How My Amazon Prime Card Earned Me Serious Cash Back During the Pandemic

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Here's how I capitalized on credit card rewards during the coronavirus outbreak.

Like many people, I've largely been hunkering down at home since the coronavirus outbreak began in March. And during that time, I've done a lot of my shopping on Amazon.

Now to be fair, I'm not a particularly big fan of in-person shopping, and I tend to make a lot of purchases online anyway. But over the past nine months, I've reaped serious rewards thanks to my Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.

Stocking up and racking up points

Once the pandemic hit, there was a frenzy to stock up on toilet paper, sanitizer, and cleaning products. I'd like to say I didn't panic-buy, but I did make a concerted effort to stock up once our supply started running low. Rather than brave the stores, I turned to Amazon. Since I'm a Prime member, I'm eligible for two-day shipping, and I found that it was much easier to search Amazon once a day rather than get in my car, hop from store to store in the hopes of snagging paper products, and risk exposure in the process.

Normally, though, I do buy household items like toilet paper in stores, not online, but by shifting to Amazon, I earned $50 in cash back rewards. That's because my Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card gives me 5% back on Amazon purchases.

Shifting to online grocery shopping

Though I've since resumed food shopping in stores, for the first few months of the pandemic, I was nervous to buy groceries in person, especially with cases in my area being so abundant. But scheduling grocery deliveries was tricky given the demand, so I turned to Amazon instead. As a Prime member, I'm entitled to free delivery from Whole Foods plus 5% cash back on those purchases, and from April through June, I easily scored an extra $50 by going this route.

Buying books

Normally, I borrow books from the library regularly. I read a lot, and purchasing books just isn't cost-effective when I can borrow them instead. But my local library was closed for much of the pandemic, and while I had the option to borrow books for my e-reader, when you spend your entire day staring at a computer screen like I do, the last thing you want is another screen when you settle down at night to relax. I decided to take some of the money I'd normally spend on entertainment outside the home and use it to purchase books for myself and my son, who reads nightly before bed and goes through books so quickly it's hard to keep up (again, usually with books from the library). We racked up another $25 cash back with our book purchases until the library opened back up.

Ordering my usual Amazon haul

I normally rely on Amazon for things like holiday shopping outside the pandemic. This year was no exception. I bought most of my kids' gifts on Amazon as well as gifts for family. Since I'm not seeing people in person, shipping those gifts directly was just easy.

Plus, I retained all of my usual Amazon subscriptions during the pandemic because those needs didn't change. On a monthly basis, I get vitamins, supplements, and other household items via the Subscribe & Save program.

All told, I've easily earned $500 cash back from my Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card this year, a good $125 of which was solely related to the pandemic when I factor in extra holiday purchases. Normally, I try to limit myself to just a few credit cards so I can track my spending and avoid going overboard. But adding the Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card to my personal mix was a smart move given how frequently I order from Amazon. When I signed up for that card a few years back, I had no way of knowing I'd eventually rely on Amazon during a global health crisis, but it's certainly come in handy since.

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