What is one best card to keep in your wallet? This is a question we hear often, and the answer is always the same. There’s no one size that fits all, and there isn’t just one card that checks all the boxes. You’ll have to take a critical look at the categories in which you spend the most and what type of rewards you’d like to earn.

Diversifying the points and miles earnings, especially if you are over Chase’s 5/24, is vital to having long-term success in our hobby. Diversifying your points gives you access to more programs, and focusing on the flexible points gives you more opportunities to earn and redeem points.

You also should consider ancillary perks of each card, such as travel insurance and lounge access, that are important to you and align with your travel patterns.

Let’s have a look at some of the most winning card combos that’ll help you earn the most miles and points.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited®

This is a winning combination of three cards, two of which have no annual fees.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5X points on quarterly rotating categories, so you can supercharge your Ultimate Rewards earnings by maxing out these categories each quarter. In the past, the rotating categories included gas, groceries and wholesale clubs. The card also earns 3X on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and on purchases at drugstores.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 1.5X points on all purchases, so it’s great for all the spending outside of the bonus categories. You’ll also earn 3X at drugstores and on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.

To redeem the points earned with these two no-annual fee cards for travel, you’ll need one premium card, that is a card with an annual fee. So if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to partner airlines and hotels or book travel through the Chase travel portal.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3X points on travel and dining, and the annual fee is $550. Ultimate Rewards points earned with this card are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed through the travel portal or when you use the Pay Yourself Back feature to redeem the points for statement credits.

The best use of Ultimate Rewards is not through the travel portal, though. You’ll get much better value when you transfer points to Chase’s travel partners.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® also comes with Priority Pass Select membership that lets you visit more than 1,300 lounges worldwide, including a number of airport restaurants. The travel protection benefits are some of the best in the business, including primary car rental insurance and travel delay and interruption insurance. And the $300 annual travel credit helps offset the annual fee.

By holding these three Chase cards, you’ll be able to maximize your earnings and travel redemptions and enjoy great travel benefits.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Card and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Card has a few bonus categories:

  • 10X on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel
  • 5X on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X on all other purchases

The $395 annual fee can be offset with a $300 annual travel credit and an annual bonus of 10,000 extra Capital One points, starting with the first anniversary. In addition, you’ll get Priority Pass Select membership and access to Capital One airport lounges.

The miles can be transferred to a number of airline partners or used to erase travel purchases.

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 4% cash back per dollar spent on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services. Additionally, the Savor Cash Card earns 3% cash back at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases.

Capital one lets you combine cash back earned on your Savor card with the miles earned with the Venture X card. So by holding these two cards, you’ll be earning between 2% and 4% on the most popular spending categories.

Capital One Venture Miles can be extremely valuable, thanks to a number of great transfer partners. The 10xTravel team has a few great examples on how you can travel far and wide with Capital One miles.

American Express® Gold Card and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is one of our favorite cards. It has a simple earning structure—the card earns 2X Membership Rewards on all purchases up to $50,000 a year (then 1X thereafter).

The card has a $0 annual fee (see rates & fees), and you can transfer Membership Rewards to a number of airline partners and hotels. And unlike Chase, you don’t have to have a premium card to redeem Membership Rewards for travel.

The card has foreign transaction fees, so use it stateside only.

The American Express® Gold Card earns 4X points in the following categories:

  • Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1X thereafter).

It also earns 3X on airfare purchased directly from the airline or on Amex Travel. The annual fee is $250 (see rates & fees)

So get out your Amex Gold card to pay at restaurants and supermarkets and use your Blue Business Plus card for everything else. By strategically using these two cards, you’ll see your Membership Rewards balance grow quickly.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, American Express® Gold Card and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The winning card combos don’t have to be all from the same bank as you can cherry-pick the best card from each card issuer to maximize earnings on everything you spend.

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card from Chase earns 5X points at the office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services on up to $25,000 in total purchases, 2X on gas and restaurants, and 1X on everything else.

