Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.


When it’s time to remodel or build a home, you’ll likely face significant costs. Readers routinely ask us what credit cards will maximize their rewards on purchases at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and other home improvement stores.

Today we’ll cover several strategies and credit cards you should consider when it comes to maximizing the return on your home improvement expenses. As you’ll see, many of the best cards for home improvement purchases don’t carry an annual fee and are useful for other types of purchases as well. Store cards typically aren’t good picks because they offer poor returns on spending — or none at all. The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card, for instance, doesn’t offer any cash-back rewards, though it does have the benefit of special financing offers, which might come in handy for large purchases.

Considerations for the best cards for home improvement purchases

Cards we considered

There are many credit cards you could use for purchases at home improvement stores. Some will bear the name of that store while others won’t. Before we decide which cards are the best for home improvement purchases, let’s take a look at the cards we considered during our evaluation.

ALISTAIR BERG/GETTY IMAGES

For personal credit cards, we considered the following:

We also considered the following small-business cards:

The information for the Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature Card, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature, Home Depot Consumer, Huntington Voice Business, Ikea Visa Credits Card, Lowe’s Advantage Card, Lowe’s Business Rewards, and Wells Fargo Active Cash has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Earning rates on the cards we considered

Here is a comparison of the earning rates for home improvement purchases on the personal cards we considered:

Card name Earning rates Rate of return* Earning limits Annual fee
Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature Card 2.5% back on the first $10,000 of eligible purchases per billing cycle, then 1.5% back.

Must have a qualifying Alliant checking account and complete required activities to earn at this rate; otherwise, cardholders will earn 1.5% back on all purchases.

2.5%. 2.5% earning rate limited to $10,000 in purchases per billing cycle. $0.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature 10% back on a rotating selection of Amazon products and limited-time offers.

5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases with an eligible Prime membership.

2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores.

1% back on all other purchases.

10%, 5%, 2% or 1%, depending on the category — including 5% on Amazon or 1% at home improvement stores. None. $0.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card 3% back in the category of your choice (choose “home improvement/furnishings”).

2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

1% back on all other purchases.

3% at home improvement stores. 3% and 2% earning rates are limited to the first $2,500 in combined purchases in these categories each quarter, then the earning rate is 1% until the next quarter begins. $0.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 5 miles per dollar on rental cars and hotels booked with Capital One Travel.

2 miles per dollar on other purchases.

2 miles per dollar. None. $95.
Chase Freedom Flex 5% back in rotating quarterly bonus categories and 5% back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel.

3% back at restaurants, including takeout and delivery.

3% back at drug stores.

1% back on all other purchases.

5% if home improvement stores are in that quarter’s bonus category, otherwise 1%. 5% bonus earning rate is limited to the first $1,500 in purchases during that quarter. $0.
Chase Freedom Unlimited 5% back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel.

3% back at restaurants, including takeout and delivery.

3% back at drug stores.

1.5% back on all other purchases.

1.5% at home improvement stores. None. $0.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card 5% back in your top spending category each billing cycle (“home improvement stores” is an eligible category).

1% back on all other purchases.

5% as long as this is your top spending category during that billing cycle. 5% earning rate is limited to $500 in purchases during each billing cycle, then 1% back. $0.
Citi® Double Cash Card 2 ThankYou points on all purchases — 1 point when you purchase and another 1 point when you pay your bill. 3.6%. None. $0.
Home Depot Consumer Credit Card No rewards earning; the card merely offers improved return policies and financing options. None. None. $0.
Huntington Voice Credit Card 3 points per dollar on your chosen category, which you can change each quarter (“home improvement stores” is a category).

1 point per dollar on other purchases.

3% if this is your chosen category, otherwise 1%. Bonus earnings are limited to the first $2,000 of purchases in your preferred category each quarter, then 1 point per dollar until the next category begins. $0.
IKEA Visa® Credit Card 5% back via Rewards points on IKEA purchases, including installation and assembly services.

3% back via Rewards points on dining, grocery store and utility purchases.

1% back via Rewards points on other purchases.

