What can help a long-distance relationship, a couple dreaming about a magical honeymoon and a family looking to adopt? The right credit card, of course.
It’s only 11 days until Valentine’s Day, meaning it’s time for pink-wrapped candy, heart-shaped gifts and all things romance. Given such a perfect excuse, as a hopeless romantic, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to spread more romance – even in this column.
If you’re thinking, “What can possibly be romantic about credit cards?”, I can tell you that in the right circumstances, credit cards can make love bloom.
Read on to learn about three couples whose love stories might not be the same if it wasn’t for the right credit card.
Credit cards that made love bloom
Credit cards that helped a long-distance relationship flourish
Liz and Andy
Andy and Liz met in college at Virginia Tech. Like many student couples, during their senior year, they had to face the question of where their relationship was going. They both had jobs lined up – Liz in Vermont, Andy in Virginia – and had to ask themselves, “Do we want to do long distance?”
They gave it a try. Their first trip during the summer after college was to Seattle, where they had a mutual friend. For their second trip, Liz and Andy went to his parents’ lake house in Maine.
It was going well. They decided to try and make it work.
“We both started our jobs in August,” Liz told me. “And we started to fly to each other. It was every other weekend at first. And then, once November came, we started flying every weekend. We did that because of credit cards – we had the points to do that.”
See related: Cash back vs. points: Which is better?
Andy was an avid rewards credit card user, and he got Liz into credit cards as well. They used quite a few cards to fund their trips to each other – the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card* and Chase Sapphire Reserve card, a few Barclays cards and some business credit cards. The couple kept track of deals and discounts and often transferred rewards points from their credit cards to the airlines they were flying.
They also booked flights through the Chase portal – if you’re a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred holder, your Ultimate Rewards points have a higher value when you book travel through the portal: 1.5 cents on the Reserve card and 1.25 cents on the Preferred.
After a year of flying to see each other every weekend, Liz moved to Virginia to be with Andy. Today, they run a house buying company called The House Guys and continue to save points to travel the world – from now on, together.
“We actually had a huge trip to Australia and then Turkey; we were doing like an around the world type of thing with one of our friends,” Liz said. “But yeah, it was COVID … so we had to cancel. But we still have all of our points in our account and are hoping to book something either at the end of this year or whenever things start to open back up for international travel.”
A credit card that funded an unforgettable honeymoon
Tegan and David
Tegan met her husband David at a corporate job back in 2014. They immediately clicked and started dating just a few months later. The couple approached their relationship carefully, without rushing into things. They lived next door to each other instead of moving in together until Independence Day in 2017, when David proposed.
Right after that, Tegan and David bought a house, and they got married two years later.
The five years of love they’d had and more of it to come deserved the most amazing honeymoon, and the couple made sure to make it so. They flew from Arizona to Florida to take a cruise they will never forget.
“The cruise was absolutely the best vacation either of us has ever had!” Tegan told me. “[It] was seven days long and had three stops: Roatan, Honduras, the Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico. In Honduras, we were able to take a walking jungle tour where we got to see and hold wildlife such as wild monkeys, iguanas and parrots. In Cozumel, we took a cave tour where we got to swim through the Mayan Cave and Cenote Underground River. The Bahamas was our last stop, and we decided to rest and lay on the beach that day.”
Of course, a round trip from Arizona to Florida can get quite costly – but David and Tegan didn’t have to worry about that. They used their points on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card to fly for free. The couple also booked a discounted hotel stay through the Southwest Rapid Rewards partner program in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for one night before they got onto the cruise. Doing that earned them additional points for future flights.
See related: Southwest Rapid Rewards guide
Today, David and Tegan continue to collect points and can’t wait to repeat the magical cruise.
“At this point, we have enough points to fly for free anywhere in the United States,” Tegan said. “We have always been smart with our finances and our strategy for saving points is simple: We use the credit card for all the expenses we plan to make anyway such as bills, groceries, birthday gifts, etc. Then we pay the card off immediately without leaving a balance on it; we never use the card for any expenses that we can’t pay off right away.”
You can find more useful tips on personal finance and credit from Tegan on her blog The Blissful Budget.
A credit card that helped an adoption happen
Luis and Justin met back in 2012. Luis was a teacher with Teach For America, and Justin was finishing up undergrad at the University of Texas-San Antonio. They tell their friends they met through a mutual friend, but in reality, Justin told me, that mutual friend was OkCupid.
Luis and Justin
“Our first date was at a Starbucks,” he said. “Luis likes to tell our friends and family that I brought and ate a burrito throughout our date. I swear I asked Luis if he wanted one and he said no. Then, embarrassing enough, I got bits of tortilla stuck in my teeth, but fortunately that didn’t turn Luis away!”
They got married in 2016 when Justin was getting his graduate degree at Southern Methodist University, and Luis started a full-time MBA at Indiana University. For two years, they were in a long-distance relationship, and similar to Andy and Liz, Justin used a credit card to fund his trips to Luis.
That card was the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and it was going to play an even more important role for their family.
When Luis was finishing his two-year program, the couple began seriously discussing how they would start a family. After considering their options, they decided to adopt, which made the most sense for them both financially and emotionally.
“Once we decided adoption was the route we were going to take, we still faced somewhat high costs of private adoption,” Justin told me. “You’ll hear a wide range of total costs for private adoption, but most of the time they range anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 depending on the agency.”Luis and Justin chose an agency in Fort Worth, Texas, known for its high reputation and working with LGBTQ families. Their fees ended up on the upper range of adoption costs.
“Realizing the high costs of adoption was hard,” Justin said. “We knew that if we wanted to have a family, it would take some sacrifices, but our desire to be dads was greater than whatever financial challenges would come our way.”
At that point, the couple didn’t have much savings left after investing in their education, so they decided to fundraise as much as they could and finance the rest. They took out an adoption loan – and then Justin had a brilliant idea.
“I realized that we could put the adoption costs on a credit card, pay off the credit card with the loan and earn tons of points in the process. So, because the adoption payments were in installments, I was able to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for the entire adoption cost, then pay off the card with the loan. With the Reserve card providing 1% back on “everyday” purchases, and increasing the points 50% when used for travel, it seemed like a no-brainer to use on the adoption.”
The total adoption costs were about $50,000 and earned Justin and Luis a whopping 50,000 points (worth $750 when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal).
Now they’re planning to use their rewards for their first family vacation once the pandemic is behind us.
Keep swiping right
Whatever stage your love story is at, swiping your card right can help it bloom, whether you’re taking your beau out for dinners and saving up rewards for your future vacation together, putting your wedding expenses on a 0% APR credit card or paying for a romantic getaway with points.
And if you don’t have a card to fuel your romance yet, find your perfect match with CardMatch.
If you’re like me, keep swiping right in dating apps or hit your local grocery store to buy yourself some wine and chocolate – because who said you can’t be happily single? (Plus, there are good credit cards for such purchases, too).