Does the PRG make sense for a 20 year old college student?

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MB131174
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Postby MB131174 » Thu May 23, 2013 3:58 pm

I agree with everyone who stated that the charge card is not the way to go. I felt the membership rewards program had gotten too watered down to be of any value. Even using the points for an award ticket on an airline can be a nightmare these days, as airlines only allocate so many seats per flight. And using it for cash back? What a joke. You also have to deduct the AF from the value of the reward, so that waters it down even more. I threw my hands up in the air in disgust and canceled my AmEx charge card. I now use my BCE for EVERYTHING and love it. Cash back is simple and straight to the point. I love that I can have it applied as a bill credit vs waiting for a check, deposit check, pay bill. Gah. The AmEx blue cash everyday, IMO, is the best card to use on a daily basis.
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tigerhunt2011
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Postby tigerhunt2011 » Thu May 23, 2013 6:58 pm

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!

Data Points:
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.

Bottom Line:
-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 :)
AMEX Business Platinum AU-NPSL-07/11
AMEX PRG-NPSL-07/11
AMEX BCE-$2000-07/11
AMEX MB Platinum-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz Gold Rewards-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz DL SkyMiles Gold-04/13-->07/11
BofA Alaska Airlines Visa Classic-$2500-06/11
Barclays US Airways Platinum Mastercard-$1500-04/13
Chase Sapphire Preferred-$5,000-08/13
Citi AA Select AMEX-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Visa-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Platinum Select Visa Signature-$5000-08/13
Citi AA Platinum Select World Mastercard-$2500-04/13
Citi Business AA World Mastercard-$1000-08/13
Citi ThankYou Preferred-$2000-04/13
Express-$650-01/12
GECRB Paypal Mastercard-$3500-04/13

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Thu May 23, 2013 9:54 pm

Tiger I admire your enthusiasm, and in your situation I say fantastic, but please keep in mind, not everyone is in that situation. This person may be working their way through college and not have a dime to spare (that was me, I was approached by panhandlers on my way to class and said are you kidding I'm a student you think I have any money and they left me alone) so he or she may not be able to afford that fee. I guess that would be my concern with that. If they are in a position where the money is no big thing, I agree, get in with Amex as soon as possible but if you aren't in that position, might be wise to wait a bit.

Love your enthusiasm though!

benhollberg
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Postby benhollberg » Thu May 23, 2013 10:23 pm

I wasn't aware that some colleges charge that much extra to take credit cards, the one I attend is $1 if you do it online or no extra charge if you pay at the tuition office. My tuition is about $2800 each semester.

I started early with credit cards, in high school, and I would recommend others start early as well. Just be responsible and there shouldn't be much of a problem.
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swipe_masta
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Postby swipe_masta » Thu May 23, 2013 11:14 pm

MemberSince99 wrote:Tiger I admire your enthusiasm, and in your situation I say fantastic, but please keep in mind, not everyone is in that situation. This person may be working their way through college and not have a dime to spare (that was me, I was approached by panhandlers on my way to class and said are you kidding I'm a student you think I have any money and they left me alone) so he or she may not be able to afford that fee. I guess that would be my concern with that. If they are in a position where the money is no big thing, I agree, get in with Amex as soon as possible but if you aren't in that position, might be wise to wait a bit.

Love your enthusiasm though!


I am so glad I wasn't the first to jump on this kid... I absolutely agree with you 99.

Bksuper
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Postby Bksuper » Thu May 23, 2013 11:16 pm

benhollberg wrote:I wasn't aware that some colleges charge that much extra to take credit cards, the one I attend is $1 if you do it online or no extra charge if you pay at the tuition office. My tuition is about $2800 each semester.

I started early with credit cards, in high school, and I would recommend others start early as well. Just be responsible and there shouldn't be much of a problem.

I'm sure it depends on the school. My school is closer to $4k per semester and they want to fully make up for what the credit card fees are. I just pay by echeck for the school's bills and CCs for most of my other expenses. But even if you can pay by credit card without a large fee, there are more rewarding ways to do it than by PRG and those don't even have an annual fee!
Sole Ownership Cards:
1st Financial Bank Platinum Student Visa, $500 CL, Open Since 3/2012
Citi Forward Student Visa, $6k CL, Open Since 10/2012
Costco TrueEarnings Amex, $6k CL, Backdates to 1/2012
SallieMae Rewards Barclay Mastercard, $2.5k CL, Open Since 4/2013
Jointly Owned Cards (co-owner with mom, not AU, used and paid only by me):
Chase Amazon Rewards Visa Signature, $2k CL, Open Since 8/2012
US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature, $13.5k CL, Open Since 10/2012
Authorized User (Parents Pay/Use)
Costco TrueEarnings Amex $29.4k CL, AU since 11/2012

swipe_masta
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Postby swipe_masta » Thu May 23, 2013 11:18 pm

tigerhunt2011 wrote: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.


