Well this has been an incredibly exciting week, first I release details of my multiple Amazon Payments Account strategy to my readers here, then almost immediately, in what much be considered the worst timing ever… news that the Amazon Payments program is DEAD has flooded the interwebs. Listen up readers, they wouldn’t kill a deal like this right after I spend all that time and effort on sharing how to exploit it even more, that would be incredibly rude of Amazon, and as far as I can tell these guys are some of the nicest human beings that one could hope to meet.
Though, to be fair, every ‘deal’ we have is a blessing and on borrowed time, so sooner or later it will come to a close. However, proclaiming its death, especially pre-emptively is like dusting off the family will every time dear Aunt Jenny sneezes; a little crass, especially when it can still offer considerable value to us hard(ly) working travel hacker types.
Firstly, ‘dead’ is relative to only one aspect of Amazon Payments, and the other one would still work just fine, even if it didn’t you could just pull your business to Paypal and it would offer the same value.
Currently with Amazon Payments you can generate $1,000 of spend per account, per month with no charges. For me that means $4,000 this month, and I will opening up Account #5 and #6 on December 3rd. The reason for this is I plan to send and cash out $4,000 on December 1-2 and then if my 5th and 6th accounts anger the AP gods too much and they shut me down entirely, at least I had a good run at things.
Also, what it means is if on December 4th things go full circle and all the Chicken Little’s are proven correct, that I still get my full value before the program changes.
Programs Change, Evaluate Value, Adjust Approach and Evolve
With the current system of Amazon Payments the proper way to use them is to help you out meeting the minimum spend on a credit card, and when they have all been met and your bonuses triggered, revert to another card for earning at a multiple. The two cards I use for this are:
- The Fidelity Amex for 2% Cash
- The Barclaycard Arrival for 2.22% Cash towards Travel $89 Annual Fee Waived in First Year (this card I earn a commission on if you use this link)
I have one account earning on the Fidelity and one on the Arrival, on my other Pair of Amazon Payment Accounts I have the same cards, but under a different account.
That means each month I pull in $40 Cash and $44.44 Travel Money.
However, when I need to meet a minimum spend, as I did recently with the Club Carlson Visa ($2500 spend) I added that and used Amazon Payments to meet the spend. When achieved, I go back to my earning workhorses of the Fidelity Amex and the Barclaycard Arrival.
What happens when the rumors are true?!
Well, what is being proposed as might happen eventually is that Amazon Payments would price Credit Card transactions at about 2.9%, competitively with Paypal and Google Wallet. The mathematicians among you will see that if we are earning 2.22% with the Arrival Card for a cost of 2.9% that we are actually losing 0.68% per transaction.
But that is only on the monthly regular transactions – the difference for the Signup Bonus still makes Amazon Payments, or any of the other options completely viable.
The Fidelity Amex is a card I love, but it doesn’t come with a Signup Bonus. The Barclaycard Arrival on the other hand comes with 40,000 points for $1,000 in spend within 90 days – this is actually the perfect card for this example. Many other 40,000 point bonus cards require$3,000 in spend in the first 90 days.
If you used the full $1000 on Amazon Payments, Paypal, Google Wallet at 2.9% the cost would be $29, but in return for that you would earn 42,000 Arrival points, valued at $440 against any travel expenses. That is still a slam dunk deal. Also, that is worst case, because you could also have some genuine expenses to use, and if you were only needing to put on say $300 or so towards the end of the 90 day period then your fee to ensure the full bonus is obtained would be under $10.
To me, the extreme value of cards like the Arrival Card, or Chase Sapphire Preferred make paying a transaction fee whilst in Signup Bonus phase actually still a very valid use of the system, so when that tragic day comes that the deal dies, look a little closer, and see if you can still find value in it.