Best Credit Card Combinations

Best Credit Card Combinations

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 17, 2021

Having a credit card in your wallet makes it very easy for you to shop online, book travel, and make reservations at your favourite restaurant. When shopping in person, just a simple tap of your credit card will complete your transaction instead of having to fumble with cash. Plus, credit cards offer the perfect way to build or improve your credit profile, which can open up many doors to you in your financial life. 

But aside from all that, credit cards come with other perks, such as insurance packages and the ability to earn points to be redeemed on various items, to name a few. Of course, there’s no one credit card that is absolutely perfect and comes with all the perks that you could possibly want. That’s why it might make sense to pair your credit card with another that fills in any gaps that the first may have. 

Check out some of the best credit card combinations to help you make the most of your money spent. 

Best Credit Card Combination For Canadians Who Like To Travel

If you love to travel, then you’ll want to have a credit card in your wallet that not only allows you to collect points to be used towards airfare and hotel accommodations, but one that also comes with the flexibility to choose any time of the year without being subject to various blackout dates. 

Luckily, the American Express Gold Rewards card and MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard are a couple of solid options that provide flexible travel rewards and work very well together.

American Express Gold Rewards

With the American Express Gold Rewards card, you’ll earn points with every purchase, and can earn additional points when you book eligible travel bookings. You can also transfer these points at a 1:1 ratio to several frequent flyer programs, including Aeroplan.

Plus, you’ll get a comprehensive travel insurance package that includes emergency medical coverage, trip interruption coverage, and car rental insurance. 

  • Annual fee: $150 
  • Purchase rate: 30% applies to balances not paid in full
  • Welcome bonus: Earn up to 25,000 bonus points in the first 3 months of card membership
  • Points: Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on airfare, hotel accommodation, car rentals, cruises, and other travel expenses; earn 2 points for every dollar spent on groceries, gas, and pharmacy purchases; earn 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases; earn an additional point on hotel and car rental bookings on Amex Travel Online
  • Travel insurance: emergency medical insurance, trip interruption insurance, flight delay insurance, hotel burglary insurance, lost/stolen/delayed baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, car rental theft and damage insurance, travel emergency assistance

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard

While the American Express Gold Rewards offers a solid travel insurance package and the ability to earn points, it’s not accepted everywhere. That’s where the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard comes into the picture. This card allows you to earn and redeem travel rewards with every purchase you make, all without an annual fee. 

You can redeem points earned not just for travel, but also for merchandise, gift cards, and even cash.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Earn up to 10,000 bonus points
  • Points: Earn 4 points for every dollar spent on groceries, gas, and restaurants over the first 3 months, 2 points thereafter; earn 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases

Best Credit Card Combination For Canadians Who Want No Annual Fee

It’s nice to get all the perks that credit cards often come with, but it’s not so nice to see a hefty fee slapped on your statement every year. Luckily, there are a few credit cards out there that offer several benefits with zero annual fees to pay.

The combination of Tangerine Money-Back Card and SimplyCash Card from American Express credit cards is an ideal one for consumers looking for a good pair of cards that won’t put a dent in their bank accounts with heavy annual fees while allowing them to earn points with every purchase. 

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

The Tangerine Money-Back Card is a popular credit card among Canadians who not only want a credit card that comes with no annual fee, but who prefer to bank with an online-only financial institution that makes for a much more convenient banking experience. With the Tangerine Money-Back Card, not only is there a $0 annual fee, but cardholders can earn up to 2% cash-back with every purchase.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase rate: 19.95%
  • Cash advance rate: 19.95%
  • Points: Earn 2% cash-back on all purchases in 2 categories of your choice, and 0.50% cash-back on all other everyday purchases.

American Express SimplyCash

With the American Express SimplyCash, you can earn 2.5% cash-back on all purchases within the first 3 months, which then drops down to 1.25% cash-back on all purchases afterward. That means you can use your Tangerine card to make purchases that fall within the 2 categories you choose, then use your SimplyCash card when buying items that fall outside of these categories. 

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 21.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 2.5% cash-back on all purchases within the first 3 months
  • Points: Earn 1.25% cash-back on all purchases

Best Credit Card Combination For Canadian Students

Students typically don’t have a plethora of money to spend, so having a credit card in their pocket that doesn’t charge an annual fee while allowing for points to be earned can prove to be a valuable financial product. Plus, building credit is best started as a young adult before life’s biggest financial obligations come, like buying a house and a car. 

