TPG reader credit card question: Which card(s) are best for tech purchases?

Jul 27, 2020

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a column to answer your toughest credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com

A common question we get is, “What is the best card for XYZ purchases?” When people are considering a larger purchase, they want to make sure they’re maximizing the rewards they earn to make the most out of that expense.

With so many phone and tech items being released in the coming months (such as the Canon R5), which card(s) are best for those electronics purchases?

WYATT S.

There are three big things to consider when asking which card you want to use for a larger electronic purchase like a new camera, phone or computer: 

  1. Where you make the purchase 
  2. Earning rewards vs. a sign-up bonus 
  3. Purchase protections 

Where you purchase matters 

Because “electronics” or “tech” are two expansive categories that are rarely bonus categories in their own right on top credit cards, where you buy these purchases might determine which card is the best option for the purchase. 

For example, if you’re going to buy a new iPad Pro from Amazon, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card might be the right choice. If you’re buying the new Canon EOS R5 from Best Buy, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card might make the most sense, especially since it comes with extended warranty coverage. And a card like the Ink Business Cash Credit Card might be best if you’re buying a new laptop from Office Depot or another office supply store

Additionally, it could make the most sense to buy gift cards to your preferred tech merchant from a grocery store with a card that earns great rewards on those purchases. But be warned — it can get complicated with larger purchases if the gift cards have caps on how much you can put on them. 

The information for the Amazon Prime 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.

Young man working at home office. (Photo by Eva-Katalin/Getty Images)
Which merchant you’re shopping from — and whether you’re shopping in-store or online — can help determine which card is best. (Photo by Eva-Katalin/Getty Images)

Earning rewards vs. a sign-up bonus 

Something else to consider is whether you want to focus on earning rewards or hitting a sign-up bonus. 

If you just applied for a new credit card with a high sign-up bonus threshold (such as the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card with its 100k bonus after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first three months), you may want to forgo earning bonus rewards on another card to help you hit the Ink Business Preferred’s bonus instead. 

This is especially true when you’re shopping for products that don’t typically fit into traditional bonus categories. For example, if you’re looking at buying the new Canon EOS R5 from B&H online, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card may give you the best rewards rate, at 5% back (on the first $2,000 of that purchase, anyway), on electronic stores. But is that 5% back ($100 in value) more valuable to you than using this purchase to hit the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 80,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months ($1,600 in value based on TPG valuations)? 

Related reading: Cards currently offering welcome bonuses of over 100,000 points

The information for the U.S. Bank Cash+ has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Purchase protections 

Last but not least, think about how important purchase coverage is to you. 

There are plenty of cards with varying extended warranty coverage to check out, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Capital One Venture and American Express® Gold Card. Extended warranty will generally either match the coverage of a manufacturer’s warranty or extend the life of the coverage by a set timeline. 

Purchase protection is rarer. It will cover your purchase in the case of some damage, theft and occasionally even losing a product. The Amex Gold, Ink Business Cash and Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) are among the top cards with purchase protection

For a larger purchase such as new electronics, it may be worth sacrificing $100 worth of rewards if you’re getting coverage that could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

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.

Bottom line 

If you’re shopping online, make sure you’re also using a shopping portal to make your purchases. That way you could potentially double-dip your rewards earning. Shopping portals could also help make sure you’re still earning rewards if you decide to use a card that may not earn bonus points but will provide purchase protection on the purchase. 

Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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