5 Best Credit Card Duos For Maximizing Points (2021)

5 Best Credit Card Duos For Maximizing Points (2021)

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Some of us go great lengths to maximize our credit card rewards, in some cases having dozens of cards, and making our pursuit of rewards points basically a part-time job.

If you’re the person in your circle of friends known for your credit card obsession, odds are good that you’re frequently asked by others which credit card they should use. I know I am. And it’s a struggle. My temptation is to optimize their strategy by having them get a handful of cards to maximize each spending category, but then I realize people quickly lose interest. They want a simple strategy that’s easy to follow.

With that in mind, in this post I wanted to share some simple credit card duos that can help you maximize your spending, whether you’re looking for personal or business credit cards.

What are the best credit card duos?

In this post I wanted to share what I consider to be the five best credit card duos out there for maximizing rewards:

With that in mind, here are my three favorite personal credit card duos, and my two favorite business credit card duos, in no particular order:

Chase Sapphire Preferred & Chase Freedom Unlimited: best Chase personal card combo

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) and Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) are a pretty unbeatable combo in the Chase Ultimate Rewards ecosystem, which is a favorite points currency among consumers:

  • Annual fees — the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee
  • Points earning — the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, online groceries, and select streaming services, 2x points on other travel purchases, plus a 10% anniversary points bonus, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on drugstores, and 1.5x points on all other purchases
  • Points redemptions — transfer points to any of the Chase Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partners, or redeem them for 1.25 cents each towards travel purchases, or towards everyday expenses through “Pay Yourself Back”
  • What sets this card combo apart — the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers fantastic travel coverage, including trip cancelation coverage, car rental coverage, and more, and the Chase Ultimate Rewards ecosystem is also arguably the easiest for the average consumer to maximize; the Sapphire Preferred was recently refreshed, making this card more rewarding than ever before
Transfer Chase points to Hyatt for hotel stays

Citi Premier & Citi Double Cash: best Citi personal card combo

The Citi Premier® Card (review) and Citi® Double Cash Card (review) are an unbeatable combo for earning Citi ThankYou points, and offer the highest average return in terms of number of points of any mid-range card combo:

  • Annual fees — the Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee, while the Citi Double Cash has no annual fee
  • Points earning — the Citi Premier offers 3x points on gas, groceries, dining, air travel, and hotels, while the Citi Double Cash offers up to 2x points on all other purchases
  • Points redemptions — transfer points to any of the Citi ThankYou airline partners, or redeem them for one cent each towards travel purchases
  • Other valuable perks — there’s not another mid-range card combo where you’ll earn so many points per dollar spent in so many categories
Transfer Citi points to Emirates for first class travel

Amex Gold & Amex EveryDay: best Amex personal card combo

The American Express® Gold Card (review) and Amex EveryDay Credit Card (review) are a great combo for earning Amex Membership Rewards points:

  • Annual fees — the Amex Gold has a $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees), while the Amex EveryDay has no annual fee
  • Points earning — the Amex Gold offers 4x points at restaurants, and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year and then 1x), and 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines, while the Amex EveryDay offers a 20% points bonus when you make 20 transactions per billing cycle, meaning you can earn up to 1.2x points on everyday spending
  • Points redemptions — transfer points to any of the Amex Membership Rewards airline or hotel partners, or redeem them for one cent each towards travel purchases
  • Other valuable perks — despite the Amex Gold’s $250 annual fee initially appearing high, the card offers valuable benefits and credits that could help offset it significantly
Transfer Amex points to Virgin Atlantic for business class travel

Chase Ink Preferred & Chase Ink Unlimited: best Chase business card combo

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review) are arguably an even better combo than what’s offered by Chase’s personal cards:

  • Annual fees — the Chase Ink Preferred has a $95 annual fee, while the Chase Ink Unlimited has no annual fee
  • Points earning — the Chase Ink Preferred offers 3x points on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with select social media sites and search engines (on up to $150K in spending her anniversary year), while the Chase Ink Unlimited offers 1.5x points on all other purchases
  • Points redemptions — transfer points to any of the Chase Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partners, or redeem them for 1.25 cents each towards travel purchases
  • What sets this card combo apart — the Chase Ink Preferred is the most well rounded business card out there, and both of these cards also have phenomenal welcome bonuses
Redeem Chase points for travel in Qatar Airways Qsuites

Amex Business Gold & Amex Blue Business Plus: best Amex business card combo

The American Express® Business Gold Card (review) and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review) combine some valuable bonus categories with the best business card for everyday spending:

  • Annual fees — the Amex Business Gold has a $295 annual fee (Rates & Fees), while the Amex Blue Business Plus has no annual fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Points earning — the Amex Business Gold offers 4x points in the two categories you spend most in each billing cycle of the following, on up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year (1x after that) — airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases at restaurants, U.S. purchases for shipping, U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers; the Amex Blue Business Plus offers 2x points on the first $50,000 spent every year (1x after that)
  • Points redemptions — transfer points to any of the Amex Membership Rewards airline or hotel partners, or redeem them for up to ~1.33 cents each towards airfare, thanks to the Amex Business Gold’s up to 25% back on “Pay With Points” redemptions
  • Other valuable perks — the Amex Blue Business Plus can be a valuable card regardless of which other card you have it in conjunction with
Transfer Amex points to Etihad for first-class travel

Bottom line

Generally, you can get so much better of a return on your credit card spending if you’re willing to get two credit cards rather than just one. I’m by no means suggesting that the above are the only good strategies for maximizing points, but rather am suggesting that these are among the simplest, most economical strategies for maximizing your credit card rewards.

In some cases, there can be big value in getting a combination of personal and business credit cards to really maximize your rewards, but again, the above is all about simplicity. For example, for many people, there could be value in getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (review) in place of the Sapphire Preferred, while I’d argue The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a phenomenal complement to just about any other card.

I’m curious to hear what OMAAT readers think — what do you think is the best credit card duo out there?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees), and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).

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  1. Brian-EWA

    I have a trio and it has been working out well. Cap1 Savor, Venture, and the no-fee Spark Miles. The overwhelming majority of my personal expenses are dining (4%), and grocery (3%) so the Savor is awesome for that. Get 2% on everything else with Venture, and then roll all the rewards over into Spark Miles to transfer out.

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Brian-EWA

I have a trio and it has been working out well. Cap1 Savor, Venture, and the no-fee Spark Miles. The overwhelming majority of my personal expenses are dining (4%), and grocery (3%) so the Savor is awesome for that. Get 2% on everything else with Venture, and then roll all the rewards over into Spark Miles to transfer out.

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