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How TPG Loungers are maximizing home makeovers with credit cards

July 14, 2020
6 min read
Young couple sitting on carpet in a loft looking at color samples
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The past few months, we’ve all likely been spending much more time at home while social distancing. This has led to a lot of people (myself included) to rearrange living spaces, start both large and small remodels or other home improvement projects.

(Photo by jchizhe/Getty Images)
(Photo by jchizhe/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, home improvement isn’t a common bonus category. Every now and then, you’ll see it pop up on a rotating category card or see it as an option for a choose-your-category card. But on top rewards cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the American Express® Gold Card? Home improvement bonus points are harder to come by.

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I polled the TPG Lounge to see what projects readers have undertaken, as well as how they are maximizing their credit cards on those purchases. Here are a few of the ways they are making the most of each home improvement project.

Amex offers

One way to get more from your Amex credit cards is by using Amex offers. Each card is targeted with specific offers that can save you money or help you earn additional Membership Rewards points on purchases that don’t fall into a traditional bonus category.

A few different TPG readers in the Lounge mentioned an Amex offer for 2x Lowe’s on both the Amex Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, including TPG reader Jay F., who used the offer to help earn after paying for concrete for his basement.

While I don’t have an Amex offer for Lowe’s right now, I do have an offer for Pike’s Nursery, one of my favorite places to get plants and gardening supplies for my blossoming green thumb.

Amex Offer for Pike's Nursery

Related reading: Your guide to Amex offers

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Gift cards at grocery stores

Another common way TPG readers are maximizing home improvement projects is through gift cards at grocery stores. While home improvement may not be a super common bonus category, a lot of our favorite travel cards have recently offered temporary bonus rewards on grocery store spending.

Grocery stores sell gift cards to a number of merchants, including home improvement stores, which means you can score a bonus on purchases to retailers that you normally would only get 1x at.

TPG Lounger Lem W. scored major rewards using this strategy to refinish kitchen cabinets, redo a kid’s bedroom and replace flooring in his house: “I used my Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) and Chase Sapphire Reserve to buy Home Depot gift cards at 5x points from Fred Meyer, plus got 4x fuel rewards at FM and double FM Rewards points with a digital coupon. I used the fuel rewards to fill up my RV, so my $500 Home Depot card got me at least $37.50 in Chase points, $70 in fuel discounts, and $10 in an FM Rewards rebate.”

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: The best grocery credit cards for 2020

(Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Grocery stores typically have a wide variety of gift cards you can buy to earn bonus points — including many home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Shopping portals

Last, but not least, a few of the TPG Loungers polled said they were taking advantage of online shopping portals. Now, you don’t have to have a credit card to use shopping portals (and you should be using them to rack up rewards even if you don’t), but using a shopping portal from an issuer can help you rack up additional awards where you otherwise wouldn’t have. Or, you can use a shopping portal to double dip with credit card rewards so that you’re earning credit card bonus points and airline miles.

Related reading: TPG Talks episode one: Use online shopping portals and apps to save money and earn miles from home

(Image by Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Shopping)
(Image by Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Shopping)

I recently used a 2x offer through the Delta SkyMiles shopping portal on frames at Michael's to redo some decorative shelves above my couch. TPG reader Lauren A. used the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards portal to upgrade her daughter’s room. And TPG reader Rachel B. has been using Rakuten (which can earn cash back or Membership Rewards points) for materials to paint a bathroom, decorations from Pottery Barn and a few other random things.

When using a shopping portal, I recommend using an aggregator such as to check and see which airline or points program will give you the most bang for your buck before choosing a portal to shop through.

Related reading: Maximizing online shopping portals

Bottom line

While home improvement stores may not be as common a bonus category as dining or travel, there are plenty of ways you can utilize the cards you already have to make the most of your home renovation and redecorating projects.

And remember that many of these tactics are stackable. For example, you can use a card that earns bonus rewards on groceries to get a gift card to an online retailer, and then use that gift card as a payment method through a shopping portal to get rewarded twice.

Featured image by Getty Images/Westend61
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.