The Weird Miles and Points Reason My Daughter Is Excited to Turn 13

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The Weird Miles and Points Reason My Daughter Is Excited to Turn 13

JasminThe Weird Miles and Points Reason My Daughter Is Excited to Turn 13Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

As a parent, you experience so many milestones with your kids.  First crawl, first word, first steps, first day of kindergarten.  It flies by frighteningly quickly.  And now my oldest daughter is about to hit another milestone.

Next month, she’s turning 13 – officially a teenager, with all the drama and sass that comes with it.  We’re heading to Dublin – just me and her – for a mom-daughter trip to celebrate her birthday.  But guess what she’s really excited about?

Mom!  I can get an American Express Card now!

Yep, she reads the blog and knows that 13 is the minimum age to add someone as an authorized user to an AMEX card.  And she’s got it in her head that having an American Express card is the height of cool.  I’m a Chase girl myself, but, um … sure, kiddo!

The Sapphire Preferred Is Nice and All, Mom, but When Can I Get an AMEX?

Here’s why I’m actually going to add her as an authorized user on one of my American Express cards when she hits the big 13.

Give Your Child’s Credit a Head Start by Adding Them as Authorized Users

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

My girls have been authorized users on my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for a couple of years now.  I got them cards mostly to start building their credit history, so that when they turn 18 and can apply for their own cards, they wont be starting from a blank slate.

And Chase doesn’t have a minimum age to be an authorized user.  Here’s a peek at the major banks’ requirements:

BankMinimum Age
American Express13
Bank of AmericaNone
Barclaycard13
Capital OneNone
ChaseNone
CitiNone
Discover15
US Bank16

Their cards didn’t get a ton of use at first.  But now they’re of the age where having a credit card actually comes in handy.  Rather than send them with cash (cringe) for shopping trips to the mall or a walk down to the 7-Eleven for a snack with their pals, they bring their credit card instead.

And they’ve been trustworthy with it.  I set limits on what they can spend, and they generally adhere to it.  Although – we’re still arguing about whether sales tax factors into their maximum spending allowance (please tell me they’re not the only kids who try to pull this stunt).

Note:   My 9-year-old son doesn’t have a card yet.  I don’t quite trust him to NOT disappear into Hot Topic and return with armloads of tween boy paraphernalia. 😉

So, Why American Express?

This actually puzzles me greatly and might be an interesting study in how kids perceive certain brands.  I definitely remember growing up in the 80s with the idea that American Express cards, especially “fancy” ones like The Platinum Card® from American Express, were somewhat of a status symbol.  But I think that perception has faded in recent years.

So I’m not sure why my daughter thinks AMEX is the bomb.  A lot of our family’s current spending goes onto cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred (travel, dining), Chase Freedom (rotating bonus categories), or Citi Premier Card (gas) for everyday purchases.  Those cards are familiar, so maybe by default she thinks they’re just ordinary.

My Daughter Is Waiting Patiently to Get Her Hands on One of These!

And she used to love the metal “thunk” sound the Chase Sapphire Preferred makes when you plop it on a counter.  The novelty appears to have now worn off.

So come next month, I’ll be adding her to one of my American Express accounts, and not just for kicks.

In 5 Years She’ll Qualify for Her Own Credit Cards

I’m hoping having authorized user cards from several different banks will give my daughter’s credit score a boost.  That way, when it comes time for her to apply for her first credit card when she turns 18, her credit file won’t be so “thin” and there’ll be a few years of credit history to show.

Being an authorized user won’t prevent her from opening the same cards and earning a bonus down the road.  But I will back off on adding her as an authorized user a couple of years before she turns 18, because Chase usually counts authorized user cards towards your 5/24 status (some folks have had success having them ignore these, though).  That will give her a chance to qualify for the best Chase cards when the time comes.

Having a Different Card Will Give My Daughter the Opportunity to Earn Bonus Miles and Points in More Categories

Opening an authorized user card from a different bank will also give her access to different bonus categories that aren’t covered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

And with an AMEX authorized user card, she’ll get access to AMEX Offers, which are discounts or bonus points you’ll get when you add an offer to your card and make a qualifying purchase.  There are sometimes department stores and other mall-type retailers included on the list.  So these might come in handy when she’s out shopping with her friends.

