Stack The Deck With Two Rewards Credit Cards To Maximize Earnings copy

Stack the Deck with Two Rewards Credit Cards to Maximize Earnings

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Last updated on August 1, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 4

One of the smartest ways to save while you spend is to use rewards credit cards. Here’s a trick that will allow you to earn even more with your rewards credit cards. If you charge your purchases on two cards, instead of one, you could earn 20% to 50% more in rewards in the scenarios shown below.

To determine how this strategy can help you, we compared 5 spending scenarios, using our proprietary credit card comparison calculator to review over 80 Canadian cards. We evaluated the rewards credit cards over a 3 year term, because some rewards credit cards offer significant welcome bonuses, with more limited rewards in later years. We also took into account the value of each reward – miles, points or cashback. Because some credit cards are exceptionally strong for different types of spenders, they may appear in multiple categories.

The Modern Family

You belong to an average Canadian family. You’re married and have two children and you spend about $730 a month on groceries and $350 on gas at the pump, according to Statistics Canada. On a credit card budget of $2,550 per month, you’re also spending on utilities, restaurants, clothes, travel and entertainment – kids aren’t cheap!

Your Rewards Credit Cards

Your Strategy

Charge your monthly grocery, dining and entertainment expenses to the Scotiabank Gold Amex card to earn the equivalent of 5% cash back. You also get 3% on transit costs (including gas), then 1% elsewhere. You’ll redeem your cashback against any travel expenses on your credit card statement. If you prefer Visa to American Express, use the Scotiabank Momentum Infinite Visa card, which gives you 4% cash back on gas and groceries and 2% cashback at pharmacies. Use the WestJet World Elite MasterCard to get 1.5% cashback in WestJet dollars on all other spend. More than just rewards on spend, use the WestJet MasterCard to get a $99 round-trip companion ticket EVERY year to anywhere in North America and use it to get your first checked bag free for you and up to 8 members of your family! Also, while abroad, use the Scotia Gold Amex on purchases to avoid the 2.50% foreign transaction fees. Rewards Total $3,888 over three years (including welcome bonuses and annual fees).

The Jet Setter

You work, you play and you do a lot of it away. Racking-up lots of miles in the air and plenty of hotel nights, you want to earn enough points for as many free trips as you can. Sixty five percent of your credit card spend is on travel related purchases including flights, hotels, car rentals, and restaurants. You charge $4,000 per month.

Your Rewards Credit Cards

Your Strategy

Use the American Express Gold Rewards card to make all your travel related purchases, earning 2 points per dollar spent (2%). You will have the choice to apply those points against any travel related purchase on your credit card statement, giving you the flexibility to book any airline or hotel through any site, deal or offer at any time. Alternatively, you can convert your Amex points to Aeroplan or Avios 1:1 at no extra cost – giving you maximum flexibility to take advantage of deals when available. At 2 Aeroplan miles per dollar spent on travel, it also makes the Amex Gold Rewards card the highest earning Aeroplan card in Canada. Use the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card to earn 5% equivalent on groceries, dining and entertainment spend, then 3% on transit including gas, taxis, rideshare apps and public transit. You can then apply those earnings to any travel expense on your credit card statement. Rewards Total $3,654 over 3 years (including welcome bonuses and annual fees)

The Every(wo)man

Like the average Canadian, you earn about $50,000 a year. Budgets are stretched and every penny counts. You may or may not have a spouse who helps contribute to your household budget. Most of your purchases go towards every day spending like gas, groceries, and utilities. You spend about $880 a month on your credit card.

Your Cards

Your Strategy

Use the Tangerine cash back card to get 2% cashback in any 2 categories of your choice from a total of 10. There are some common and not so common categories like gas, groceries, restaurants, recurring bills, pharmacies, public transportation, home renovations, etc… If you open up a free savings account with them, you can choose from any 3 categories of your choice. Then use the Rogers Platinum card to get 1.25% cashback on all other purchases, which you can redeem as a statement credit once a year or against any Rogers/FIDO/Chatr bill.

Bonus: This strategy is even more effective until July 31, 2019 for new Tangerine card applicants, as they’ll earn 4.00% cash back in their custom purchase categories for 92 days (instead of 2.00%).

The Student

You don’t have a full time job so money is tight. You’re looking to stretch your budget as far as it can take you, while building a solid credit history. You spend about $300 a month on food, gas, travel, utilities, clothing and entertainment.

