The 15+ Best Credit Cards for Home Improvement Purchases [2020]

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We’ve all likely considered or completed a home improvement project recently. Whether you’re taking on a major renovation or planting a container garden on the patio, home improvement stores have become the go-to places for the supplies we need to spruce up our environment.

Many home improvement projects can cost a bundle, so it would be a shame not to earn rewards on those expenses. Unfortunately, earning rewards on those purchases is not usually a straightforward process as few credit cards offer bonus rewards for purchasing directly at home improvement stores.

When we focus on the rewards-earning process, however, just a bit of creativity can pay off big. And that’s the objective we’ll tackle in today’s article.

Timing, which card you use, and how you complete the transaction are all factors in receiving the most rewards for your home improvement purchase. This might sound complicated, but all of those variables don’t scare us. As you’d expect, we’re happy to break it down and make it simple to earn more.

If you want to earn the most rewards on your home improvement purchases, let’s get started.

Best Chase Credit Cards for Home Improvement

We like Chase credit cards for home improvement purchases because they earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash-back, travel, and more.

We also like the increased value of up to 1.5 cents per point for travel redemptions with Chase premium cards and the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners for even greater potential value.

Let’s look at a few options for increased earnings on home improvement purchases with Chase cards.

Chase Freedom® Card

The Freedom card is known for its quarterly bonus categories that earn 5% cash-back on purchases up to $1,500 each calendar quarter.

CHASE CARDBENEFITS & INFO
Chase Freedom® Card
  • Earn 5% cash-back for the first $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in rotating bonus categories (new categories every 3 months and activation is required)
  • Earn 1x on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases.pricing and terms reference link. After the intro period, a variable APR of 14.99% - 23.74%

Bonus category merchants change each quarter but home improvement stores are commonly featured.

Examples of bonus category merchants have included:

If home improvement stores don’t happen to be one of the current quarter bonus categories, you may be able to find home improvement gift cards at other bonus category merchants or by using one of the bonus category payment methods.

Additional Card Benefits

  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash-back on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • Cash-back is earned in the form of Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash or transferred to premium Chase credit cards
  • 3 months complimentary DoorDash DashPass and 9 additional months at 50% discount
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Shopping protections such as extended warranty and purchase protection

Hot Tip: Purchase home improvement store gift cards at quarterly bonus category merchants to earn 5% cash-back on your Freedom card, up to $1,500 in purchases each calendar quarter. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

Since the Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5% back on every purchase you make, you will earn rewards on all of your home improvement purchases, no matter the selected store.

Additional Card Benefits

  • 5% cash-back on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • 3 months complimentary DoorDash DashPass and 9 additional months at 50% discount
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Shopping protections such as extended warranty and purchase protection

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

While it may not be prudent to use a business credit card for personal home improvements, you might decide to utilize a business credit card to purchase home improvement gift cards at office supply stores.

If you choose to go this route, the Ink Business Cash card will earn you 5% cash-back on every purchase you make at office supply stores, up to $25,000 in purchases each year.

Additional Card Benefits

  • Earn cash-back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to Chase premium cards and redeemed for up to 1.5 cents each for travel or transferred to travel partners for even greater value
  • Primary car rental coverage
  • Shopping protections such as extended warranty and purchase protection

Additional Ways to Earn More on Home Improvement With Chase

Shop Through Chase

Home Depot Shop Chase
Image Credit: Chase

The Chase Shopping portal includes bonus offers for earning additional Ultimate Rewards points on your purchases, plus other money-saving offers. You’ll find the shopping portal within the Ultimate Rewards section of your Chase account. Bonus offers on the portal are offered in addition to those normally earned on the card.

Chase Offers

Chase Offers
Log into your Chase account on the mobile app or your computer to check Chase Offers before making your home improvement purchase. Image Credit: Chase

Chase Offers can be found online within your Chase account and include merchants that provide bonus Ultimate Rewards points or statement credits when you make a purchase. Occasionally, you’ll find stores you can use for home improvement purchases. Add the offer to your card, make your purchase with that card, then reap the rewards.

Shopping at Chase via the Chase Shopping portal and utilizing Chase Offers are possible with nearly all Chase cards, including debit cards. These premium Chase credit cards allow you to take advantage of both options and are some of our favorite travel rewards cards:

Pay Yourself Back — Limited Time Offer

Those consumers who currently have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card have an additional option to earn more on their home improvement purchases with Chase Pay Yourself Back (PYB).

