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Are You Missing Out on Valuable Miles & Points Cards by Making This Application Mistake?

Are You Missing Out on Valuable Miles & Points Cards by Making This Application Mistake?

Million Mile SecretsAre You Missing Out on Valuable Miles & Points Cards by Making This Application Mistake?Million Mile Secrets Team

Besides your credit score, the income you report to a bank is one of the most important factors used to evaluate your credit card application.

Many folks think of income as paychecks from an employer or earnings from a small business.  But you might have other qualifying income without realizing it!

What Counts As Income For Credit Card Applications
Help Yourself Earn Valuable Sign-Up Bonuses With Miles & Points Credit Cards by Calculating and Reporting Your Total Income Correctly! Then Enjoy Big Travel to Destinations Like Los Cabos, Mexico

Understanding how to report your income correctly can help folks who are stay-at-home partners or students qualify for terrific travel rewards credit cards.  It’s also helpful if you’re trying to get multiple cards with the same bank!

I’ll let you know what to enter as income for credit card applications at different banks.  And why it’s important!

Why You Want to Report the Highest Income Possible

The income you report on a credit card application is important for approval.  But it also helps determine your credit limit.  Banks are unlikely to extend large credit limits to folks if they don’t think their income can support repaying the balance.

And the spending limit you get from the bank can also impact your credit score.  According to the FICO website30% of your credit score is determined by your outstanding balances and credit utilization.

For example, let’s say you have one credit card with a $4,000 spending limit.  And you make $1,000 in purchases each month.  Your credit utilization is 25% ($1,000 in purchases / $4,000 credit limit).

But if the bank gives you an $8,000 spending limit and you still only make $1,000 in purchases, your credit utilization would be ~13% ($1,000 in purchases / $8,000 credit limit).  And using less of your available credit can help boost your credit score!

What Counts As Income For Credit Card Applications
Reporting All Eligible Income Could Get You a Higher Credit Limit. And Help Boost Your Credit Score!

Having a higher credit limit with certain banks can also come in handy when you apply for additional cards.  Because some card issuers will shift the credit line from an existing card to a new one.

For example, team member Keith once had a Chase card with a $30,000 credit limit.  He applied for another Chase card and was NOT instantly approved.  He called Chase and they shifted $10,000 of his existing credit line to the new card.  He was then able to earn the sign-up bonus on the new card, which helped with his travel goals.

What Counts as Income for Credit Card Applications

Link:   Stay-at-Home Partners Can Get Credit Cards

The income you report on your credit card application is NOT the same as what you might show on your tax return.  So even if you’re a student or stay-at-home partner who doesn’t get a traditional paycheck from an employer, you still might have eligible income to enter on your credit card application.

In a moment I’ll show you what counts as income.  Just remember to be honest on your credit card application.  It’s better to tell the truth and be denied than go through a financial review with a bank.

I looked at what you can include as income with 4 different cards.

1.   American Express Platinum

Link:   The Platinum Card® from American Express

Link:   My Review of the AMEX Platinum Card

The application for the AMEX Platinum card says you can include these as income:

  • Wages
  • Retirement income
  • Investment income from stocks and rental properties
  • Social security
  • Child support
  • Public assistance
  • Disability
  • Workers compensation
  • Military allowances

Remember, this is a charge card, which means you do NOT have a fixed spending limit.  So AMEX evaluates the maximum purchase you can make.

What Counts As Income For Credit Card Applications
You Can Earn Transferable Points With the AMEX Platinum Card and Redeem for Big Travel on Travel Partners Like Singapore Airlines

And you’ll earn valuable AMEX Membership Rewards points with this card.  You can transfer these flexible points directly to airline and hotel partners like Delta, Singapore Airlines, and Hilton!

2.   Capital One Venture

Link:   Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture card application says income can include:

  • Wages from full-time, part-time, or seasonal jobs
  • Self-employment income
  • Interest or dividends from investments
  • Retirement
  • Public assistance
  • Shared income from somebody else that is regularly deposited into your individual account or into a joint account

The last part about shared income can be extremely helpful for stay-at-home partners.  Because you can enter your partner’s income in the credit card application.  And if your partner already has the card, you can apply separately to earn the sign-up bonus for yourself!

