15 Best Credit Cards for Large Purchases (2018)

15 Best Credit Cards for Large Purchases (2018)

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: August 14, 2018
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

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.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 13.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Credit Card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
13.49%-26.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+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

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% - 24.99% 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

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 15.99%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
15.99%-26.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+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

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles. That's $600 towards travel!
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+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

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.49%-26.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

+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?