It is not widely known that spouses have separate credit profiles. Most people don’t really think about it, but it’s true. With a credit card, one person is always deemed the primary and the other is the “authorized user.” What does this matter? Most couples get one signup bonus. Each person can get their own card and double their signup bonus.
This is HUGE in the world of free travel.
Why is that a big deal? Because most couples have only ONE great rewards card and they get ONE large sign-up bonus. Get it? They are missing out by not doubling up!
If your spouse has a good credit score, you should be doubling up. You don’t have to get the cards at the same time. You can space out your applications if you’re worried about hitting the minimum spending requirements.
So, when you’re using Travel Freely and have a second user, make sure you are checking their CardGenie Recommendations, too. Don’t just move on to the next card on your list. This is exactly why Travel Freely has a separate profile and CardGenie Recommendations for each person. Log in and check out your recommendations to see what cards you can get, and who can double up.
This knowledge can be very handy if one person is ineligible for a new bonus on a card, or if you are both involved in a small business. For example, most beginners will quickly open a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, but they forget that their spouse could get one too! Instead of 100,000 points, you could earn 200,000!
Not married? This is still good news if you have a partner or travel companion.
Think about how you could benefit by doubling those sign-up bonuses – double the free airfare, double the free hotel nights, double the cash back bonuses, etc.
Some couples are out of balance and only have one person who has cards in their name. If this is your situation, you may still be eligible for a great travel rewards card if you have other credit history (mortgage, car loan, etc.). If not, odds are you will need to get a starter card (with $0 annual fee) as an anchor card to hold onto and build up some credit history.
If this is the case, consider filtering your CardGenie Recommendations by “Building Credit” to get a card with better approval odds. Consider the Chase Freedom card as the first card before moving on to a better travel rewards card. The Chase Freedom is a simple cash back card, but it has a small sign-up bonus and can earn 5x Chase points in rotating categories.
Here’s a tip to stay organized. When my wife and I double up on the same card and get authorized user cards, we avoid confusion by using different names. I use my short name “Zac” on any authorized user cards and my full name “Zachary” on primary account cards.
Own a Small Business?
If you own a business, you could also apply this to business cards using the same EIN but a different social security number (SSN). Each bank varies with their rules, so do a little research first. I’ve outlined this with Chase regarding some of the best Chase business cards. As long as you are under 5/24, you should be good to go.
I have several friends who own their own small business. In the past month, they have doubled up on the Chase Ink Cards by having their spouse sign up for one, too. These bonuses can equal well over $3,000 in free travel! Note: Many business card bonuses require a lot of spending. So be careful.
I recently asked some Travel Freely users for their advice on free travel as a couple. Many of these users have been doubling up on rewards cards for a while. As you’ll see, one person normally leads the free travel charge in the household. =)
Stephen: My wife used to roll her eyes and was very hesitant about everything. Over the last several years of having the Southwest Companion Pass and traveling to Mexico, all around the US with it, plus flying business class to/from SE Asia, and Hawaii so many times, she puts up with it *almost* happily. We earn 2x the miles and since she doesn’t always travel with me, we bank more miles than if it were just me earning miles for myself.
Angie: I’m definitely the driving force in this hobby. I tell him when he gets a new card and which cards to use in different situations! That said, he sure enjoys the perks when we get them and it’s nice having two people apply for the different cards especially with Chase… I made so many mistakes in the beginning – didn’t utilize 2-player mode, both went way over 5/24 without truly maximizing the Chase slots.
Ted: My wife is less hesitant and has seen the value in points. It helped pay for the majority of our Hawaii trip during peak season and most of out Australia/NZ trip last year. She still isn’t an avid points follower and leaves that up to me… If I didn’t have her on board, then we wouldn’t have accumulated as many points of course, and it helps us accrue points for future family trips.
Jennifer: I saw the light only when the Chase Sapphire Reserve was offering 100,000 UR bonus. I got one, then realized my hubby could too. I keep track, watch for new cards, strategize about which card and when… So far 170,000 UR and 3 more months before we hit one year. We have been flying business internationally for the past two years on points, loving my latest hobby.
Nitin: I drive my wife with info for which card to use when, when to apply, etc… Earlier she used to get upset with “What so many cards!!!” But now she’s gotten used to it.
If you’re just getting started, remember to go slow. Being strategic is just as important as trying to amass cards and points. Part of the strategy is keeping it simple. By going after the best credit cards and doubling up, you are maximizing your free travel.