From computers to crayons: 5 of the best credit cards to use for school supplies
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
Back-to-school season is here, and it’s important for you (or your kids) to have the right supplies. That back-to-school list can sometimes run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars from laptops to pencils and everything in between.
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If you are looking to earn more points and miles or hit a minimum spending bonus, back-to-school shopping can be a great way to do so. Here are some of the best credit cards for back-to-school supplies (with a bonus card below):
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card: Best for office supply stores.
- Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Best for Amazon purchases.
- American Express® Gold Card: Best for supplies at U.S. supermarkets.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card/Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Best for general back-to-school purchases.
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for low-annual-fee return.
- Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for no-annual-fee return.
The information for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature 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.
Comparing the best cards
|Best for||Bonus earning||TPG valuation (return per dollar spent)|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||Office supply stores.||5% cash back (or 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar); up to $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores along with internet, cable and phone services.||10 cents (if earning Ultimate Rewards points).|
|American Express Gold Card||U.S. supermarket purchases.||4 Membership Rewards points per dollar on up to $25,000 in purchases each calendar year (then 1 point per dollar). Terms apply.||8 cents.|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||Low-annual-fee return.||6% cash back on your first $6,000 of purchases made at U.S. supermarkets.||6 cents.|
|Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card||Amazon purchases.||5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.||5 cents.|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card/Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||General back-to-school purchases.||Unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases.||3.7 cents.|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||No-annual-fee return.||Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases.||2 cents.|
The information for the Amazon Prime Rewards 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.
A closer look at each card
Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Earning: The Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers a generous 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores along with internet, cable and phone services. Whether you are buying simple supplies or a computer, 5% is a great amount of savings.
Annual fee: None.
Why we like it: If you are purchasing a computer from an office supply store, consider using this card. Along with the cash back, you will also have purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
The card comes with $750 cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Even better, if you have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points (such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve), you can convert your cash-back earnings to points.
Read our review of the Ink Business Cash Credit Card.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Earnings: The card comes with 5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. Along with this, you will currently earn a $100 Amazon gift card upon credit card approval. However, you must have Amazon Prime ($139 per year) before applying.
Annual fee: None.
Why we like it: If you are planning on making significant purchases on Amazon, consider applying for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. The store that sells nearly everything from A to Z is bound to have things on your back-to-school list.
Additionally, the card comes with purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
Read our review of the Amazon Prime Visa card.
American Express Gold Card
Earnings: With the American Express Gold Card, you can earn 4 points per dollar (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) when shopping at U.S. supermarkets or eating at your favorite restaurants.
Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees).
Why we like it: If you are looking for simple school supplies such as pens, pencils or paper, consider using this card to earn valuable American Express Membership Rewards at your local supermarket.
This card also comes with a welcome offer of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership. Along with this, you will earn up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at select restaurants and up to $120 in Uber Cash annually ($10 monthly credits; card must be added in Uber account to receive Uber Cash benefit), with no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees). The perks can easily make up for the annual fee. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Read our review of the Amex Gold card.
Capital One Venture Rewards/Capital One Venture X Rewards
Earnings: Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase.
Annual fee: $95 (Venture Rewards); $395 (Venture X Rewards)
Why we like them: Both of these cards offer an unlimited 2-mile-per-dollar return on every purchase, which comes out to a 3.7-cent return on every dollar spent per our valuations. Either card, if already in your wallet, is a great option for filling in the gaps on your back-to-school purchases.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Earnings: Earn 6% cash back on your first $6,000 of purchases made at U.S. supermarkets.
Annual fee: $95 (See rates and fees)
Why we like it: This card offers a whopping 6% cash back on your first $6,000 of purchases made at U.S. supermarkets, among other bonus categories. While you probably won't be dropping six grand on pens and pencils this year — and the Amex Gold is a better overall option for most — this card is a solid low-annual-fee alternative that'll put cash right back into your wallet.
Read our review of the Blue Cash Preferred.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Earnings: Earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay.
Annual fee: $0.
Why we like it: The Citi Double Cash is one of the best no-annual-fee cards on the market, essentially offering 2% cash back on all purchases. If you're looking to add a card for cheap to bolster your back-to-school savings, this is the pick for you.
Read our review of the Citi® Double Cash.
Using the Dell credit on The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Lastly, if you hold The Business Platinum Card from American Express, you’ll get a statement credit to use on eligible U.S. purchases from Dell.
You’ll get an up-to-$400 annual statement credit toward eligible U.S. Dell purchases. That’s split up as a statement credit for up to $200 on U.S. Dell purchases between January and June and another credit for up to $200 on U.S. Dell purchases between July and December. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
The back-to-school season is already here. With supplies and essential expenses coming up for many people, now is the time to plan your strategy to help alleviate some of those costs.
In addition to using the best credit card, remember to maximize your points earning on school supplies by taking advantage of other programs like shopping portals, Amex Offers and discount codes.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Brett Holzhauer.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, click here