Your Cards

Your Strategy

Charge your groceries on the no-fee RBC Cash Back MasterCard and get 2% cashback, with no annual fee. While not a student card per se, RBC will approve those who apply as students, with no income or credit history. Use the no-fee Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card to get 4% cashback on two select categories for the first three months and pick up a 3rd 4% cash back category when you connect to a Tangerine savings account.  Those categories will earn you 2% cash back after the three month intro rate. Rewards Total $232 over three years, with the potential to save more depending on how strict you can stay within categories.

The Empty Nester

Retirement is knocking on the door, and you’re earning more than ever. Most of your income goes toward entertainment, restaurants, groceries and utilities, although you also spend on travel, clothing, pharmacy items and home improvement. You charge about $2,800 per month.

Your Rewards Credit Cards:

Your Strategy

Use the Scotia Gold to give you 5% cash back equivalent on groceries, dining and entertainment (movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, etc…) expenses, which you can then apply to any travel purchases made with your credit card. For other purchases you’ll only get 1% back. A unique perk is the 3% you’ll get on daily transit (gas, taxis, Ubers etc.) and streaming apps. Charge everything else to the MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard, which gives you 2% cash back on everything, which can be redeemed as a statement credit or as a direct deposit into your checking account! Rewards Total $2,775 over three years (including welcome bonuses and annual fees).


With so many good Canadian credit cards in the market right now, “stacking” multiple credit cards is the most efficient way to earn rewards from your credit card spend. If you’d like to spruce up your rewards even further, you can apply for credit card offers with really attractive welcome bonus offers from time to time as well. Doing so, especially with annual fee waivers and low minimum spend requirements, will kick start your rewards earnings into overdrive. Think about it, you can spend $20,000 to get 25,000 miles for a free flight, or you can simply apply for a new card with a limited time promo to do so.

*This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

Article comments

Shawn says:

Nice article! Qualifying as the “every man” who don’t want to pay any fee, those are my no-fee credit cards for 2018-2019 :
Tangerine Money-Back (2%) : Drugstore, entertainment, recurring bills.
MBNA smart cash platinum plus (2%) : Groceries, gas.
Capital One ( For Costco Member ) (3%) : Restaurants.
NBC echo (when it was a no fee card) (1.5%) : Online purchase.
Fido Mastercard (1.25%) : Everything else.
I’m thinking about applying for the RBC cash-back (3 cents off per litre of gas at Petro-Canada + 0.5% cash-back + 20% more petro-points). But, hey, I think I may have enough cards to deal with. (I can’t always go to Costco gas station, that’s why the average 3% cash-back on gas at Petro-Canada is appealing)

But if I had to choose only two, I’ll go for the Tangerine Money Back + Fido MasterCard as you suggested (You did a great job).

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Shawn,

Glad to hear from an “everyman” about his thoughts on some of our most recommended no-fee credit cards. Appreciate the shout out as well! Now, onto a little commentary of our own. It seems to us like you have a lot of credit cards, and just for the sake of de-complicating your life a bit (as well as consolidating debt, if you have any) you could choose to reduce your arsenal by one or two cards. There are some credit cards that offer all-in-one functionality across two or three of the cards you currently deploy for various purchase categories. It might even be worth your while to choose a card with an annual fee, as this makes the task at hand more manageable. Most annual fees are justified by better perks anyway.

One example that comes to mind is the Cash Back Visa Infinite card, which asks you to pay a $120 annual fee, but rebates it during your first year. This way you can test it out and also take advantage of its generous bonus of 9.00% cash back during your first 3 months on gas, groceries, and recurring bills. The standard rate afterwards is 3.00% on these categories, which is better than the two 2.00% cards you currently use to cover these bases. We’re not sure what you annual income is, and we wouldn’t ask you to publish it if you don’t want to, but it’s also a factor if you want to pursue the consolidation strategy. Otherwise, if your debt utilization ratio, credit, and annual fee situation are all above board, getting another card is alright.

If you want more precise and personal correspondence feel free to get in touch via email at Thanks again for your comment!

GreedyRates Staff

Tamir Kojfman says:

You should consider the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard because everyone needs groceries, Loblaws (including Shoppers Drug Mart) stores are everywhere.

Never redeem PC Plus Points on more groceries, then you won’t earn extra points. Use the points to redeem for gift cards at other retailers but not ones you earn bonus points on otherwise you’ll lose out on bonus points again.


GreedyRates says:

Hi Tamir,

Definitely a nice alternative no fee option. We didn’t include it for 2 reasons. The first was because the 3% cash back rate is only good for Loblaw stores, we wanted a card that appealed to all readers. The second was that the Scotia Momentum card offers 4% cashback (gas & grocery), which is higher than the 3% cashback at Loblaw stores.

Nice idea to redeem for gift card to save grocery purchases for earning opportunities instead of redemptions.

GreedyRates Staff