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Do you feel like no single credit card perfectly suits your lifestyle? With Canada’s ever-growing suite of credit cards boasting an array of bonuses and benefits, maximizing value with one card alone is impossible. The dilemma is finding the right combination that complements your daily spending.

Don’t worry because we’ve researched the most powerful credit card combinations. Our analysis helps you strategically combine two cards to leverage their strengths and sidestep limitations, helping you earn accelerated rewards, insurance, and perks that align with your spending. Continue reading to find out how to maximize cards. 

Best ForCard CombinationCombined Annual Fee (First Year)
GroceriesAmerican Express Cobalt® Card + TD Cash Back Visa Infinite$294.88 ($155.88)
Travel
American Express® Gold Rewards Card + Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card
$400
StudentsNeo Secured Card + Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card$0
No Annual FeeTangerine World Mastercard + BMO CashBack® Mastercard®$0
Everyday SpendingScotia Momentum® Visa Infinite Card + Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card $240 ($120)

Best Credit Card Combination In Canada For Groceries

The American Express Cobalt and TD Cash Back Visa Infinite are great for maximizing grocery rewards. The Amex Cobalt earns strong rewards on groceries but isn’t accepted in Costco or Loblaws. As such, you can switch to the TD card when necessary. The flexible cash back structure on the TD Cash Back Visa makes it easy to redeem rewards whenever desired.   

Using the TD Cash Back Visa at Costco is more nuanced, as they only accept Mastercard in-store. Instead, you can use the Visa card to purchase Costco gift cards online and use them in-store as a workaround. However, you can use the TD card more easily at Loblaws stores. 

Both cards offer lucrative welcome bonuses. We recommend initially balancing card spending to earn both welcome bonuses and maximize rewards. Afterward, you can prioritize the Cobalt for ongoing rewards. This strategy leverages the initial high welcome bonuses, followed by the sustained benefits of Amex Cobalt, optimizing grocery spending rewards. You’ll also have a great fallback whenever Amex isn’t accepted. 

American-Express-Cobalt

American Express Cobalt® Card

  • Annual Fee: $155.88 ($12.99 monthly)
  • Purchase Rate: 21.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 21.99%
  • Earn Rate (Maximum Value):
    • 5x points (10%) on eats, and drinks
    • 3x points (6%) on streaming
    • 2x points (4%) on travel, and transit 
    • 1x point (2%) on everything else
  • Perks: strong welcome bonus, Amex offers, Travel Insurance, Mobile Device Insurance
td cash back infinite

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite

  • Annual Fee: $139 ($0 first year)
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%
  • Earn Rate:
    • 3% groceries, gas, and bills
    • 1% on everything else
  • Perks: Enhanced cashback welcome bonus, extended warranties, Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership, strong insurance, including travel medical

Best Credit Card Combination In Canada For Travel

The American Express Gold card offers substantial rewards on dining and travel purchases, making it ideal as your primary card. However, it lacks airport lounge access and charges foreign transaction fees, where the Scotiabank Passport Visa fills gaps.

Aim to use the Amex Gold card for most travel and dining expenses to maximize earning points. This will also let you use the $100 travel credit offered by the Gold card. Meanwhile, put all foreign purchases on the Scotiabank Passport Visa to avoid foreign transaction fees. Bring both cards when travelling to take advantage of excellent insurance coverage and peace of mind from each. The Scotiabank card also provides industry-leading lounge access through Visa Airport Companion

This optimized strategy uses each card’s strengths. The Amex Gold offers high rewards rates, and the Scotiabank Passport Visa fills in gaps with no foreign transaction fees and lounge access. Together, they are a powerful combination for the frequent traveller.

American Express Gold Rewards Card

American Express® Gold Rewards Card

  • Annual Fee: $250 (net $150 with $100 travel credit)
  • Purchase Rate: 21.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 21.99%
  • Card Earn Rate (Maximum Value):
    • 2x points (4%) on travel, gas, grocery, and drug store
    • 1x point (2%) on everything else
  • Perks: Strong welcome bonus, $100 annual travel credit, comprehensive travel insurance
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite Card

  • Annual Fee: $150
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%
  • Card Earn Rate (Maximum Value):
    • 3x points (3%) on select groceries, 
    • 2x points (2%) on dining, entertainment, and transit
    • 1x point (1%) on everything else 
  • Perks: Strong welcome bonus, no foreign transaction fees, airport lounge access, widespread Visa acceptance

Best Credit Card Combination In Canada For Students

The Neo Secured Credit Card and Simplii Financial Visa make a great starter card combination for students to build credit and earn cash back rewards. The Neo Secured Credit Card provides an easy entry point for students new to credit, while the Simplii Financial Visa offers higher cash back on common student expenses like dining.

