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Dear Cashing In,
I have an Amazon credit card. Now that Amazon
owns Whole Foods, will I see any changes to this card? Will there be any
benefits to shopping at Whole Foods? – Marjorie
Amazon sure has been in the news a lot lately. In June,
it announced it was buying Whole Foods in a $14 billion deal. Then, in July,
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos overtook Bill Gates as the world’s richest person
(but has since fallen to No. 3, as values of stock holdings fluctuate). In
August, regulators approved the Whole Foods deal, and Amazon said one of its
first moves as the organic grocery chain’s owner would be to slash some of
Whole Foods’ notoriously high prices. And in February, Amazon prime members can receive 5 percent cash back when using their Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card for Whole Foods store purchases.
If you’re an Amazon credit card holder, you have probably
watched these moves with great interest. According to the Aug. 24, 2017, news release on Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, “Amazon Prime will become Whole Foods Market’s customer rewards program, providing Prime members with special savings and other in-store benefits.”
Maria Martinez, the Chase spokeswoman who manages communications for Amazon credit cards, says, “Amazon Rewards Visa Signature and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Customers can purchase Whole Foods Market products through the Amazon.com website and will earn 3 percent (Amazon Rewards Visa) or 5 percent (Amazon Prime Rewards Visa).”
For those not familiar with the Amazon credit cards, here are the details:
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card*
Annual fee: None
$50 Amazon gift card.
percent on Amazon purchases; 2 percent at
restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1 percent on all else.
Targeted offer: Some Chase Amazon Rewards Visa cardholders are earning 4 percent at gas stations in September, October and November.
Amazon for any item, or with Chase for cash back, gift cards and travel.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card*
Annual fee: $0 ($99 Amazon Prime membership required).
Sign-up bonus: $70 Amazon gift card.
Earning: 5 percent for purchases made at Whole Foods; 5 percent on Amazon purchases; 2 percent at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1 percent on all else.
Targeted offer: Some Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Visa cardholders are earning 4 percent at gas stations in September, October and November.
Redemption: On Amazon for any item, or with Chase for cash back, gift cards and travel.
If you shop a lot at a particular store, a store card can
make some sense. The same is true with the Amazon Prime Visa. Earning 5 percent back
on Amazon purchases is a lot, but it adds up only if you spend big money at Amazon.
The average Amazon Prime member spends about
$1,300 a year at Amazon, which would translate to about $65 a year in
rewards. There are a lot of other
cards with more rewards, though.
The Amazon-Whole Foods merger is already bringing changes. The news release linked above noted that as of Aug. 28, 2017, “Whole Foods will offer lower prices on a selection of best-selling staples across its stores, with much more to come.” Also, 365 Everyday Value, Whole Foods Market, Whole Paws and Whole Catch products will be available through Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry and Prime Now.
What’s meant by “much more to come”? The Amazon Prime loyalty program, which has an annual fee of $99, offers a number of perks, including free two-day shipping, video streaming and discounts on recurring purchases of household goods and diapers, The Washington Post notes. In certain ZIP codes, Prime members can get free same-day or even two-hour delivery for select items. Once many Whole Foods items are available on Amazon, it is not hard to imagine ordering groceries and any other Amazon items online and having it all delivered to your door for free.
Amazon is expected to use its technology prowess to improve Whole
Foods, a June 2017 Wall Street Journal story mentioned. That probably means using customer data to make shopping a better
customer experience, and credit cards could play a role in providing that data.
Generally, if you have a credit card connected to a company
that has merged, it is best to hang onto it to see what changes develop. Often,
the new companies make an effort to retain customers by dangling attractive
offers before them. That has been true with airline mergers and, more recently,
with Costco cards.
It is hard to know what the future holds, but Amazon has built a successful company through innovation. Maybe Amazon will devise
something innovative with Whole Foods for its credit card holders.
* The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of the offer.
See related: Which is the best card to use for Amazon purchases?, New Amazon Prime card makes shopping more tempting, Battle of the cards: Amazon Prime or Target Redcard?
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