Do you believe in “the one”? One person, who will mesh with your personality perfectly, and once you meet that person, that’s it?
“The one” is a romantic concept, and it might be true. But when it comes to credit cards, I’m a firm believer that there isn’t one single best credit card out there for everyone. In fact, in some scenarios, having two different credit cards will maximize your rewards. By using multiple credit cards in tandem, you can earn the maximum amount of points or cash back rewards, no matter what the situation.
Here are three winning credit card combinations that will help you maximize your credit card rewards.
Ratehub.ca’s best credit card combinations in Canada
- Best for travel: Scotiabank Gold American Express + Home Trust Preferred Visa
- Best for cash back / families: Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite + SimplyCash from American Express
- Best for no annual fees: Tangerine Money-Back Card + SimplyCash from American Express
Best combination for travel
Scotiabank Gold American Express and Home Trust Preferred Visa
If you travel a lot and value flexibility, the Scotiabank Gold American Express is the credit card for you. Featuring a robust rewards system where you earn four points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, entertainment, and restaurants, and one point per dollar spent on everything else, this credit card will get you in an airplane seat faster. The Scotiabank Gold American Express also allows you to redeem your points flexibly for flights on any airline with no blackout dates.
Lastly, this card comes with a 15,000 point bonus ($150 value) provided you spend $1,000 on the card in your first three months.
An excellent companion to this travel credit card is the Home Trust Preferred Visa.
While most credit cards charge a 2.5% foreign transaction fee on purchases made in a non-Canadian currency, the Home Trust Preferred Visa has no foreign transaction fees. So, anytime you travel abroad with this card, you can avoid having to carry around large wads of foreign cash and enjoy the convenience of paying with plastic without the added cost.
Another big perk of this card is that it offers 1% cash back, which means you won’t only save 2.5% in fees but you’ll also earn 1% to see a total savings of 3.5% while abroad. If you were to use another rewards credit card outside of Canada, foreign transaction fees would undercut the value of any points or cash back that it offers.
The strategy with this credit card combination is simple: use the Scotiabank Gold American Express to earn travel points on your everyday spending in Canada and use the Home Trust Preferred Visa whenever you’re abroad to save on foreign transaction fees.
While the Scotiabank Gold American Express has a $99 annual fee, the Home Trust Preferred Visa is a no annual fee card – which is yet another reason these two make such a great pair as you won’t have to deal with the burden of having to pay two annual fees. Plus, the Home Trust Preferred Visa can serve as a back up option to the Scotiabank Gold American Express when shopping in Canada in case you’re at a store or restaurant that doesn’t accept American Express as a payment option.
Note: While we recommend the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, you could combine the Home Trust Preferred with any other of Canada’s best travel credit cards.
Best combination for cash back and families
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite and SimplyCash from American Express
If you’ve got a big family, you’ll want to capitalize on your household spending. That’s where the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite comes in. Arguably the best cash back credit card for families, the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite will earn you 4% cash back on gas and groceries, two of the biggest spending categories for many households. You’ll also get 2% cash back at the pharmacy and when you pay your bills with your credit card.
For a limited-time, you can avoid paying the card’s $99 annual fee for the first year.
In combination with the Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite, you should consider adding the SimplyCash from American Express to your arsenal. This no-fee credit card lets you earn 2.5% cash back for the first three months up to a maximum of $150, after which you’ll earn 1.25% cash back on everything.
The 1.25% cash back rate makes the SimplyCash from American Express a great option for charges that don’t fit into the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite’s four bonus categories such as clothes or furniture. There is no limit on the cash back you can earn after the promotional period ends, so this credit card should suit you for the long run.
While you’ll be on the hook to pay a $99 annual fee for the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite after the first year of card membership, the SimplyCash from American Express will always be free to carry – so you won’t have to juggle annual fees on two separate credit cards with this combination.
Note: We recommended the SimplyCash from American Express, however you could consider pairing the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite with another no fee cash back card such as the Tangerine Money-Back Card (2% in three categories) or the Rogers World Elite MasterCard (1.75% on everything). It’s worth highlighting that the Rogers World Elite MasterCard is made for high-income earners as it has a personal income requirement of $80,000 (or household income requirement of $150,000).
Best combination for no annual fees
Tangerine Money-Back Card and SimplyCash Card from American Express
If you’re looking to avoid paying any annual fees, you can maximize your rewards by using these two cards interchangeably.
First, the Tangerine Money-Back Card is a no-fee credit card that earns you 2% cash back in your choice of three of the following categories: restaurants, gas, groceries, public transit (including taxis and Ubers), drugstore/pharmacy, entertainment, hotels/motels, furniture, monthly bill payments, home improvement, and parking.
Once you pick your top three categories, you’ll earn 2% cash back on them and 0.5% cash back on everything else. There is no limit on the cash back you can earn, and your rewards are deposited monthly into your Tangerine savings account, or you can apply them to the balance of your credit card.
The SimplyCash Card from American Express lets you earn 2.5% cash back on all purchases for the first three months (up to $150) – a limited-time offer you’ll want to capitalize on for all your purchases.
Once this special welcome rate ends, you’ll earn a flat 1.25% cash back on all your spending. Therefore, you can use the SimplyCash from American Express for any purchase that doesn’t fall under one of your three Tangerine Money-Back categories to earn 1.25% as opposed to 0.5%.
With this pairing of no annual fee credit cards, you can earn 2% cash back on your Tangerine Money-Back Categories and 1.25% on all your other purchases. Since both these cards offer straight-forward cash back, you also won’t have to deal with the complexities of earning travel points from two separate loyalty programs.
Note: While we recommend the SimplyCash from American Express, you could combine the Tangerine Money-Back Card with the Rogers World Elite MasterCard as it’s a no fee card that offers a flat 1.75% cash back. However, it’s important to account for the fact that the Rogers World Elite does have a high income requirement of $80,000 per individual or $150,000 per household.
Do you use multiple credit cards to maximize your rewards? If so, share your credit card combination recommendations in the comments section below.