Students can take their money further with certain credit cards, and perhaps the best combo in this case is the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card and RBC Cash Back Mastercard, both of which come with no annual fee and the ability to earn points with every expenditure. 

With the no-fee RBC Cash Back Mastercard, you can earn 2% cash-back, and you don’t have to have an income or credit history when you apply as a student

Then, you can use the no-fee Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card to earn 2% cash-back on 2 categories of your choosing, and pick a 3rd category to earn 2% cash-back when you link your card to a Tangerine Savings account. This will help you earn more in cash-back rewards and earn interest on whatever money you’ve stashed into your savings. 

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase rate: 19.95%
  • Cash advance rate: 19.95%
  • Points: Earn 2% cash-back on all purchases in 2 categories of your choice, and 0.50% cash-back on all other everyday purchases.

RBC Cash Back Mastercard

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase rate: 19.99% 
  • Cash advance rate: 22.99%
  • Points: Earn up to 2% cash-back on groceries; earn up to 1% cash-back on all other purchases and pre-authorized payments

Best Credit Cards For the Average Canadian Family

Paying the mortgage, covering the utility bills, and putting food on the table requires a substantial financial commitment, especially when there are kids in the house. 

But when you put all your household expenditures on a cash-back credit card, you can earn points with every dollar spent that can eventually be redeemed for all sorts of things, including stuff for the family, and even to pay down part of your statement. 

The American Express SimplyCash is a no-fee credit card that allows you to earn cash-back on everything, including the purchases you make most to keep your household humming. That includes groceries, gas, food delivery, online shopping, and more.

Pair that with the Scotiabank Gold American Express, which is particularly useful for things like groceries and dining, as you can earn 5% cash-back with purchases made in these categories. You’ll also earn 3% cash-back on transit and gas, and 1% cash-back on all other purchases. So, if you like eating out, this may be the perfect card for you.

If you’d rather stick to a Visa instead of an American Express card, then the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card works pretty much the same way, offering 4% cash-back on groceries and recurring bills, and 2% cash-back on gas. 

American Express SimplyCash

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 21.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 2.5% cash-back on all purchases within the first 3 months
  • Points: Earn 1.25% cash-back on all purchases

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card 

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Purchase rate: 20.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Earn up to 10% cash-back in the first 3 months
  • Points: Earn 4% cash-back for every dollar you spend on groceries, recurring payments, and subscription purchases; earn 2% cash-back for every dollar you spend on gas and transit; earn 1% cash-back on all other expenditures.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Purchase rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 22.99%
  • Welcome bonus: Earn up to 40,000 points in the first year
  • Points: Earn 5 points for every dollar you spend on groceries, restaurants, food delivery, and entertainment; earn 3 points for every dollar you spend on gas, transit, and streaming services; earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.
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Benefits Of Having Multiple Credit Cards

You might wonder why you need more than one credit card in your wallet. Here are a few reasons to ponder:

Improve Your Credit Utilization Ratio

Your credit utilization plays a role in the health of your credit score, which is why keeping a low ratio is recommended. By having more than one credit card to your name, you can distribute your credit card expenditures across your cards in order to avoid spending too close to each card’s credit limit.

Maximize Your Rewards

Credit cards typically have a points system that allows cardholders to earn higher points or cash-back in specific categories. By having more than one credit card in your wallet, you can maximize your rewards. For instance, one credit card may offer higher earning potential when you shop for groceries and gas, while others may offer more points per dollar spent on transit and entertainment. 

Drawbacks Of Having Multiple Credit Cards

Before you start applying for more than one credit card, there are some drawbacks to consider:

More Money Spent On Annual Fees

Unless the credit cards you apply for are no-fee cards, you could be spending hundreds of dollars a year in annual fees.  

Higher Chance Of Spending

The temptation to spend can be great when you have so much access to credit. If you’re the type to overspend, then perhaps having multiple credit cards at your disposal is not the best idea.  

More Due Dates To Keep Track Of

You may increase your chances of missing payment deadlines when you have more than one credit card to manage. 

Final Thoughts

Sometimes it might make sense to carry more than one credit card in your pocket, and pairing the right cards together can help you maximize your rewards. Whether you love to travel, like to save as much as you can when you shop, or are focused on keeping your household expenses low, there’s a perfect credit card combo available for you.

Lisa has been working as a writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same. She's used a variety of financial tools over the years and is currently growing her money with Wealthsimple, while stashing some capital in a liquid high-interest savings account so that she always has a financial cushion to fall back on. She's also been avidly using her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect as many Aeroplan points as possible to put towards her travels!

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