Best Credit Cards for a Large Purchase in 2024

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Are you planning a large purchase in the near future? And are you thinking of applying for a new rewards credit card to make the most of it?

There are several factors to consider before picking a new card, including:

  • Which card will give you the best welcome bonus offer?
  • How will the card you pick maximize the rewards potential for the purchase?
  • Do you need an introductory APR period to serve as short-term financing for the purchase?
  • Can you get extra benefits that protect your purchase?
  • What is the long-term viability of the card after this purchase?

Team Clark has analyzed the rewards credit card market with those factors in mind. Not only do we have more details on how you should go about answering those five questions, but we also have a breakdown of the best credit cards for large purchases in 2024. You can read more about our credit card methodology here.


The Best Credit Cards for Large Purchases Right Now


5 Things To Consider Before Picking a Credit Card for a Large Purchase

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are several factors that can differentiate a good and bad choice for the credit card you use for this large purchase.

Those factors are a little different for each consumer, but making the right decision could be worth hundreds of dollars!

Here are five things to consider before you apply:

  • Welcome bonus offer: When choosing a credit card primarily for one major purchase, you are likely to find that picking the right bonus offer could be worth hundreds of dollars. There are credit cards that offer more than $500 in bonuses, but those are usually cards with sizeable annual fees. Finding a solid bonus from a card with no or low annual fees may be best for you.
  • Rewards program structure: This will be a substantial part of the potential cash back you could earn from the purchase. If you pick a card that rewards just 1% on your type of purchase, you may be leaving money on the table. Look for at least 2% back on the purchase, but know that some cards may offer 5% back or more on certain spending categories. For example, if you’re making a travel purchase, a travel credit card may have the best rewards option for you. Or a co-branded store card, like from Amazon or Walmart, might be most helpful if you know where the purchase will be made.
  • Introductory APR: If you’re using this credit card as a way to finance a large purchase, you may find that an introductory 0% APR period is an important piece of your decision. Some cards offer as many as 21 months at 0%, but you will want to make sure you pay the balance in full prior to the end of the advertised period to avoid interest charges.
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection benefits: Depending on the type of purchase you’re making, using the proper credit card could extend the length of the warranty on your new item. You also could receive purchase protection in case the item is lost or damaged.
  • Long-term viability of the credit card. It’s easy to get caught up in finding the best offer for your large purchase, but you may also want to consider how this card fits into your wallet for the years ahead. If you’re not running balances, you can use things like annual fees and rewards for everyday purchases as your guide.

Best for Welcome Bonus and Purchase Protections: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why This Card Could Work for a Large Purchase

The welcome bonus on this card is lucrative if you meet the spending requirements. And that’s particularly true if you’re willing to use your rewards to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

This card also could help you with both purchase protection and an extension of the manufacturer warranty on your big purchase.

Purchase Protection: Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Extended Warranty Protection: Extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.

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Best for Welcome Bonus and Spending Categories: Citi Premier® Card

Why This Card Could Work for a Large Purchase

If you’re looking for a pure welcome bonus reward on your large purchase, you may find that the offer for ThankYou points on this card is one of the best, especially when you consider that the annual fee is just $95.

In addition to your bonus, which can be redeemed for gift cards or travel, you’ll also earn 3x points on key spending categories like gas, travel, dining and groceries.


Best for Travel Bonus and Perks: Capital One Venture X Rewards Card

Why This Card Could Work for a Large Purchase

If your upcoming large purchase is travel-related, you may want to consider going for the welcome bonus offer on this card.

Not only will that be lucrative, but having this card in hand will also net you lounge access, help you avoid foreign transaction fees and will cover the cost of your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.

You’ll also be set with at least 2% back in miles on all purchases and as much as 10% back in miles on travel that is book through Capital One’s portal.

You may be concerned by the $395 annual fee, but there is an easy-to-redeem annual $300 travel credit available that effectively makes it a $95 per year card.

This card is in Clark Howard’s wallet, and it is his favorite travel credit card for a reason.

“I think it’s absolutely great,” Clark says. “How could I say that you should spend $395 per year on a card? They give you $300 of it back as travel credits for travel you purchase through their travel portal. So the net annual fee is $95. And on top of some travel benefits, you get free airport lounge access … Plus, you get 2x miles on all of your purchases, just like a 2% cash back card.”


Best for Introductory APR and Everyday Rewards: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Why This Card Could Work for a Large Purchase

There are a handful of reasons that this could be the right card for your large purchase.

First, if you don’t already have a 2% cash back card in your wallet, this could be a great way to make that Clark-recommended addition for everyday purchases moving forward.

Next, this card has an easy-to-achieve welcome bonus offer that you’re likely to unlock with your large purchase.

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Lastly, it has an introductory APR period for those of you who may be looking for a credit card as a short-term financing option for this purchase.


Best for Online Purchase: Prime Visa Card

Why This Card Could Work for a Large Purchase

If you’re going to be making your large purchase with a giant retailer, you may want to consider their co-branded credit card.

Amazon’s co-branded card offers 5% back on all Amazon.com purchases for Prime members. So that could effectively take 5% off your large purchase.

The Prime Visa also usually comes with a welcome bonus offer of an instant Amazon gift card upon approval.

The value of these offers varies (it has been as high as $200), but the key differentiator for large purchases is that it could be used directly on that purchase. Other cards may offer welcome bonuses that have spending requirements and are awarded as a statement credit or rewards points at a later date.


Methodology for Credit Card Analysis

For the purposes of determining which credit cards are “best,” we got input from Clark Howard and sought to find cards that fit his credit card strategy best.

Team Clark spent many hours reviewing the rewards credit cards on the market, assessing them for several factors including:

  • Annual fees
  • Rewards programs
  • Welcome offers
  • Length of introductory APR periods
  • Balance transfer introductory periods
  • Additional fees (transaction or otherwise)
  • Perks offered to cardholders
  • Reputation of the financial institution issuing the card

We did not factor in non-introductory APR as a part of the evaluation, because interest rates are going to vary based on your financial circumstances. Clark recommends never carrying a balance on credit cards, so the non-introductory interest rate shouldn’t matter for your card anyway.

We also did not include offerings from local or regional banks or credit unions because they’re not available to everyone. Often, local institutions will have desirable cards, so we recommend that you compare your local bank or credit union’s cash back credit cards to the ones that made this list.

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Are you going to be making a large purchase on a credit card soon? Did you recently make one and have some advice to share? We’d love to hear from you in the Clark.com community.

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