195K more points for my college student son

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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.

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