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The Best Credit Cards for Pet Expenses

Jan. 20, 2019
7 min read
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According to Business Insider, Americans spend upwards of $126.19 per month on pet expenses, which adds up to a hefty $1,514.28 per year. The good news is you can use these purchases to your advantage by choosing credit cards that maximize your return on spending. With this in mind, here are the best credit cards to use for pet expenses to ensure at least a 2% return:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Card earns 2x on all non-bonus spending, and you can now transfer miles to 15+ airline partners. Based on TPG's valuations, 2x miles are worth 3.7% — not a bad return on pet purchases you'd be making anyway. The card's currently offering 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

The Citi Double Cash Card, with its 2% return on spending makes an excellent addition to the wallet of any pet owner. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1% cash back when you pay. So this card provides a 2% return on pet expenses as long as you pay your balance on time. There's also a 0% introductory APR for the first 18 months of card ownership on balance transfers made within the first four months of account opening (then, a variable APR rate of 13.99% - 23.99% applies; There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first four months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5). Combine these perks with the no annual fee and this card is a solid option for pet care.

Chase Freedom

While the Chase Freedom Card will normally only offer a return of 1%, this no annual fee card can be an excellent option if you can purchase pet items at one of the merchants that fall within a quarterly rotating bonus category, which offers 5% cash back on purchases up to $1,500 per quarter. While pet expenses are unlikely to be an actual rotating category, you can often find categories at stores offering pet supplies. For example, the current bonus categories include drugstores — and you may be able to find pet food and other supplies at these retailers. Plus, the Chase Freedom is another good option for large pet expenses as it offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening (then, a variable rate of 14.99% - 23.74%).

If you want to truly maximize your spend and your earnings, you can pair your Freedom card with a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points and transfer your Freedom points to that card. Based off of TPG's current valuation of Ultimate Rewards points, which is 2 cents per point, making this transfer could provide a return of at least 2% and up to 10% if pet purchases are made via a rotating category.

In addition, the Chase family of cards offer portal bonuses from certain stores specializing in pet-related purchases. For example, you can earn 3% in additional cash back (or 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) for portal purchases at Petco and 8% cash back (or 8 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) for portal purchases at 1-800-PetMeds.

The Chase Freedom is no longer open to new applicants.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

As one of the best everyday spending cards on the market, the Chase Freedom Unlimited provides 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases, including pet supplies. Further, like with the Chase Freedom you can pair this no annual fee card with a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points to increase the value of your return.

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The Discover it Cash Back provides 1% on all spending with 5% cash back on rotating categories up to $1,500 on purchases per quarter upon enrollment. The category for January 2019 to March 2019 is grocery stores, so you could have some luck making pet-related purchases and earning 5% back (on rotating categories up to $1,500 on purchases per quarter upon enrollment). Discover will match your cash back at the end of your first year of card membership, so this could definitely be a card to consider using in the coming months.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Welcome offer: Earn 15,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.

If you're able to apply for a business card, the Blue Business Plus is a top contender for everyday spending. This no annual fee card (See Rates & Fees) offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 of eligible spending per calendar year; then 1 point thereafter, which includes pet expenses. As TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece, this amounts to a return of 4%.

In addition, as an American Express member, you have access to a variety of Amex Offers, which can further increase your savings. For example, I was able to find the following pet-related Amex Offers associated with my Blue Business Plus card:

  • Spend $75 or more at (pet sitting and pet walking) and get $20 back.
  • Spend $100 or more at 1-800-PetMeds and get $30 back.
  • Spend $20 or more at (pet supplies and toys) and get $5 back.

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

While the EveryDay Preferred Card comes with an annual fee of $95, it packs quite a punch for pet supplies as it provides 3x Membership Rewards points for US supermarket purchases up to $6,000 per year, and you get 50% extra points after 30 purchases on the card per billing cycle.

If you prefer a no annual fee option, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers 2x points for US supermarket purchases up to $6,000 per year and 20% extra points after you make 20 purchases in a billing cycle.

The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred 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.

American Kennel Club Visa Card

For those who want a card designed specifically for pet expenses, theAmerican Kennel Club Visa Card offers 3 points per dollar spent at pet stores, veterinary offices and on American Kennel Club purchases as well as 2x points spent on gas and grocery purchases. While it's not a true cash-back card, these points can be spent on gift cards, travel and merchandise online. In addition, a portion of every purchase goes directly to the AKC to support its efforts. Finally, the AKC Visa allows you to personalize your card with a photo of your favorite pet.

Bottom Line

It's no secret that owning a pet is an expensive endeavor. From toys and food to vet visits and medication, the costs can really add up. However, with a little ingenuity and by using the credit card options above, you can achieve a return of at least 2% on these purchases (and usually much more) and even obtain favorable payment options (via introductory 0% APR) to help alleviate these unavoidable costs.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, please click here.

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Featured image by Getty Images
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.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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