Published in: Credit Cards | Jan. 8, 2020

How Married Couples Can Maximize Their Travel Rewards

By:  Lyle Daly

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Teamwork makes the (travel) dream work.

Married life involves quite a few important financial conversations. Are you going to combine your finances? How should you split the bills? And for couples who have an interest in travel rewards, which credit cards should you get next?

It can initially feel like a challenge to earn and use travel points as a couple. You need to find two tickets whenever you fly together, and you need twice as many points to book those tickets. The good news is that there are plenty of ways for married couples to earn more travel points.

A happy couple holding hands while walking in an airport.

Image source: Getty Images

Double up on sign-up bonuses

The big advantage married couples have with travel rewards is that each partner can apply for a credit card separately and earn its sign-up bonus. While most credit card companies have rules that prevent consumers from getting two of the same card and earning multiple bonuses, there are no rules preventing spouses from each opening their own cards.

Considering bonuses are the fastest way to earn points, you and your spouse should apply for the cards with the biggest sign-up bonuses separately.

Some of the cards you choose may have annual fees, but that's simple enough to handle. One of you can cancel or downgrade your card to avoid paying the annual fee after the first year when you get the bonus. And if you both want to be able to continue using a card, this next tip will solve that.

Add each other as authorized users

There are two potential benefits to adding your spouse as an authorized user on your credit card:

  • Many cards offer a bonus for adding an authorized user.
  • You can both use the card and take advantage of its benefits without paying two annual fees.

Depending on the card, you might be able to add an authorized user free of charge. Even among cards that charge a fee to add an authorized user, this almost always costs much less than the annual fee.

Refer each other to credit cards

Credit cards often have referral bonuses, where you receive extra rewards any time another consumer gets the card because of you. Here's how the process typically works:

  1. You copy your unique referral link from your online credit card account. If you can't find it, call the number on the back of your credit card to ask where it is.
  2. You provide your referral link to someone else.
  3. That person clicks on your referral link, taking them to the card's application page.
  4. If the person you referred is approved for the card, the card issuer sends you a referral bonus.

For spouses, this is a simple way to earn more travel points. The key is that you don't each apply for credit cards at the same time. Instead, you should stagger your applications.

Here's how -- you apply for a card and receive it. Once you have your referral link, you send that to your spouse so that they can apply using the link and you can get the bonus (or your spouse can get the card first and send you their link).

Make it easy for the less-interested partner

If your spouse isn't quite as passionate about travel rewards cards as you are, then it can help if you take on more of a manager role to simplify things for them.

For example, you could keep track of the spending minimums for any sign-up bonuses you're working on together. You could also make a note for your spouse to carry in their wallet with the bonus spending categories of any cards you have. That way, they can consult the note to know which card to use on each type of purchase.

Little things like these may not seem necessary for you, but they can make all the difference for someone who doesn't read as much about travel rewards. After all, it's no fun to hear your spouse earned only 1 point per $1 on a big purchase because they forgot that another card would have earned them 3 or 4 points per $1.

Maxing out your travel points together

With communication and some smart strategies, you and your spouse can dramatically boost the number of points you earn. Since there are two of you, you'll have no problem working together to get authorized user bonuses, referral bonuses, and twice as many sign-up bonuses.

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