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Buying computer equipment for work or shopping for a new laptop or desktop computer for home, you can earn a stack of points, miles, or cash back by using the right card at the checkout. Computers play a critical role in our technology-driven lives, often making up a significant portion of corporate and home-office spending. When investing in new computer equipment or hardware purchases, leveraging rewards-earning credit cards and taking advantage of shopping portals is a great way to maximize the return on your new purchase.

In this post, we break down the best rewards cards for computer equipment purchases and outline some strategies to help you earn thousands of rewards points when purchasing computer equipment and other associated hardware.

computer-equipment-office

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Top Credit Cards for Computer Purchases

Determining the ‘best’ credit card for computer purchases will depend on your unique circumstances and the store from where you intend to purchase. A corporate design office ordering 30+ iMacs from Apple will require a different rewards card than John Smith waltzing down to Costco to grab a budget laptop for streaming Netflix.

If you’re in the corporate camp, and making a substantial investment in computer hardware for your office, using a high-volume corporate or business rewards card will mean less chance of stumbling into spending caps, or running afoul of exclusions in credit card T&Cs.

If you’re purchasing computer equipment for personal or home office use, you can take advantage of low spending cap rewards cards like the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card to earn up to 5x Ultimate Rewards points on your purchase or consider leveraging the high purchase price to complete the minimum spend on a new rewards card.

Credit CardPoints Earned on Computer Equipment & HardwareOther Bonus CategoriesAnnual Fee
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each account anniversary year on combined:
• Office supply stores
• Internet, cable, and phone services spending
N/A$0
American Express® Business Gold Card4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spent the most each billing cycle including:
Airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio), U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases at restaurants, U.S. purchases for shipping
4X points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year Then earn 1 point per dollar.
N/A$295 - Rates & Fees
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express5% cash back on first $50,000 (combined) spent at:
• U.S. office supply stores:
• On wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
3% cash back on the category of your choice from:
• Airfare purchased directly from airlines
• Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
• Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
• U.S. gas stations
• U.S. restaurants
• U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
• U.S. purchases for shipping
• U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
No annual fee - Rates & Fees
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.N/ANo annual fee - Rates & Fees
Huntington Voice Business Credit Card4% cash back in one of 10 categories (up to $7,000 per quarter), including:
• Electronics, computer & camera stores
• Utilities & Office Supplies
• Discount & warehouse stores
Other 4% categories include:
• Gas stations
• Travel & entertainment
• Restaurants
• Grocery stores
• Department, apparel & sporting goods stores
• Home improvement stores
• Auto parts & service stores
$0
U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Cash Rewards World Elite™ Mastercard®3% cash back (uncapped) on office supply store purchases 3% cash back (uncapped) on:
• Cellular
• Gas
25% annual bonus based on your prior year's Cash Rewards, up to $250
$0
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express1.5X points on purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 1 million additional points per yearGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.$595 - Rates & Fees
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.N/A$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere.N/A$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business2 % Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.N/A$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi2% cash back on all purchases from Costco and Costco.com4% cash back on eligible gas worldwide for the first $7,000 per year
3% cash back:
• At restaurants
• On eligible travel purchases worldwide
$0 with a paid Costco Membership ($60)

† The providers must have these specific names: Apple, CDW, Dell, HP, IBM, Intuit, Lenovo, Microsoft, Newegg, Oracle, Rackspace, Sage Software, Salesforce.com, Symantec, and Tiger Direct.

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card also offers 3% back on office supply stores up to $250K each year, but the terms specifically exclude “…merchants that sell large or high-priced office equipment such as computers or desk units.”

Best Rewards Card for Computer Equipment Purchases

We see the best card as a tossup between the Ink Cash from Chase and the Business Amex Gold card from Amex. You earn 5x points per dollar swiping the Ink Cash to purchase computer equipment from an office supply store, plus you have the option of buying gift cards for retailers such as Amazon or Apple at 5x from office supply stores, and redeeming the gift cards at your chosen retailer via a shopping portal to earn additional points or cash back on your purchase.

However, purchases earning 5x are capped at $25K per year on the Ink Cash, and you forego valuable purchase protections if you go down the gift card route, protections we consider more valuable than rewards points or cash back. You’ll also need to pair the Ink Cash with either the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve® if you want the ability to transfer points to travel partners or redeem for more than 1¢ per point in value, negating the ‘no-annual-fee' factor.

The Business Amex Gold card allows you to earn with Computer Hardware purchases direct from select U.S. providers as a category to earn 4x Membership Rewards points, capped at $150K in combined purchases per year. The list of providers includes companies like Apple, IBM, and Lenovo, and the higher spending cap makes the card a better option for companies that invest more cash in computer equipment and accessories, allowing you to negotiate directly with the provider to get the best deal. The 4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. Categories include:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
  • U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for shipping

Alternatively, the Amex SimplyCash Plus combines the best of both worlds for computer purchases, earning 5% back on computer purchases made at office supply stores, and 3% back on U.S. computer hardware purchases made directly from the providers listed above, up to a combined $50K in bonus category purchases each year.

