From computers to crayons: 5 of the best credit cards to use for school supplies

Aug 14, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information. 


The back-to-school season is here.

Whether you (or your kids) are taking classes from home or attending in person, it’s important 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):

In This Post

Comparing the best cards

Best for Bonus earning TPG valuation
Ink Business Cash Credit Card Office supply stores 5% cash back (or 5x Ultimate Rewards points); up to $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year 10 cents (if earning Ultimate Rewards points)
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card Amazon purchases 5% back 5 cents
American Express Gold Card U.S. supermarket purchases 4x Membership Rewards points, on up to $25,000 in purchases each calendar year (then 1x)

Terms apply

8 cents
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express School supplies anywhere else 2x Membership Rewards points, on up to $50,000 in purchases each calendar year (then 1x)

Terms apply

4 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

(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

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.

Many people do not believe they can apply for a business card when in fact, they can. You can apply for a business credit card even if you’re a freelancer or have a side business.

Read our review of the Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/ The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/ The Points Guy)

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 ($119 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.

Related: 3 reasons why the Amazon card is on my wish 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

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Earnings: With the American Express Gold Card, you can earn 4 points per dollar (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x) 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 required for select benefits.

Read our review of the Amex Gold card

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Earnings: This card does not have any specific spending categories. However, it does come with 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year (1 point per dollar after that). Earning 2 points per dollar is worth roughly 4 cents per dollar, according to TPG’s valuations.

Annual fee: None (see rates and fees).

Why we like it: The Blue Business Plus Card is a great card to use for general back-to-school shopping. If you are buying supplies from a variety of retailers, this card may suit your needs along with maximizing your Membership Rewards balance.

This card comes with a welcome offer of 15,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership.

Read our review of the Amex Blue Business Plus card

Using the Dell credit on The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

(Photo by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy)

Whether school is virtual or in person, there’s a good chance you’ll need some technology or gadgets to get you through the year. And 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 required for select benefits.

Related: 10 items you can buy with the Amex Business Platinum’s $400 Dell statement credit

Bottom line

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 cash-back or points-earning strategies to help alleviate some of those costs.

Additional reporting by Brett Holzhauer.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Plus card, click here.

Featured photo by Stock Rocket/Shutterstock.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.