How to Buy a Car With a Credit Card to Earn Miles

How to Buy a Car With a Credit Card to Earn Miles

Million Mile SecretsHow to Buy a Car With a Credit Card to Earn MilesMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Considering a new car and wondering if it’s possible to rack up a few thousand miles & points using a credit card to buy it?

In short, it is!  And that’s great news for folks looking for ways to meet a card’s minimum spending requirements, if you want to earn extra rewards, or qualify for a yearly spending bonus for a purchase you’d make anyway!

Can You Buy A Card With A Credit Card
Getting a New Car Is Fun. But Earning Miles, Points, or Cash Back for Your Purchase Is Even Better!

I’ll show you how to put some (or all!) of the purchase price of a car on a credit card.  And mention a few pitfalls you should look out for!

Can You Buy a Car With a Credit Card?

Buying a car can be stressful and usually requires some serious negotiating skills.  Wouldn’t it be nice to earn miles, points, or cash back, for your purchase?

The good news is, in some cases it’s possible to put at least part of the purchase price of a car on a credit card.  And some dealerships even allow you to put the entire cost of a car on a card!

Can You Buy A Card With A Credit Card
Meeting a Card’s Minimum Spending Requirement and Earning a Big Sign-Up Bonus Could Get You a Trip to Paradise!

This could help with meeting minimum spending requirements, meeting yearly card spending bonuses for elite status, or to simply earn lots of miles, points, or cash back.

That said, there’s a bit of strategy involved using a credit card to buy a car.

Tips for Buying a Car With a Credit Card

The main thing to realize is that the dealership will have to pay a credit card processing fee if they decide to accept a card.

On a $30,000 car, for example, this fee could be ~1% to ~3%, depending on what type of credit card you’re using.

At an average of 2%, that’s $600 in fees ($30,000 X 2%).

Now let’s say the dealership usually only makes a ~$1,500 profit off that $30,000 car.  That $600 in credit card fees is nearly half of their profit!  So you can see why dealerships are very particular about whether they’ll accept credit cards.

Luckily, lots of dealerships will at least let you pay the down payment with a credit card.

Can You Buy A Card With A Credit Card
Buying a Car Can Take a Lot of Negotiating. So It’s Up to You to Decide Whether Trying to Use a Credit Card for the Purchase Is Worth It!

Reddit users have reported being able to put anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 of the cost of a car on a credit card.  And it can work for the down payment on a leased car too.  So it’s certainly worth asking!

But folks who have done this before suggest NOT mentioning using a credit card until you’ve agreed on the price of the car.  Otherwise, the sales representative will add the credit card processing fee into the price of the car.

And American Express has an auto purchase program.  Some dealerships participating in the program will allow you to put the entire cost of a car on an AMEX card!

This could be a great way to meet bigger minimum spending requirements, like the $20,000 tiered minimum spending requirement on the current offer for the AMEX Business Platinum card.

Can You Buy A Card With A Credit Card
Check the Map on the AMEX Auto Program’s Website to See If There’s a Participating Dealership Near You!

Downsides to Consider

If you don’t have enough cash to pay in full for the car, I wouldn’t suggest buying the car with a credit card.  Because any miles & points you earn will likely be negated by the interest you’ll accrue on the purchase.

But you could use a card with a promotional rate to save on interest.  Some cards offer 0% interest on purchases for 18+ months.

Another issue you might run into is not having enough credit.  For example, say you want to buy a $10,000 car and only have a $7,000 credit limit.  With AMEX cards, there’s a way to check online whether you can spend above your credit limit.

For other cards, you could call the credit card company to see if they’ll raise your credit limit.  But be sure to ask whether this will count as a credit inquiry, because a credit inquiry likely isn’t worth it.

Finally, it’s a good idea to set the cash advance limit on the card you’re using to $0.  Then you don’t have to worry about being charged cash advance fees that would cancel out the value of any rewards you’d earn!

Bottom Line

It IS possible to pay for some (or all!) of a car’s purchase price with a credit card.  But you’ll likely have to negotiate with the sales representative.  And some folks suggest mentioning you’d like to use a credit card AFTER the price of the car is agreed upon.

Also, if you don’t have enough cash to pay your credit card bill in full after you purchase the car, I would NOT suggest using a credit card.  Because the interest you’ll pay will negate the value of any rewards you earn.

Otherwise, being able to charge a few thousand dollars to a credit card for a purchase you already plan on making could be a great way to meet minimum spending requirements, meet yearly card spending bonuses for elite status, or to earn lots of miles!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

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Katherine G McFarlane

Such a great tips to buying the car with the credit card. I am searching this for the last days, Happy to see this here and with best tips. Thanks For Sharing this. Looking Forward to seeing other information. If You want to sell your car in San Diego:

That Amex link for buying a car in full on a card has been broken for three years.

Last year I put $10,000 down on a truck using two different cards (I had enough credit available on the one to do all 10K, but they wanted me to use two different cards for some reason, I don't remember why). Was at Autonation Ford in North Canton, OH.


Thanks for sharing, Marlin!

John R Stewart

I have purchased 2 cars in full with credit cards.

2017 new prius, Karl Malone Toyota in SLC.

2013 dealer certified Chevy Volt from Emich Motors in Denver

Also, Larry H Miller Chevrolet was willing to do the entire transaction on credit cards.

1. I emailed all the dealers and asked about CC payment and was given the BS about 3%. It's much closer to 1%, with all their service department volume.

2. Once you know which dealers will do CCs, start your shopping, which I did on line. Nothing worse than being ground down in person.

3. When they gripe about the CC fee, Gripe about the "dealer DOC fee", which is pure profit for very little paperwork. Usually $400-$600, for virtually nothing. Tell them you'll do the licensing yourself and forget the DOC fee.

4. Be patient!!!

John, it's nowhere near 1%. The interchange base rate is about 2% and premium cards like the ones we are using here are non-qualified premium cards which have additional fees to the merchant. It is closer to 3% than 2 with these types of cards. And it's absolutely not close to 1% no matter how much volume the business does.

I have the advantage/experience of running a decent sized business that takes cards and I know about it in pretty good detail, AND a fan of using cards for miles/points through my business and personally.


Great tips John! Thanks for sharing. I'm sure other readers will benefit!

What card will give you a $30,000 credit limit? Even though my credit scores are above 800, the most limit I've ever gotten is $11,000. Yes, you could offer to pay the dealer's card fee.

Lots of issuers will give you limits that high. I have several cards with limits above $50K.

My CSR card came with a $38,000 limit and my Hilton Amex and BoA Alaska Airline cards are both at just over $30,000.


Your card's credit limit will be a limiting factor, but like John suggested below, you could ask to split the charge between a few different cards! Or ask if you can pay for only part of it with the card. Either way, you'll earn at least a few miles or points!

My first airmiles rewards card from first national bank of omaha and my IHG rewards card from chase both have $40000 credit limits!

John R Stewart

I've used the Chase SW, Barclay AA. I've used 3 different credit cards for the $24k on a new car and moved the credit for around to one card for the $17k. If a dealer will take the full amount on CC, they should due multiple cards. On one of the cars I used AMEX $5k gift cards.


Moving your credit around is another good piece of advice. Thanks again!

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