Whether you’re interested in earning cash back, points or miles, there’s an option to help you and your partner rake in rewards.
If you’ve said your vows or joined your finances with your partner, it might be time to move past the credit card that’s been by your side all through your single years. And even if you keep that card, it pays to consider adding cards that give couples the chance to earn big.
Whether you’re combining your finances or keeping them separate, you can still meld your rewards. Keep reading to learn more about the best rewards cards for couples and how to maximize the rewards you earn.
Discover it Cash Back: Best for the strategic, cash back-seeking couple
Why we picked it: The Discover it® Cash Back is a fine option for couples looking to earn cash back and who prefer rotating categories over flat-rate rewards. With the Discover it, couples can earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter (after activation) and 1% back on all other spending – so, if you tend to spend in a variety of categories, this card can provide a way to earn heightened rewards (with a little strategizing).
Discover also offers a valuable Cashback Match program for new cardholders. After your first year of card ownership, Discover will match all the rewards you earned during it. If you end up earning $150 in cash back, for example, Discover will gift you an additional $150, bringing you to a total of $300 in cash back earnings.
- Cash back calendar announced all at once at the start of the year (compared with Chase, which releases categories quarterly)
- No annual fee (So it makes financial sense for both people to become cardholders to increase the bonus category cap, if desired.)
- 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (12.24% to 23.24% variable APR after)
- $1,500 quarterly cap, which can hinder the earning potential of big spenders
- Enrollment required each quarter in order to earn 5% back
- Discover credit cards not accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard credit cards, especially abroad
Who should apply: Couples with good or excellent credit who are looking to maximize cash back earnings in rotating categories should apply for the Discover it Cash Back. For a dual cardholder household, you’ll be able to earn $3,000 (only allowed for two individual accounts, not an authorized user) per quarter.
Who should skip: Couples looking for the ease of a flat-rate cash back card should opt out. You’ll need to enroll each quarter in order to receive the heightened cash back rate (otherwise you’ll earn 1% back), so you’ll need to plan ahead to maximize your earnings. Further, those with spending that doesn’t align with any of the bonus categories – or who want a more simplistic rewards rate – would be better off with a different option.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for the traveling twosome
Why we picked it: For a reasonable $95 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a sweet travel credit card – offering 2X points on general travel purchases and a heightened 5X points on travel you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Plus, if earning a solid sign-up bonus is the name of your game (the Preferred offers 80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months – up from its previous 60,000-point offer), you won’t be disappointed. This minimum spend should be fairly easy to reach with two people pulling out the card for all purchases.
- Stellar sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards on travel
- Sapphire Preferred travel benefits: annual hotel credit, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and more
- Transfer points between spouses or domestic partners for free, making it easier to book travel
- Referral program (formally known as Refer-A-Friend) that rewards 15,000 points for each “friend” who is approved for the Sapphire Preferred – maybe each get a card
- $95 annual fee can be a turn off to infrequent spenders or travelers
- Less impressive travel perks compared to its sister card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (Reserve charges a much higher $550 annual fee)
- Pay double the annual fees if both get separate cards (keep in mind regarding the referral program)
Who should apply: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is best suited for couples who travel frequently and, more specifically, plan to take advantage of the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Who should skip: You do get a variety of redemption options (travel, transfer partner travel, cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and more), but couples who don’t plan on redeeming for travel or prefer earning cash back, for example, might look elsewhere.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred: Best for a couple’s cozy night in
Why we picked it: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a homebody’s dream, earning huge rewards on both groceries and streaming subscriptions. More specifically, you’ll get 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) and 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions (think Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify and Hulu). You’ll also get 3% back on transit and U.S. gas station purchases and 1% on everything else.
The Blue Cash Preferred offers some of the absolute highest cash back rates on groceries and streaming subscriptions available, so if you and your partner frequently find yourselves holed up on a Friday night, you won’t regret signing up for a card with this sort of earning power.
