6 Best Credit Cards for Couples | Credit Cards

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You know what they say about couples who spend together? Actually, there’s really no saying for that, but there are a few smart strategies to help you and your partner maximize credit cards as a team. Being on the same financial page is important for both your relationship and your financial future – and being strategic with credit cards can help stretch your budget and fund new memories.

Before getting into the best credit cards for couples, here are few things to keep in mind.

Decide How to Couple Your Credit 

As a twosome, you’ll have to figure out which credit card scenario works best for your relationship.

  • Become joint account holders. With this arrangement, each person is a primary account holder who can make charges on the card, but both parties are responsible for the balance accumulated. On the one hand, it can be an easy way to manage shared expenses, but proceed with caution, warns Mallory Baska, money coach and founder of Fueling Financial Freedom. “If your finances are not combined, I do not recommend joint credit cards,” she says. With joint credit cards, each person’s individual credit score is impacted even if one party racks up a big bill or forgets to make the payment. It can also be hard to decouple from a joint card should the relationship end.
  • Add your partner as an authorized user. In this scenario, there is a primary cardholder who retains account control and responsibility and an authorized user who can make purchases with the card. The main cardholder is ultimately liable for the card’s balance. Going this route could be helpful if that authorized user wants to piggyback on the partner’s good credit in order to improve the user’s own. If you plan on taking a mortgage or other loan together in the future, each person’s credit will come into play.
  • Keep things separate. There’s no rule that says you have to share a credit card just because you’re a couple. If each person stays responsible for his or her own card, you won’t have to worry about impacting each other’s credit scores. But it’s still a good idea to be transparent and have regular money conversations.

Pool Your Plastic Power

Whether you have joint or separate accounts, there are ways to work together to share in some benefits and rewards. Here are some strategies to consider.

  • Points sharing. Depending on the card program, you may be able to transfer points to another cardholder such as your spouse or domestic partner. For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards allows you to transfer points to other Chase cardholders in your household whose accounts are in good standing. The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is even more flexible in that you can share points with any other member, even outside your household. American Express Membership Rewards, however, are not transferable.
  • Referral programs. Some credit card issuers provide referral bonuses. “Oftentimes couples use one card. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s not the best solution for optimizing points,” says Baska. “The sign-up bonuses and referral rewards are where you score big.” She recommends keeping watch for large sign-up bonuses on your favorite cards and then referring your partner to sign up for the same card during that time. That way you both score the sign-up bonus, plus you get a referral bonus.

    Chase cards have referral bonuses ranging from $50 to 20,000 points for each person you refer who signs up. And Discover’s refer-a-friend bonus offers $50 to $100 statement credit for both you and your friend. So if you get your spouse or partner to sign up, it can total as much as $100 to $200.

  • Complementary cards. Baska and her husband covered a large part of their “babymoon” trip – around $5,600 – by using credit card rewards from two different cards. Their flight was covered thanks to their Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card points and Companion Pass, which provides a free flight for your traveling partner. They then converted their Chase Sapphire Reserve points to the World of Hyatt loyalty program to cover a stay in a boutique hotel during peak season. “My husband and I use these cards to travel for free often,” says Baska.

    Think about what type of card combo might work best. It could be that one person uses a hotel card and one uses an airline card. Or one partner can focus on earning cash back on everyday purchases like groceries and gas while the other earns flexible points that can be used toward travel or gift cards.

Spend Responsibly Together – and Individually

If both you and your partner are account holders of cards that earn rewards or cash back, simply using those cards in your everyday lives can be beneficial, says Steve Azoury, chartered financial consultant and owner of Azoury Financial. “However, you never want to spend more than you can afford just to obtain rewards. You should only be spending what you can afford to pay off at the end of each month.”

6 Best Credit Cards for Couples

If you and your significant other are in the market for a new credit card to complement your finances, here are some picks to consider.

This no-annual-fee card offers 3% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, as well as on popular streaming and grocery purchases for those date nights in. You’ll also get some cool Uber benefits if you like having chauffeured date nights, including a free Uber One membership and 10% cash back on Uber and Uber Eats.

Though it has a $95 annual fee, the sign-up bonus alone can provide $750 in value if you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening and redeem in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. With lots of travel transfer partners and redemption options, the rewards can help cover flights, hotels and more. You’ll get three points per dollar on dining and takeout, online grocery orders and streaming services, plus two points per dollar on other travel purchases.

If you and your partner love concerts, dining experiences and interesting events, this card’s Citi Entertainment benefits can help you make unique memories together. Citi Premier is also a pretty versatile rewards card, earning three points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and on air travel and hotels. The annual fee is $95, but you can earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.

“If you value experiences and don’t want to be caught in the bottleneck of Ticketmaster while trying to score your tickets, cards with presale benefits will pay off big time,” says Baska.

This card offers 21 months of 0% annual percentage rate on purchases and balance transfers, for no annual fee. This might be a good solution if you want to furnish a new apartment together or need to get your credit in shape before you apply for a mortgage. Using the balance transfer can help you make faster progress on another card’s lingering debt – which can in turn help improve your credit score. While this card does not offer rewards, the savings on interest can be valuable.

“A 0% APR introductory offer can help you stay out of debt, as long as you’re paying it off in full before the offer expires,” says Azoury.

This card offers the rare but highly coveted Companion Pass perk – you’ll need 135,000 points – that lets that special someone fly with you free of airline charges for a year. You’ll start off with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening, and then enjoy ongoing perks like early bird check-in and 25% back on in-flight purchases. The card has a $69 annual fee.

After no annual fee the first year, this one has a $95 annual fee, but if you’re constantly buying groceries for your family, you’ll earn a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 and on streaming services. You’ll also get 3% on transit and at U.S. gas stations, perfect if you’re a commuter or constantly carting the kids around. Keep watch for Amex Offers, too, as opting into various discounts can help you earn cash back from online retailers, restaurants and more – perfect when shopping for Valentine’s Day, back to school or celebrating your sweetheart’s birthday.

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