To maximize the combination, use the Neo Secured Credit Card at retail partners to get up to 5% back. You can also upgrade to the Premium Neo Card for boosted rewards. Otherwise, use the Simplii Visa for dining, gas, pre-authorized payments, and elsewhere. 

This simplifies credit building for students while maximizing cash back rewards on frequent purchases like food and gas — a winning combination without fees for students new to credit cards.

Neo Secured Credit

Neo Secured Credit Card

  • Annual Fee: $0 ($4.99 monthly for premium)
  • Purchase Rate: 19.99% – 29.99% (QC: 19.99% – 24.99%)
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99% – 31.99% (QC: 22.99% – 25.99%)
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • Up to 5% on Neo Partners
    • 1% (3% for premium) on gas and groceries
  • Perks: Guaranteed approval
Simplii financial cash back card

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa Card

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 4% cash back on restaurants, bars, and coffee shops
    • 1.5% on groceries, gas, drugstore, 
    • 0.5% on everything else
  • Perks: Moderate welcome bonus, enhanced cash back in first four months

Best Credit Card Combination In Canada For No Annual Fee

Combine the Tangerine World Mastercard and BMO CashBack Mastercard to maximize benefits without annual fees. This optimizes grocery spending and travel benefits. 

Seek to use the BMO CashBack Mastercard for 3% on groceries. However, after $500 in monthly spending, the earn rate drops to 0.5%. You can then use the Tangerine World Mastercard as a secondary option to earn 2% on groceries. Furthermore, you can select up to two more categories to optimize cash back rewards between the cards. 

Furthermore, both cards provide travel benefits. You can use the BMO card for car rental discounts, while the Tangerine World offers paid lounge access and car rental insurance. This pairing is ideal for those who want to maximize their rewards without worrying about annual fees. The two cards offer a great mix of cash back and travel benefits.

Tangerine World Mastercard

Tangerine World Mastercard

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase Rate: 19.95%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 19.95%
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 2% on up to 3 chosen categories, 
    • 0.5% on everything else
  • Perks: Up to three changeable categories, paid airport lounge access, Boingo WiFi, Mastercard Travel Rewards, balance transfer promotion, rental car and mobile device insurance, enhanced cashback in first two months
BMO CashBack Mastercard

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 3% on groceries
    • 1% on recurring bills 
    • 0.5% on everything else
  • Perks: Enhanced cash back in first three months, balance transfer promotion, easy redemptions

Best Credit Card Combination In Canada For Everyday Spending

This combo takes advantage of Visa’s wider acceptance while also benefiting from American Express’ higher earn rates. Prioritize spending on the Amex, supplementing it with the Momentum when it’s not accepted. Groceries are especially lucrative with this combination, earning 4% to 6% between cards. 

The Momentum Visa shines with car rental discounts. Although the Amex card touts no foreign exchange fees, the network isn’t commonly accepted abroad. As such, the Visa card provides a backup option.

Both cards also offer a lucrative welcome bonus. Attempt to balance spending on both cards to achieve them, but don’t overextend yourself. With widespread Visa acceptance and Amex’s high earning potential, it’s a dynamic duo for everyday spending.

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card

  • Annual Fee: $120 (waived in the first year)
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%
  • Card Earn Rate:
    • 4% cash back for groceries, subscriptions, and bills
    • 2% on gas and daily transit
    • 1% on everything else
  • Perks: Enhanced cash back in first three months, strong insurance coverage, rental car discounts
Scotiabank Gold American Express (1)

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

  • Annual Fee: $120
  • Purchase Rate: 20.99%
  • Cash Advance Rate: 22.99%
  • Card Earn Rate (Maximum Value):
    • 6x points (6%) on select groceries 
    • 5x points (5%) on dining, entertainment, and delivery
    • 3x points (3%) on transit and streaming services
    • 1x point (1%) on everything else
  • Perks: No foreign exchange fees, strong insurance coverage, Amex Offers, lucrative welcome bonus

Pros & Cons Of Having Multiple Credit Cards

Having multiple credit cards can be beneficial, but it has some potential downsides. The key is to be strategic and thoughtful about which credit cards you choose and how you manage them. 

