Credit cards aren’t generally seen as the best option when it comes to borrowing money, but there are plenty of ways using plastic can get you ahead — particularly when you have a large purchase to make.

The key is to use the right card for your needs. This could mean choosing a credit card that grants a 0 percent APR on purchases for a limited time, a good welcome bonus, cash back rewards or, if possible, all of the above.

If you’re looking for the best credit card for a large purchase, here are the top cards to consider.

Wells Fargo Reflect Card: Best for longest intro APR period available

If you’ve already made that large purchase, you may be feeling the pain of compounding interest. In that case, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card can give you up to 21 months to pay down that balance without accruing interest. While the card is light on benefits, it does provide up to $600 in complimentary cellphone protection (up to $1,200 yearly coverage across two potential claims with a $25 deductible) when you pay your bill with the card.

  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Ongoing rewards: None
  • Purchase benefits: 0 percent intro APR for 18 months from account opening (up to 21 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period), followed by a variable APR between 17.49 percent and 29.49 percent
  • Annual fee: $0

Why it’s good for large purchases

If you’re planning on making a large purchase soon, you can finance the purchase over an 18-month introductory period without paying interest charges. Even better, the Wells Fargo Reflect rewards on-time payments during this introductory period by extending the zero-interest period for another three months. In all, you could receive an interest-free grace period of up to 21 months from account opening, among the longest intro APR periods available. (There’s also an equally-long balance transfer intro period.)

The Reflect doesn’t offer rewards, but it’s not uncommon for balance transfer cards with exceptionally long offers to offer this perk.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best for travel rewards

Do you have costly travel plans on the horizon? The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can provide a hefty bonus and rewards for your spending. You may cancel out the $95 annual fee if you make a big purchase or if you’re a big spender in the bonus categories.

  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening (worth $750 in travel rewards if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
  • Ongoing rewards: 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on Lyft Rides (through March 2025); 3X points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 2X points on all other travel; 1X points on other purchases
  • Purchase benefits: Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
  • Annual fee: $95

Why it’s good for large purchases

Flights, hotels and other travel arrangements can be costly. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, a long-time standout in Chase’s credit card lineup, offers a generous bonus and rewards for your travel purchases. If you have an upcoming trip, booking through Chase’s portal can net you an unlimited 5X points (instead of 2X points), and there’s a valuable welcome bonus offer that can lessen the blow of a costly ticket or hotel stay.

Chase is also one of only a few credit card issuers still offering purchase protection. When you purchase items with the Sapphire Preferred, you can receive up to $500 per claim ($50,000 per account) if an item is damaged or stolen within 120 days of the purchase. Further, Sapphire Preferred Card benefits include $10,000 in extended warranty coverage per claim for up to $50,000 per account — which adds another year to the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty on eligible warranties of three years or less.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for cash back

The Chase Freedom Unlimited®* is a versatile, do-it-all card with a strong cash back rate, among other benefits.

  • Sign-up bonus: For your first year, earn an additional 1.5 percent cash back on top of all purchases’ original cash back rate, on up to $20,000 (exclusive offer through Bankrate)
  • Ongoing rewards: 5 percent cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2025); 5 percent back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases; 1.5 percent back on all other purchases
  • Purchase benefits: 0 percent intro APR on purchases (and balance transfers) for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 19.24 percent to 27.99 percent; purchase protection and extended warranty protection
  • Annual fee: $0

 Why it’s good for large purchases

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn a sign-up bonus, ongoing rewards on your spending and boosted rewards during your first year of card membership. In terms of first-year rewards, its welcome bonus means you’ll technically earn:

  • 6.5 percent cash back on travel through Chase and Lyft purchases
  • 4.5 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 3 percent on all other purchases

Then, you can pay your balance off over 15 months without owing any interest (19.24 percent to 27.99 percent variable APR after).

Similar to the Sapphire Preferred, you also get purchase protection of up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account (if an item is damaged or stolen within 120 days). Plus, it includes extended warranty coverage of up to $10,000 per claim (and up to $50,000 per account).

