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The Best Credit Cards for Hardware Store Purchases

Aug. 21, 2019
7 min read
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Update: This post was updated on 8/19/19 to reflect current offers and updated valuations.

Most credit card programs have gaps in their bonus rewards. You may have a great card for earning travel rewards that's weak when it comes to spending on groceries. Or that card with awesome restaurant rewards may offer meek returns when you fill up at the pump.

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When it comes to DIYers and weekend home renovators, almost everyone is out of luck. There just aren't many good cards offering top rewards on spending at the local hardware store or one of the big-box stores offering home repair supplies. Most cards would offer 1x points or you could pay with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which will score you 1.5% back (or better when paired with an Ultimate Rewards card). There is a better option, though: Buy gift cards to your favorite hardware store from another type of store where you can earn top rewards.

We're thinking specifically about grocery stores, gas stations and office supply stores. You can earn a return of up to 8.55% on your plumbing, lumber or gardening expenditures by going this route. Here's a thumbnail look at seven cards that return great value on gift card purchases.

CardEarning RatePoints Value (Based on TPG Valuations)Value per Dollar Spent
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express3x points up to $6,000 per year at US supermarkets, plus a 50% bonus when you use the card 30 times a month2 cents each6 cents
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express6% cash back on up to $6,000 per year at US supermarkets; then 1%.N/A (cash back)

Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

6 cents
Citi Premier® Card3x points on gas station purchases1.7 cents5.1 cents
Ink Business Cash Credit Card5% cash back at office supply stores on up to $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year1 to 2 cents depending on what other cards you have in your wallet. If you have an Ultimate Rewards earning card, you can transfer your cash back to points.5 to 10 cents

As you can see, it's not difficult to earn a return of 5% or more on gift card purchases. Let's look more in depth at each of these cards.

Related Reading: Best Credit Cards and Strategies for Maximizing Home Improvement Purchases, How to Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points Between Accounts

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card

Where you'll earn top rewards on gift cards: Earn 3x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x).

Other rewards: Earn 2x points at US gas stations and 1x points on other purchases. Use your card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.

Welcome bonus: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 in your first three months.

Annual fee: $95

Keep in mind: According to TPG’s latest valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece. That means for every dollar spent at a grocer on gift cards, you’ll earn 3 points, worth 6 cents. Then if you hit 30 monthly transactions, those 3 points per dollar spent turn into 4.5 points per dollar spent worth 9 cents apiece, making this the most valuable card available for hardware store gift card purchases

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.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Where you'll earn top rewards on gift cards: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).

Other rewards: Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit and at US gas stations and 1% back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

Welcome bonus: $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first six months of card membership.

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95 (see rates & fees)

Keep in mind: As with the EveryDay Preferred card, there's an annual cap on how much you can spend at US supermarkets and still earn the bonus rewards. If you use either of these cards for your grocery spending, keep that cap in mind when purchasing gift cards for use at other stores.

Citi Premier® Card

Where you'll earn top rewards on gift cards: Earn 3x points at gas stations.

Other rewards: Earn 3x points on air travel, hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and at supermarkets 1x points on all other purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $95

Keep in mind: Don't try to purchase gift cards at gas stations associated with warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores and convenience stores, as they won't qualify for 3x points.

Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Where you'll earn top rewards on gift cards: Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores on up to $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year.

Other rewards: Earn 5% cash back on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services on up to $25,000 in combined spending including office supply stores, 2% back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each calendar year and 1% cash back on everything else.

Welcome bonus: Earn $750 cash back after you spend $7,500 within the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee: None

Keep in mind: To grab the full redemption value, you'll also need to own one of Chase's credit cards that earns Ultimate Rewards (you'll then transfer your cash back to those accounts and convert them to points), including the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. You need to show you either own a business or sell goods or services on the side in order to qualify for this credit card.

Bottom Line

It's fairly easy to earn a 2% or higher return on hardware store spending if you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or something like Citi® Double Cash Card (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay). That's the easiest route to go, and that may be completely worth it to you if you don't have much around-the-house tinkering to do. But for people who spend thousands of dollars or more at the hardware store annually — and for small business contractors especially — going the gift card route could be a great way to save some cash, even if it gets you some odd stares at checkout.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Hund

Featured photo by Barn Images on Unsplash.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, click here.

Featured image by Photo by Barn Images on Unsplash
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.

TPG featured card

Best for U.S. streaming rewards
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 6% cash-back
6%6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
6%6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
3%3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
3%3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
1%1% Cash Back on other purchases

Intro offer

$350
Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you like cash back and spend a lot on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, you can’t get much better than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Check out our latest guides, news, and reviews for this card below.

Pros

  • This card has one of the best earning structures out there for cash-back credit cards.
  • The card does come with access to Amex Offers (enrollment required), which can save you even more money on specific purchases.

Cons

  • There is a $6,000 spending cap on the U.S. supermarket bonus category, which may not work for those with large grocery budgets.
  • You’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee on international purchases, so it’s not a great choice when you’re traveling abroad.
  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 16.99%-27.99%.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 Plan It fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Thinking about getting The Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription with your Blue Cash Preferred Card. Enrollment required.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6%6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
6%6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
3%3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
3%3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
1%1% Cash Back on other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

    $350
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

If you like cash back and spend a lot on groceries at U.S. supermarkets, you can’t get much better than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Check out our latest guides, news, and reviews for this card below.

Pros

  • This card has one of the best earning structures out there for cash-back credit cards.
  • The card does come with access to Amex Offers (enrollment required), which can save you even more money on specific purchases.

Cons

  • There is a $6,000 spending cap on the U.S. supermarket bonus category, which may not work for those with large grocery budgets.
  • You’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee on international purchases, so it’s not a great choice when you’re traveling abroad.
  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 16.99%-27.99%.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 Plan It fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Thinking about getting The Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription with your Blue Cash Preferred Card. Enrollment required.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees