Finding the right credit card is often a matter of matching your needs to what a given card offers. If you know you have a big purchase coming up, it might make sense to look for a card that can allow you to make the most of the situation. Maybe you’d enjoy a big travel-rewards welcome bonus to pay for airfare, or maybe you’d love to get hundreds of dollars in cash back when you make a large purchase. You might be surprised at how much a credit card can help you.
If you’re looking for the best credit card for a large purchase, here’s what you need to know to make your decision.
- Why using a credit card for large purchases could be a great idea
- So, which credit card is best for big purchases?
- The 6 best credit cards for large purchases
- The 2 best business credit cards for large purchases
- The bottom line on the best credit cards for large purchases
Why using a credit card for large purchases could be a great idea
Many of us have large purchases we need to make. And whether you’re paying $1,200 for a new laptop or $5,000 to buy appliances for a home renovation, these expenses can make a dent in your budget. In some cases, your large purchase might even be a vacation you’ve saved for or office equipment for a business you’re starting. It’s even possible to use a credit card to buy a car.
No matter what it is, though, a credit card can help you get more bang for your buck. When you get a personal loan, you might not be able to get 0% APR (annual percentage rate) financing — and you almost certainly won’t receive any sort of rewards or bonus for your spending. Even if you save up and pay with cash, you won’t earn rewards for making your purchase.
But when you make a big purchase with a credit card, you have the option to get a little more from what you spend. If you have enough cash to cover the purchase already, consider using a credit card with a large welcome bonus. Pay off the card and reap the benefits. If you’re not sure you can pay off your large expense immediately, you can get a credit card with an introductory 0% APR. With a long intro period, you can avoid interest while still turning your purchase into something manageable — and earning perks and rewards, too.
Another reason to consider credit cards for large purchases is that some cards come with purchase protection. With this benefit, you’ll be protected if the item is damaged or stolen. That way, if something happens to your large purchase within a certain period of time, you can receive some compensation to cover the cost.
Just be careful. In some cases, a hefty expense can use up a big portion of your available credit, impacting your credit utilization and affecting your credit score.
So, which credit card is best for big purchases?
The best credit card for a large purchase will depend on your individual needs. It’s a good idea to carefully consider each credit card ahead of time and figure out what’s going to work best for your needs in the long run.
For example, if you like to travel and have the money to quickly pay off your purchase, consider looking for a card that earns you a lot of miles. You could end up with free airfare because your big purchase helps you reach the spending requirement to earn a welcome bonus. Additionally, if there’s a hotel chain you prefer, you might be able to pick a card that gives you status immediately, so you can have a more luxurious trip without added expense.
On the other hand, you might prefer to have a long intro 0% APR period. Maybe you need to replace your washer and dryer but don’t have the $1,000 on hand for such a purchase. You can get a 0% APR card that allows you to pay off the expense over the course of 15 months, making it much more manageable.
We’ll identify the strong points of all the credit cards below. Look at the terms of each and consider what works best for you. In some cases, it might even make sense to pay an annual fee if the benefits and savings in other areas are big enough. Consider your lifestyle and financial goals, and then choose a card that fits with what you hope to accomplish.
The 6 best credit cards for large purchases
|Card name||Best for||Welcome bonus||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card||Long intro APR||N/A||N/A||$0
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||Intro APR, plus cash rewards||Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months||1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day||$0|
|Discover it Miles||Travel rewards, plus intro APR||Discover will match the miles you earn in the first year as a new cardmember||1.5X miles per dollar on all purchases||$0|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Travel rewards||Earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months (plus earn up to $50 in statement credits on grocery store purchases in the first year)||5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases||$95|
|Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express||Cash back, plus intro APR||Earn $100 cash back after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months; plus, earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $150 back||3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, 1% cash back on other purchases||$0 (See rates and fees)|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card||Hotel rewards and status||Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||12X points when spending directly with an eligible Hilton hotel or resort; 6X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases||$95 (See rates and fees)|
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
If you’re looking for a card with no annual fee and a long intro APR, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card might be the best card for a large purchase. You get a 0% APR for 20 months on purchases, which gives you time to pay off that purchase without worrying about interest charges.
For example, if you need to make a purchase of $2,000, you could make payments of $111.11 for 18 months and avoid all interest fees. This card can help make your large purchase more manageable so you don’t have to try to come up with a large amount of money ahead of time.
There are no rewards with this card, though. Additionally, it doesn’t offer purchase protection. But it does come with an extended warranty, so if the item you purchased breaks after the initial warranty protection has expired, you might be able to get compensation. And one nice bonus is that you can get coverage on your cell phone if you use this card to pay your bill.
This card is your card if your main concern is to make your purchase more manageable financially and avoid interest.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
With the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, you get a 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, plus you’ll enjoy cash back on your purchases. You can earn cash back not only on your big purchase, but you get 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day.
With this card, if you were to spend $2,000 on a purchase, you’d get $30 in cash back on that purchase alone. You’d also have more manageable monthly payments of $133.33 for 15 months, since you’d be avoiding interest fees. Even after the intro APR period is done, as long as you pay off your balance each month, you’ll be able to benefit from the cash back and skirt interest charges. This card also doesn’t have an annual fee.
