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Best credit cards for large purchases for January 2022

Between rewards and introductory APR offers, you can score big on large purchases with the right credit card.

If you have a special gift or trip you're looking forward to this year, using the right credit card can help you get the most value for your dollar. As long as you can pay off the balance in full and on time, you can reap rewards like cash back or discounted travel. You may even be able to lock in better financing by taking advantage of an introductory offer with a long interest-free period.

The question is, what is the best credit card for large purchases? It depends on how much time you need to pay down the balance. The following partner offers are all higher-limit options featuring industry-leading rewards or lengthy no- or low-interest introductory periods.

Best credit card overall for large purchases

See Rates and Fees Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
APR13.99%-23.99% Variable
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases
Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Intro Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months
Additional Details
Balance Transfer Fee N/A
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Penalty APR 29.99% Variable
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases

Our Take

American Express is a well-known credit option for big-ticket items. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers the best of all worlds: a potentially high credit limit for big buys, 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR thereafter) and the chance to earn cash back. 

This card is quite generous with cash back, though the categories with the highest rewards don't usually match up with large purchases. Still, you can still enjoy multiple uses with this card by earning a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 3% on transit and U.S. gas stations, and 1% on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Best credit card for an extended payment period

See Rates and Fees
Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APR14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
Recommended Credit Good/Excellent
Reward RatesN/A
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% for 20 billing cycles on purchases
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater
Balance Transfer APR14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
Foreign Transaction Fees 2% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in U.S. Dollars. 3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a Foreign Currency

Our Take

If you need to stretch out payments on a big purchase, consider this card. The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card gives you 20 billing cycles of 0% introductory APR on purchases, which is longer than any of our other top picks for large purchases. After the introductory period, the APR is 14.49% to 24.49% variable. This offer could save you hundreds of dollars in interest and finance charges, as long as you consistently meet the minimum payment every month and pay the balance in full before the 20 billing cycles end. This card is a top pick on our best 0% introductory APR credit cards list.

Best card with no preset spending limit

See Rates and Fees Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
APRSee Pay Over Time APR
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
  • 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.
Annual Fee$250
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR See Rates & Fees
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
  • 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.

Our Take

Because with American Express cards you are expected to pay the balance in full each month (though you can use the Pay Over Time feature on eligible purchases), there is no preset spending limit. If you're making a large purchase and afraid it won't fit on one card, the American Express® Gold Card may be a good choice. You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards® Points on your purchases, and a large purchase could net you the welcome bonus at one fell swoop. Do note that there's a $250 annual fee to keep this account open.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Best travel rewards credit card

Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
APR15.99%-22.99% Variable
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Annual Fee$95
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Balance Transfer APR15.99%-22.99% Variable
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Our Take

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn't offer the option of low- or interest-free financing, but it's great for travel rewards if you will be making a big purchase. The 60,000-point welcome bonus (a $600 value in cash back) could be redeemed for your next trip or vacation. You must spend at least $4,000 within the first three months of card approval to collect these points, making it an easy choice if you already plan to make a large purchase or to travel. You can also collect enhanced rewards points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, dining, online grocery purchases and select streaming services, as well as a standard 1-to-1 point per dollar ratio on any other purchases.

To stretch the value of your points, book your trips through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. There, your points are worth 25% more, making your welcome bonus worth $750. If you purchase a hotel stay through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you'll also earn up to a $50 statement credit per year. And if that's not enough, you'll also get an annual gift of 10% of your past year's expenditure in the form of points. That means if you spend $25,000 on purchases, you'll earn 2,500 bonus points. All this could add up to a nice vacation.

Best high-limit card for limited credit

Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APR12.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Recommended Credit Limited/Fair/Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.

Our Take

It isn't easy to find a credit card with a limit high enough for a big-ticket purchase if you have only fair credit, but the Petal® 2 Visa® Credit Card (issued by WebBank, Member FDIC) fits the bill with a credit limit of up to $10,000, based on creditworthiness. If the Petal 2 Visa Credit Card can cover your large purchase, you'll be able to build your credit as you go. Meanwhile, you can enjoy 1% cash back on your eligible large purchase, and even more if you spend at select merchants.

As long as you make payments on time, you may be eligible for a credit limit increase, potentially boosting your credit score. In another effort to motivate your credit-building, you can earn an additional 0.5% cash back after you make 12 monthly on-time payments on eligible purchases. Alternatively, check out some of our other picks for fair or average credit.

FAQs


Should I finance a large purchase with a credit card?

According to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card interest rate these days is 16.30%. Financing a large purchase at such a high interest rate could be costly. Unless you can take advantage of a low- or no-interest introductory credit card offer and can commit to paying off your balance on time, it may be cheaper to look for financing alternatives such as a personal loan or drawing on your savings.

How can I maximize points for a large purchase with a credit card?

To maximize what you can earn for large purchases, choose a rewards credit card that offers points that can be redeemed for merchandise, travel or cash. Stay informed on which credit card categories offer bonus earnings. The way you redeem your points could also make a big difference. You may be able to redeem accrued rewards for bonus points when you make redemptions at a specific website or merchant, stretching your rewards even further.

What credit cards have the highest limits for card purchases?

American Express cards typically offer high credit limits, making it possible to make larger purchases. If you're not sure of your spending limit, contact your card issuer for more information. You may also be able to request a credit limit increase if you foresee the need to make a large purchase in the near future and your current credit limit isn't enough.

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card. 

For cash-back credit cards, for example, key factors include the annual fee, the "welcome bonus" and the cash-back rate (or rates, if they differ by spending category). For rewards and miles cards, we calculate and weigh the net monetary value of a card's respective perks. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer after you open the account.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, click here

For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, click here

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.