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Teenagers. They’re seemingly close to adulthood, yet still far from monetary independence.
So what are parents to do when it comes to finances? To credit cards and the subsequent rewards earned?
Here are four simple ways parents can budget for their teens and teach them about managing their finances.
1. Plan ahead for study abroad
Is your teenager taking a foreign language class? If they seem particularly interested in a certain country, it might be a good idea to see what study abroad programs their school offers.
Many high schools in the U.S. offer study abroad trips to students. Spain, Italy and France are popular destinations, and often these trips are about a week in length. Saving up travel rewards can significantly offset the cost of international airfare.
In order to prepare, choose a credit card that allows point redemption with any airline. This flexibility allows your student to fly with the group, and you as parents do not need to travel with your teen to redeem the reward. Simply book the ticket using the rewards, and your teen will be ready to travel with their classmates.
2. Add your teen as an authorized user (with limits)
If you are considering adding your teen to your credit card as an authorized user, beware that most credit cards give all authorized user the same credit limit.
The exception to this is American Express. American Express cards allow for the main account holder to set spending limits for authorized users. This is a great option for parents who want to ensure their teens don’t go overboard.
And since American Express has partner cards such as the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card and more, you are on your way to earning more rewards while teaching your teen about personal finance.
It’s important to ensure that your kid understands the spending boundaries. If you’re not sure if this approach is a good idea for your teen just yet, you could also consider a debit card until they’re ready for credit.
» Learn more: The beginner's guide to points and miles
3. Earn rewards at the pump
One effective way to show teens how to consistently use, and pay off, a credit card statement is at the gas pump.
If your teen is of driving age and your family decides to help pay for some of their gas, a good way to do so is with a credit card that rewards gas as a bonus, like The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. This card gives 5X bonus points at gas stations.
4. Cruise into spring break
Cruises can be a great option for family spring breaks. Look for a travel rewards card that allows bonus categories for cruises, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
While it is a personal decision to involve your teenager with a credit card, it can be a good way to instill positive financial practices under supervision. And even if you don’t get your teen involved, you can still choose to earn travel rewards that will work for the whole family.
» Learn more: Which cruise credit card should you get?
If you want to teach teens about points and miles
Families can leverage travel rewards as a real-life tool to help teens begin understanding big-monetary concepts like credit, debt and responsible spending. Plus, earning travel rewards as part of a group effort will make future family travel on points and miles even more satisfying.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card