5% back at IKEA stores but 1% back at other home improvement stores. No earning limits, but redemptions come in the form of reward certificates redeemable at U.S. stores or on the U.S version of the website; rewards are issued only in $15 increments and expire 90 days from the date of issue. $0.
Lowe’s Advantage Card 5% off when paying with your card at a Lowe’s store or Lowes.com. 5% savings at Lowe’s, but the card cannot be used at other stores. None. $0.
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card 5% back in two categories of your choosing, which you can change quarterly (choices include “furniture stores” and “department stores”).

2% back in one category of your choosing.

1% back on other purchases.

Likely 1%, since home improvement stores may not trigger these bonus categories. 5% back is limited to the first $2,000 of combined purchases across your two chosen categories each quarter, then 1% back until the next quarter begins. $0.
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card 2% back on  purchases. 2%. None. $0.

* Rewards value is based on TPG’s latest valuations and is not provided by the card issuer

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And here is a comparison of the earning rates for home improvement purchases on the small-business cards we considered:

Card name Earning rates Rate of return* Earning limits Annual fee
Amazon Business Prime Card 5% back on U.S. purchases with Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods.

2% back on U.S. purchases at restaurants, gas stations and wireless services purchased directly from providers.

1% back on other purchases.

5% if purchased from Amazon, otherwise 1%. None. $0 (see rates and fees).
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express 2 points per dollar on every purchase. 4%. Bonus earning is limited to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year; after this, the earning rate is 1 point per dollar. $0 (see rates and fees).
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com.

1.5 points per dollar on U.S. purchases from construction material and hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, software and cloud system providers and shipping providers.

1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more.

1 point per dollar on other purchases.

3% at construction and hardware suppliers in the U.S. or on purchases of $5,000+. Earning 1.5 points per dollar is limited to the first $2 million of these purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar. $695 (see rates and fees).
Capital One Spark Cash Plus 2% back on all purchases. 2%. None. $150.
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

2 miles per dollar on all other purchases.

3.7%. None. $0 introductory annual fee, then $95.
Huntington Voice Business Credit Card℠ 4% back on your chosen category each quarter (choose “home improvement stores”).

1% back on all other purchases.

4%. 4% back is limited to the first $7,000 spent in that category each quarter, then 1% back. $0.
Lowe’s Business Rewards Card 5% cash back on purchases at Lowe’s for the first six months from account opening.

2% back on Lowe’s purchases thereafter.

5% for six months then 2%. None. $0 (see rates and fees).
Ink Business Cash Credit Card 5% back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services.

2% back at gas stations and restaurants.

1% back on all other purchases.

5% if purchasing gift cards for home improvement stores at office supply stores; otherwise 1%. 5% and 2% categories are limited to the first $25,000 spent in those categories each account anniversary year. $0.
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card 1.5% back on all purchases. 1.5%. None. $0.

* Rewards value is based on TPG’s latest valuations and is not provided by the card issuer.

The best personal cards for home improvement purchases

Home improvement projects can be expensive. Any card vying for consideration as the best credit card for home improvement purchases cannot have low spending caps on bonus rewards. After eliminating cards where your potential for rewards is severely limited — or where your earnings expire, such as the IKEA Visa — we’ve chosen the following cards for consideration.

Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature Card

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: None.

JOHN GRIBBEN FOR THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: 2.% cash back on the first $10,000 of qualifying purchases each billing cycle and unlimited 1.5% back on other purchases as long as you’re a Tier One Rewards member. This requires an Alliant High-Rate checking account with at least one monthly deposit and an average daily balance of $1,000. Otherwise, Tier Two members simply earn unlimited 1.5% back.

Why we like it: While there’s no sign-up bonus and there are qualifying activities to earn 2.% back, they’re simple to meet. The bonus earning threshold is up to $10,000 per billing cycle, which is much higher than other cards with earning caps. There’s also no annual fee on this card.


Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: Get a $100 Amazon gift card immediately after account approval.

JOHN GRIBBEN FOR THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: Earn 10% back on rotating item categories on Amazon, 5% back at Amazon.com, physical Amazon stores and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Amazon Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores and 1% back on all other purchases.

Why we like it: Amazon has everything these days. If you’re purchasing items from Amazon because you can’t find them locally or because you just prefer to shop online, you can earn 5% back on these purchases — or possibly 10% back, if your items are in the rotating list of bonus-earning items. However, you do need to maintain an Amazon Prime account for these earning opportunities.


Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee: $95.

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus Capital One miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: You’ll earn 5 miles per dollar on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on everything else.

Why we like it: Earning 2 miles per dollar at home improvement stores translates to a 3.7% return, according to TPG’s valuations. You can use these miles to cover purchases on your credit card statement or transfer to airline and hotel partners for upcoming travel. Plus, the card comes with a good number of perks packed into just a $95 annual fee.


Official application link: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


Citi® Double Cash Card

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases within the first six months from account opening.

JOHN GRIBBEN FOR THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: Earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar on all purchases — 1 point per dollar on the purchase and another 1 point per dollar when paying your bill.

Why we like it: While the name of the card says “cash,” you actually earn ThankYou points and can use these with a limited number of Citi transfer partners. If you have another Citi ThankYou points-earning card, you can combine rewards to access all of Citi’s transfer partners and achieve a 3.6% return on all purchases, based on TPG’s latest valuations. However, if you’re looking for cash back, you can cash out your points at 1 cent apiece toward your statement or as a deposit in a checking account.


Official application link: Citi Double Cash Card


Lowe’s Advantage Card

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: 20% off (up to $100 maximum discount) when you open a new account through Jan. 31, 2023.

THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: Earn 5% back at Lowe’s.

Why we like it: While this card cannot be used at other stores, you can get a 5% discount when shopping at Lowe’s and can receive special financing offers available only to cardholders.

The best business cards for home improvement purchases

For business cards, we applied the same logic, removing cards with low limits on bonus-earning capabilities. These are your best options if using a business credit card to make home improvement purchases.

Amazon Business Prime Card

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees).

Welcome bonus: Earn a $100 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first three months.

THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: Get 5% back on U.S. purchases with Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back on U.S. purchases at restaurants, gas stations and wireless phone services purchased directly from providers and get 1% back on other purchases.

Why we like it: You can choose to earn 5% back on Amazon purchases or choose 90-day terms on these purchases, providing flexibility if you’re purchasing home improvement supplies from Amazon.


The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees).

Welcome bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership.

JOHN GRIBBEN FOR THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: Earn 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 of purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar.

Why we like it: Membership Rewards points are very valuable and have many uses. Earning 2 points per dollar no matter where you’re shopping and not paying an annual fee is a great combination.


Official application link: The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express


Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee, then $95.

Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus Capital One miles after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

JOHN GRIBBEN FOR THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: Earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases.

Why we like it: Based on TPG’s valuations, you’ll earn a 3.7% return on all purchases and don’t need to worry about which store you’re shopping at. Whether you’re buying home improvement supplies at Lowe’s or paying a contractor who’s working on your home office, you know you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar.


Official application link: Capital One Spark Miles for Business


Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: Earn $900 cash back after spending $6,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.

JOHN GRIBBEN FOR THE POINTS GUY

Earning rates: Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores, internet services, phone services and cable services during your cardmember year, then 1% back. Earn 2% back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants during your cardmember year, then 1% back. Earn 1% back on all other purchases.

Why we like it: If you’re shopping for home improvement supplies at a store where you won’t earn bonus rewards, the best way to get around that is by buying gift cards to that store. By purchasing Home Depot gift cards at an office supply store, for example, you could earn 5% back on those purchases and then can use your gift cards to shop at Home Depot. Plus, if you have a credit card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can turn these cash-back earnings into Ultimate Rewards points, essentially doubling the value of your rewards and enabling the use of your earnings with Chase’s travel partners.


Official application link: Ink Business Cash Credit Card


When other cards and strategies could make sense

Believe it or not, you don’t always need to use the card with the highest return for your home improvement purchases. Here are some situations where it could make sense to use another rewards card.

Meeting a minimum spend — With a large expense on your horizon, you should think about adding a new credit card to your wallet. You can use home improvement purchases to quickly knock out minimum spending requirements on one or more new cards and qualify for bonus points. There are some great elevated sign-up bonuses available right now.

