Best Two-Card Combinations for Big Travel With Small Money

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

I’ll show you credit cards that work well together to help you get Big Travel with Small Money!

Best Two Card Combinations For Big Travel With Small Money

I’ll Show You Which Card Combinations Earn the Most Points for Your Everyday Spending Like Shopping and Dining Out

Here are 3 great combinations for earning more miles, points, or cash back!

Cards That Benefit From Having a Mate

1.   Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Freedom

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining.  Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program because of how flexible the points are.

You’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

I like to use this card to try new restaurants all over the world because there are NO foreign transaction fees.  The $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year.

Best Two Card Combinations For Big Travel With Small Money

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Your Ticket to Award Seats on Dozens of Airline Partners, Like ANA Business Class to Japan

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is also your key to transferring to Big Travel partners.  For example, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio to fly on Star Alliance partners like ANA or TAP Portugal.

And when you transfer them to British Airways, you can fly on partners like Alaska Airlines and American Airlines.  Or any other member of the oneworld alliance!

Best Two Card Combinations For Big Travel With Small Money

Emily and I Enjoyed Our Stay at the Fancy Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. You Can Get Award Nights Here With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!

Moving your points to Hyatt can get you luxurious hotel rooms in fantastic cities, like the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome where Emily and I stayed.

The Chase Freedom card makes an excellent companion to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  You’ll earn $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

It has NO annual fee, so it’s free to keep forever and potentially help increase your credit score.

And you can combine all your Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you also have the the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Best Two Card Combinations For Big Travel With Small Money

Sometimes Amazon Is Included In Chase Freedom’s Quarterly Bonus Categories, Which Are an Easy Way to Rack up More Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!

It also has rotating quarterly categories where you can earn 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent.  In the past that’s included department stores, home improvement, and shopping on Amazon when you activate the bonus.

With this combination, you can use the Chase Sapphire Preferred for travel and dining (and when you’re abroad).  And keep the Chase Freedom fee-free to earn extra Chase Ultimate Rewards points throughout the year!

2.   Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express and AMEX EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

Link:   Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Link:   AMEX EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is an excellent card for earning lots of AMEX Membership Rewards points.

You’ll earn 3 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent for flights booked directly with airlines.  And 2 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at US gas stations, US supermarkets, and US restaurants.  Plus, you’ll get a $100 airline incidental fee credit with an airline you choose, and NO foreign transaction fees.

The sign-up bonus is 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases within 1st 3 months of account opening.  The $195 annual fee is waived for the 1st 12 months.  And after that, the $100 airline fee credit will help to cover some of the cost.

Best Two Card Combinations For Big Travel With Small Money

Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Fly Virgin Australia Business Class to Sydney!

You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio to fly on SkyTeam partner airlines, like Korean Air.  And on other partners, like Virgin Australia.

Or you could transfer to Flying Blue (the frequent flyer program for Air France and KLM) to take advantage of monthly promo awards to Europe.

Sometimes AMEX has bonuses when you transfer points, like the recent 50% bonus on transfers to Virgin America, which is great for visiting Hawaii or Australia.

The AMEX EveryDay Preferred card earns 3 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases.  And 2 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at US gas stations.

Best Two Card Combinations For Big Travel With Small Money

Earn 4.5 AMEX Membership Rewards Points per $1 Spent at US Supermarkets When You Use the AMEX EveryDay Preferred Card for 30+ Purchases in a Billing Cycle

But even better, you’ll earn 50% more points when you make 30+ purchases in a single billing period.  So when you meet those requirements, you effectively earn:

  • 4.5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year
  • 3 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at US gas stations
  • 1.5 AMEX Membership Rewards points on all other purchases

With the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold, you can earn 3 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on airfare (directly from the airlines).  And even more points on your groceries, gas, and everything else you purchase!

If you like to collect AMEX Membership Rewards points, this is a great duo to have in your wallet!

3.   SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express and Discover it

Link:   SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express

Link:   Discover it

Some folks prefer to earn cash back.  For a limited time, you’ll get $250 cash back when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 6 months of opening an AMEX SimplyCash small business card.

You’ll also get 5% cash back at US office supply stores and US wireless service.  And 3% cash back in 1 out of 7 categories you choose (including airfare, US restaurants, and US gas stations).  There’s also NO annual fee, so it’s free to keep for the long-haul.

This is a small business credit card.  But you don’t need to earn a lot of revenue to get this card.  As long as you’re trying to make a profit, it’s worth putting in an application.  Here’s how you might already qualify.

Best Two Card Combinations For Big Travel With Small Money

There’s Nothing Like Cash-in-Hand! Pair the Discover it Card With Another Cash Back Card If You Like Earning Cash Instead of Miles or Points

If you don’t want a small business credit card, you might consider another cash back card, like Citi Double Cash or the Fidelity Visa.  We don’t earn commission on these cards, but Emily and I will always tell you about the best deals!

I recommend pairing whichever card you choose with the Discover it card.  That’s because it has valuable 5% cash back bonus categories that change each quarter when you activate the bonus.

And after your 1st 12 billing cycles (or if you previously registered), Discover will DOUBLE the cash back you’ve earned for the year.  So you can effectively earn 10% cash back in rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter.

Best Two Card Combinations For Big Travel With Small Money

The Only Thing You’ll Have to Think About Is How You Want to Spend Your Cash Rewards! The Discover it Card Is a Fantastic Way to Earn Lots of Cash Back

If you spend the maximum each quarter, you’ll earn an extra $600 per year ($1,500 X 5% X 4 quarters X 2).  Remember, you’ll also get double cash back on any purchases you make through the Discover Deals shopping portal.

You’ll also earn $50 when you sign-up for the Discover it card and make your 1st purchase in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (that gets doubled, too!).  And, there are no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a great card to keep with you when you travel.

Bottom Line

Smartly pairing certain cards helps you earn bonus points in more categories.  And that can help you get more Big Travel with Small Money faster!

A few great combinations are:

Depending on your goals, you can earn more miles, points, or cash back when you find the pair that works for you!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One response to “Best Two-Card Combinations for Big Travel With Small Money

  1. Great article! What do you think of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Costco Citi Anywhere Visa Card combination? Barclaycard has 2% rewards on everything and Costco Citi has 4% on gas, 3% travel/dining, 2% on Costco purchases (and if with an executive membership another 2% on Costco purchases, which I think will pay for the entire $110 annual fee since I spend at least $5,500/year), and 1% on other purchases. I plan to use the Citi Costco card only for gas, travel, dining and Costco purchases and use the Barclaycard for the rest of my purchases like rent, utilities, auto/renter’s/disability/umbrella insurances, auto repairs, entertainment subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon, Google Music, Audible) and outside-of-Costco shopping all of which will probably cost me approximately $37,000/year. Another reason why I like the Barclaycard is that it has no foreign transaction fees. It does have an annual $89 fee which I’m not fond of.

    I am also considering the Costco Citi Anywhere Visa Card (for gas,travel/dining, Costco purchases) and Citi Double Cash Card (for everything else) combo. I do need a credit card for when I travel with no foreign transaction fees and I am considering the no-annual fee Barclaycard Arrival or the Capital One Quicksilver.

    Which credit card combo do you think is better? I would appreciate any input from you and the other readers. Thanks!