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Are you looking for more ways to boost your frequent flyer account?
Your family can help you accumulate more points! Find out how to get them involved and how it can benefit everyone!
What Are the Benefits?
Aside from earning their own miles and making it easier to take incredible trips, there are several other great benefits to getting your family in the game.
Note: Do NOT sign-up family members (or anyone) for credit cards without their permission. This is illegal!
1. Everyone Learns How to Manage Credit Responsibly
Creating a budget and managing your personal finances is the key to earning Big Travel with Small Money. It’s also an important life skill that’s not often taught in schools.
2. Top Off Your Account
Sometimes you’re a few thousand miles or points short of your next award flight or hotel stay. When your family members participate in the hobby, you can transfer points between accounts.
With American Express Membership Rewards points, you’ll have to use this trick.
Check out my posts, 11 Airlines That Allow You to Share Miles and Why and How to Transfer Hotel Points Between Accounts, for more ways your family can share points.
3. Share Perks
Along with sharing points, you can share fantastic perks such as elite status.
Emily and I alternate earning the Southwest Companion Pass each year, which has enabled 1 of us to travel on Southwest for close to free, 4 years in a row.
You can also share hotel perks. For instance, with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card or Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express cards, you get free Hilton Gold status. This includes free internet and free breakfast, which is a convenient benefit that anyone staying with you or booked on an award stay under your account can enjoy.
So you could get by with only 1 person in the family signing-up for a Hilton card. That means everyone else can save their credit inquiries for other credit card deals that come along.
For example, when you sign-up for Chase United Explorer Plus card you’ll get free checked bags for you and your travel companion and priority boarding.
Certain cards also give you free access to airport lounges and allow you to bring your travel companions.
For instance, with the Citi American Airlines Executive card, you get access to American Airlines and US Airways lounges and you can invite up to 2 guests to join you.
4. Increase Your Limits
Even if certain family members are resistant to the idea of signing-up for credit cards, they can still help.
Your cautious family members don’t have to worry about taking a hit to their credit score, because prepaid cards don’t require a credit pull.
And it still helps you meet the minimum spending requirements That’s because AMEX Bluebird and Serve have a load limit of $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month. With 2 cards, you can load $2,500 twice per day!
Kids Can Help Too!
The minimum age banks require for credit cards is 18 to 21 years old. However, there are still lots of ways your kids can help out!
1. Set Them Up With Their Own Frequent Flyer Accounts
Make sure your kids have airline rewards accounts! So whenever they take a paid flight, they will earn miles.
2. Authorized Users
You can also add your child as an authorized user on your credit card account. The age requirement for authorized user accounts varies by bank:
- American Express – 15 years old
- Bank of America – 18 years old
- Barclays – No minimum age requirement
- Chase – No minimum age requirement
- Citibank – No minimum age requirement
- US Bank – No minimum age requirement
Opening an authorized user account helps your kids begin to build credit. Not only does it prepare your kids for adulthood by starting them out with a good credit score, it also teaches them responsibility.
And of course you can get some benefits too! Authorized users can help you meet minimum spending requirements. Plus sometimes banks offer a bonus for adding an authorized user.
But once they’re added, the entire payment history of the card is added to their credit score. Of course, this is only good if you, as the primary account holder, have a great credit history!
Also keep in mind that you’re ultimately responsible for the charges on the account!
If you don’t think your child is ready, you can still add them, just don’t hand over the actual card! And if something goes wrong, you can typically close an authorized user account with a quick phone call to the bank.
3. Bluebird or Serve Sub-Account
A good warm-up to a credit card authorized user account is opening a sub-account for your teen on your AMEX Bluebird or Serve card.
You can add up to 4 sub-accounts.
By setting-up 1 of these accounts for your teen, you can help them learn how to budget. You control how much money they have in their account and can monitor their spending habits. You can also remove money from sub-accounts if your teen is not acting responsibly.
The bonus is that sub-accounts can also register for AMEX Offers! That’s more free money for you!
How to Motivate Your Family to Help Collect Miles & Points!
Collecting miles and points is very rewarding! However, it takes some work and benefits aren’t instant. You have to stay organized, up-to-date on news, and track everything. So some folks lose interest.
Here are some tips for getting your family just as excited about collecting miles as you are:
Make It Easy
1. Start With Smaller Tasks
Don’t lay everything on them at once. Instead, you could divide up tasks.
One person can read the daily points news, another can track account balances and payment due dates, while another can be in charge of meeting minimum spending requirements (it’s a tough job ;)).
2. Set Goals That Are Easy to Reach
Starting out with the Southwest Companion Pass is a nice way to get your family hooked on this hobby.
That’s because you only need to sign-up for two 50,000 point Southwest cards (when this offer is available) and earn 6,000 points to get ~$3,000 worth of free travel on Southwest!
Or you could sign-up for the Citi Hilton Reserve card and earn 2 free weekend nights after spending $2,500 on purchases within 4 months of opening your account. You can use your free nights at almost any Hilton hotel!
Make It Fun!
1. Give Them a Preview
Show your family fun pictures of dream destinations or take them on a short trip to show where they can travel for cheap.
2. Turn It Into a Competition
You may motivate some competitive family members by turning it into a game. Perhaps whoever contributes the most gets to choose the next hotel, airline, or even vacation destination.
Make Sure Your Family Is Aware of the Risks
It’s important that you and your family understand the risks associated with getting involved in this hobby!
1. Credit Score Impact
Your credit score goes down ~5 points when you apply for new credit cards. This is a temporary impact that usually begins to fall off after 6 months.
So I recommend folks avoid getting into this hobby if they plan on taking out a major loans (home, car, or student) within the next 2 years. That’s because getting the lowest possible interest on a long-term long can save you more money over time than you can save using miles and points.
However, over the long-term many folks see a boost in their credit score when they pay their bills on-time.
Rewards credit cards sometimes come with an interest rate that is higher than what you can get with other cards.
If you don’t pay your bills in full and on-time each month you’ll pay lots of interest. And the interest you pay will likely outweigh any benefit you get from collecting miles.
Not paying your bills could also leave you in debt. That’s a hole that can be hard to dig yourself out of!
Collecting miles and points is a fun and exciting hobby with amazing rewards! But it’s even better when you can share it with your family!
Getting the entire family involved can make it easier to earn more miles and take some of the responsibilities such as tracking spending and meeting minimum spending requirements off your plate.
Your kids can also participate! Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity to teach them about personal finance and help them build good credit.
But you must be able to handle credit responsibly. And I suggest taking a break from applying for new credit cards when you have a major loan coming up within the next 2 years.
Has your family taken an interest in miles & points? If so, how have you worked together to make your dream vacation become a reality?