Posted by William Charles on April 7, 2015
Credit Cards

Published on April 7th, 2015 | by William Charles


Best Credit Cards For Home Improvement Stores

When people make purchases at home improvement stores (Lowe’s, Ace, etc etc) they are usually quite large – which is why it’s important to try and use credit cards that earn at a high rate at these stores. Below is a list of cards that earn category bonuses on home improvement stores, we’ve split them into personal and business cards (also apologies to the reader who originally asked for this, sorry it took so long! I’ve forgotten who you are, so I haven’t e-mailed you this but hopefully you read it anyway).

Personal Cards

Huntington Voice 3% Cash Back

The Huntington Voice credit card lets you choose your own 3% cash back categories. One of the categories you’re able to choose is home improvement stores. The card has no annual fee, but your limited to $2,500 in spending per quarter in that category ($60 cash back) so for those making a lot of purchases this wouldn’t be a very good choice.

You can also get an extra 10% cash back on all rewards earned (making this a 3.3% cash back card), if you have a Huntington 5 or 25 checking account open. Although the fees on these accounts make this bonus not really make sense. More on this bonus here.

Honorable Mentions

Chase Freedom – 5% In Rotating Categories

The Chase Freedom card earns 5% cash back in rotating categories that change quarterly (maximum spend of $1,500). Home improvement stores have been a 5% category in 2013, 2014 & again in 2015 all in the second quarter. The downside to a card like this is that you won’t be able to use it for unexpected purchases in Q1, Q3 or Q4.

Discover it – 5% In Rotating Categories

Much like the Chase Freedom card mentioned above, the Discover it also earns 5% cash back in rotating categories (with the same $1,500 spending limit per quarter). Home improvement stores were a 5% category in 2011, 2012, 2014 in Q2 and will probably be part of the Q3 promotion for 2015.

Citi Dividend – 5% In Rotating Categories

You might be noticing a theme here, but the Citi Dividend also offers 5% cash back in rotating categories. There is one slight difference though and that’s the fact that you can spend up to $6,000 per year in these quarters (rather than being limited to $1,500 per quarter). Home depot is a 5% category for Q2 in 2015.

It’s not possible to apply for this card directly, but you can downgrade an existing Citi card to this product (this card was removed from direct applications when the Citi Double Cash card was introduced).

Business Cards

I don’t currently know of any credit cards that earn a category bonus on home improvement stores, prove me wrong in the comments.

Cards We Didn’t Include

Lowe’s Credit Card – 5% Discount/6 Month Financing/One time 10% Discount

Apart from the major disadvantage of only being a discount at Lowe’s, the biggest problem with this card is that if you used any coupons or discounts you won’t get the 5% discount this card offers. It’s always possible to get a 10% discount with the Lowe’s movers coupon, so using this card does not make sense.

Home Depot Credit Card – No Interest For Six Months

If you make a purchase for $299 or more, you can get it interest free for six months. Obviously this has the same pitfalls as the Lowe’s card as well and doesn’t offer any real rewards program apart from this special financing.

Final Thoughts

There really aren’t a lot of credit cards that specifically target home improvement stores. Instead what I’d recommend is that you either buy gift cards to stores that you want to shop at from a gift card reseller (use giftcardgranny to see the rates they offer). If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can purchase the giftcards yourself from a store where you do have a category bonus (e.g if you have a card that earns 5% cash back at grocery stores, you could purchase gift cards to Lowe’s there). Here is a full list of all the credit cards that earn 5% cash back or more and below are links to what the best credit cards are for other categories:

I’m sure I’ve missed some credit cards that earn a category bonus on home improvement stores, if I have let me know in the comments and I’ll add them. As always, if you have a question feel free to e-mail me or ask on Twitter.


21 Responses to Best Credit Cards For Home Improvement Stores

  1. JR says:

    I believe office supply stores still sell the Do It Yourself Home Improvement Gift Card that can be used at various home improvement merchants… so Chase Ink could be considered an option as well.