- $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first six months
- Annual fee waived for the first year ($95 after that)
- Free ShopRunner membership, among other perks
- $95 annual fee after your first year
- U.S. supermarket category limited to $6,000 in purchases per year (after that, 1% earned)
- Comparatively limited redemption options (statement credits, merchandise and gift cards)
Who should apply: Those most interested in earning rewards on groceries and streaming services (or even on gas and transit) should consider the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.
Who should skip: If your household easily spends more than $6,000 on groceries in a year, you might look elsewhere – specifically. at credit cards for grocery shopping that don’t impose an earnings cap.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier: Best for cost-cutting frequent flyers
Why we picked it: If you’re not already a Southwest loyalist, you may consider becoming one. The Southwest Companion Pass, which you get after earning 125,000 Rapid Rewards points or flying 100 qualifying Southwest flights in a year, allows you to bring one designated companion with you on Southwest flights you purchase – for free (minus taxes and fees, of course).
So, why recommend the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card? All points earned count toward the Companion Pass, and the card’s welcome bonus can start you off with 40,000 points (after you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months). To further sweeten the pot, there’s an annual cardmember anniversary bonus of 6,000 points just for owning the card.
In terms of ongoing rewards, you’ll earn 3X points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on local transit, commuting (including rideshares), internet, cable, phone services and select streaming services, plus 1X points on everything else.
- Decent welcome offer and anniversary bonus
- Points earned count toward Southwest Companion Pass
- No blackout dates on travel, change fees or booking fees
- 2 EarlyBird Check-Ins each year
- $99 annual fee (not as high as the $149 annual fee of its sister card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card)
- No airline partners – must book all rewards flights through the airline
- Limited options when it comes to international travel
Who should apply: Those looking to earn the Southwest Companion Pass (and effectively fly their partner with them for free) should certainly look into applying for the Rapid Rewards Premier. It might also make sense to add your partner as an authorized user, so you both can build up the spending required to qualify for the sign-up bonus and, eventually, the Companion Pass.
Timing is important when it comes to earning the Companion Pass, because you get it for the following calendar year plus the rest of the calendar year in which you earned it. So, the earlier in the year you can earn it, the better.
Who should skip: If you prefer to travel with other airlines or want better options for international travel, you should skip on applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier.
Comparing the best credit cards for couples
For the sake of an easy comparison, here’s a rundown of the above cards’ welcome bonuses, rewards rates, annual fees and introductory APRs.
|Discover it Cash Back||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express||Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card|
Discover will match all the rewards you’ve earned at the end of your first year
80,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
$300 statement credit when you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months
40,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (12.24%-23.24% variable APR after)
N/A (16.24%-23.24% variable APR)
0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases (14.24%-24.24% variable APR)
N/A (16.24%- 23.24% variable APR)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
How to choose a credit card for your relationship
There are a variety of credit cards that work well for couples, so when choosing an option for you and your partner, consider which of the following card details matter most to you:
- Determine which kind of rewards you’re most interested in earning: Whether you both seek the simplicity of a flat-rate cash back card or yearn for the excitement of rotating categories, it’s imperative that you determine which rewards currency makes the most sense for your shared lifestyle. For couples who frequently travel, for example, opening a miles-earning card can help save money on future vacations together. If you’re loyal to a particular carrier, an airline credit card could be beneficial. Or, opting for a general travel rewards card with great transfer partner opportunities can potentially further stretch your rewards’ value.
- Know which fees you’re OK with paying: This includes not only annual fees, but balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, late payment fees and more. Not all of these will apply to you, of course, but being strategic ensures you won’t run into any surprise costs along the way.
- Look for a worthwhile sign-up bonus: Great sign-up bonuses can be seen as icing on the cake, so why not try and take advantage of one? Take a look at some of the best credit card sign-up bonuses so you can compare all your options ahead of time.
- Consider a card’s niche benefits: Are you looking for extended warranty or purchase protection? Could you benefit from travel statement credits or trip delay reimbursement? Many cards offer benefits beyond the typical ongoing rewards and welcome bonus, so keep that in mind as you shop around.
Being coupled up has its rewards, especially when it comes to credit cards. But it’s important to get your finances in order, create a budget and get on the same page about money before you delve into cash back, points or miles together.