Two is better than one, at least that is what the musicians sing about. When it comes to earning free travel, two really can be better than one, I’ll tell you why.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, the Companion Pass. This perk from Southwest Airlines is the most lucrative of them all. If you work it right, you can have somebody else fly with you for free for up to two years. It doesn’t matter if you pay for the flight with cash or points, that person can come along for only $5.60 (security fee). Your companion does not have to be your spouse (and you can change the companion four times per year), but you will be able to best leverage this perk with someone who you share your life with. Since I have held the companion pass, my wife has flown on 23 flights for free. At a rough average of ‘$100’ per flight, we saved $2,300 in 13 months with just our Southwest flights.
Another huge perk is that credit card offers are PER individual. You can have the same card as your spouse and both receive the sign up bonus. If a card only allows you to receive the sign up bonus once in your lifetime, like many from American Express, your spouse will still be eligible for that card bonus. (Assuming they have not received that bonus before). The key is to hold each card at different times so that you can leverage the perks with one another. For example, the Citi American Airlines card gives you and anyone on your itinerary group 1 boarding access. No sense in both having the same card since your benefits will overlap. One of you could have the American Airlines card and the other could have the Delta card.
Credit card perks between spouses are awesome! Take the American Express Platinum card for example, you get unlimited access to the Centurion Lounges (currently typing this in the DFW Centurion Lounge). You are able to bring two guests in with you at no cost. Once in, you have access to unlimited food and drink (even alcohol). Another great perk is rental car coverage, especially the primary rental car coverage you receive with the Chase Sapphire card. You can add your spouse as an authorized user on the Sapphire card for no cost, at that point they would receive the same benefits and protections when renting a car.
Save money on rental cars by waiving the coverage from the rental car company. Primary rental car coverage, only found on select cards like the Chase Sapphire, picks up the costs starting at the first dollar. This means that your personal insurance won’t have to step in assuming you don’t exceed Chase’s limits. Secondary coverage, found on almost every other travel credit card, picks up most of the costs that are not covered by your personal car insurer. Remember, with all rental car insurances from credit cards, they DO NOT cover damage to other vehicles or property, only you and the rental car are covered. If you rear-end another car, your insurance company (read: liability insurance) will need to step in.
Combined income! When filling out a credit card application you will notice most fields regarding income are termed “available income”. If you read the fine print that generally means any income ‘legally’ available to you. That means if your spouse makes money, that is your money to claim also. If you make $40k a year and your spouse makes $50k a year, your credit card application *could* state $90k annual income. *I am not giving financial advice*. If you are a stay-at-home, you can still claim your spouse’s income so you can both get travel credit cards!
One of the biggest hurdles for folks is the credit card minimum spend requirements. These requirements can range from $1000-$5000, typically within a 90 day window. If you add your spouse as an authorized user on your card, they will send a second card and BOTH cards will count towards the one minimum spend. If you have a $3,000 minimum spend split by two people, that is only $500 per person, per month. Easy right? Remember, you can pay bills like rent, mortgage, car payments and more on Plastiq to make it easy to hit your minimum spend.
As always, Miles To The Max is available on Facebook for all your travel questions.