Free Flights May Be Moving Further Out of Reach for Stay at Home Parents

Everyone knows that the best way to collect frequent flyer miles is by taking advantage of the best credit card sign up bonuses.  In the last year, both my wife and I have accumulated thousands of dollars worth of free travel by strategically applying for (and getting accepted for) credit cards.

As a working husband with a stay at home wife, I was a little disconcerted to hear about some upcoming changes to the approval process for credit card applications due to the implementation of the Credit CARD Act of 2009.

Hank Coleman writes:

The new ruling requires credit card companies to look at individual income for people applying for individual credit cards. They are no longer allowed to consider total household income to issue credit. Now, stay-at-home spouses will not qualify for credit cards if they do not have specific income themselves.

Credit Card Approvals May Be Hard to Come by For Stay at Home Parents

The changes outlined above are expected to be implemented by October of this year.

Well, that throws a little bit of a monkey wrench into our travel free plans.

The rationale is this.  Credit card companies need to be more responsible to whom they offer credit. (Good idea!)  They must be able to show that a person has the ability to repay their bills. (Good idea.)  Obviously, it would seem impossible to repay a bill if one does not earn an income.  However, it also seems ridiculous, considering the fact that my wife and I legally own everything jointly.  My wife might not have a direct income, but she certainly has an indirect income, as what is mine is hers.

My income is, and has always been, our income.  I couldn’t leave the home to find the bacon if she wasn’t tending the flocks on the home front.

I think it’s unfair that her ability to access credit is hindered because she stays home.  Again, I’m not concerned about the fact that she can’t get loans.  We don’t do that kind of stuff.  I just want more free flights, and two credit card applications per promotion gets us flying twice as much!

What should you do if you’re a stay at home mom (or dad)?

  1. Apply for a credit card before October. If you’ve been considering applying for a credit card, this would be the time to do it.  After October, the process may be more difficult.
  2. Get creative. As a small business owner, I may consider selling my business to my wife and working for her.  Sure, that might be a dramatic step so she can have an income, but desperate times call for desperate measures Smile.
  3. Wait and see how things ultimately pan out. It’s always difficult to know what will and will not happen.  Before we consider any drastic moves, we’ll wait for the first time my wife is denied for a card and then alter our strategy from there.

What are your thoughts on the changes excluding stay at home parents from getting credit cards?


  1. says

    Yowsers, hadn’t heard (or I guess paid attention to!) that potential change. That does seem to take a good idea (credit only for those who can pay) and use it in a way that doesn’t sound quite so beneficial to many families. Even without the point bonuses, there are many reasons that credit cards that are tied to individual spouses is a good idea. I hope that this change ends up being workable for stay-at-home parents! Thanks for the info.

  2. calwatch says

    Doesn’t really make sense in community property states, since in those states, literally by State law, 1/2 of mines is my spouse’s, and vice versa.

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