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Monday, March 8, 2021

15 Best Credit Cards for Large Purchases (2021)

Best Credit Cards For Large Purchases

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: October 15, 2019
Advertiser Disclosure

Finding the best credit cards for large purchases may seem like a daunting task, with so many card options available to consumers these days. But we’ve narrowed the list for you to present our choices for just such cards. As ubiquitous as it’s become, many of us likely take the credit card for granted, forgetting how much more difficult it was to make large purchases in the once-upon-a-time. To put it in perspective, consider this: if you were to purchase a new $5,000 furniture set using silver bars, as your ancestors once may have done, you’d have to haul almost 25 pounds of silver to the furniture store.

In addition to having a minuscule fraction of the mass presented by a sack of precious metals, your credit card can also give you additional big-purchase perks, including the ability to pay your purchase off over time and earn rewards while you do it. Yes, with the right credit card, your large purchase can result in sizeable savings — and you won’t have to haul them anywhere.

0% APR | Signup Bonus | Cash Back | Miles | Points

Best “Introductory 0% APR” Credit Cards for Large Purchases

While the thin, light, easy-to-swipe credit cards have a lot going for them, those little pieces of plastic have one big drawback: interest fees. With average credit card APR ranging above 14% for even the best credit, carrying a big balance on your card from a large purchase can be costly — and those interest costs will compound over time.

To fight the fees, smart shoppers use introductory 0% APR offers, which let you carry a balance interest-free for 12 months or more. To add extra value, if your intro APR offer comes from a rewards card, you can also earn cash back, points, or miles on your purchase, all interest-free for the length of the intro period. Many of our favorite cards with 0% APR offers also come without annual fees, giving you the ability to stack the savings.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • For a limited time, get a special 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles, then a variable APR applies
  • Enjoy Cell Phone Protection Coverage when you pay your monthly cellular bill with your U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
  • View your credit score anytime, anywhere in the mobile app or online banking. It's easy to enroll, easy to use, and free to U.S. Bank customers.
  • Fraud Protections detects and notifies you of any unusual card activity to help prevent fraud
  • Choose your payment due date
  • $0 Annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 20 billing cycles
0% for 20 billing cycles
14.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit

+See More Intro APR Cards

If you’re going to use an intro APR card to finance a large purchase that you intend to pay off over time thanks to the interest-free offer, be sure that you can pay off your balance before the end of the introductory period. Once your offer expires, you’ll be charged the default APR, which will likely be in the double-digits. Check your cardholder agreement to determine the APR you’ll be charged after your intro period ends.

When it comes to choosing a card with an intro-APR offer, be sure to consider the card’s potential for purchase rewards on top of its interest savings. While rewards cards often have shorter introductory periods than cards without rewards offer, if you don’t need the extra time, you can score some extra savings through cash back or points rewards.

Best “Signup Bonus” Credit Cards for Large Purchases

As awesome as credit card rewards undoubtedly are, their biggest fault can be the time it takes to accrue them — unless you can score a big (metaphorical) bag of signup bonus rewards. Typically offering hundreds of dollars or tens of thousands of points or miles, signup bonuses can be a great way to kick-start your earnings.

So what’s the catch? You have to meet the minimum spending requirement, and you’ll have to do it within the set time limits. If you’re already planning on making a big purchase, however, this can be fairly easy, depending on the requirement. In general, the bigger the bonus, the larger the spending requirement. Our top signup bonus cards include options for nearly every budget, with spending requirements — and bonus sizes — covering the spectrum.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

+See More Signup Bonus Cards

When hunting signup bonuses, be wary of falling into the trap of making purchases simply for the rewards. Only charge what you can afford to pay off right away because, unless you’re also enjoying an intro APR offer, your carried balance will be charged interest. Those interest fees can add up faster than you think, quickly canceling out the value of your bonus.

Best “Cash Back” Credit Cards for Large Purchases

Shoppers who like their credit card rewards simple and straightforward tend to gravitate toward cash back rewards, which can usually be redeemed for a statement credit, check, or gift cards. In this respect, cash back rewards are essentially a universal purchase rebate, turning that large purchase into a — well, a somewhat-less-large purchase.

Selecting the right cash back card will come down to your own shopping habits, as there are a variety of different cash back programs from which to choose. If your spending changes with the seasons, you might benefit most from a program with quarterly bonus categories, while those with more diverse habits may prefer a simple flat-rate rewards system. Our expert-rated cards cover the gamut of options, giving you a good place to start the search.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Cash Back Cards

Some things to consider when comparing cash back programs include the details of using the program, such as minimum requirements to redeem cash back or the need to activate your new rewards category each quarter. While these can seem like small inconveniences, it’s often the little things that can make or break your rewards experience. Weigh all the pros and cons before making a decision.

Best “Air Miles” Credit Cards for Large Purchases

For those who intend to pay off the purchase quickly, perhaps the best credit card for making a large purchase is an air miles or travel rewards card. These cards allow you to stock up points or miles that can be redeemed toward free flights, hotel stays, and other travel-related expenses, turning your big buy into a big budget-saver for your next vacation.

While many people are familiar with the credit cards that help you earn frequent flyer miles for popular airlines, the best pick for many consumers is actually an all-around travel rewards card without specific brand ties, such as our picks below. With these programs, you can redeem points and miles toward flights on any carrier and hotel stays in any location, instead of limiting yourself to a particular company.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover will automatically match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles.  There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • New! Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.
  • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Air Miles Cards

Another key benefit to a good travel rewards card is that you’ll actually be able to use your card to while you travel, thanks to the fact that many travel rewards cards won’t charge you any foreign transaction fees. Simply avoiding these fees can save you 3% to 5% off every purchase you make in a foreign currency.

Best “Rewards Points” Credit Cards for Large Purchases

The vanilla-chocolate swirl of credit card rewards, programs with rewards points offer flexible redemption options that typically include cash back as well as travel expenses. Similar to other rewards program, the way you earn rewards points will vary by card, with some offering bonus points for purchases made in specific categories, while others simply offer flat-rate rewards on all purchases.

Of course, the best way to score piles of points with your large purchase is to take advantage of a rewards points credit card that offers a hefty signup bonus. With this combination, you’ll not only earn points per $1 spent, you’ll also net a lump-sum of points that likely stretch into the thousands. The top of our rewards points credit card list also includes a number of options with free or reduced annual fees.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99%-20.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. From 6/1/20 through 6/30/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

+See More Rewards Points Cards

The main thing to be cognizant of when it comes to rewards points is that the flexible redemption options can be a double-edged sword. As nice as it is to have options, those options will typically have varying per-point values, meaning you may get more pow for your points by redeeming for travel over cash back — or vice versa. Investigate your redemption options before selecting a points program to ensure you wind up with options that will give you the most value.

Don’t Let Your Purchase Max Out Your Card’s Limit

As you ponder which card to swipe for your next big buy, make sure you’ve really thought about the consequences. If you can’t pay off your purchase right away and don’t have an intro APR deal, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars in annual interest fees.

For all that our ancestors had to deal with the literal burden of financing a big purchase, that may have also provided an advantage. By having to carry massive currency to and fro for large purchases, our financial forebears had built-in budget control.

To help keep your spending in perspective, the next time you’re thinking about charging your way into thousands of dollars of debt, consider the size of the cost in silver, instead. If you wouldn’t haul 25 pounds of metal across town to buy it, should you really be purchasing it at all?

Advertiser Disclosure

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