Are You a Stay-at-Home Parent? Don’t Think You Can’t Do Your Part to Earn Big Travel!

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Are You a Stay-at-Home Parent? Don’t Think You Can’t Do Your Part to Earn Big Travel!

Million Mile SecretsAre You a Stay-at-Home Parent? Don’t Think You Can’t Do Your Part to Earn Big Travel!Million Mile Secrets Team

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But being a stay-at-home parent doesn’t necessarily mean your miles & points career will change.  If your spouse or partner earns a steady income, you can still earn Big Travel from credit cards as you normally would.

Are You A Stay At Home Parent Dont Think You Cant Do Your Part To Earn Big Travel
You Can Still Earn Valuable Travel Rewards When You’re a Stay-at-Home Mom or Dad!

Million Mile Secret Agent Pam emailed:

I recently quit my job to take care of my toddler.  I read your article on how it’s better now than it was before with regard to cards where one can claim investment income and husband’s salary if one has access to that to pay off credit card debt.

I am wondering if I should get as many cards as possible now before end of tax year.  Does that even matter?  Any other strategies for a stay-at-home mom?

I always remind folks to be careful not to lie on credit card applications.  If you don’t have any income, don’t claim you do!  It’s better to tell the truth and be denied than go through a financial review with a bank.

Stay-at-Home Parents Can Earn Just as Many Miles as Everyone Else!

Link:   Stay-At-Home Partners Can Get Credit Cards, Too

The income you report on a credit card application is important for approval.  But 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

Stay-at-home partners used to NOT be able to claim their partner’s income on credit card applications.  But this rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says that banks can consider any “income and assets to which consumers have a reasonable expectation of access.

So if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you can list the portion of income from your wage-earning partner’s account, which you can use to pay back your debts.  You can even list your partner’s ENTIRE income!

Are You A Stay At Home Parent Dont Think You Cant Do Your Part To Earn Big Travel
You Shouldn’t Be Treated Any Differently by the Credit Card Companies Because You’re an “Unemployed” Parent. As Long as Your Spouse or Partner Has Sufficient Income, You Can Earn Sign-Up Bonuses, Too!

The income requirements from the major banks are:

  • American Express – “Total Annual Income”, which means “income from all sources
  • Barclaycard – “Total Annual Income”, which means “all of your sources of income…that you would like considered as a basis for repayment
  • Chase –  “Gross Annual Income“, which means “income you can use to repay your debts
  • Citi – “Annual Salary and Wages“, and “other annual income

Check out this post for a more detailed explanation of each bank’s application language concerning this rule.

Are There Tax Implications for My Miles & Points?

When you earn miles & points from a credit card, you will generally NOT need to pay taxes on those rewards.  So applying for cards by the end of the tax year does NOT make a difference.  Miles & points you earn from credit cards are considered to be a rebate instead of an earning.

That said, Million Mile Secrets team members Harlan and Jasmin have reported receiving a form 1099 after earning and redeeming $1,000+ in cash back from the Discover It card!  So there are a couple of exceptions to the rule.

Are You A Stay At Home Parent Dont Think You Cant Do Your Part To Earn Big Travel
There Are RARE Occasions When You’ll Have to Pay Taxes on Rewards You Earn

We are NOT tax experts, so ask a tax professional if this is truly a concern.

Bottom Line

Stay-at-home parents can earn new credit card bonuses just like anyone else.

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you can use your spouse or partner’s income to apply for credit cards (even the same cards that they apply for using their income).  That’s because the banks only want to know the amount of money you have available to repay your debt.

If you have any data points as a stay-at-home parent, I’d love to hear them!

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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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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s statement should be a warning to all stay-at-home parents, “income and assets to which consumers have a reasonable expectation of access.” If the banks do not view half your spouse’s income as half yours then neither do the courts. So while you are raising your child and managing points for the benefit of the family, your spouse is earning a salary and building a career a/k/a valuable asset. While it may appear from these blogs that you can live on points, you cannot.

I managed our family’s points and everything else while he became wildly successful. His success was HIS despite my enabling him to achieve it. The courts across the country have limited divorce settlements to stay-at-home parents despite what you may think is fair.

So, while I was a stay-at-home mom, I managed our family’s points successfully. I cannot recall ever paying for airfare except for one plane during our marriage, and we were globetrotters. We used his account for the points since he traveled for work and many programs do not permit family sharing. I legally had zero access to them post-divorce. He claimed he had no idea what his accounts were or how many points he had? The Judge thought FF points were beneath her, so she awarded me half of the Amex points, but he kept the others which I believe were bountiful.

So, this sounds great in theory unless you are planning to turn FF points into a business, you may lose the points you grow unless they are in your account and you may end up living on them…

I’m a stay at home parent (although my kids are now on college so I guess I stay home for the dog lol!) and the points/Miles game has become my job! I’m in charge of all our trip planning and I take full advantage of credit card sign up offers and bonuses using my husbands income to apply.