I’m actually considering opening a new cash back AMEX card and adding her to that instead, like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.  It earns bonus cash back at US supermarkets (3% cash back on up to $6,000 in spending per year, then 1%) and 2% back at US gas stations (Slurpees!) and select US department stores (more clothes!), which are categories where she’s likely to spend some money.

I’d let her keep the rewards from her spending.  I think it’ll be a valuable and tangible lesson on the importance of using a rewards credit card for every purchase and not leaving money on the table.  What teenager is going to argue with getting cash back?

Bottom Line

My oldest girl will soon turn 13, and she’s excited because she’ll now be eligible for an authorized user card on my American Express accounts.

She’s got it in her head that American Express is the coolest bank.  AMEX, if you’re listening, maybe you should consider that for your new tagline!  🙂

All kidding aside, I will be adding her as an AMEX authorized user in a few weeks.  It’ll build her credit history and teach her more responsibility in using credit cards and earning rewards.  I’m hopeful that having a mix of cards from different banks (she’s already got a Chase Sapphire Preferred authorized user card) will give her score a further boost.

Then, when she turns 18, she’ll have a much better chance at qualifying for the best travel cards for beginners.  And start funding her own trips with miles, points, and cash back!

If you have kids, have you added them as authorized users?  I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%.
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  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

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Wondering if anyone else with an 18 year old has been able to get approved for a Chase card. My daughter has been an authorized user on my Freedom and Sapphire since she was 13 and we all have excellent credit.

When she turned 18 she applied for the Chase Freedom and was denied, a few months later she was denied for the Freedom Unlimited. Despite credit scores in the mid 700’s when we call reconsideration they are saying her credit history simply isn’t long enough and that they need to see 1 to 2 years of credit history. They are also saying that being an authorized user doesn’t help in this case.

Has anyone else run into this? I thought the Freedom line was a “starter card”. She is a full time student and has a part time job.

I should also note that she was instantly approved for Amex Everyday when she turned 18 and a few months later for Amex SPG, I just don’t get why Chase is being so strict.

Any thoughts would be appreciated, I really want her to get into Chase before she is at 5/24!

Author

Hi Sarah – I agree with my colleague Andrew. Give them another call – it might help if you can show that your daughter has good payment history already with the AMEX cards she’s been approved for on her own.

She’s already in good shape at 18 with a couple of AMEX cards in her pocket!

Best of luck and please let us know how it goes.

Hi Sarah,

I would definitely call back for a reconsideration, especially if the credit history length is the ONLY reason for denial. And if they say no, hang up and call back again. Try at least 2-3 times because different phone reps/different underwriters may give you a different answer.

When there’s only a single reason for denial, I’ve generally had excellent success getting my loans approved on a reconsideration call…whether it’s for a credit card or auto loan. I emphasize any and all compensating factors…payment history, relationship with the bank, experience with multiple types of credit, why I want the card, etc.

This post might help:

https://millionmilesecrets.com/guides/credit-card-reconsideration/

Does an authorized user have to be part of your immediate family. We were thinking of adding our niece so that she could get a head start on her credit.

Author

Hi Neal – In my experience it can be a friend or family member, however with some banks (including AMEX) you’ll need your authorized user’s social security number.

May depend on the card issuer or type of card, but I have added non family members to Citi and Chase cards.

Author

Steve – That’s right! Thanks for helping out.

I am really looking forward to adding my oldest grandson as an authorized user for my credit card. It will teach him responsibility of having a credit card. He is 14 right now maybe in the summer of 2019.

Author

Hi Kim – You could always add him now and hang on to the card until you’re ready to give it to him. That way his credit history will be even longer.

And in three years you can get her a car loan that you immediately pay off to further build her credit. Jasmin’s daughter- if you’re reading this, you’re welcome.

Author

LOL you got it Anthony! 🙂 She’s already got her money saved for that very purpose!