Avoid Joint Credit Cards to Double Your Sign Up Bonuses

Posted by Madison on October 22, 2012

My husband and I share all of our money. However, for the majority of our credit cards we don’t have joint accounts.

It’s not because we keep our credit card spending separate. Keeping individual credit cards allows us to maximize earnings on cash back, sign up bonuses, and everything else the credit cards have to offer.

Want to see it in action? Here is how we’re double dipping on our credit card accounts, which cards we keep separate and which cards we share.

Individual Credit Cards

Here are all the perks of keeping our credit cards in our individual names and avoiding joint accounts.

  • Sign up bonuses. We each embarked on our own application spree. Scott earned over $1,500 on his Credit Card Application Spree. I was able to add another $3,000 on my Credit Card Application Spree by applying for many of the same cards that he did. If we’d gotten joint accounts, it would have limited our ability to double dip.

    Here are a few of the cards we double dipped on:

  • Cash back offers. The Discover More 5% Cashback on Holiday Shopping is limited to $1,500 in purchases. However, since we each have our own Discover More cards, we can earn 5% cash back on $3,000 of our purchases. We both have individual accounts for many of the quarterly 5% rotating cards for this reason.
  • Stack offers for fixed time periods. When we took advantage of the 5% cash back for 6 months (which is no longer available, but it’s a good example) on the old Chase AARP cards, we each applied for individual accounts… 6 months apart. By stacking the offers we were able to get 5% cash back on all of our purchases for a year. Actually, we used it for a year and a half by getting my mom in on the action for a third six months! Anytime there’s an offer for a set time period, I apply individually and spread them out to double (or in this case triple) the length of the offer.
  • Balance transfers. We carry all of our 0% balance transfers on individual accounts that expire on staggered intervals. This allows us to maximize the amount of balance transfer money and rotate who carries a better credit score at any given point in time. One of us can maximize the balance transfers while the other one can maximize sign up bonuses; then we switch places.
  • Business cards. We also keep our business credit cards separate and often in different business names. We do this so we can combine various benefits including stacking the sign up bonuses, maximizing balance transfers and rotating various cash back offers.

Joint Credit Cards

We do have a few cards we share. Here are the situations we share cards and why.

  • Very old accounts. We have two credit cards that are over 15 years old. We share these because of the longevity that it shows on our credit reports. We rarely use these cards except for an annual charge to keep the cards open.
  • Annual Fee Cards. We share an American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card because of the 6% cash back it offers on groceries. Because there’s an annual fee on this card, we come out ahead by sharing this account and only paying one annual fee.

More on Maximizing Credit Card Offers

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