Don’t Miss a Precious Opportunity to Help Your Kids Develop Credit History and a Miles & Points Strategy

Don’t Miss a Precious Opportunity to Help Your Kids Develop Credit History and a Miles & Points Strategy

Million Mile SecretsDon’t Miss a Precious Opportunity to Help Your Kids Develop Credit History and a Miles & Points StrategyMillion Mile Secrets Team

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners.

Million Mile Secrets reader, Christine, commented:

At what age should you begin building a credit history and points strategy for a child?

Add Child As An Authorized User
Team Member Jasmin’s Daughters Are Authorized Users on Her Chase Sapphire Preferred Account! They’re Establishing Credit History and Learning About Miles & Points

One way to help your child establish credit history is by adding them as an authorized user to your account.  But some banks have an age requirement for becoming an authorized user.

Giving a child a credit card is also an excellent opportunity to teach them about healthy credit and financial habits, including paying balances off in full each month.

4 Tips to Help Children Establish Credit and Get Started With Miles & Points

Miles & points enthusiasts love sharing the benefits of the hobby with friends and family.  And teaching children about credit cards and miles & points can encourage their passion for Big Travel with Small Money!

Here are tips for parents like reader Christine looking to introduce children to the hobby.

1.   Add Your Son or Daughter as an Authorized User

Authorized user cards are great for kids because they can help start building a credit history and increase their score.

Team member Jasmin’s daughters both have authorized user cards on her Chase Sapphire Preferred account.  Not only is this helping her daughters establish credit history, but Jasmin also benefits.  Because she earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points when they make a purchase.

Plus, some cards offer a bonus miles or points just for adding an authorized user.  Just remember that as the primary cardholder, you’re responsible for ALL charges to your account.  So don’t add a child if you’re concerned about them going on a shopping spree (or consider limiting access to the card). 😉

Add Child As An Authorized User
The Bonus Miles or Points You Earn With Certain Cards Can Go Toward a Trip to Beautiful Destinations, Like Malibu, California

Being an authorized user can also be an educational experience for your children.  You can teach them about:

  • Avoiding fees
  • Paying card balances in full each month
  • Staying organized and managing bill payments

Some card issuers require an authorized user to be a certain age.  Here’s a look at the requirements at the major banks:

BankMinimum Age
American Express15
Bank of AmericaNone
Capital OneNone
US Bank16

Some banks ask for the Social Security Number of an authorized user and some do not.  But the account should link to their credit profile based on home address.

Keep in mind, even though your children might have a credit history and credit score, it can be difficult to track.  Because to sign-up for helpful tools like Credit Karma, you must be 18 years old.

2.   Your Child Can Get Their Own Travel Rewards Card at 18

After establishing credit history as an authorized user, your child can apply for their own travel credit card when they turn 18.

And remember, authorized users can earn a sign-up bonus on the same card if they decide to apply in the future.

Because your son or daughter will have a head start with credit cards, it’s possible they might qualify for an excellent miles & points card.  These would be my top card picks:

Add Child As An Authorized User
At Age 18, Your Child Can Apply for Their Own Credit Card!  Most Banks Allow Applicants to Include Income From Parents If It’s Regularly Deposited and Used to Pay Bills

Keep in mind, most banks allow you to include income from others (like parents) if it’s used to pay your bills.  So even if your child doesn’t have steady income or a full-time job, they’re still eligible to get a card and earn a new cardmember sign-up bonus!

3.   Teach Your Kids the Value of Earning Rewards

Showing your kids the value of miles, points, or cash back can help them get excited about their future in the hobby.

Team member Keith remembers his mom teaching him about savings accounts as a child.  And this sparked his interest in personal finance.  It can be similar for parents who talk to their kids about miles & points.

Add Child As An Authorized User
Teaching Your Kids About the Value of Miles & Points Can Help Encourage Travel. So They Can Set Big Travel Goals, Like Flying in a Private Suite in Etihad First Class!

Your kid might end up like Zac who writes Points From the Pacific.  He started collecting miles and points at the age of 14.  And at age 17 earlier this year, he used miles to fly Etihad’s Residence!

4.   Sign-Up Your Kids for Frequent Flyer Accounts

Generally, there’s no minimum age to get a frequent flyer account.  Even if your kids only fly occasionally on family trips, the miles they earn can add up over time!

Add Child As An Authorized User
I Wonder If Team Member Meghan’s Daughter Earned Extra Miles With This Lie-Flat Seat! 😉

Team member Jasmin’s 3 children have frequent flyer accounts to earn miles for flights.  And team member Meghan’s 1-year-old daughter has already earned Delta miles!

Bottom Line

Help your kids establish credit history by adding them as an authorized user to your credit card account.  Plus, you’ll earn miles, points, or cash back for the purchases they make!

Having a credit history will help your kids once they turn 18 and can apply for their own travel credit cards.

Teaching your kids about earning valuable miles & points can spark their interest in travel and encourage healthy credit habits.

And don’t forget to sign-up for frequent flyer accounts for your children.  Earning miles every so often can add up over time and can be a good starting point once they’re ready to earn lucrative card sign-up bonuses!

What tips would you share to fellow parents in the miles & points hobby?

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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

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**Update info** My American Express account says the child has to be 13 to add to account.

We learned the hard way when trying to sign my 18yr old up for a card so she could start earning her own bonus points (from a ton of targeted direct mailers she kept receiving). She was denied again and again until Amex finally explained that she had no FICA score. They said she needs at least a 6 month history of credit until we should apply again. So my daughter went to our bank and got her first card in her name and is now authorized users on about 3 cards. Her FICO is 686, not great... but rising. I am hoping to try again with Amex in a few more months. So do not wait!!

Do you know how this affects the once in lifetime bonus's for adding them? Once in lifetime is really once every 7 years, so just wondering if like with AMEX, you add them when they are 13, if they can get the real card in their own name and a normal bonus when they are 18, or when they are 20. (never too early to start planning....)

Million Mile Secrets

Authorized users can earn a sign-up bonus on the same card if they decide to apply in the future. Here's a post with more details: Equifax can screw them down the line. A better lesson is to teach and encourage them to save. Use cash. End of story.

Most Banks Allow Applicants to Include Income From Parents If It’s Regularly Deposited and Used to Pay Bills
Which banks have that policy?

Million Mile Secrets

Here's a post explaining what you can include as income on card applications at the major banks:

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