Make a qualifying purchase with your eligible Chase card, log into your Chase Ultimate Rewards account online and select Pay Yourself Back from the list of earn/use options. Eligible purchases you’ve made at supermarkets, restaurants, and home improvement stores in the past 90 days can be reimbursed at the rate of 1.25 cents per Ultimate Rewards point on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and 1.5 cents per point on the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

For example, a qualifying $900 purchase could be reimbursed for 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You would also earn Ultimate Rewards points at the applicable rate on that purchase.

The PYB option is currently available through September 30, 2020, so you still have time to earn a welcome bonus and take advantage of the promotion when securing either of these popular travel rewards cards.

Bottom Line: Whether through quarterly bonus merchant category purchases, cash-back, via Chase offers, the Chase Shopping Portal, or with the limited-time Pay Yourself Back offer, there are lots of ways to maximize rewards-earning on home improvement purchases with Chase cards.

Best Amex Cards for Home Improvement

American Express offers a wide selection of cards that reward everyday expenses. While purchases made directly at home improvement stores rarely earn more than 1% cash-back or 1x Membership Rewards points, there are additional ways to maximize earnings on home improvement purchases with Amex cards.

Let’s look at a few options.

Lowes Garden Center
Whether it’s a gardening project or an entire remodeling project, with proper planning you can earn rewards on all of your home improvement purchases. Image Credit: Lowe’s

American Express® Gold Card

You may not consider a card that offers bonus earnings at U.S. supermarkets, on qualifying flights, and for dining worldwide as an option for home improvement purchases.

However, the Amex Gold card earns 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 in purchases each calendar year. Many grocery stores sell home improvement gift cards. You may also receive additional rewards via the grocery store’s own rewards program.

Kroger Gift Cards
Increase your earnings by purchasing home improvement gift cards at bonus category stores such as supermarkets. Image Credit: Kroger

Additional Card Benefits

You’ll be earning big at the grocery store, but there are also a lot of other reasons to consider the Amex Gold card:

  • Earn valuable Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to travel partners for potentially increased value
  • Up to $10 dining credit each month at select restaurants/food delivery services
  • Secondary car rental insurance with optional premium coverage for 1 low fee that covers the entire rental period

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred card works well for purchasing home improvement gift cards at grocery stores. You’ll earn 6% cash-back on those purchases, up to $6,000 per calendar year.

Why We Like the Card Overall

  • Redeem cash-back for statement credits, gift cards, or merchandise
  • Secondary car rental insurance with optional premium protection for 1 low fee that covers the entire rental period
  • Shopping protections such as purchase protection and extended warranty

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

We like the Hilton Surpass card for its elevated earnings at U.S. supermarkets. Normally, you’d earn 6x Hilton Honors points for those purchases, but through July 2020 you’ll earn 12x points per dollar spent at supermarkets.

If you’re a Hilton Honors fan, the card is a great choice for earning free hotel nights and complimentary elite status.

Additional Card Benefits

  • Earn 3x points on all other purchases
  • Comes with Hilton Honors Gold status and the option to spend $40,000 in a calendar year on the card to earn Diamond status
  • 10 single-use Priority Pass lounge access passes each year
  • Secondary car rental insurance and the option to purchase premium coverage for 1 low fee that covers the entire rental period
  • Shopping benefits such as extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Terms apply

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Aspire Card offers great benefits in addition to offering 12x earnings at U.S. supermarkets through July 2020, but we like the Hilton Surpass card for home improvement purchases with its ongoing 6x earnings at supermarkets versus 3x earnings with the Hilton Aspire card.

Hot Tip: If you need to pay a contractor, ask if they will accept home improvement gift cards as payment for all or a portion of the payment. Many times the contractor has to purchase supplies to complete the job and will accept home improvement gift cards for a portion of the bill. 

Additional Ways to Earn More on Home Improvement With Amex

Amex Offers

If you have an American Express-issued card, you’ll have access to Amex Offers. These offers allow you to earn bonus Membership Rewards points or statement credits on purchases made with specific merchants.

Home improvement stores are frequently included in Amex Offers. You can access your offers by logging into your online card account, clicking on Amex Offers and Benefits, and scrolling through the list to find offers you can use.