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card: Best for hotel rewards

This Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card* delivers rewards at Hilton properties and grants you Hilton Gold elite status, which comes with complimentary breakfast, higher earnings and room upgrades when available at Hilton properties. The benefits from Hilton Gold alone could offset the card’s $95 annual fee.

  • Sign-up bonus: 30,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 in purchases during the first three months
  • Ongoing rewards: 12X points on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels and resorts; 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; 3X points on everything else
  • Purchase benefits: Purchase protection, extended warranty protection and access to Amex Plan It
  • Annual fee: $95

Why it’s good for large purchases

One of the most significant expenses of travel is your hotel stay, especially if it’s an extended one. With the Hilton Surpass Card, you can earn an extra fifth night if you book your stay completely with points. Even better, you’ll earn a hefty 12x bonus points for every $1 when you book directly through a property in the Hilton property portfolio.

Other than Amex purchase protection and extended warranty perks, cardholders can take advantage of American Express Plan It, meaning you can pay large purchases off over time — sans interest.

Chase Slate Edge: Best balance transfer card with lowering APR

You don’t often hear of a credit card that allows you to lower your interest rate with requirements that are fairly easy to achieve. But that’s exactly what you’ll find with the Chase Slate Edge℠.

  • Sign-up bonus: None
  • Ongoing rewards: None
  • Purchase benefits: 0 percent intro APR on purchases (and balance transfers) for 18 months (19.24 percent to 27.99 percent variable APR after); APR reduction opportunity; purchase protection and extended warranty protection
  • Annual fee: $0

Why it’s good for large purchases

Though you won’t earn rewards or a welcome bonus with this card, cardholders are eligible for  a 2 percent APR reduction each year by paying on time and spending $1,000 on their card before their next account anniversary.

Further, if you need time to pay off a large purchase without interest charges, the card offers an 18-month period (19.24 percent to 27.99 percent variable APR after that). There are also the same purchase protection and extended warranty benefits as offered by the other Chase cards on this list.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best travel card welcome bonus

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a substantial 75,000-mile bonus after you spend $4,000 within three months of opening your account — worth up to $1,500 toward transfer partner travel, according to Bankrate valuations.

  • Sign-up bonus: 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening
  • Ongoing rewards: 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 2X miles on all purchases
  • Purchase benefits: Extended warranty protection
  • Annual fee: $95

Why it’s good for large purchases

With the Venture X, you can collect 75,000 miles when you meet the minimum spending requirement of $4,000 in the first three months. Plus, you can benefit from extended manufacturer warranties on eligible items.

How to choose a card for large purchases

Choosing the best card for large purchases is a matter of finding the best balance of benefits, earnings, interest rates and other factors. For example:

  • Welcome bonus: Getting a welcome bonus and earning quick rewards can help you offset the cost of a large purchase. Make sure the spending requirement isn’t too high to qualify for the bonus, or time your application with sizable purchases like an extended vacation or home renovation project.
  • Rewards rate: Rewards rates for different spending categories vary by credit card. To get the most out of your credit card, choose a card that offers generous rewards in the categories you spend the most. For example, if you spend a lot on travel, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers 5X points on travel purchases made through Chase.
  • Transfer partners: With some credit cards, you may increase the value of the points you earn through your everyday spending by transferring them to airline and hotel partners.
  • Annual credits: Check to see if a card’s annual credits offset its annual fee (and that you can use them with retailers you already shop with).
  • Benefits: Ideally, you’ll find a card with benefits that complement your lifestyle and help you save money. Some cards offer travel benefits, purchase protections, elite status and other perks. Understanding the kinds of benefits you want with your card can help you make the right choice.

The bottom line

Using a credit card for a large purchase can help you preserve cash and earn rewards in the process — but the best credit card for a large purchase shouldn’t just be for one event. Make sure the card you choose meets your immediate spending needs and helps you achieve your long-term financial goals.

*The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.