an Ink Cash, you'll need an Ultimate Rewards-linked card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred to transfer points to partners, such as Singapore KrisFlyer, Korean SkyPass, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, United MileagePlus, etc.

Assuming you do, each Ultimate Rewards point is worth about 2 cents or more, at least if you're savvy and making high value redemptions for international business class or first class. We rarely redeem our Ultimate Rewards points for less than 4-5 cents per point.

Let's compare what you earn on a hypothetical $100 shopping trip to Whole Foods. With the Amazon Visa you'd earn $5 back, in the form of 500 points. Keep in mind that if you want to redeem it for cash, via a statement credit or an electronic deposit to your bank account, you need to accrue 2000 points before you can do that.

Meanwhile, with an Ink Cash or Ink Plus, you'd earn 5X, so 500 Ultimate Rewards points. If you redeem them at a value of 2 cents per point, that's $10. If you're like us and redeeming at 4-10 cents per point, that's $20-$50.


Isn't It Easier to Get the Amazon Visa than an Ink Card?

Yes, absolutely, especially as the Amazon Visa is not covered by Chase 5/24. So if you're just after a short-term benefit, by all means apply for it. If your goal is to maximize credit card rewards for premium class travel, however, the Ink cards are far better.


Can I Transfer Out Ink Case Points Without a Sapphire Card?

Only if you have an Ink Business Preferred or an Ink Plus (which isn't open to new applications). On it's own, the Ink Cash isn't really worth having, at least for those focused on travel, but paired with another Ultimate Rewards card, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, plus the rotating 5X categories of the Chase Freedom, it's a powerful card for those who do significant Amazon and/or Whole Foods shopping.


Is the Amazon 5% Back is Taken Off Your Whole Foods Bill?

No; you pay the full amount of your shopping bill, and you earn points: 100 points per $1. So going back to the example of the $100 shopping bill at Whole Foods, you'd still pay $100 in-store, but earn $5 = 500 points back. You can either use these points towards shopping or, starting at 2000 points, redeem your points for a statement credit or an electronic deposit into your U.S. checking or savings account. You could also redeem them for gift cards and other products from third parties.


Bottom Line

If you want to maximize the value you get from your Amazon and Whole Foods spend, the Amazon Visa, even with 5% back, doesn't compare well to the Ink cards, particularly for those who redeem regularly for international first class and business class award travel. 5X in Ultimate Rewards points is far more valuable than 5% cash back.

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