Office supply stores carry many merchant gift cards, so you can effectively earn 5X points at Amazon, Gap, Whole Foods and other retailers if you stock up on gift cards first.

This card has no annual fee, so you’ll need a premium Ultimate Rewards-earning card to redeem points for travel. However, as long as you have one of those in your household, you can easily transfer points and use them to book travel.

Combine that with the 4X points that the American Express® Gold Card earns on supermarkets and restaurants and 2X points on all other purchases earned with the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, and you get a decent war chest of flexible points from both programs.

Citi Premier Card, Citi Double Cash Card and Citi Rewards+ Card

This is another winning three-card combo. If you value Citi ThankYou Points, holding these three cards will help you earn and redeem ThankYou Points in the most efficient way.

The Citi Premier® Card earns 3X points at restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets, air travel and hotels and has a $95 annual fee.

The Citi® Double Cash Card earns 2X on all purchases and has no annual fee. You’ll need to combine the ThankYou Points earned with the Citi Double Cash Card and the points earned with the Citi Premier Card before transferring to travel partners.

The Citi Rewards+® Card earns 2X on restaurants and gas stations on up to $6,000 per year (then 1X thereafter) and 1X on all other purchases. Its strength is not on the earning side, though. Citi Rewards+ cardholders get 10% of points back on the first 100,000 points redeemed each year.

So by holding all three of these Citi cards, you’ll be earning a good return on all purchases and will get a substantial rebate on points redeemed each year.

American Express® Gold Card and Citi Premier Card

These two cards have excellent earning rates on supermarket and dining purchases. Both of these could be useful if you spend a good amount in these categories in the U.S. and abroad.

The American Express® Gold Card has great benefits that help offset the annual fee (see rates & fees) and earns 4X points at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. The card also earns 4X at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1X thereafter).

The Citi Premier® Card earns 3X points at restaurants worldwide, gas stations and supermarkets, air travel and hotels. Unlike the Amex Gold card, there’s no cap on purchases in any of the bonus categories, and the card earns 3X at supermarkets worldwide.

Citi ThankYou Points are extremely valuable, and if you aren’t sure how to use them, the 10xTravel team has some great ideas.

If you know you’ll be spending quite a bit in these categories, there’s a good case to be made for keeping these two cards in your wallet.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

This is a winning combination for the Hilton aficionados. If you stay at Hilton properties often, keeping both cards in your wallet will help you earn lots of points, free night awards and other benefits.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card earns 6X at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and at U.S. gas stations.

You can earn a free weekend night award after spending $15,000 in a calendar year. The free night award is uncapped, which means you can use it at almost any Hilton property, even the most expensive and exclusive resorts in the world that cost upwards of $1,000 per night.


If you spend a good amount in the bonus categories, you’d be able to accumulate a nice stash of Hilton Honors points quickly and earn a free night in the process.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card doesn’t have the same generous spending categories, but it comes with a lot of valuable perks and benefits. Two of the card’s most valuable benefits are the top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status and the annual free weekend night award that can be used at almost any Hilton property.

The Hilton Aspire also earns 14X points on eligible purchases made directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, better than the 12X you’ll earn on the same purchases with the Surpass card.

By holding both cards you’ll be able to earn Hilton Honors at a fast pace and enjoy the benefits of the Diamond status and other perks that come with the Hilton Aspire Card. And if you spend $15,000 on the Hilton Surpass Card in a calendar year, you’ll end up with two free nights that can be redeemed at some of the most expensive Hilton properties.

Final Thoughts

There’s no one card combo that reigns supreme. As you can see, there are several winning card combos, and your choice will depend on your spending patterns and travel goals. It’s worth learning about different points ecosystems and the best ways to earn and redeem various rewards.

Don’t forget to evaluate a combination of personal and business credit cards to really maximize your rewards.


All information about the Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected independently by 10xTravel. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through 10xTravel.