If you spend more than $100K per year on computer equipment, the Spark Cash earns an uncapped 2% cash back on all business expenses, similar to its miles earning equivalent the Spark Miles, but you’d need to spend a massive amount each year to outperform the top rewards cards on the list.

Maximize the Return on Your Purchase with Shopping Portals

You can add an additional layer of value to your computer purchase by utilizing online shopping portals for extra points, miles, or cash back. Most major airline programs have online shopping portals, as do bank rewards programs such as Ultimate Rewards’ Shop through Chase portal, allowing you to earn thousands of extra points just by clicking through the shopping portal before making your purchase.

One of the easiest ways to maximize the return on your computer purchase is checking shopping portal comparison sites like EVRewards.com or CashBackMonitor.com, which scan online shopping portals for the best return on a given retailer. A quick search for Apple via CashBackMonitor.com displays returns as high 3x British Airways Avios per dollar if you click through the portal to make your purchase.

CashBackMonitor-Apple-Store
Using online shopping portal sites such as CashBackMonitor.com can earn you thousands of rewards points on your purchase.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re purchasing a single computer for use at home or a dozen for employees at the office, you can earn thousands of extra rewards points via rewards cards and shopping portals. And the icing on the cake is often found in receiving stronger purchase protections and extended warranties than paying cash or using traditional financing.

Bear in mind that if you intend to carry the balance of the purchase on your credit card, rather than pay it off straight away, the interest will quickly wipe out any value gained in rewards, and you’re better off using a card with 0% intro APR if you intend to pay it off over time.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

Best Credit Cards for Computer Equipment & Hardware Purchases [2019]
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Comments

  • Good information for business owners.

  • I’m planning on a new computer purchase soon. I have an Amex Offer for Bestbuy. So though I’d normally use my Blue for Business, this time it will be the Business Platinum to take advantage of the offer and I’ll buy it through the United Shopping portal to earn the back-to-school bonus.

  • Maximum rewards is usually my goal, and therefore, I would generally go for the 5x route with the Ink Cash, but this post does give me pause to consider that perhaps fewer points with more protections is the better way to go.

  • I’m really surprised by the amount of 2% cash back on everything cards these days. I wouldn’t mind trying out that Capital One Spark card for my side business purchases.

  • Thanks. I guess my BOA Premium Rewards card with preferred status is still the best for me, with 3.5% back at warehouse stores (plus supermarkets), and 2.625% back at other retailers. Sometimes, really good deals show up, like Microsoft’s cash back shopping portal, which ended a dozen years ago gave me 25% back at Walmart, where I bought my OOMA, an Ebates $50 back + the regular % cash back on any $250 Microsoft Store purchase coinciding with last year’s Black Friday specials, where I got a decent HP laptop really cheap, available, at least when I checked out after midnight, or occasional AMEX offers. ALso check RetailMeNot for coupons and an occasional offer. Coupons not on the shopping portal’s site invalidate the cash back or miles, but it works sometimes, so you have to balance the benefits.

  • I guess I should get a business card.

  • Michaelj1 says:

    Thank you for the reminder about purchase protections and warranty extenders. It can make a difference depending on the product and the purchase price point.

  • Great article, I’ve now bookmarked cashbackmonitor, a great tool.

  • Thank you for adding in about the warrantees, etc. When purchasing I think we get into points mode and forget to think about any price protection and warrantees.
    So much to think about! We purchased our last computer with Freedom Unlimited, since we were making the spend requirement for that. Apparently I need to pay attention to a lot more next time, unless I’m trying to meet a spending requirement again ;o)

  • Very well done, thanks for this amazing list

  • It is VERY interesting that there are even strategies for such purchases 🙂

  • I never use the cash back portals, but I do try to get the most from in store purchases here I do most my shopping. This is useful. Thanks

  • Thanks for the article!

  • deerseason says:

    It always depends on the merchant and what it codes as. If office supply, then definitely Ink Cash. Otherwise, I will probably use my Double Cash for the purchase/price protection and 2%.

  • thanks for the highlights for us small business owners!!

  • Logan Fisher says:

    Also be sure to use a shopping portal which can be combined with your credit card promotion.

  • Great summary. Just bought a MacBook for my soon to be college freshman and wondered how best to do it. FYI, Apple pushes the Barclay card linked to Apple for free financing (in our case 18 months) – not a bad deal, but rewards are strictly paid in Apple credits. Not sure what rate they pay at, since we didn’t ultimately go this route.

    Great tip on cashbackmonitor, wish I’d seen that and known about the Discover portal that kicks back 5% on Apple!

  • good to mention the portal linkage

  • I need to get that ink business card!

  • Extended warranty is an important consideration for these types of purchases.

  • great way to rack up miles

  • I wonder how the credit card companies make the money back in schemes not yet known to us while they offer loads of cash back (refunds) 🙂

  • Any recommended personal cards for this spending category?

  • Darshak Thakore says:

    I use my ink bold with online hosting providers like linode and aws. The weird thing is i get 5x on linode but not on aws.

  • Just in time for my computer purchase.

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