3 Ways Couples Can Maximize Credit Card Rewards

Max out your credit card rewards as a couple with these two-player strategies.
Last updated Jun 1, 2021 | By Larissa Runkle
Couple Maximizing Credit Card Rewards

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If you’ve done your homework on the best credit cards out there, chances are you have a few ideas about the rewards involved. But have you ever considered getting even more out of your spending by teaming up with your significant other?

Maximizing rewards as a couple has its advantages — and we don’t just mean more trips to Disneyland (although that’s definitely one of them). You might also be able to snag some special deals for two (like companion fares) or benefit from twice as many sign-up bonuses.

But before you and your partner-in-credit get started, take a minute to make sure it really makes sense for both of you — financially and otherwise. Joint credit cards imply a new level of shared responsibility, and you should only sign up for one if you both feel ready.

Also consider the state of your shared finances: Is taking on another credit card reasonable right now? Are you both in good financial standing? Get these tough financial conversations out of the way before signing up for any shared accounts, and it will make the rewards you earn together that much sweeter.

OK, now are you ready to go over some strategies for maximizing your credit card rewards as a couple? Let’s do it!

1. Earn 2X the sign-up bonuses

There are quite a few ways to maximize your returns as a couple with some of the best rewards credit cards, and the first way is probably the most obvious: If you hear about a really great sign-up bonus on a card you both qualify for, consider applying separately to earn double the bonuses.

If these cards have a high minimum-spending requirement involved in earning the reward points, start with just the one card and pool your funds to meet the requirement. Apply for the second card only once you know you have the funds to do so again.

This way, you’ll not only earn twice the sign-on bonuses but also twice the rewards as you help each other meet new credit milestones.

2. Refer each other to earn rewards

A number of cards offer significant referral bonuses for anyone you refer who is approved. Assuming both you and your partner have rock-solid credit scores, referring one another should be a cinch.

Be sure to read the fine print and follow your card’s guidelines on referrals. There might be a special link your S.O. has to use to sign up for the card or some other secure way to prove the referral. Figure this out in advance to ensure you qualify for the bonus later on. When taking advantage of the Amex Refer a Friend program, you can give your spouse your personal referral code to ensure you both receive the Membership Rewards referral bonus points. 

Once accepted, you’ll both be earning twice the bonuses and twice the rewards.

3. Pool your points

Does your credit card allow you to transfer or pool your rewards with family members? You should check because it just might. This can be a great way to double or triple your points in a single transaction and use them toward a joint goal.

So, whether you’re eyeballing a fancy cruise or looking to put a down payment on a house, pooling your points can make it possible to cash out on an even bigger sum and help you achieve your #couplegoals faster.

4. Take advantage of companion deals

Companion fares are a great deal if you or your partner travel often. These deals, like the Southwest Companion Pass offered by Southwest Airlines, allow your companion to fly free of airline charges (not including taxes and fees, which start at $5.60 with the Companion Pass) whenever you purchase or redeem points for a flight.  

The only caveat (if you call traveling a lot a caveat) is that you’ll need a serious amount of airline points to qualify — specifically 125,000 of them (or 100 qualifying flights). Qualifying points can be earned by purchasing flights, hotels, or car rentals from Southwest or one of its partners, as well as by using a Southwest-branded credit card like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card.

So, if either you or your partner already jet-set on the regular, a travel rewards card with a companion deal might end up being a huge savings.

How couples can keep their rewards organized

Once you have all your credit card ducks in a row, it might be a challenge to keep them that way. There’s a lot to keep track of for each card, including the balance, payment due dates, and other card-specific details. There are also the rewards themselves to track — and how close you are to meeting your goals with points and other milestones.

Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:

Designate one person as the recordkeeper for each card

You can do this by each taking charge of the credit cards in your name or by assigning cards with similar rewards or due dates to one person. However you choose to organize, having a designated person responsible for each card will help to avoid missed payments or other card details falling by the wayside.

Keep track of all the important information

For this, we recommend using a spreadsheet or a calendar (or both). Whatever your preferred method, you’ll want to track the monthly payment due date for each card as well as the time of year you signed up. This is important for understanding your rewards, when they might renew (or expire), and when you owe any annual fees set by your card.

Track your spending on each card, too

This is especially important if you’re working toward a certain goal with the reward points. That way, you’ll both be able to see at a glance where each of your cards stand and be able to strategize which ones to use for upcoming expenses. It will also help you both to budget for payment due dates, annual fees, and any other expenses associated with your card.

The best cards to maximize rewards with a partner

Card Sign-up bonus Rewards rate Referral bonus Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred Earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases 15,000 points per friend, for up to five friends per year $95
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services for the first year 2X points for Southwest purchases and 1X points on all other purchases 10,000 points per friend, for up to five friends per year $69
Chase Freedom Unlimited Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year) 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases $100 cash back per friend, for up to five friends per year $0
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card Earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months 5X points on Lyft rides; 3X points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1X points per $1 on everything else 20,000 points per referral, for up to five businesses per year $95

However you choose to maximize your credit card rewards as a couple, just be sure to do so responsibly. If you find the bills piling up, hit the pause button on your spending and reevaluate your budget. Earning points toward a mutual goal can be a rewarding experience (pun intended) — so long as it doesn’t end with one or both of you in serious debt.

A Simple Cashback Card for Day-to-Day

Intro Offer

$100 statement credit

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Up to 20% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn $100 cash back after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $150 back
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
  • No annual fee. Terms apply.

Drawbacks

  • No travel rewards
  • Grocery rewards are capped
  • Rewards dollars can’t be used toward the minimum payment due
Card Details
  • Earn $100 cash back (in the form of a statement credit) after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months; plus, earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $150 back
  • 20% cash back at Amazon.com during the first six months (up to $150), 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)
  • Terms apply

Author Details

Larissa Runkle Larissa writes for FinanceBuzz and divides her time between a cabin in the San Juan Mountains and traveling in a van. She enjoys writing about travel, debt relief, personal loans, and mortgages. Her work has been featured on MagnifyMoney, LendingTree, and Realtor.com. Outside of finance and real estate writing, she’s also at work on several fiction projects. When away from the computer, you’ll find her reading, exploring local trails, and climbing rocks.