Credit Card Applications in Preparation for First Tuition Bill.

A round of credit card applications has me prepared for my son JumpStart Jack’s first tuition bill.  His tuition bill for Radford University will total around $7k, and the funds are already saved, and in a bank account.   I plan on using credit cards to pay, even though it will incur a 2.75% convenience fee.

The plan is to use newly approved credit cards with bonus offers to earn a much higher bonus than the fees.

Normal credit card rewards that range from 1x to 2x would be a losing process.

Credit card balances will be paid in full before the due dates, and no interest charges will apply.  Credit card interest charges would be disastrous.

Results from our applications

JumpStart Jack.

After some setbacks, my son JumpStart Jack was approved for his second credit card at age 18 and 3 months. The Bank of America Travel Rewards Card for Students comes with a bonus of 20,000 points after $1000 in spend.



Mr.  JumpStart.

Many of my options are depleted at Chase, AMEX, and Citi, but I mistakenly decided to apply for my first Capital One card.  I am the loser of the bunch, and got the dreaded instant rejection screen.



Capital One’s reasons for rejection:

  • Based on your credit report from Equifax, too few or no revolving accounts have a balance.
  • Based on your application information, income is insufficient for requested credit.

They also cited an Experian score of 755.



The results surprised me.  I am currently employed as a high school teacher with 22 years of experience and National Board Certification, but my salary doesn’t qualify me for a Capital One card.  I think they should add a “no teachers” disclaimer to their massive advertising campaign.

“Too few or no revolving accounts have a balance.”  So what if I have cards with no balances?  This is the first time I have been rejected for either of these reasons.

It is also the lowest I have ever seen my score reported.  The discover website estimates my score at 815.  In addition to the previous reasons, I also got the standard “too many new accounts” line that I expect to see when rejected for a card.

Anyway,        %&$#?@! Forget Capital One.

Mrs. JumpStart.

The lovely Mrs. JumpStart has been patiently waiting to get under the Chase 5/24 rule, and was approved for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Card.  When she applied, it came with a bonus 40,000 miles after $1000 in spend.  Mrs. JumpStart got the instant decision approval screen, and was given a credit line of $2000.



A couple days later all the credit card blogs had posts about the new 60,000 mile offer.  I logged into Mrs. JumpStart’s account to secure message Chase, and beg for the offer.



I got a kind of strange response on matching the recent best offer.  It said to message back once I had completed $2k in spend, which is spend for the new offer.  I guess that means she’ll get it?

After a week, I started eyeing the Southwest companion pass, and wondering if Chase might approve Mrs. JumpStart for one of the other 2 different SW cards.  There is another personal card and a business card.  I made a few preparations including closing her Marriott card, and re-balancing some of her credit line.

Mrs. JumpStart’s second application in 8 days received the glorious instant congratulations screen for the second version of Southwest personal card.



Bonus Summary

JumpStart Jack:

  • Spend $1k.
  • Pay $27.50 convenience fee.
  • Earn 21,500 Bank Americard points which is $215 toward travel.

Mrs. JumpStart:

  • Spend $4k.
  • Pay $110.00 in convenience fees.
  • Pay 99$ + 69$ annual fee.
  • Earn 124,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards miles.
  • Earn the SW companion pass, and Mr. JS get to accompany for free.

Mr. JumpStart.

  • Shut out.
  • Loser.
  • Traveling on the coat tails of his family.

Our 3 new cards should soon arrive in the mail.  I don’t know if Radford University will mail a paper tuition bill or bill me electronically. Either way, preparations are complete.

Posted in Credit cards, Paying for college..


  1. This is a really clever strategy for paying college tuition! I’m currently pursuing a Masters, and I did use my fall tuition payment ($1700ish) towards my minimum spend for my AAdvantage card. Helped me get 50,000 bonus miles. We’ve got 8 years until Jr. ThreeYear starts school, but if we only had a $7K first year tuition bill I would be stoked!!! I will definitely think about travel hacking in conjunction with these payments, as much as we travel!

  2. Radford ‘s cost of attendance was estimated at 19k and my son got a 3k merit scholarship. 7k was the estimate for 1st semester only. We already paid a 400 deposit and I am not including books and living expenses. I am actually eager to get the bill. I have the 3 cards in hand, and I like to clear the bonus quickly. I could possibly use the SW miles this summer, and waiting is kind of killing me.

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