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