I'm a 20 year old college student in a long-distance relationship, with parents who pay my credit card bills & tuition, albeit with house limits on monthly spending.
Don't listen to anyone who says you don't need a card with an AF. Sure, you can put all your charges on a no-fee Discover or Capital One card, but what fun is that?
Let me tell you what's fun.
-Sitting in the Delta SkyClub at LAX with snacks and a drink and a nice long shower after a 3 hour flight on a tiny plane.
-Six (6) round-trip flights in the past 9 months from Tucson to Oakland booked entirely on points
-Getting your parents PRAISE over suite upgrades on family trips, spa credits, etc.
Take the PRG offer! That's a free low-level domestic flight!
I was made an authorized user on a Business Platinum AMEX as an 18 year old college freshman. At the same time, I opened a $500 secured card from Bank of America. After one year of perfect payments & low util, BofA unsecured me. As a 19 year old sophomore, I applied and was approved for the PRG with the 25,000 MR Points with $2500 spent in 3 months offer and the Gold Delta Skymiles 30,000 SkyMiles after $500 in 3 months offer.
As a 19 year old sophomore, I also applied for a CLI on my BofA visa, approved to $2500 (this was in October). Then, since January, I've churned 110,000 American miles on the Citi cards, 30,000 US Airways miles on the Barclay's card and another 30,000 Delta SkyMiles on the Gold Business Card.
The BEST part is as I've opened the new AMEX accounts, they all get backdated to 2011, boosting my Average Age of Accounts considerably.
-Points are good. VERY good. Especially AMEX Membership Rewards Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
-Bonuses are even better. Why pay $300+ for a flight when you could use 25,000 miles + $30 in taxes?
-Card benefits can be nice too. The Business Platinum is my favorite. With my current summer job, I'm thinking of upgrading my PRG to Platinum so I have the benefits on a personal account too.
-Play your cards right. Pay in full always, keep util low, but not zero. Prepay if you have to.
With about 2 years of credit history, 9 accounts in the past year, and smallish income, my FICOs are all in the 720s