What Counts As Income For Credit Card Applications
If You’re a Single-Income Household, Each Partner Can Still Apply for the Capital One Venture Card Separately. Because You Can Include Your Partner’s Income as Shared Income

Folks like Million Mile Secrets reader Dawn love this card!  Because the miles you earn are very easy to redeem.  And when you apply, you can earn a sign-up bonus worth $400 toward travel!

3.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Sapphire Preferred application mentions examples of income you can include like:

  • Salaries
  • Investments
  • Social Security benefits
  • Retirement
  • Income from others you use to regularly pay your bills if you’re 21 or older
  • Child support or alimony
What Counts As Income For Credit Card Applications
If You’re a College Student and 21 or Older, You Can Apply for the Sapphire Preferred and Include Income From Parents If They Still Help Pay Your Bills

So if you’re a college student still getting help from your parents, you can enter the allowance or financial assistance you get in the income field.

The Sapphire Preferred is my favorite card for beginners in the miles & points hobby.

Because it earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which gives you lots of flexibility.  And the card comes with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus worth at least $625 toward travel.

Keep in mind, the card is impacted by Chase’s tougher application rules.  So if you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards) in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for this offer.

4.   Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige application says you can include these items in the total income field:

  • Salary and wages
  • Interest and dividends
  • Rental income
  • Retirement benefits
  • Income from others you use to regularly pay your bills if you’re 21 or older
  • Child support or alimony
What Counts As Income For Credit Card Applications
Folks With a Vacation Home Like Team Member Meghan Can Include Rental Income When Applying for the Citi Prestige Card

The Citi Prestige has one of the most valuable credit card perks.  You can get a 4th night free on hotel stays.  And although this premium card comes with a $450 annual fee, it’s offset with a $250 annual airline credit and airport lounge membership.

Bottom Line

The total income you report on your credit card application can be an important factor in receiving approval and the amount of your credit limit.

Most banks allow you to include income beyond traditional salaries and wages.  You can include things like:

  • Investment income from stocks and rental properties
  • Social security
  • Retirement benefits
  • Military allowances
  • Income from others you use to regularly pay your bills if you’re 21 or older

Entering shared income from a partner can help folks who stay-at-home get popular miles & points credit cards.  Similarly, including allowances from parents can help students who don’t yet have an income.

Just be sure to tell the truth in your application.  If you’re including income from non-traditional sources, be prepared to explain to the bank, so you can increase your chances of approval!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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We have a 21 yo college student. We pay her college expenses (~65k for tuition and housing), car expenses, and travel expenses. This adds up to a lot. Can she include all of these expenses as income? If only some of these things can be included, which ones? Thx!

I report only not much income when applying for credit cards. I don't want clerks to think I'm a good prospect for theft. It doesn't affect my approvals, only my credit limits.......and I don't need much, anyway.

Our son(19) and in college, has been using an amex card for years adjuct to our account. He has a score over 700 amazingly. So now he is in an apt and paying rent, etc and we went for bust with the sapphire card. Denied due to income we presume. We put money into his banking account. Quite a bit from Bright Start So we can show bank statements with alot of money in and out of that account. Can he report that as shared income and call the reconsideration line plus report GPA, major, Eagle scout, scholarships,etc? How likely would he be approved? If not any other visa miles cards that might be good for him? Thx

Continuing Scholarships count, one time awards not so much. Thinking Long Term he might want to consider the Chase Freedom. While it is only a Cash Back Card, the points earned are UR Points, which can be transferred to a premium card with more valuable redemption options later. He should pay it off in full every month as I have heard from several younger friends who got it in college that, particularly if you carry a balance, Chase will unexpectedly whipsaw the interest rate from high to stratospheric. Which is irrelevant if you pay it off.

Unlike car insurance, I've not heard GPA, major, Eagle scout, and other "good citizen" things taken into account for credit card decision, at least not on paper. Scholarship is borderline income...

If I have two cards already approved the same bank, can I call them and ask them to re-adjust the limits on them without affecting my credit score?

Any response?

You can usually move between the two cards w/o credit inquiry.

If you are looking to increase overall credit limit, it'll depend on a lot of factors: amount of increased asked, length of account history, etc. They will always give you the disclaimer that credit report may be pulled & reviewed. No way to actually know.

DAMMIT! I wish I had known this info this past weekend! Thanks for sharing!

I usually skip articles which have a headline ending with a question mark (Journalism 101). After reading this, I should have stuck with that rule.

I see many such headlines nowadays.

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