MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.


Earning free travel through credit card rewards points takes careful planning and record-keeping. It’s enough work on your own, but what if your travel companion is unable or unwilling to earn enough rewards to travel with you? Do you have to leave your loved one behind? 

Earning enough points to cover the costs of travel for multiple people isn’t as hard as you might think. However, it might not be necessary. Your would-be Player 2 may be able to earn credit card rewards points even if you think they can’t. 

Let’s see if we can get your travel partner started in the world of points and miles.   

If not, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process for earning enough credit card rewards for two people to travel. 

Reasons Player 2 May Not be Able to Earn Credit Card Rewards

There are a lot of reasons why your travel companion(s) may not be able to earn points to join you in your travel adventures. For instance, if your travel companion is your minor child, they won’t be old enough to earn credit card reward points. In addition, a spouse or significant other may have poor credit they are trying to repair or may be ineligible for U.S. credit cards based on their citizenship or residency status. Lastly, and most commonly, your potential player 2 may simply be skeptical of the idea of traveling on points earned through opening credit cards.

If your travel companion is ineligible for rewards points you’ll be stuck earning enough points to pay for both of your travel. The good news is: that this is entirely possible. I have five kids that can’t earn their own rewards points, so my wife and I each earn enough points for three people! Neither of us has ever crossed 5/24. 

However, just because you think your would-be Player 2 is ineligible to help doesn’t make it so. 

Let’s discover how we may turn your travel companion into a points-earning pro. 

How to Help Your Travel Companion Earn Points

What To Do If Player 2 Is a Minor

If your Player 2 is too young for credit, you obviously can’t make them older. Kids already grow up too fast! However, you can put your child in a better position to obtain credit as soon as they are of age.

Adding a minor child as an authorized user on a parent’s credit card account is a great way to build their credit history. Being declined for “lack of credit history” when you apply for a card frustrates many young people starting their financial lives. This presents a chicken or the egg problem. How can one get credit without a credit history? Adding your child as an authorized user establishes a credit history without the need for approval. This makes obtaining credit easier when they become adults.

There are many benefits of adding a minor as an authorized user besides building their credit history. You’ll earn rewards points for their purchases and they may receive some of the extra perks of the card. For instance, authorized users of a Chase Sapphire Reserve® card receive roadside assistance and Priority Pass membership.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

LEARN MORE 

Drawbacks exist for adding an authorized user. You are responsible for any purchases on the card. However, most cards allow you to set spending limits on authorized user cards. Additionally, being an authorized user on a Chase card can count against your 5/24 status. This is an easy fix, however. You can simply remove your child as an authorized user before they apply for credit and the card will no longer show on their credit report. 

Some cards charge a fee for authorized users. Depending on how you intend to use the card this may or may not be worth it. If your only goal is building credit, add your travel companion as an authorized user to a card without an annual fee. However, it can occasionally be worth paying the fee if the authorized user will get enough mileage out of the benefits. 

While adding a child as an authorized user doesn’t help them earn rewards today, it does help with their chances of approval when they are ready to apply for their first travel credit card. 

What To Do If Player 2 Has Bad Credit or Doesn’t Have a Social Security Number

If your travel companion has a bad credit history or no United States credit history it can be difficult to find a rewards card that will approve your application. However, all is not lost.

Some banks may approve you for a store credit card even if you have no credit history or bad credit. However, these cards usually have higher interest rates and pathetic rewards. This makes them attractive only for building credit and not helpful for travel. However, once you’ve established your credit, your ineligible travel companion can graduate to a welcome-bonus-earning Player 2. 

Another way to build your companion’s credit is by getting them a secured credit card. This is typically a secured line of credit that requires an initial deposit of anywhere from $200 – $2,000 as collateral. You will then be able to use the card just like any other. Your credit score will increase over time with responsible use. You can also check out this resource for building your credit.

If your Player 2 is not a U.S. Citizen or doesn’t have a credit history in the United States you may have assumed they are ineligible for a rewards credit card. However, that’s not necessarily the case. American Express allows applicants to apply for credit without a Social Security number. If they have credit internationally, American Express will use that credit history to make their underwriting decision. This is great news because American Express Membership Rewards are some of the most powerful points in the industry.  