You won’t get purchase protection with the Quicksilver Cash card, but you do get access to an extended warranty program that can provide you with recourse if something happens once the manufacturer’s warranty ends.
This card is your card if you want to earn cash back on regular purchases, as well as receive a 0% intro APR.
Discover it Miles
With the Discover it Miles, you earn 1.5X miles on each dollar you spend. You’ll also receive 14 months of 0% intro APR on your purchases. You’ll pay no annual fee for this card.
And when it comes to those reward miles, Discover does something a little different. Rather than offering a traditional welcome bonus, all of the miles you earn in the first year will be matched by Discover. So, the regular reward rate of 1.5X miles will get you 3,000 points for a large purchase of $2,000. Those points will be matched at the end of the year for another 3,000 points — for a total of 6,000 points. Those miles can then be redeemed for a statement credit on travel purchases or for cash.
Unfortunately, Discover discontinued purchase protection in 2018, and there’s no extended warranty coverage, either.
This card is your card if you want to earn travel rewards and benefit from a fairly long 0% intro APR on top of the rewards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Depending on how you spend your money and the types of rewards you like, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can be a good choice — even with the $95 annual fee.
One of the nice benefits of this card is that it comes with a welcome bonus that allows you to earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months (plus earn up to $50 in statement credits on grocery store purchases in the first year). That bonus is worth $1,000 in travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
On top of that, you get 5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases. If you're a big spender in the bonus categories, that’s more than enough to make up for the annual fee.
Another bonus is that Chase is one of the few card issuers still offering purchase protection. While many other issuers just rely on an extended warranty, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can receive up to $500 per claim if the item is damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase.
This card is your card if you already have the money saved up for your big purchase and want to earn travel rewards.
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
For everyday spending without an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express can be a good choice. You get 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, 1% cash back on other purchases. However, it also works well for large purchases because of its welcome offer and 0% APR introductory period.
With this card, you can earn $100 cash back after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months; plus, earn 20% back on amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $150 back. If you’re making a big purchase, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to reach that spending requirement fairly easily. Plus, you’ll continue to earn cash back on regular purchases, even after you’ve already finished paying off your big purchase. On top of that, you’ll pay 0% interest on your purchases for 15 months (See rates and fees), giving you time to pay off your expense without paying interest.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card is another that offers purchase protection, providing up to $1,000 per incident within up to 90 days of purchase.
This card is your card if you want to receive cash back on everyday purchases, along with the added benefit of a 0% APR.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
When you’re a loyal Hilton Honors member, getting the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card can be worth the $95 annual fee. With this card, you earn 12X points when spending directly with an eligible Hilton hotel or resort; 6X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases. This can be a great way to boost the number of points you get regularly — as well as make the most of a big purchase.
Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This is a good way to supercharge your ability to get points and then redeem them for stays at Hilton hotels. Plus, with the Surpass Card, you automatically get Hilton Honors Gold status, making you eligible for upgrades and other perks. Finally, you also get a complimentary Priority Pass membership, which is valued at $99.
The Surpass Card does come with extended warranty protection and phone insurance, and it even allows you to return a purchase if the merchant won’t take it back. That said, it does not come with an intro APR.
This card is your card if you’re a frequent traveler who wants both airport lounge access and status with Hilton Hotels.
The 2 best business credit cards for large purchases
|Card name||Welcome bonus||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||Earn $750 bonus cash back after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months||1.5% cash back on all spending||$0|
|Capital One Spark Miles for Business||Earn 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months||5X miles on rental cars and hotels booked through Capital One Travel, and 2X miles on every purchase, every day||$95 (waived first year)|
Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
As a business owner, you might need to make a big purchase for your company, whether it’s a big ad spend or you’re buying equipment. The Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card has no annual fee and offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You also earn $750 bonus cash back after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months. Your big business expense can help you reach this minimum spend requirement.
On top of offering a sign-up bonus, the Chase Ink Business Unlimited also has a 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months. You also have access to purchase protection with this card that covers you up to $10,000 per item, which can be helpful when you make a big business purchase.
This card is your card if you’re a business owner who has to make some upfront purchases but also needs a manageable way to make monthly payments without worrying about interest.
Capital One Spark Miles for Business
For business owners more interested in travel rewards, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business offers up to 5X miles on purchases and a generous welcome bonus of 50,000 miles — equal to $500 of travel.
In order to get that welcome bonus, you need to spend $4,500 in the first first 3 months, but that should be doable with a big purchase for your business. Because this card doesn’t have a 0% APR, though, you’ll have to be careful to pay off your purchase quickly to avoid interest charges that would cancel out the benefit of your reward miles.
You also won’t get travel protections with this card, but it does come with an extended warranty, just in case.
This card is your card if you are a business owner who already has the cash flow to pay for a big purchase and want a valuable welcome bonus.
The bottom line on the best credit cards for large purchases
Whenever you get a card for a big purchase, having a plan to pay it off is important. Maybe you’re paying off the card quickly and using it to earn a big cashback bonus or travel points. If you want to take advantage of a 0% APR card, though, figure out how much you need to pay each month to get rid of the balance before the interest rate kicks in.
In addition, think about what you’ll use the card for on a daily basis and what type of rewards you’re likely to use. Choose the best rewards credit card that’s likely to help you reach your financial goals even after the large purchase is paid off.