You'd probably say there were strings attached. Sort of yes, but also sort of no: If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber (non-subscribers, keep reading), you can get a $200 gift card when you sign up for the Prime Rewards Visa Card. Assuming you qualify, approval happens in about the time it takes to read this paragraph — and the gift card is provided instantly, meaning you now have $200 to spend on anything Amazon sells.
This is a no-annual-fee Visa, so there's literally zero cost to you. And there are benefits beyond the gift card: You get 5 percent back on nearly all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2 percent back on restaurants and gas and 1 percent on just about everything else.
Amazon also runs Prime Card exclusives from time to time, with up to 25 percent back (in the form of Amazon credit, which is processed after your purchase) on select items. Right now, for example, you can get 10% back on some already-discounted electronics:
OK, but what if you don't have the aforementioned Amazon Prime subscription? There's still a gift-card option when you apply for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, though it's $100 instead of $200. And while that card does offer cash back, it doesn't qualify for the bonus exclusives.
Speaking of Prime, I think it's worth the $119 price of admission, at least for most folks. In addition to fast (meaning two-day, one-day and sometimes even same-day) shipping on most products, you get a boatload of media: Prime movies and TV shows, a different batch of PC games every month, a modest but diverse music library, a rotating selection of e-books and digital magazines and so on.
So here's a thought: If you sign up for a subscription now, then grab the Prime Rewards Visa, you'd be paying $119 and receiving $200 — meaning this gift card more than covers the cost of the subscription.
Newcomers can sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial, though I don't know if you can also get the Prime Rewards Visa as part of that trial or you have to be a full-fledged paying subscriber. My guess is it's the latter.
Amazon has run this gift-card promotion before, but usually it's for $75 or $100; recently it stretched to $150, but I've never seen it hit $200. My question to you: What will you buy with all that sweet, sweet free money? Here are just a few ideas: