195K more points for my college student son

In the past few days, my 20 year old son signed up for three new credit cards.  Not counting the points earned on spend, he’ll rack up 195,000 points and miles once he completes the minimum spend requirements.

Despite the fact that I recently published a relevant credit card plan (“A student credit card plan: 825,000 points by graduation“), that plan wasn’t followed at all.  Well, one key part of the plan was enacted a couple of years ago: he did sign up for the Discover It Student card as his first card in order to build credit.  That has served him well.

One reason we didn’t follow the student plan I had laid out is that the published plan was heavily biased towards opportunities for no-fee cards and those that require minimal spend to earn welcome bonuses.  In my son’s case, he has a father who is willing to cover the fees, ensure that he earns statement credits whenever possible, and to handle the spend requirements.

Here are the cards he signed up for (all were instantly approved):

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit card: 70K miles after $2K spend, plus $50 statement credit after any Delta purchase within 3 months.  This was a targeted offer.
  • Business Platinum card: 75K Membership Rewards points after $20K spend in 3 months (or 50K points after $10K spend).  This was a targeted offer for a second card.
  • World of Hyatt card: 50K points: 25K points after $3K spend in 3 months + 25K points after $6K total spend in 6 months.  This was the public offer.

Next you’ll find our reasoning behind each card:

Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit card

My son received an email with a targeted offer for the personal Delta Gold card: 70K bonus miles after $2K spend.

That’s pretty good since the usual promotional offer for the personal Delta Gold card is 60K miles.  I forwarded the email to Nick to ask him to write up a Quick Deal.  From his Quick Deal (found here), I learned that one could scroll down on the offer page to get business card offers as well.  So I checked my son’s offer and sure enough, it was there: the same offer for the business version of the card:

This was especially notable since the business Delta cards don’t seem to get increased offers as often as the personal cards do.  At the time of his application (and as I write this), the public offer for the Delta Gold business card is only 30K miles after $1K spend + $50 statement credit after Delta spend in 3 months (details here).

I was especially interested in the business version of the card since Amex business cards do not show up as accounts on personal credit reports.  So, the acquisition of new Amex business cards won’t hurt his 5/24 count. In other words, it won’t hurt his chances of getting Chase cards in the future.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

I was also interested in the targeted 80K Platinum and Reserve business card offers:

Both of the above cards would make sense for him since 80K points is an all time high bonus and it’s the last chance to lock in the current annual fees for a year.  The above offers expire January 22, so we still have time to decide whether to try for one or both.

Business Platinum Card from American Express

Regular readers may remember that I decided that my son should sign up for a Business Platinum card a year ago: On my mind, unplugged (Business Platinum Edition). In that post, I wrote:

…my 19-year-old son has never had the Business Platinum card and this is probably the best time for him to pick one up. I’ll pay his annual fee and help him meet the spend requirements. In exchange, I’ll keep the $600 in airline fee reimbursements and grant myself access to his Gogo passes. He can keep the Membership Rewards points and get upgraded to both Hilton and Marriott/SPG Gold elite status. That will put him in position to status match to other brands as well. He would also get airport lounge access which might come in handy when traveling without his parents.

My son signed up for the Business Platinum shorty after I wrote that post.  Some things have changed since then: The card’s annual fee has increased from $450 to $595, and we’ve learned that the Gogo in-flight internet benefit will be gone as of January 1 2020.  My son plans to cancel his 1-year-old Business Platinum card after the annual fee posts in January.

Now we were faced with the question of whether he should pick up a second Business Platinum card.  This was a fairly rare opportunity since it didn’t have the usual restriction against getting a welcome bonus on a card that he has had before.  On the other hand, it requires a ton of spend, it costs more than before, and it has fewer perks.  Ultimately we decided to go for it anyway.  I’m good at generating spend, so the $20K spend won’t be an issue.  Plus, I can recoup the annual fee via airline fee reimbursements (see this post for details) by earning $200 this month, $200 in 2020, and another $200 in January of 2021.  And, I can make use of $400 in Dell credits: $100 this month, $100 between Jan and June 2020, $100 between July and December 2020, and $100 in January 2021.  And, of course, my son can make use of the card’s other benefits like elite status and lounge access.  See our guide for more: Amex Platinum Complete Guide.

Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card

My son is well under 5/24 and has a high credit score, so his only limitations to signing up for Chase cards right now are his low income (he’s a college student) and fairly short credit history.  My goal for him is to slowly acquire “Must have” Chase cards (see this post for details).  One of those is the World of Hyatt card.  I like that card for him because he’ll easily get good value with the category 1-4 certificate that is issued each year upon renewal.  That alone is well worth the card’s $95 annual fee.  Plus, Hyatt often has great deals for card members such as discounts on award stays.  And if he ever wants to manufacture Hyatt status, he’ll have the key tool for doing so.

In hindsight, I probably should have recommended the United Explorer card instead since the public offer for that card was higher than usual (and still is at the time of this writing).  That would then put him in position to downgrade in a year to the no-fee United MileagePlus card.  The no-fee card is no longer available new, but it is still available as a downgrade. The great thing about this no-fee card is that it preserves two of the $95 card’s best features: Improved economy saver award availability and last seat standard economy award availability on United’s own flights.

Wrap Up

The choices we made for my son’s new credit cards are not choices that I’d recommend to others.  He has a unique situation in that he was explicitly targeted for two out of the three offers and he has a father who handles all the dirty work (paying the annual fees, earning statement credits, and meeting minimum spend requirements).  Still, maybe some of the thinking behind our decisions will be helpful to others.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

28
Leave a Reply

avatar
10 Comment threads
18 Thread replies
13 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
Piles of MilesJeffLynnGreg The Frequent MilerCharles Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
Kate
Guest
Kate

My daughter In college started with the discover card. We haven’t put much regular spend on it. Is it important that we start to do so, in terms of applying for future cards?

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Greg
I’m sure ur son could do this award stuff standing on is head but it is better he do his homework then this . Once he gets out of college he will be a go to person for travel in his company . I still amazed by all these people with degrees and LOTS of money who have no idea how to use them.
CHEERs

Deb
Guest
Deb

Paying the annual fee for my kids credit cards?…I can do it but I personally wouldn’t. It would go against everything I’ve been trying to teach them about being responsible for their own credit. I’ve only recommended a couple of no-fee cards at this stage (college aged). No, they haven’t earned the massive points haul, but they have plenty of time for that after they graduate and are employed..but to each his own..

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Deb
Everyone does everything different .Some pay for all their kids travel so the annual fee is nutthing compared to a whole trip . I wish I had a couple of SS numbers I Love spend $$ wisely .
CHEERs

David
Guest
David

Under what criteria does your son qualify for a business card?

Sean
Guest
Sean

Your plans implied canceling the first Amex plat. Doesn’t Amex threaten to clawback points if you cancel within an year or 13 months nowadays? I’ve read DPs to suggest that but didn’t see you mention it here or in the Amex platinum guide.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Nice job whoring out your own kid and ruining their credit before their life has begun. They shouldn’t allow people like you to be parents

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Jeff
Ask the doc but u could be insane (my x was a Shrink) ..I had no one @ that age who could help with the $$$ so I spent COUNTLESS hrs learning .
CHEERs

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

@ Jeff–Surprised you’re here and are still clueless about opening credit cards!!

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Clueless? Hmm nope just the opposite. My 840 credit score would agree.

Beth
Guest
Beth

One note: The credit cards don’t hurt his credit rating,they help build a credit history. Did a few cards for/with my college kids a few years ago. A Chicago roommate post-college has no credit rating and my daughter was the one whose credit rating supported their application for their apartment lease. But all these credit inquiries certainly get bankers in a tizzy if you apply for a car loan or a mortgage. Your son may need at least one of those in the next couple of years .

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Yup I had a new truck in HS by ME .I Co-rented a super nice apartment @ 19 by that .My older brother was he Mad as in Zero credit. Beth most of that stuff doesn’t matter if u put down 20% like I did for a house @ 21 .
Thanks !!!
CHEERs

dan
Guest
dan

Greg, somewhat did the similar; my daughter who likes to travel / fly to see places with some close friends; so to help her saved some $ on travel, got a SWA CP & Amex Hilton Biz card; while she paid for the cards’ AFs, able to recoup for all the fees & helped with the travel expenses by offering a friend to fly on SWA as a companion for 1/2 of the best available fare & split the hotel rate among friends on stays at Hilton. She seems to like the current arrangements or savings

JL100
Guest
JL100

Wow guys you are asking the Frequent Miler to not take advantage of easy points and miles that help his family. I have no concerns that he is going to be a great role model for his son, and his son will understand the game eventually and still be responsible financially. I do the same for my Mom, though more limited, and it is of great benefit to her and others in the family to travel for about 80% off.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

JL100
Ur right 25 years ago I paid both (GF paid me) rents with a Carnival cruise c (gone) @ 4% rebate . As in 14 cruises !! My GM card 5% (gone) was better I got $5k off a $19k nice truck in 2001 .
CHEERs

Charles
Guest
Charles

If your son is a student, how does he qualify for business cards?

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

He doesn’t. What greg is doing is operating in the grey and it will be hilarious when he gets busted for it and ruins his own sons credit

Piles of Miles
Guest
Piles of Miles

Jeff, you sound a bit edgy, perhaps jealous? ‘Don’t hate the player, hate the game.’ Banks and ‘the system’ are complicit in this as much as anything/anyone else with how the whole credit system and finance are setup to run in this country.