The pros often outweigh the cons if you use credit cards responsibly. Consider your financial situation and spending habits to determine if multiple cards are right for you.

ProsCons
Maximize rewards & cash back by using different cards for different spending categoriesThere is a higher risk of missed payments or going into debt
Separate expenses (e.g. keep work & personal spending separate)Additional cards mean more potential fraud/security issues
Take advantage of multiple welcome bonuses and promotional offersDifficult to keep track of spending, statements, due dates
Build credit history and potentially improve credit scoreToo many credit card inquiries can impact credit score
Backup card in case one gets lost, stolen, or declinedAnnual fees can add up quickly
Temptation to over-extend yourself by trying to achieve multiple welcome bonuses

How To Combine Credit Cards

Canadians opt for multiple credit cards to sidestep the restrictions imposed by one card. While one card could be exceptional in particular areas, it can be lacking elsewhere. 

A common example is the high rewards potential offered by the Amex Cobalt, at the expense of airport lounge access and global merchant acceptance. Another example is the BMO CashBack Mastercard, offering 3% on groceries that drops to 0.5% after exceeding $500 in monthly spending.

As such, you’ll need to objectively analyze the benefits and drawbacks offered by each card to find a compliment. While we’ve provided suggestions for you above the section, the table below offers a framework for comparing credit cards. Your goal is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a card and find an option that balances the weaknesses.

What Makes A Credit Card Good?What Makes A Credit Card Bad?
High earn rate on categories that align with your spendingSpending caps on category earn rates
No foreign exchange feesHigh interest rates and annual fees
Airport lounge accessLack of merchant acceptance
Strong welcome bonus
Robust insurance coverage from a reputable provider

Combining Credit Cards vs. Churning

When maximizing credit card rewards, there are two main strategies: combining credit cards and churning.

Combining credit cards involves strategically using two or more cards to maximize rewards in different spending categories. This approach allows you to earn higher reward rates on specific expenses, such as groceries, travel, or everyday spending. By using different cards for different categories, you can optimize rewards potential.

On the other hand, credit card churning involves signing up for new credit cards to take advantage of their welcome bonuses and then cancelling or downgrading the cards after a certain period. Churning can be more time-consuming and requires careful management of multiple accounts and credit inquiries. While it can result in significant rewards in the short term, churning can also impact your credit score and may not be sustainable in the long run. Financial institutions also don’t like churning and can revoke your welcome bonuses.

Bottom Line

With Canada’s ever-expanding suite of credit cards, a strategic multi-card approach can help maximize value. The best card pairings optimize rewards where each card falls short. Just be sure to manage multiple credit cards responsibly by tracking spending and paying balances in full. Used strategically, credit card combinations let you earn accelerated rewards, insurance perks, and benefits tailored to your lifestyle. 

Best Credit Card Combination FAQs

Can I combine credit cards from different banks?

Yes, you can combine credit cards from different banks. This can be a great strategy to take advantage of the strengths of different card issuers and maximize your reward potential.

Will combining credit cards affect my credit score?

Combining credit cards won’t hurt your credit score if you manage your accounts responsibly and keep a low balance. However, applying for new credit cards may result in temporary dips in your credit score due to credit inquiries.

How do I keep track of multiple credit cards?

Consider using a budgeting app or spreadsheet to track your spending and due dates to manage multiple credit cards effectively. Set up automatic payments to avoid missing any payments or incurring late fees.

Can I cancel a credit card without affecting my credit score?

Cancelling a credit card may slightly impact your credit score, as it can reduce your history and overall available credit. However, the impact should be minimal if you have other credit cards with a long credit history and low credit utilization. A common approach is to “product switch” a paid card to a free variant.
 

Are there any downsides to combining credit cards?

One potential downside of combining credit cards is meeting minimum spending requirements on multiple cards to earn welcome bonuses. This may require careful budgeting and planning to meet the spending thresholds without overspending.
Daniel Schoester avatar on Loans Canada
Daniel Schoester

Daniel is an expert on travel and finance. He received an Honours BBA (Finance) from Wilfrid Laurier University, then started his career with WOWA. Daniel is now the founder and lead financial writer of Croton Content. Aside from Loans Canada, notable clients include Forbes Advisor, WealthRocket, and Hardbacon. Daniel loves to travel when not working. Although based out of Lisbon, Portugal, some of his most adventurous destinations include Rio, Cairo, and Istanbul.

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