Once you’ve found a useful offer, just click on Add to Card, complete the required transaction, and enjoy the savings or bonus earnings.

Amex Offers Lowes
Image Credit: Amex

Bottom Line: All Amex credit and charge cards come with valuable Amex Offers that can save you money or allow you to earn bonus Membership Rewards points. 

Best Introductory 0% APR Cards for Home Improvement

Deck Project Menards
Large projects, such as a new deck, can be costly. 0% APR offers can allow you to pay off the purchase over time. Image Credit: Menards

If you’re considering paying for a large home improvement purchase, or purchases, with a credit or charge card, it may be difficult to pay off the entire balance in 1 statement period and avoid interest charges. When carrying a balance, a way to avoid paying interest is to utilize a card with a 0% APR period for purchases.

Cards that offer an introductory 0% APR period allow you to make purchases during a specific period after card approval and carry a balance between statement periods without incurring interest rate charges.

Bottom Line: If you want to make a large purchase and pay it back over time without incurring interest charges, a card that offers an introductory 0% APR period on purchases could save you plenty of money and allow for an extended payback period. 

Additional Credit Cards for Home Improvement

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 3% cash-back, up to $2,500 per quarter
  • Select your preferred merchant category from options, including home improvement stores, gas stations, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, and furnishings
  • 2% cash-back (included in the $2,500 per quarter purchase limit) at grocery stores and wholesale/warehouse clubs

Huntington Voice Business Credit Card℠

  • 4% cash-back, up to $7,000 per quarter, in purchases from 1 selected merchant category
  • Select your preferred merchant category, including home improvement stores, office supply stores, gas stations, restaurants, travel/entertainment, discount/warehouse stores, electronic, computer, and camera stores, auto parts/service, department, apparel, and sporting goods stores, and utilities

Huntington Voice Credit Card℠

  • 3x rewards, up to $2,000 in purchases per quarter, in select categories
  • Merchant category choices include home improvement stores, office supply stores, gas stations, restaurants, travel/entertainment, discount/warehouse stores, electronic, computer, and camera stores, auto parts/service, department, apparel, and sporting goods stores, and utilities

Citi Premier℠ Card

  • 3x ThankYou Point earnings at supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations. travel and hotels

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • 2% cash-back on all purchases

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases

Store-Branded Cards for Home Improvement Purchases

Home Improvement Menards
Home improvement store-branded cards serve a narrow purpose — compare with other rewards-earning cards to determine the best card for your home improvement purchase. Image Credit: Menards

Store-branded home improvement credit cards generally have higher interest rates and offer little in the form of benefits. The cards do, however, offer discounts on purchases and financing options.

CardBenefitFinancing
The Home Depot Consumer Credit CardNo specified in-store discounts, but offers periodic promotions such as $25 off first purchase (up to $999) and $100 off $1,000+ purchase
  • Deferred interest for purchase $299 and over for 6 months
  • Not available with the credit card, separate financing at a reduced interest rate may be available with The Home Depot’s Project Loan
Lowe’s Advantage Card5% discount on Lowe’s purchases
  • 6 months deferred interest financing on purchases $299 or greater
  • Reduced APR financing for up to 84 months
Menards® Big Card2% rebate on Menard’s purchases in the form of a certificate that can be redeemed at Menards
  • 6 months same as cash for purchases over $299
  • Reduced interest rate financing for purchases over $1,499, up to 48 months

 

Bottom Line: The benefits of home improvement store-branded cards are limited to an upfront discount/rebate and extended payment options. Before your purchase, compare store-branded cards with other rewards-earning credit cards that may offer broader earning options, flexible reward redemptions, and greater benefits. 

Best Credit Cards for Home Improvement — Summary

We’ve discussed a lot of options for earning rewards on your home improvement purchases so it’s time to summarize the information with an overview of card options.

