No, you need only take it every 3 years in order to retain your Professional certification.
I see no point in taking the separate exams, seems just like a waste of money to me. From a purely financial point of view, the cheapest option is the take the composite, it should also be about the easiest. The question is, do you expect to be ready to take the CCIE lab within 18 months of recertification? If so then do the CCIE written, if not do the composite.