Double-income, no-kids couples can splurge on travel and more using cards
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DINKs – or “dual income, no kids” couples, as these couples are also known – are steadily on the rise in the United States as more Americans choose to delay starting a family or do not have children at all.
In 2016, the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds without children in the home was 61.5 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. In 1967, by contrast, only 24 percent of this group didn’t have children.
DINK couples are “financially comfortable, don’t desire to have kids and consequently have more financial resources,” said Kathryn Bossler, a certified credit counselor at GreenPath Financial Wellness.
“They spend their money on themselves and with that comes a great position to take advantage of some credit cards, their perks and bonuses,” says Joe Ridout, manager of consumer services at Consumer Action.
If you are a DINK couple looking for ways to maximize savings, cash back or rewards, here are the best cards to consider depending on your spending habits.
Best cards for DINKs depending on their spending habits
Cards for DINKs who splurge on travel
Charles Lee, 32, and his girlfriend of 10 years, Jenny, live together in San Francisco. They both have steady incomes as software engineers, along with a hefty nest egg, and don’t have children.
The couple travels often for work and for leisure, collecting travel points on their credit cards along the way. And it’s paid off: Across Europe, into Asia and most of the United States, they’ve traveled the world together.
Lee says it’s easy for them to collect so many mileage points because a lot of this is work travel, “and your work is reimbursing you for tickets purchased on your card.”
The couple’s latest venture is chasing and securing the Southwest Companion Pass, which allows frequent flyers to invite a friend to fly with them on the airline’s dime for a year – all you pay is taxes and fees. In order to qualify, you need 110,000 Southwest frequent flyer points, which you can earn through flying but also through sign-up bonuses on Southwest-affiliated credit cards.
“Something like this is so beneficial to DINKs – not everyone can pull this one off without courting disaster because of the spending requirements,” Ridout says.
Two-for-one promotions such as Southwest’s Companion Pass are perfect for DINK couples who need not worry about purchasing extra flight tickets for other family members.
Video: How your points can pay for memorable experiences
DINK couples also can use each other to take advantage of “refer-a-friend” programs, extra bonuses for adding authorized users to their accounts or to alternate card applications when looking to score generous sign-up bonuses.
This can be particularly helpful if they are applying for a Chase card and want to avoid the “5/24 rule.” If you have opened five or more new credit card accounts in the past 24 months, you won’t be approved for a new Chase card, regardless of your credit score.
Lee suggests that DINK couples serious about snagging free travel make their rewards credit cards their go-to payment tool, especially if big sign-up bonuses are on the table.
Rewards cards that are currently offering generous sign-up promotions include:
Cards for DINKs who want cash back
Bossler suggests that while families buying diapers and groceries may stick to cash back cards, DINK couples can find them valuable, too, even if travel is their top priority.
“For some DINKs, there is flexibility in cash back because you aren’t wedded to a mileage scheme or a carrier. You can book the cheapest and most convenient ticket” through other booking websites, Bossler says.
And while these couples’ expenses might differ from those of a family with children, a cash back card can come in handy for date nights, gourmet groceries and online shopping.
“You’re ultimately getting money back for purchases you were going to make anyway. Apply it to whatever you’d like, from a savings pot for travel or your next outing,” Ridout says.
Unlike families who may be locked in with a cash back card tied to a specific store such as Sam’s Club or Costco, DINK couples may want their cash back to come with plenty of flexibility.
Ridout recommends the Citi Double Cash card because it nets consumers one of the biggest bangs in a no-fee, flat-rate cash back card – 2 percent unlimited cash back (1 percent on purchases and 1 percent if you pay your bill on time).
Card rewards for tech-savvy DINKs
Some cash back cards offer incentives to on-the-go cardholders who want to take advantage of mobile payments.
- The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa, for example, offers 1.8 percent cash back on transactions made on Apple Pay and Android Pay during the first 12 months after their account is opened. The no-fee card offers unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on other purchases and a $200 cash rewards bonus for spending at least $1,000 within the first three months.
- Chase Freedom has been encouraging the use of mobile payments as part of its recent rotating categories. While payments through Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Chase pay were part of the card’s rotating category in the first quarter of 2018, purchases made via PayPal and Chase Pay from April through June will earn 5 percent cash back – on up to $1,500 in combined spending.
Cards for DINKs who shop online – and on their smartphones
Lee describes his circle of friends – who, for the most part, are fellow DINKs – as young professionals who prefer to shop online through their smartphones instead of heading to the mall.
Video: How to set up your mobile wallet
If you’re frequently spending online, you can benefit from the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature, which offers 5 percent cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases if you’re a Prime member, or the Chase Amazon.com Rewards Visa – 3 percent cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases and no Prime membership required.
Other options to score cash back on online shopping include:
- Target Redcard: 5 percent discount at Target and Target.com applied automatically at checkout. It also offers free standard shipping with no minimum purchase.
- PayPal Cashback Mastercard: 2 percent cash back that can be redeemed as statement credit to your PayPal account.
A number of rewards and cash back cards also offer cellphone protection, which will cover up to $600 per claim as long as you purchased the device or paid your monthly cellphone bill with your card.
Cards that offer cellphone protection include U.S. Bank Visa Platinum, Uber Visa and Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa.
Lifestyle credit cards for DINKs
Uber rides, lattes, dining out – DINK couples can take advantage of cards that match their lifestyle.
“This is another area where it’s important to make use of credit cards’ introductory offers and any annual freebies,” Ridout says.
These are a few options:
- Capital One Savor: 3 percent on dining, 2 percent on groceries and 1 percent on other purchases; plus, no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
- Uber Visa: 4 points per dollar on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS; 3 points per dollar on travel and 2 points per dollar on online purchases, including Uber, online shopping, video and music streaming. No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
- U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature: 5 percent cash back – capped at $2,000 purchase limit per quarter – on two categories of your choice that may include fast food, bookstores or sporting goods, plus 2 percent cash back on gas or groceries – your choice – and 1 percent cash back on everything else.
- The Starbucks Rewards Visa: 2,500 stars sign-up bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first three months and eight complimentary food and drink items per year. This card, however, comes with a couple of drawbacks worth considering – a $49 annual fee and a less-than-spectacular rewards rate (1 star per dollar spent at Starbucks and 1 star per $4 spent elsewhere).
Regardless of the card you use and given that DINK couples might not incur the same amount of expenses as those of a larger family, Lee says it’s wise to pick one card and commit to it instead of “spreading the wealth across multiple cards.”
That makes it easier, he says, to keep track of the points or cash back you earn and to reach your rewards goal sooner.
See related: 4 reasons millennials deserve more credit for how they handle money, Strategies for spouses doubling up on rewards cards
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