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

May 04, 2020
7 min read
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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.

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:

[pullquote source="Drew S."]I’m renovating my Condo. What card gives me the best points on furniture and other household furnishings?[/pullquote]

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:

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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 amextravel.com (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

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.

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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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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
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
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees