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Card Coupling: Pair Up Your Credit Cards to Maximize Rewards

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Card Coupling: Pair Up Your Credit Cards to Maximize Rewards

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the Nerds have couples on the brain. But probably not the kinds of couples you’re imagining – we’re thinking about credit card couples. These are pairs of cards you should use in tandem to maximize rewards.

Wondering which credit cards are a match made in heaven? Take a look at some of our favorite couples below:

Chase Freedom® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for: Travel junkies

Getting the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might seem strange at first – after all, one is for cash back and one is for travel, right? But actually, using these two cards together couldn’t be a better fit.

With the Chase Freedom®, you’re earning 5% back in rotating quarterly bonus categories throughout the year (up to $1,500 spent per quarter). You’ll also earn 1% back on all other purchases. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card you’re earning 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Once you have both cards in hand, swiping them strategically is key. For example, you’d always use the Chase Freedom® when it’s earning 5% cash back in a particular category. Most of the time, using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card on dining and travel purchases is probably smart (unless, of course, the Chase Freedom® is featuring restaurants as a 5% bonus retailer). This will help you rack up as many Ultimate Rewards points as you can.

Now for the fun part: redeeming all those rewards you’ve been building up. Because the Chase Freedom® technically earns Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll be able to transfer the points you’ve earned with it into your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card account and cash them in for travel. If you decide to redeem directly through Chase, each point will be worth 25% more. But remember, you’ll also have the option to transfer them to the participating frequent traveler program of your choice at a 1:1 ratio.

Using this tactic could really make those 5% bonus categories offered by the Chase Freedom® go far, which is why we think it’s a great partner for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™ and Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Best for: Cash-back enthusiasts (especially those who love to shop)

Optimizing the cash back you’re earning on every purchase might seem complex, but you can do pretty well with just two cards. With the Discover it® - Cashback Match™, you’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

With the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, you’ll earn 1% cash back every time you spend, then an additional 1% cash back when you pay your purchases off. By now it’s probably obvious why the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ and the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer are such a good pair. You can use the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ when it’s earning 5% back and the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer otherwise. This will ensure that you’re scoring hefty rewards every time you swipe.

What’s more, these two cards offer a nice combination of fringe perks. For example, you’ll have access to Citi Price Rewind with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. That will help you get the best price on all of your registered purchases. With the Discover it® - Cashback Match™, you’ll be able to take advantage of Discover Deals. This is the bonus mall operated by Discover. Using it can result in earning extra cash back, statement credits or in-store discounts.

As you can see, the bounty of benefits you’ll reap from choosing these two cards is ideal for cash-back hounds.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card and Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best for: Families

Raising kids is expensive, so most heads of household are looking to maximize rewards on the ample spending they’re doing. If this sounds familiar, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express are two cards you’ll definitely want to keep in your wallet.

With the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, you’ll earn 2 ThankYou points for every dollar you spend on entertainment and dining out and 1 ThankYou point for every dollar spent elsewhere. With the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, you’ll earn 3% cash back at the supermarket (up to $6,000 spent per year — then 1%), 2% cash back at gas stations and select department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Nerd note: If you usually spend more than $61 per week on groceries, you’re probably better off going with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express’s cousin, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It charges an annual fee of $95, but you’ll score a much higher sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards rate.

This card combination will yield you bonus rewards in nearly every spending category families value – groceries, gas, department stores, entertainment and dining out. So whether you’re stocking up on diapers, shuttling the kids to and from practice, or taking the family out to dinner on Friday night, you’ll be racking up extra points or cash back. Happy card coupling!

Image via iStock.