WFH winners: Use these 5 cards when furnishing your home office
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At TPG, we’ve been working from home for around four months now. While some of us already had home office areas set up for working remotely, a number of us either had a minimal setup or no office area designated at all. And I’m sure the TPG staff isn’t alone in that.
Many office workers continue to work from home, and some companies are even debating whether to keep WFH a permanent option even after the coronavirus pandemic passes and it’s safe to be back in the office. With that in mind, you might be looking at ways to maximize your home office purchases as you buy new furniture, tech and software to help you be effective in a work-from-home environment.
Here are the best cards for furnishing your home office:
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
- Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card, and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Annual fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: $500 back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months
Rewards: 5% back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each account anniversary year; 2% on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; 1% on everything else.
What to use it on: The Ink Business Cash earns a solid 5% back on both office supply stores and internet, cable and phone services — two categories that encompass the majority of what you’ll need in a home office. Most office supply stores also sell office furniture including desks and chairs and tech hardware such as computers and printers. And since the card comes with no annual fee, it won’t hurt to keep in your wallet after you use it to get your home office in top shape even if you don’t use it quite as much.
If you also have a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, the Ink Business Cash Credit Card is even more valuable. Then those rewards can be pooled into your UR account to be used with transfer partners or redeemed through the Chase portal at a bonus rate. Then instead of a 5% return on purchases, you’ll be getting a 10% return, since TPG values Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each.
Keep in mind that this card is currently requiring a Chase sign-in to apply.
Annual fee: $295 (see rates and fees)
Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
Rewards: 4x on the two select categories where you spend the most each month (up to $150,000 spent annually; then 1x)
What to use it on: Categories you could earn 4x on include U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, gas stations, restaurants, shipping and select tech providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions. This is a great card to use on all of your tech purchases for your home office — computer upgrades, monitors and more. You do have to buy direct (meaning an Apple iMac bought through Office Depot wouldn’t earn bonus rewards).
The nice thing about this card is that it automatically rewards you in your top categories. At the end of the month, you’ll retroactively be rewarded for the purchases made in the categories you use the most. This makes it easier to justify having this card long term. Use it for tech purchases needed the next few months, then switch to using the card for things such as gas.
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months of account opening
Rewards: 3x on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet cable and phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
What to use it on: The Ink Business Preferred is a great card for handling all of your home internet, phone and cable needs. The card comes with cell phone protection, too. And while you won’t earn bonus points on things like office furniture or tech hardware, keep in mind that those purchases could help you hit the steep sign-up bonus threshold. TPG values 100,000 points at $2,000, meaning it could be worth it to use this card for your full home office renovation.
Keep in mind that this card is currently requiring a Chase sign-in to apply.
Annual fee: $95
Sign up bonus: 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 in the first three months of account opening
Rewards: Unlimited 2x on all purchases
What to use it on: If you have purchases across multiple categories, this might be the best card for you. You’re getting 2x across every purchase, office supplies, furniture, tech, internet services and everything in between. Those miles can then be used to transfer to one of Capital One’s airline or hotel partners, or you can use them at a fixed value. Through the end of September 2020, Capital One Spark Miles cardholders can use miles at a fixed value for travel, food delivery services, takeout and mobile phone bills, payments and purchases.
Annual fee: $0 (but a $129 annual Amazon Prime membership is required to apply)
Sign-up bonus: $100 Amazon gift card upon approval
Rewards: 5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1% on all other purchases
What to use it on: If you plan on buying what’s needed to furnish your home office on Amazon, this could be a good option. For those who already have a Prime membership, the Amazon card is a no-annual-fee card that gives a pretty solid cash back return across a wide range of purchases for your office. If you enjoy shopping on Amazon, it’s easy to find pretty much everything you need — office furniture, office supplies, tech hardware and more. TPG Credit Cards Editor Benét Wilson upgraded her decades-old office chair for this beauty, complete with lumbar massage.
While this card may not be worth applying for just to use for furnishing your home office, if you are a frequent Amazon and Whole Foods shopper who’s interested in cash-back rewards, it’s worth considering.
Honorable mention: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
While it doesn’t quite make the top five, the Amex Business Platinum is worth mentioning. You’ll get 1.5x on all purchases over $5,000; up to 1 million additional points per calendar year (which you might surpass if you get furniture and new tech hardware in one purchase from one merchant), and the card comes with an annual Dell credit. As part of limited-time changes to Amex cards during the coronavirus pandemic, the Amex Business Platinum added an additional up to $200 in Dell credits spaced out across 2020. This means that from June 30, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020, cardholders have up to $200 (compared to the typical $100) in Dell statement credits available.
Using shopping portals to double-up on rewards
If you’re shopping for your home office online, make sure you’re checking out shopping portals before buying. You can double dip rewards by using the right credit card and the right shopping portal.
For example, let’s say you are hoping to buy a new Apple monitor for your home office. At the time of writing, both United and Alaska Airlines were offering 5x miles on Apple purchases. If you use the Amex Business Gold and go through the shopping portal to earn, that’s 4x in Membership Rewards plus 5x miles on that one purchase.
Personally, I always search for the merchant I’m shopping with on CashBackMonitor.com. An aggregator like that will help you figure out which portals are offering bonus rewards and link you straight to the portal’s page on that merchant.
Buying gift cards with grocery credit cards
Another thing to consider is using a grocery store credit card. Most grocery stores have a number of gift card options that you can buy at the store, including Apple gift cards, Amazon gift cards and some office supply stores. You can technically earn bonus rewards on non-bonus purchases by using your grocery store card to buy the merchant’s gift card to then make your in-store or online purchase.
For example, let’s say that you have the American Express® Gold Card, which earns 4x on U.S. supermarket purchases (on the first $25,000 in purchases each calendar year; then 1x). You can use your Amex Gold to buy a gift card to Amazon at the grocery store, and then use that gift card to purchase your office supplies from Amazon. Then, you’re actually getting an 8% return (based on TPG valuations) on whatever you get from Amazon.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of all the cards that could earn rewards on purchases for furnishing your home office. But these are a few of the top business credit cards (plus one personal card) that will earn you the best return on your home office expenses while still being low-cost for your wallet and easily utilized beyond just home office purchases.
Featured image by 10’000 Hours/Getty Images
For rates and fees of the Amex Biz Gold, please click here.
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