If your travel partner doesn’t have credit internationally, they may still be approved for a secured credit card from a card issuer like Capital One or Discover. 

Don’t assume your travel companion can’t be approved for a card. Apply anyways. If they are declined, look at the declination letter and see what is holding them back. Apply for a secured credit card and focus on building their credit. Whether they’ve had a bad credit experience or are new to the country, it could be just a few months before you’re earning points together.

How to Handle a Skeptical Player 2

The most common reason you may be stuck earning rewards on your own is that your travel partner has misconceptions about credit cards and rewards points. They might think that traveling on points “is a scam” or “too good to be true”. Many people believe one of many myths about credit cards, making them reluctant to open a new credit card.

If a myth about credit or a family money script about credit cards is keeping your travel companion from earning their own points, simply bringing them on a trip paid for by your hard-earned points can dispel many of these myths

Also, explaining to them how banks make money on your transaction fees may help them realize offering rewards to customers is beneficial to the bank. Many people think that you can’t “beat the banks”. Helping them realize that earning credit card rewards is not a zero-sum proposition may lower their skepticism.  

Ultimately, some people’s minds won’t change and you’ll still want to travel. If there’s nothing you can do to get your Player 2 on board, then we’ll need to earn enough points for both of you. 

Let’s look at how to make that possible. 

How to Earn Enough Rewards Points for Two People to Travel

One person can earn enough credit card rewards points for two people to pay for nearly-free travel. All you need to do is keep your spending and credit card applications disciplined.

Welcome bonuses on credit cards range significantly. Some welcome bonuses are as low as 10,000 points, while some periodically offer 100,000+ welcome bonuses. However, beware. Not all credit card points are created equal. Just because a welcome bonus offers many points doesn’t make it the best offer for you. The most common welcome bonus is between 25,000-50,000 points or miles after spending approximately $3,000 in three months.

A single credit card welcome bonus is often enough to pay for one or two round-trip flights or several nights at a hotel.

For instance, depending on the current offer, welcome bonus on the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card could get you enough points for 3-4 nights at the all inclusive Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Jamaica.

There’s a plethora of credit cards you could use to buy your flights. You can find flights as low as 11,537 points each way on Southwest to Montego Bay (MBJ). This means a 60,000 welcome bonus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, which is a fairly common offer, will pay for both of your flights.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Limited Time Offer

LEARN MORE 

You could also book a flight on Delta for 32,000 Delta Miles per round-trip ticket. You can earn Delta Miles on any Delta branded card or transfer Membership Rewards. You could also use Venture Miles from your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Venture X to reimburse the charge of a cash ticket. 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

LEARN MORE 

To earn enough rewards points for the travel of two or more people, you’ll simply have to earn credit card welcome bonuses regularly. You don’t have to pay for each traveler’s ticket with just one welcome bonus. A well-stocked miles account is the key to paying for the travel of more than one person. 

Now that you know that earning enough reward points for two travelers is possible, let’s outline the steps to ensure you have plenty of reward points for your travel goals.

Step 1: Calculate Your Average Monthly Credit Card Spending

Calculating how much you spend monthly on your credit cards is the first step to ensuring you have enough reward points for two.

Each welcome bonus requires a minimum spend during a specified period. You’ll want to be sure that you only apply for cards whose welcome bonuses you can meet through your regular spending. 

Look at your credit card statements from the last several months and calculate the average spend you put on a credit card.

Step 2: Anticipate and Plan for Upcoming Major Expenses

Once you know your average monthly credit card spending add any unusual upcoming expenses.

Large purchases can help you earn more welcome bonuses, but you have to have a card ready to meet the minimum spend when the time comes. Whether you are paying tuition, remodeling a home, or buying a new car or appliance, knowing the dollar amount of that major purchase determines your spending capacity over the next several months. You can even earn rewards points by paying your income taxes.

Once you have a good idea of how much you plan to spend on a credit card over the next three months, you can begin to shop for your new credit cards.

Step 3: Select Cards for the Next Three Months

The best way to plan your next credit card is to go to the Best Credit Cards page on MileValue. While it’s tempting to apply for cards that relate to the trip you’re planning, getting the best card available ensures you will earn the maximum number of points per dollar spent. This is doubly important when you’re earning for more than one person.

