I was able to finagle this on opening day in round one back in August and shortly after applications were closed - but they are open now again in October.
The only real positive IMO is the 2.5% off Amazon.ca and Wholefoods (again if you are a Prime Member). We do a fair amount of Amazon purchases so this is a nice reward.
The negatives: 1. The old card applied a credit at the statement; this card auto redeems your points for $20 Amazon Gift Cards (see Gift Card caveat below).
2. The exchange fine print - you save the 2.5% exchange fee on purchases. Go to an outlet mall in the US and buy $100 shoes, you will get 2.5% cash back on the purchase to "offset" the exchange fee. Return those shoes, you will not get a 2.5% offset on the return ("purchases" is stated in the agreement and what I have stated was confirmed by CSR). The old Amazon card had a 0% exchange fee - buy/return - no exchange fee - no issues. > Alternative is Home Trust (0%)
3. Bonus offer is 5% off Grocery/Restaurants but that falls off after 6mth/$3000 spend. Someone had an idea that they think the 5% will be embedded in our brains and we will continue to use it well after when it is 1%. No thank you, I have far better cards to reward me more than 1% for these purchases.
4. Gift Card - watch for the warranty trap. The real dirty pool is that all Amazon purchases default to include the Gift Card as payment with the CC as a fallback. Suppose you have a $20 gift card from the rewards - great! Now you buy a $200 electronic item - they slip in the $20 gift card by default and your CC pays the remaining $180. All good right? Sure - until month 13th when it mysteriously dies. No worries - you have extended warranty with your credit card right? Hertz and not exactly. For the credit card warranty to kick in - you must have purchased the *ENTIRE ITEM WITH THE CREDIT CARD*. Mixing cash/gift cards - is the out for the CC warranty company - and all are the same. At the end of the day it means you have to be on your toes and ensure you don't mix payment methods when the external warranty is integral.
I used the Amazon.ca card a lot for US purchases - the Visa exchange was pretty good (much better than any bank). Granted Mastercard too offers great exchange rates - but I don't particularly like the 2.5% rebate for purchases. I have a Rogers Bank CC and they offer 4% cash back (works the same way as Amazon except 4% rebate to offset 2.5%). When in the US I made purchases that "might" be returned (Amazon/some clothes) with the Home Trust (0% fee, 1% cash back) and with the rest I used Rogers (1.5% cash back effectively, after 4% cashback + 2.5% fee).
This card sadly will be relegated to just being used within Amazon.ca and Wholefoods - which is fine for me. Sad how they played this all out as it could have been my new primary card; now just a weak outlier. US version is mucho better - sucks to be a Canuck - as usual.