How do I choose the best credit card for purchases that fall outside regular categories?

To the point Here is our decision tree to help you choose the best and most advantageous credit card to pay for big purchases!

We are often faced with a dilemma: which credit card is best to pay for a large purchase that falls outside regulae categories?

  • household appliances
  • computer
  • cell phone
  • municipal taxes
  • tuition fees
  • professional services (lawyer, notary, dentist, etc.)
  • etc.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine the best credit card to pay for your big purchases.

Large purchases

Purchase insurance: do you want insurance for your purchase?

Credit cards usually offer purchase insurance with theft and breakage coverage. In addition, some credit cards come with an extended warranty that extends the manufacturer’s warranty to 3 years. This is the case with the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard®.

To benefit from the purchase insurance or the extended warranty, it is imperative to have paid in full with the credit card . Also, the credit card must remain open, active and in good standing in case of a claim.

Therefore, you should consider keeping these credit cards and not closing them after getting your bonus.

Would you like to use Reward Points on this purchase?

Do you have points in the bank and want to use them to pay for that big purchase? You will need to use the credit card linked to the rewards program in question.

For example, by paying for your cell phone with the American Express Cobalt® Card, you will be covered in case of breakage or theft and be able to use your American Express Membership Rewards points to reduce the cost of your phone!

Is there a particular type of point you would like to earn?

As a result of your large purchase, you will be able to earn points. Turn to the credit card that earns the type of points you are looking for! To do this, you need to determine your goals and your point earning strategy.

However, you have to ask yourself which aspect is most important when the credit card that gives you the best purchase insurance is not the one with the points you want.

Similarly, the return (cash back) may be greater with another credit card, but one must consider purchase insurance and extended warranty in the equation, not just the “best return”.

For example, the best way to earn points with Apple purchases (like an iPhone) is to buy Apple gift cards at a grocery store to earn 5X points.

However, by paying directly with your American Express Cobalt® Card, you will be covered by Mobile Device Insurance.

Do you need to unlock a bonus?

Finally, if you don’t need purchase insurance or extended warranty and your priority is to unlock a bonus, you can check out the best current credit card offers!

Taxes, fees and professional services

At this level, purchase insurance and extended warranty are not relevant. The first two questions to ask are:

  • Are credit cards accepted?
  • Are American Express cards accepted?

Would you like to use Reward Points on this purchase?

Cash back and several rewards programs allow the use of rewards points to reduce the bill.

However, the option of using reward points to pay off all or part of a credit card balance is much less advantageous than using them for travel credits. However, money saved is money saved! It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your situation.

As mentioned earlier in the article, there is no difference with some programs like American Express Membership Rewards. In fact, these points can be used as an account credit at the rate of 1,000 Privilege Points = $10 on travel or everyday purchases.

Is there a particular type of point you would like to earn?

Large purchases in this category are not very pleasant to pay for, but it is a great opportunity to earn rewards to fund your next trip.

What better way to earn points than with an Aeroplan credit card after a visit to the dentist!

Do you need to unlock a bonus?

Same as the answer given above for large purchases.

Municipal taxes and school taxes are large recurring purchases. So, we can easily plan our credit card strategy accordingly to take advantage of it.

In this example, there is a transactional fee to use a credit card through PaySimply or Plastiq, but it may be worth it, if the purpose is to unlock a welcome bonus!


There is no “one size fits all” answer when it comes to deciding on the card to pay for a large purchase and get the “best return”. Indeed, there are several factors to consider in order to make the “best choice” in your situation.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Aline Nguyen
I'm Aline, an experienced traveller, a foodie at heart, an Avgeek, a photography enthusiast and an expert on credit card programs. I use Reward Points to travel on a budget and to save money on everyday life; writing about these topics allows me to share my passion and help you. ~ 7 continents and 75 countries ~

Suggested Reading