Look for a combination of cards with minimum spending requirements equal to or less than the dollar amount of your planned purchases over the next three months.

Keep in mind that you may have plans for a set amount of spending, but things change. My wife and I planned to spend several thousand dollars on her tuition bill only to discover she was approved for a scholarship. While I wasn’t upset about not spending the money, this impacted my welcome bonus plans. Ensure you leave some wiggle room between the total spending requirements of your cards and your planned credit card spending.

Step 4: Apply for Multiple Cards at Once

Once you find the cards you want, complete the applications for a few cards on the same day.

When you are earning rewards points for more than one person it’s important to maintain your ability to apply for cards. If you get in the habit of applying for a card a month, eventually the number of credit inquiries will cause banks to reject you. If, however, you group your applications to two or three at a time, this will give you more cards at one time and allow your credit to “cool off” between applications.

If applying for more than one card from the same bank, you should wait a day between applications, unless you are applying for both a business and personal card at the same time.

Step 5: Use Your Welcome Bonus Card for All Purchases

Applying for new cards to earn welcome bonuses is a great way to earn rewards points, but it doesn’t get you very far if you forget to use the right card. Use the card whose minimum spending requirement you are working towards for all purchases, large or small. Even if your purchase falls under a lucrative category for a card in your wallet, you’ll want to spend on the card with an unmet welcome bonus instead of the card with the best points potential.

Your Player 2 can help you meet a minimum spend without applying for a credit card. If you add them as an authorized user on your card and you can each work towards the minimum spend, or you can divide and conquer, working towards a welcome bonus on two different cards at the same time.

In my household, my wife does 80% of the day-to-day spending, but I make most of the large purchases. My wife holds the card with the welcome bonus and I’ll simply ask her for it if I need to put tires on the vehicle or pay property taxes.

Once you’ve met the minimum spending requirement on the card, ensure you received the bonus, enroll in autopay in case you accidentally select that card when making a purchase online, then store the card in a desk drawer or folio. Decide whether to keep or close the card after the first full year.

Step 6: Maximize Your Points Redemptions

Because you’re earning points for two people you need to maximize your points redemptions whenever possible. Here are a few tricks to help you maximize your point redemptions.

Plan Ahead

Many hotels and airlines utilize demand-based reward redemptions. This means that the more in-demand your destination is, the more points you’ll need to redeem for your travel arrangements. Proper planning means you’ll make your travel arrangements before supply gets scarce and rooms or flights get more expensive. It also means you’ll have the flexibility to take advantage of any promotional discounts or low-priced opportunities.

Travel Off-peak

Demand-based pricing means that traveling during peak vacation times, such as summer or holidays is more expensive. Some airlines and hotels have on-peak and off-peak pricing. They charge more during specific times of the year. If you can travel off-peak you’ll stretch your points and miles further.

Stay Domestic

Although weekend trips to Paris and Dubai are brag-worthy, simply exploring the United States can be a lot of fun too. Don’t feel like you have to travel internationally to make traveling on points and miles worth it. My family does mostly domestic travel. We wouldn’t be able to travel as much as we do if we used all our points on international travel.

Bonus Idea: The Southwest Companion Pass

One of the best tools for traveling with a companion who isn’t earning their own points is the Southwest Companion pass. It allows you to bring a free passenger on any Southwest flight you are flying on. This includes tickets you purchase with points.  

You can earn the Southwest companion pass by meeting the minimum spending requirements of just two cards. The Companion pass is good for the remainder of the year you earned it and all of the following year. 

Every year MileValue publishes a guide on how to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. 

Final Thoughts

It’s absolutely possible to earn enough credit card rewards points for more than one person. However, you may not have to. Whether Player 2 is ineligible or simply unwilling your first step is to try to get them involved in earning points and miles for themselves.

If you’re left earning the points for two, be sure to calculate your credit card spend, use the Best Cards site to plan your applications, and use the card with the welcome bonus for all your purchases. If you continually earn points through your regular spending patterns, you’ll earn plenty of points to fly you and a companion around the world.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.