The best business and personal credit card combinations

Oct 4, 2019

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While there are a number of credit cards that work well all by themselves, you can get a much better value by strategically combining some cards. Groupings like the Chase trifecta or Amex trifecta, where you hold three cards in the same rewards program, are obvious examples. But small business owners have even more opportunities to combine cards to maximize value. Even if you don’t have a registered LLC, your side hustle can qualify you to open business credit cards.

The best personal/business card combinations generally either work better together than they do alone or complement each other to help you diversify your points earning and bonus categories. Today, I’m walking through a few of my favorite combos and why they work so well together.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express + The Platinum Card® from American Express 

Best for: Luxury travelers who want to maximize their business and personal travel experiences

Why they work together: These cards, while overlapping in some features, offer an unbeatable lineup of luxury travel benefits. You’re earning 5x on on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com, receiving $1,100 in travel credits and getting access to perks such as Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton, a 35% Pay with Points rebate (up to 500,000 points per year), extensive lounge access and more. While both of these cards offer access to the same collection of Membership Rewards transfer partners (and occasional transfer bonuses), the Business Platinum’s 35% rebate when you pay with points for select flights allows you to lock in a minimum redemption value of about 1.5 cents per point, and continue to earn miles and elite credit on your free tickets.

Each card offers its own impressive welcome bonus as well. The Business Platinum offers up to 100,000 points (50,000 when you spend $10,000 in the first three months and another 50,000 when you spend an additional $15,000 in the first three months), while the personal Amex Platinum offers 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Together, these bonuses alone are worth $3,200, according to TPG valuations.

Your annual fees will be on the steeper side at $1,145 total — $550 for the personal Platinum (see rates and fees) and $595 for the Business Platinum (see rates and fees). However, you might be able to write off your business card’s annual fee as an expense, and the value each card offers greatly offsets the cost of adding them to your wallet.

Further reading: Reasons why you should have both the personal and business Amex Platinum

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card + Chase Sapphire Reserve

Best for: Maximizing the Chase Ultimate Rewards program

Why they work together: While the Chase Sapphire Reserve is undeniably Chase’s most premium card offering, it doesn’t have the most valuable welcome bonus in the family. That title goes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Business Preferred, which both have an 80,000-point bonus worth a whopping $1,600, based on TPG’s valuations.

However, signing up for Chase Sapphire Reserve and Business Preferred bonuses will give you 130,000 Ultimate Rewards points, enough for six nights at the Grand Hotel Majestic in Lake Maggiore, Italy, or even a round-trip first-class award on ANA if you take advantage of the incredible Virgin Atlantic sweet spot.

Long after your welcome bonus has been earned and redeemed, this combo will continue to offer top-notch earning rates. The Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points on all travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining purchases. These bonus categories are very broadly defined and have no annual caps or limits. The Ink Business Preferred also earns 3x on your first $150,000 spent annually in select business-friendly categories that include travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, and eligible online advertising.

The Sapphire Reserve provides all the perks you need to enjoy a life of luxury travel, including a Priority Pass Select membership, an up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit and more. The Reserve also comes with a $300 annual travel credit, which is automatically applied to your account when you make eligible purchases. This drops your out-of-pocket cost to just $245 a year for this powerful pair. While you’ll usually get the best value by transferring your Chase points to travel partners like Hyatt and United, if you opt to redeem directly through the Chase travel portal, you’ll also get a 50% bonus with the Sapphire Reserve.

American Express® Business Gold Card + Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card

Best for: Those interested in flexible rewards categories

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy
(Photo by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy)

Why they work together: These two cards have one thing in common — flexible bonus categories. With the Amex Business Gold, you’ll earn 4x points on the first $150,000 spent annually in the two categories you spend the most in each month. The bonus points are automatically assigned at the end of the month to the two categories where you spend the most, so there is no activation or category choosing to remember. The Bank of America Cash Rewards card, on the other hand, allows you to 3% cash back on one of the following categories of your choosing: travel, gas, online shopping, dining, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings. You’ll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. (Note: there’s a $2,500 cap on combined 3% and 2% cash back purchases; you’ll earn 1% afterward).

If you are an existing Bank of America customer, you could potentially earn even more rewards through the Preferred Rewards program. If your combined balance across Bank of America and Merrill accounts qualifies you for one of the three Preferred Rewards tiers, you could earn anywhere from 3.75% to 5.25% cash back on your chosen 3% bonus categories, 2.5% to 3.5% back on your 2% categories and 1.25% to 1.75% on other purchases with your Bank of America Cash Rewards card.

Together, these two cards allow you to customize your rewards structure to your specific spending habits both at home and at the office. Plus, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card has no annual fee, meaning having both cards in your wallet only costs the $295 (see rates and fees) for the Amex Business Gold‘s annual fee.

The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express + Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best for: Beginners who want to rack up both Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards at a low cost

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy)

Why they work together: Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards sit unmatched as the most valuable transferable points currencies out there, but the top-tier cards for both of these programs cost more than $1,000 in annual fees combined. While it’s important for both beginners and experts at the points and miles game to diversify their points portfolio, those new to earning rewards may not be able to justify paying two high annual fees for cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Business Platinum.

The Blue Business Plus card is far and away the best business card for everyday spending, offering 2x points or a 4% return on your first $50,000 in purchases each year (then 1x). If you use this for your non-bonus spending and put your travel and dining purchases on the Sapphire Preferred, you can guarantee value out of every purchase you make. You’ll also be a leg up on the redemption side as well. If you need to book a Star Alliance flight, you can pit United (Chase) against Aeroplan and Avianca (Amex) to see which program offers the best rate. Same for Oneworld and SkyTeam; the flexibility to choose which points to redeem will get you a better return on all of them.

The best part? Together, these cards only cost $95 in annual fees (see rates and fees for the Blue Business Plus card). Plus, right now the Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering a sizable 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, which gives you an immediate nest egg of points for your next trip.

Bottom line

These are just a few of the most promising business and personal card combinations, but you can tailor these suggestions to meet your own needs. Start with strong building blocks like the Amex Business Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve, and look for cards with complementary perks and bonus categories, or cards that can let you diversify into an entirely new points currency.

For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Amex, click here.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Aside from the up to 100,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$595
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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