This right here trumps everything else you said afterwards... Also, just out of curiosity, what's the relevance of stating you're in a long-distance relationship? It made me laugh a little...

Bksuper
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Postby Bksuper » Thu May 23, 2013 11:30 pm

swipe_masta wrote:This right here trumps everything else you said afterwards... Also, just out of curiosity, what's the relevance of stating you're in a long-distance relationship? It made me laugh a little...

I'm guessing he meant that he needed to travel a lot for visits, or going seasonally between school and home, and that made it more practical for him to have an amex charge card for the travel benefits that the typical student doesn't use, but he did.
Sole Ownership Cards:
1st Financial Bank Platinum Student Visa, $500 CL, Open Since 3/2012
Citi Forward Student Visa, $6k CL, Open Since 10/2012
Costco TrueEarnings Amex, $6k CL, Backdates to 1/2012
SallieMae Rewards Barclay Mastercard, $2.5k CL, Open Since 4/2013
Jointly Owned Cards (co-owner with mom, not AU, used and paid only by me):
Chase Amazon Rewards Visa Signature, $2k CL, Open Since 8/2012
US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature, $13.5k CL, Open Since 10/2012
Authorized User (Parents Pay/Use)
Costco TrueEarnings Amex $29.4k CL, AU since 11/2012

tigerhunt2011
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Postby tigerhunt2011 » Fri May 24, 2013 12:34 pm

The long-distance relationship validated the value I place on award flights :) getting to see my bf once a month off of regular school charges has made me a lifelong fan of churning. Working on a trip to Europe for us when I graduate entirely on points/miles.

I understand everyone is in a different scenario. But consider this. Everyone, and i mean EVERONE *attending & enrolled* in college is spending money. Regardless of how it is earned or how easily, money is changing hands. The only point I'm making is that you can maximize your utility by strategically routing living expenses (rent, tuition, food) on cards that can earn you enormous bonuses and enable you to do things you would never otherwise be able to do.

I have a part-time job (full time this summer), but I could never afford the dollar value of the flights I've taken on points in the past year. I'm by no means loaded, I just love my bf and i love traveling, so I'm always finding ways to make it happen :) .
AMEX Business Platinum AU-NPSL-07/11
AMEX PRG-NPSL-07/11
AMEX BCE-$2000-07/11
AMEX MB Platinum-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz Gold Rewards-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz DL SkyMiles Gold-04/13-->07/11
BofA Alaska Airlines Visa Classic-$2500-06/11
Barclays US Airways Platinum Mastercard-$1500-04/13
Chase Sapphire Preferred-$5,000-08/13
Citi AA Select AMEX-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Visa-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Platinum Select Visa Signature-$5000-08/13
Citi AA Platinum Select World Mastercard-$2500-04/13
Citi Business AA World Mastercard-$1000-08/13
Citi ThankYou Preferred-$2000-04/13
Express-$650-01/12
GECRB Paypal Mastercard-$3500-04/13

tigerhunt2011
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Postby tigerhunt2011 » Fri May 24, 2013 12:36 pm

Bksuper wrote:I'm sure it depends on the school. My school is closer to $4k per semester and they want to fully make up for what the credit card fees are. I just pay by echeck for the school's bills and CCs for most of my other expenses. But even if you can pay by credit card without a large fee, there are more rewarding ways to do it than by PRG and those don't even have an annual fee!


For the record, my uni. uses an external CC processor, and charges no fee. Heck, I've even heard a strategy for meeting minimum spend where you enroll for the max number of classes, charge it, then un-enroll and receive a refund check to pay off the extra amount on the card with.
AMEX Business Platinum AU-NPSL-07/11
AMEX PRG-NPSL-07/11
AMEX BCE-$2000-07/11
AMEX MB Platinum-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz Gold Rewards-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz DL SkyMiles Gold-04/13-->07/11
BofA Alaska Airlines Visa Classic-$2500-06/11
Barclays US Airways Platinum Mastercard-$1500-04/13
Chase Sapphire Preferred-$5,000-08/13
Citi AA Select AMEX-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Visa-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Platinum Select Visa Signature-$5000-08/13
Citi AA Platinum Select World Mastercard-$2500-04/13
Citi Business AA World Mastercard-$1000-08/13
Citi ThankYou Preferred-$2000-04/13
Express-$650-01/12
GECRB Paypal Mastercard-$3500-04/13



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