  2. mad says:

    wait… isnt the best strategy to purchase online for pickup, through a credit card reward portal, using a discounted merchant card? i have used shop through chase to earn 3 or 4 UR points, and paid using a mix oc credit cards and discounted merchant cards. Shopping online for store pickup is awesome–you keep an online record of purchases, don’t waste time in those big boxes, and you can find exactly what you want. as a rental property owner and tinkerer, i love shopping online for pickup

  3. Stvr says:

    Amex sync has a Home Depot 2x MR deal

  4. Zach T says:

    One option that isn’t explicitly for home improvement stores and is only good for purchases made online is the Upromise MasterCard. Lowes typically gets 5% back when going through Upromise portal, and gets an additional 5% back when you use your Upromise MasterCard. 10% back is pretty great!

  5. Karthik says:

    If you have Huntington 25 or 5 Checking account, you will get a 10% bonus on points earned for Rewards on your Huntington Voice Credit Card. That makes it effectively 3.3% cashback. Not much, but I thought it would be worth mentioning.

  6. Paul says:

    I purchase my Home Depot gift cards through Staples to earn 5% back via my Amex card. Make sure to select the e-gift card so as to avoid any shipping fees. Small orders arrive via email in a short amount of time, but not instantly. When I was making some large purchases I was buying these in quantities of $1,000.00, which did cause them to call me before sending them/charging my credit card.

    • Henrygeorge says:

      Gift cards are fine for disposable products where warranty protections aren’t needed. If I’m making large purchases, I want the extra year or two warranty protection that a credit card provides.

      • Paul says:

        Very good point. I have not yet tested this out, and hopefully never will have to, but I tried something to get the best of both worlds recently. I needed a new microwave and HD had something that I liked. I purchased gift cards for almost the full amount, and then during the checkout process I used a credit card to pick up the remaining balance. Prior to doing this I read up on the protection plan/warranty offered for this particular card to make sure it was a good card to use. It did not state that the full purchase amount had to be paid for via the card, only that it had to be used. Since I was not using another CC I believe that it would not negate the warranty terms. The one time I had to use the warranty protection, via Amex, they wanted the receipt and would not allow me to use a credit card statement, which means they are seeing the entire purchase amount. My point being that the receipt will show the full value even if the CC statement does not. It would be nice to know if my thoughts on this are correct, but I think they are based on the fine print.

  7. Ly says:

    there was one Biz card from chase, but not available anymore

  8. W D says:

    Very good info. I wonder why there’s such few options for HI rewards? Aren’t homeowners investing in their houses + charging large balances exactly what cc companies are fighting over?

    I’m guessing it’s mostly a rotating category because it’s too easy for people to charge supplies to their personal cc’s and get reimbursed.

    • Not sure, I guess it’s not a very popular category for marketing purposes. I think that’s one of the reasons why Chase/Discover launched these 5% rotating category cards, they are able to get a lot of information on what is popular (e.g people enrolling) and what categories people actually spend money in. Ideally you’d find a category that lots of people enroll in but few spend much money in. The fact that a lot of people enroll for every quarter probably doesn’t help!

  9. J says:

    The amazing United Mileage Plus Select Visa, which is no longer offered but some of us are still privileged to carry, gives 2x at home improvement stores among its many excellent benefits.

  10. Joel says:

    I’m not aware of any portal that still offers reward points for buying gift cards at Staples or OfficeMax. I believe all of the offers were cancelled last year. So no more double (or triple dipping).

  11. Pingback: Discover it Quarter 3 5% Categories:, Home Improvement & Department Stores - Doctor Of Credit

  12. Shannon says:

    Topcashback portal earns 1 or 2% for or Lowe’s or home depot gift cards, sold at 8% discount or more sometimes. Use points out cash back credit card to purchase. Then shop online for in store pickup through Chase portal or another with those gift cards. I did this for my bathroom remodel and saved at least $70 this way.

  13. CD says:

    What is the redemption ratio for redeeming for cash or statement credit? i.e the old Fidelity Amex was high with a minimum of $75 to redeem.

    Does cellphone service fall under Utilities?

    • CD says:

      For the Huntington CC, what is the redemption ratio for redeeming for cash or statement credit? i.e the old Fidelity Amex was high with a minimum of $75 to redeem.

      Does cellphone service fall under Utilities?

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