Meeting annual spend bonuses — Taking care of a home isn’t cheap, so make sure to check the cards in your wallet and see if you could use this spending to hit an annual spend threshold that triggers bonus miles, a companion ticket, a free award night or the Southwest Companion Pass. Numerous credit cards offer benefits that come after spending a certain amount of money on that card during the year; using a large purchase to earn that benefit could be worthwhile.

Spending toward elite status — Some credit cards allow you to earn status or accelerate your progress toward elite status through credit card spending. We have a roundup of these cards here. You can accelerate your elite status in programs like United MileagePlus, World of Hyatt and American Airlines AAdvantage.

Use shopping portals — We say it often: If you’re shopping online, you should always click through a shopping portal first. With just one or two extra clicks before making an online purchase, you can multiple your cash-back earnings or rewards points, and these earnings are on top of what you’ll get from your credit card. Sites like Cashback Monitor and Rakuten will produce return rates for home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot and all you have to do is select the one with the highest return. Plus, these sites often provided bonuses for new users and elevated return rates on popular shopping days.

Offers from your credit card issuer — Options like Amex Offers, Chase Offers, Capital One Offers and Citi Merchant Offers may provide discounts or bonus earnings at a merchant where you’re planning to make a purchase. By checking these first, you may find offers like 5% cash back on your card or earning triple points on purchases above a certain amount. Note that these are targeted offers, so not everyone will see the same offers and not every store has an offer available every day.

Coupons — Look for coupons in your local newspaper or online — or even consider buying coupons from someone on eBay for a few dollars — as these may lead to big savings on your home improvement purchases. If you find multiple coupons, separate your purchases into multiple transactions to maximize your savings.

Lowe’s Military and Veteran Discount — Attach your proof of qualification to your My Lowe’s card either through the automated system on Lowe’s.com or by taking your DD-214 or military ID to your local Lowe’s, where customer service can help you enroll. You’ll then save 10% automatically on almost everything in the store every time you scan your card at checkout.

Buy the supplies for your contractor — Most contractors who perform remodels or home improvement projects don’t accept credit cards. Negotiate with your contractor to see if you can buy the supplies yourself for the project. If the contractor provides a shopping list, you can purchase the supplies yourself and earn credit card rewards on this portion of the project, even though you won’t be able to use a credit card to pay for the labor.

@SMGU3 VIA TWENTY20A

Earning credit card rewards when financing home improvements

If you’re looking to refinance or take out a loan for home improvements, you’ll have to make payments directly to your bank. There’s no fee-free way to make those payments with a credit card and earn points. If your financial institution will accept a check, you can use services like Plastiq which typically charge a 2.5%-3% service fee to make it possible to use your credit card (and earn points).

The vast majority of the time, the rewards you earn in exchange for the fee aren’t worth enough to make up for the charge, or the margin when you come out ahead is so small that it should be avoided. However, if you’re able to earn enough Plastiq referral credits by having friends, family and coworkers sign up for the service and make a payment using your referral code, you may be able to get a few months of fee-free payments under your belt and earn credit card rewards.

Another option for financing large projects is using a credit card with an introductory annual percentage rate (APR) offer, paying 0% interest for a year or more, depending on the card. If this sounds like a good option for you, see our guide to the best credit cards with a 0% introductory APR for more details.

Bottom line

Most home improvement projects represent a significant expense, and you should do everything you can to minimize the sting. With the right combination of savings tactics and rewards-earning credit cards, you’ll do far better than if you walked into a store and paid cash.

At the end of the day, the best card for your home improvement purchases depends on the amount and type of goods you’re purchasing. For instance, if it’s a lot of inexpensive goods or basic building supplies, you might want to use a combination of discounted gift cards and coupons to save as much money as possible. Just keep in mind that, if you’re using gift cards, you’ll lose out on credit card purchase protection benefits.

If it’s an appliance or electronics, you might want to use a shopping portal and a credit card with purchase protection to earn maximum points while still getting important protections offered by your credit card. You could also consider a combination of approaches, depending on your situation. There’s not one best credit card for every home improvement project for every person, so consider what works for you.

The only wrong answer when it comes to your home improvement purchase is doing none of the above.

New to TPG? Check out our beginner’s guide.

Additional reporting by Richard Kerr and Benji Stawski.

For rates and fees of the Amazon Business Prime card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Lowe’s Business Rewards Card, click here.

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