How To Select The Greatest Credit score Card Pairings To Maximize Your Earnings – Forbes Advisor

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Some things improve exponentially when put together: cheese and crackers, shoes and socks, televisions and remotes. The same axiom applies to credit cards. Just like other well-suited clutches, credit cards can work better together when used strategically than as separate entities.

By choosing the right combination of cards, you can increase your earning potential when handing over the fist. But there is no one right mix of card combinations that is right for everyone. If you want to increase your profitability with free credit card pairing, here are the first steps.

Start where you spend the most

Each household’s spending patterns are unique, which also means that the right combination of cards for you is likely to be different from anyone else’s. Take a look back at your monthly bills or see if your credit card company or credit card company offers a snapshot of your expenses so you can see where most of your expenses are going.

Ideally, you would use a card that offers high rewards for the category you spend the most in. For example, a card that offers sky-high airfare award rates may not mean much to your bottom line if you rarely take a flight. When you shop most of your budget at warehouse clubs, it doesn’t matter how generous the rewards are on a card that offers an appealing cash-back return on grocery store spending.

If your card’s reward structure doesn’t match your spending partners, check out our picks of the best cards across different categories to find a card that does.

Next, fill in the gaps

Once you’ve narrowed down one card that makes the most money, start thinking about what your other spending areas make. Most reward cards, which offer higher earnings in a handful of categories, tend to offer far lower rewards for other expenses, usually around 1 point per dollar spent or 1% cashback. Your goal is to find a card that offers rewards for your other areas of spending that are higher than the Basic Earnings Rate.

For example, let’s say you have a card that gives you higher rewards in your two largest spending areas, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card that earns you 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar while dining and traveling, but overall only 1 point per dollar of other expenses.

Rather than settling for lackluster returns any other way, you can increase your earning power by combining it with Chase Freedom Unlimited® (not currently available to new applicants), which offers 1.5% cashback (as 1.5% cashback) Ultimate Rewards points awarded) earned per dollar) on all your expenses plus a 5% refund (5 points per dollar) for travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal and 3% refund (3 points per dollar) for purchases in Restaurants and drug stores.

With this pairing, you can use your Chase Freedom Unlimited to pay for most of your expenses and use the Chase Sapphire Preferred for any trip you want to book without going through the Chase travel portal.

If you strategically tie the two cards together, you will get better performance than the 1% you would earn for “everything else” if you only owned the Sapphire Preferred. You can also combine your Ultimate Rewards points to redeem them at the preferential rate of 1.25 cents per point on trips booked through Chase, or transfer them to travel partners and purchase travel insurance for your next trip, including: delay, trip cancellation, Baggage delay, loss of baggage and primary rental car insurance.

Chase Freedom Unlimited alone does not provide the 25% bonus on travel redemptions, partner transfer options, or the range of travel insurance benefits offered by Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Determine your deal breaker

Creating the right card combination also depends on your general credit card preferences. Are you ready to pay an annual fee? And if so, are you willing to pay an annual fee that can be hundreds of dollars? Although you can find several excellent card pairings that will cost you less than $ 100 a year, the richest rewards and perks are generally found on cards that have a high price tag.

Combining the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has an annual fee of $ 550, with the non-annual Chase Freedom Unlimited fee, can make sense from a rewards standpoint alone if you think you get enough rewards back to cover the annual fee Justify charge.

However, you should also consider the other benefits associated with the Sapphire Reserve, including access to the Priority Pass airport lounge, travel insurance, credit for the Global Entry / TSA PreCheck application fee, and a 50% bonus on the value of yours Points. It pays to think about how to evaluate card benefits in addition to points and how to determine your break-even point on every reward card with an annual fee to ensure that you are actually ahead of the game.

Another thing to keep in mind when trying to build your own free credit card family: How do you tolerate tracking your spending on cards whose bonus categories have spending caps? Can you remember keeping track of which card to use with which provider? This is at the heart of maximizing your reward potential. There is no point in owning a card that only pays increased rewards in certain areas if you can’t remember to pull out the correct card when it’s time to make a purchase.

If you think keeping track of multiple cards is too cumbersome and when you need to use each one, there’s no point building a pile of different cards that can be used at different times. Keep things simple and only aim for two cards that are complementary to each other.

Stay organized

Keeping track of your rewards is also an important part of any strategy for winning pairs of cards. Be sure to track your earnings so you can make sure you have received the correct number of points for your purchases and watch out for possible caps on one or more of your cards.

For example, the Chase Freedom Flex® credit card has quarterly rotating bonus categories that give you 5% cashback up to $ 1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories for each quarter that you activate. Once you’ve spent $ 1,500 in the bonus categories for the quarter, your income rate in those areas will drop to 1%. By tracking your spending, you’ll know when you’ve hit your quarterly spending cap and should switch to using a card with a higher income rate to pay for your purchases in these categories.

It can be helpful to add a small note on a sticker to each of your cards as a reminder of what types of purchases they are best used for.

Know your redemption goals

To maximize your rewards, you also need to know how you plan to use your earnings. When saving for a big redemption, it can make sense to pair cards that deserve rewards that can be combined by the same issuer. The “Big Three” are Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and American Express Membership Rewards.

This strategy also works if one of your cards allows your points to take on more value when redeemed for certain things like travel. If you use cards that allow you to pool all of your rewards, they can all be redeemed at that increased value.

Bottom line

If you are interested in increasing your credit card earnings, consider combining a card with a card that earns free rewards to increase your rewards potential with every purchase. There are several ways to strategically pair two or even three or more cards to get the maximum possible rewards for your spending.

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