My daughter has had a credit card since she was 2 years old, thanks to American Airlines. She has been flying, mostly long haul her entire life since she was born in Hong Kong. Her frequent flier account has been open since she was three weeks old.
My husband wanted to use some of her miles to take a last minute trip. We called American AAdvantage and thought that we could just easily do it since she’s a kid and we’re her parents. Wrong. When you redeem miles, you still are responsible for the taxes. Therefore, even though my husband was using my daughter’s miles, there were taxes she technically would pay on his behalf. How do you pay those, you ask? With a credit or debit card. Fine, we’ll use ours. Well, that’s actually not possible.
At the time of this writing, in order to redeem your child’s American AAdvantage miles, you must pay the taxes with a credit card or bank account that’s in your child’s name. Or, go to a ticketing desk at the airport and pay cash.
We didn’t have anything financial in her name, at the time. The representative suggested that we have one of our credit cards issued in her name. My husband was skeptical that would even be possible. We called Citibank and it was done instantaneously. They even issued her a physical card that we received in the mail a few weeks later.
So there you have it. Though we swore up and down we wouldn’t give her a credit card, here she is at the age of 2 (now 3) with one that has a pretty nice limit on it. And that is how you redeem your child’s American AAdvantage air miles.
If you fly with kids, do immediately open them a frequent flier account with whatever your airline of choice is. Those miles add up and kids can earn frequent flier status, too.