7 Ways for Couples to Earn Travel Points and Miles Together

Two wallets are better than one. Earning with your partner can really boost your points game.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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Collecting travel points and miles on your own can be rewarding. However, you can potentially double your earning power — and opportunities to get cheaper hotel rooms and flights — by entering two-player mode.

Whether you're just getting started or trying to level up your strategy, here are seven tips for how couples can work together to earn points and miles.

1. Set goals from the start

If you're reading this, odds are that you’re more excited about points and miles than your spouse. If that's the case, don't start by handing them a stack of credit cards with instructions on which card to use and where. Instead, start by talking with your partner about your shared travel goals.

It could be planning a family vacation together, taking that Instagram-worthy anniversary trip or simply traveling to see friends without breaking the bank. Once you can show them how points and miles can help you achieve your goals, working toward them together is much easier.

2. Keep it simple for inexperienced partners

Does your partner wince at the idea of juggling a bunch of credit cards? If you want their buy-in, make it as simple as possible to start and then ramp up from there.

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or Citi Double Cash® Card can be excellent starter cards. Both have simple earning structures that reward everyday spending, yet earn points that can be maximized with the right strategy.

Later, add additional cards for dedicated purchases — such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to get 3x points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases.

3. Get out of credit card debt

While this may seem obvious, it's often glossed over in discussions of earning rewards. The first step to any points and miles strategy is to pay off outstanding credit card debt.

Even if you don't combine finances, talk honestly about your financial situation with your partner. A recent NerdWallet survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that 34% of married Americans with credit card debt say their partners don’t know how much they owe on their cards. If you want to collaborate on a points-and-mile-earning strategy, you need to break the silence.

If either of you is carrying a credit card balance, now's probably not the time to explore rewards credit cards. Instead, develop a plan to pay off your outstanding balances first. Then focus on rewards cards.

4. Celebrate an early win

There's nothing quite like the thrill of taking a nearly free trip. Keep your motivation going by booking a trip early in your points and miles journey.

"Sometimes you just need to take your first flight and experience the benefits of earning credit card points yourself, rather than reading or listening about them secondhand," recommends Brighton Lui and Mila Temnyalova of the @themilescouple on Instagram.

This may not be the trip of your dreams quite yet. However, even a short trip can confirm that the hassle is worth it. Just make sure that this trip won't hold you back from your larger goals.

5. Be deliberate about when you add authorized user cards

The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet rating 

Don't automatically add your spouse as an authorized user when you apply for a new card. It may make them ineligible to open new cards because of the Chase 5/24 rule.

Instead, carefully consider when you should add an authorized user — whether that's to meet the spending requirement for a bonus or for the perks.

For example, authorized users of The Platinum Card® from American Express get Centurion Lounge access, their own Priority Pass lounge membership, Marriott and Hilton elite status, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry and more. Terms apply.

If you and your partner will have no problem meeting the spending requirement, a better option is to use your personal referral code to refer your spouse. You'll receive bonus points for the referral and your spouse will be able to earn the sign-up bonus separately, doubling the amount of points you'll have in that program.

6. Focus on earning points that either partner can use

Airline and hotel rewards credit cards can offer lucrative bonuses and cardholder perks. However, hotel points and airline miles generally can't be transferred to another member — at least without prohibitively expensive fees.

Meanwhile, most credit card rewards programs (e.g., AmEx Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards®) let you transfer credit card points from the primary cardholder to authorized users or another cardholder in the same household. This gives you more flexibility when it comes time to redeem your points and miles.

Say your spouse is an authorized user on your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card account. When booking travel, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to your World of Hyatt account or your spouse's United MileagePlus account.

No award availability? You still have the option to redeem these points for paid travel through the Chase portal, and you get 25% more value with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

7. Align with existing perks and elite status

Lean into existing strengths when deciding which partner should hold which card. Say you often fly Delta for work travel. Consider getting a Delta co-branded card that you can use to earn bonus elite miles and earn a spending waiver toward Delta elite status.

Meanwhile, your partner could get a credit card that grants hotel elite status — such as the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

See more travel cards
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