When Chris Mixter, a 39-year-old IT consultant living in Virginia, was ready to buy a car, he decided to try to get a free vacation out of it, too.

His idea: Put the car on a rewards credit card, just to get the rewards points. He had some experience racking up points: He and his wife had previously financed entire trips with points, including their honeymoon in Aruba and two family trips to Disney World. This would be the biggest purchase yet, though. Before this, he’d never put “anything bigger than a refrigerator” on a credit card, Mixter said.

It’s possible to put large purchases on a credit card, as long as you have a high enough credit limit, but merchants someti…
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