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TPG reader credit card question: Which credit cards should I use to buy household furnishings?

May 04, 2020
6 min read
Ikea furniture store in Sunrise Florida near Fort Lauderdale
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As we all spend more time at home during the pandemic, some of us have decided that this is the perfect time to put all that HGTV inspiration to work.

For some, that may be a new paint job and for others it may mean new furniture. Regardless, these upgrades can be pricey. On the bright side, that means there's an opportunity to earn rewards on those purchases. Reader Drew S. asked a question along these lines:

So before you go sprucing up your home, let's take a look at some ways you can maximize these upgrades.

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Option 1: Open a new card to get a welcome bonus

Investing in new furniture is pricey, but if you charge it to a new card, you can jump-start the spending required to earn a welcome bonus on a premium rewards card. That's why you may want to consider opening a new credit card if you have large purchases in mind. That new couch could earn enough bonus rewards to pay for your next flight or hotel stay.

Of course, you should always take into consideration the long-term benefits of opening a new credit card. For instance, will you use the annual travel credits on the expensive Platinum Card? Or are you a more moderate traveler who may be better served by the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card? If you're not maximizing all of the perks that come with these premium credit cards, the annual fee may not be worth it to you.

Here's a look at some of our favorite premium rewards cards that offer generous welcome bonuses:

CardWelcome bonusEarning structure (% return based on TPG valuations)Best for ...Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.2x on travel and 3x on dining, 1x on all other purchases (2% return on everyday spending)Long-term travel rewards at an affordable price$95
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressEarn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the card in the first six months of card membership.5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, starting Jan. 1, 2021), 1x on all other purchases (2% return on everyday spending)Premium travel rewards and lounge access$695 (see rates and fees)
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card100,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $15,000 in the first three months of account opening.3x on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases; 1x on all other purchases (2% return on everyday spending)Business spend and valuable rewards$95

Related: How to complete a Chase business credit card application

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Option 2: Leverage what you already have

Whether or not you're over Chase's 5/24 rule, you don't want to add another card to your wallet, or you don't want to worry about reaching a minimum spending requirement over three months, don't worry. There are plenty of other great cards out there that can help you maximize your spending. And you may even have one or two of these in your wallet already.

Here's a look at the cards that offer a return of at least 2% — no minimum spending required:

CardEarning structure (% return based on TPG valuations)Annual fee
Chase Freedom Unlimited1.5% cash back or 1.5x Ultimate Rewards* on purchases (3% return on spending)$0
Citi® Double Cash Card2% cash back on all purchases -- 1% when you make purchases; 1% as you pay your bill (3.4% return on spending)$0
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card2x on all purchases (2.8% return on spending)$95
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card3% cash back in the category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings); 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs -- up to $2,500 in combined bonus category spend each quarter, then 1% (3% return on spending)$0

*When paired with a Sapphire card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve

As you can see, all of these cards offer a solid amount of points per dollar spent on nonbonus spending, like furniture. However, some cards offer more flexibility than others. For instance, you can convert the 1.5% cash back earned with the Chase Freedom Unlimited into 1.5x Ultimate Rewards when paired with another Sapphire card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each, increasing your return on spending to 3%.

Related: 9 things to consider when choosing a card for large purchases

Bottom line

Before making any large purchases, always take some time to evaluate your wallet. If you have the room to expand your portfolio, a new credit card is definitely worth considering as the welcome bonus alone is much easier to achieve and could be well worth it in the long run. However, be sure to pick a premium rewards card that fits your long-term spending habits, not just your short-term purchasing needs.

This should be a good start in helping Drew narrow his options and figure out which card to use for his redecorating.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.

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.