CardEarnings or Benefit for Home Improvement Purchases
Freedom card
  • 5% cash-back when home improvement stores are a quarterly bonus category merchant or when home improvement gift cards are purchased via a bonus quarterly merchant
  • 0% APR on purchases for 15 months from card approval date
Freedom Unlimited card
  • 1.5% cash-back on every purchase
  • 0% APR on purchases for 15 months from card approval date
Ink Business Cash card
  • 5% cash-back when purchasing home improvement gift cards via office supply stores
Amex Gold card
  • 4x earnings when purchasing home improvement gift cards at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year
  • Terms apply
Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 6x earnings when purchasing home improvement gift cards at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 in a calendar year
  • 0% APR on purchases for 12 months from card approval date
  • Terms apply
Hilton Aspire card

Hilton Surpass card

  • 12x supermarket purchases through July 2020, after that 6x for Hilton Surpass card, 3x for Hilton Aspire card
  • Terms apply
Bank of America Cash Rewards card
  • 3% cash-back based on your choice of select bonus category merchants, which includes home improvement stores
  • 2% cash-back at supermarkets
  • Limit of $2,500 per quarter for 3% and 2% categories combined
Huntington Voice Business card
  • 4x cash-back on a select merchant category of your choice, including home improvement stores and home improvement gift cards purchased at other 4x category merchants
Huntington Voice card
  • 3x rewards on a select merchant category of your choice of 13 merchant category options, including home improvement stores and home improvement gift cards purchased at other 3x category merchants
Citi Premier card
  • 3x earnings at home improvement stores and on home improvement gift cards purchased at other 3x bonus category merchants
Double Cash card
  • 2% cash-back on all purchases — 1% when purchasing, 1% when paying off statement
Venture card
  • 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases

It’s important to note that whether a store will code as a home improvement store purchase will vary, depending on the card issuer. Large box stores such as The Home Depot and Lowe’s universally qualify as home improvement stores but other smaller stores may not.

Also, most but not all grocery and office supply stores will allow you to purchase home improvement gift cards with credit cards.

Hot Tip: By accessing cash-back sites such as Rakuten, TopCashback, or BeFrugal before your purchase, you have the potential to earn even more. 

Final Thoughts

While we’re partial to rewards-earning credit cards that offer flexible redemption options, it is worth mentioning that home improvement stores such as The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards also offer store-branded credit cards that can offer a discount on purchases and/or an extended period to pay off your purchase over time.

We like a rewards-earning credit card for the ability to earn on purchases other than just home improvement. Plus you’ll find flexible redemption options on rewards-earning credit cards versus store-branded cards.

The best card for your home improvement purchase, however, will depend on your willingness to pay an annual fee, how well rewards earnings match up with your spending mix, and if you can use any other benefits offered by the card.

In the end, earning rewards on your home improvement purchases with a card you can utilize in the long run may be a good choice.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom® Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card, Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Huntington Voice Business Credit Card℠, Huntington Voice Credit Card℠, Citi Premier℠ Card, The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card, Lowe’s Advantage Card, and Menards® Big Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.  

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.


Frequently asked questions

Which is the best card for home improvement purchases?

The best credit card for home improvement purchases is the card that rewards your major purchases, offers flexible redemption options for things you value, and has additional benefits you can use.

Several credit cards can fit this description, such as some we have mentioned in this article. The best card for your home improvement purchase, however, depends on what your objectives are for that card in the future.

The card you select for that 1-time purchase may be different than if you select a card that allows you to earn on a broader range of purchases.

We’ve provided you with some options, but in the end, you’ll need to apply your own preferences and objectives to your card selection.

Can I purchase a home improvement gift card with a credit card?

Yes, most stores will allow you to purchase a home improvement gift card with your credit card.

Which is better, cash-back or points?

Whether cash-back or earning points is better for you will depend on how you prefer to redeem your rewards. If you’re a frequent traveler, for example, you may want to earn flexible rewards points to redeem for potentially higher value by utilizing travel transfer partners associated with the card.

Cash-back rewards, when accumulated in your account, can be saved to use towards a large purchase. Cash-back can also be used to offset expenses, whether business or personal.

Flexible points are best. When earned, the points may be used for statement credits, travel, gift cards, or transferred to travel partners. In some cases, points can be redeemed directly for cash, such as Ultimate Rewards points earned on Chase cards.

Is a Home Depot or Lowe's credit card worth it?

Home improvement store-branded credit cards serve the narrow purpose of offering a small discount on your purchase and/or an extended repayment plan. You may be able to do better with a rewards-earning credit card.

If you know you’re going to be making a major home improvement purchase, it’s prudent to compare credit card options in advance. This prevents you from making such an important decision at the time of purchase.

Selecting a rewards-earning card that has a generous welcome bonus, broader earning potential, flexible redemption options, and additional benefits can serve to be a better choice for a card that you could use potentially indefinitely.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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