Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club How quickly can you rack up points in the US?

  • cinereus 161 posts

    Whilst this will be a surprise to BA, we don’t all live in America with a virtually unlimited number of different miles and points earning credit cards and few restrictions on who can get them. It isn’t unusual for a keen ‘miles and points’ collector in the US to have over 30 credit cards.

    This is interesting.

    1. With no financial ties to the US, how quickly can a UK citizen travel to the US, open bank accounts and credit cards, and acquire as many of the low hanging fruit CC bonuses and rewards as possible?

    2. How many miles/points could you accrue in 3 months and how much spend would you need to put through for that?

    3. Same as Q2 but for 6 months/12 months/18 months.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,251 posts

    On 1 it is very difficult for a non resident to open a US bank account without having a SSN let alone apply and get approval for credit cards.

    This isn’t an easy way to top up your avios balance.

    LondonFly 84 posts

    I think you’re taking the points game a little too serious

    AL 616 posts

    I, a UK-residing US-frequenting individual, have a USD account with Chase, but it was an utter nightmare to set up as – exactly as BA Flyer says – I am not a US taxpayer and therefore have no SSN. Each year, I have to spend a while on the phone with my US accountant and the IRS whilst they confirm that, despite all the paperwork existing to prove I live in a country with a tax treaty, I am not – in fact – resident in the US for tax purposes, and therefore am exempt from taxes. I then have to pay my accountant for the privilege of doing this.

    In short, as BAFlyer says, don’t bother.

    NorthernLass 8,250 posts

    UK citizens are considered so be so dodgy we aren’t even allowed to book certain tourist activities, let alone open a bank account 😂

    cinereus 161 posts

    I think you’re taking the points game a little too serious

    Not really. I’ve done similar things in other countries. If you get your paperwork in order you can make a decent salary travelling to a new country for 6 months and get a free holiday thrown in.

    How do students open a bank account without a SSN? It might not be immediately obvious, but there must be a way to expedite this…?

    NorthernLass 8,250 posts

    I’m pretty sure overseas students have to have some sort of special visa which would presumably allow them to open a US bank account.
    But I’d be interested to hear about how you did this in other countries!

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,251 posts

    The US isn’t like other countries.

    Roberto 297 posts

    If you really want a US bank account you can open one for free is a matter of moments by opening a Wise account (formally transferwise).

    I have one, its excellent and if you are so inclined to open an account please feel free to use my referral code for a fee free transfer (to dollars or another currency) up to £500. I also get £25 and thank you in advance. You will also be able to refer once your account is set up.

    The code is :- https://wise.com/invite/ath/roberts66

    Cheers..

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,251 posts

    Will a Wise account get you access to card offers though?

    And the credit card companies (such as Chase for the BA visa) will still require a US Tax ID or SSN number and a US residential address.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,158 posts

    I think you’re taking the points game a little too serious

    Not really. I’ve done similar things in other countries. If you get your paperwork in order you can make a decent salary travelling to a new country for 6 months and get a free holiday thrown in.

    How do students open a bank account without a SSN? It might not be immediately obvious, but there must be a way to expedite this…?

    Every year students queue up in the Javits convention centre to get SSNs issued. There’s no short cut.

    Rui N. 855 posts

    I went to the US as a student and was able to open a bank account without a SSN – a bank on campus “knew” how to do it.
    Only got my SSN when I got a small job at the university – got paid $300 and opened the world of credit cards and earned me millions of points, so probably the best paid job I’ve ever got! But you can also get a TIN if you don’t have a right for a SSN, and for credit cards they are the same. But to do it from the UK will be quite a stretch.

    RK228 224 posts

    I’m a dual UK/US citizen (so have social security number and have one old US bank account) and guess I could use my parents’ US address.

    Tax issues are complex for US though (pay an accountant every year to do my US taxes although I don’t earn any money there and last lived there in 2006), so haven’t really explored US credit card options for fear of making this situation even more complicated.

    Rui N. 855 posts

    You could use your parent’s address indeed.
    No tax implications at all. Credit card points are not taxable, and never anything related to credit cards ever ended up on my tax return.
    Can’t you just copy what your accountant does going forward? That’s what I did when I left uni there and started working, used an accountant for one tax return and then just copied over the process going forward.

    Reney 791 posts

    In addition to all the issues outlined. Most banks in the US requires one year of credit history before letting you open a credit card in my personal experience.

    Rui N. 855 posts

    That’s easy to solve. Open a secured credit card to start getting a credit file. After a while you’ll start get accepted for “normal” credit cards.

    cinereus 161 posts

    I went to the US as a student and was able to open a bank account without a SSN – a bank on campus “knew” how to do it.
    Only got my SSN when I got a small job at the university – got paid $300 and opened the world of credit cards and earned me millions of points, so probably the best paid job I’ve ever got! But you can also get a TIN if you don’t have a right for a SSN, and for credit cards they are the same. But to do it from the UK will be quite a stretch.

    How did you get a job on a student visa?

    To all the naysayers, I’m sure this is solvable. It just might take a bit of work…

    AL 616 posts

    I’m pretty sure overseas students have to have some sort of special visa which would presumably allow them to open a US bank account.

    J1 is the visa that overseas students need to study in the US, be that for the full degree or part of it. Applying for a bank account using one, which is how I got my Chase account, requires a valid J1 visa, a valid DS-2019 with existing sponsorship, proof of address and some form of proof of study or employment. You then need to find a competent teller (difficult!), and go through all the paperwork with them. It can, quite literally, take hours.

    Servicing the account is only possible in the US, annoyingly.

    Some banks – but not Wise, which isn’t actually a bank account in your name, but is an account in their name which allows you to hold USD in at favourable rates, which helps Wise’s business model – allow you to service your account outside of the US. JPMC and Citi do this, but only at their very small number of international retail branches – in the UK, the only Citi servicing centre is in London.

    kai 79 posts

    You don’t need to be a U.S. resident or have a tax number to apply for a U.S. credit card. With Amex Global Transfer all you need is an address in the U.S. to post your card to and a U.S. phone number. This is how most overseas people start entering the U.S. credit card game, including me.

    Also, it’s unfair to blame BA’s devaluation on the U.S. market. It’s even easier to accrue United / American / Alaska miles there but you don’t see those programs devalue half as quickly as BA.

    Rui N. 855 posts

    I went to the US as a student and was able to open a bank account without a SSN – a bank on campus “knew” how to do it.
    Only got my SSN when I got a small job at the university – got paid $300 and opened the world of credit cards and earned me millions of points, so probably the best paid job I’ve ever got! But you can also get a TIN if you don’t have a right for a SSN, and for credit cards they are the same. But to do it from the UK will be quite a stretch.

    How did you get a job on a student visa?

    To all the naysayers, I’m sure this is solvable. It just might take a bit of work…

    F1 student Visa allows you to easily get a job in the university (like I did). And allows 1 full year outside (full time equivalent? I know it can be used for paid summer internships) the university while you are studying and another year after you are studying, I believe. Can’t recall all the specifics still.

    Rui N. 855 posts

    I’m pretty sure overseas students have to have some sort of special visa which would presumably allow them to open a US bank account.

    J1 is the visa that overseas students need to study in the US, be that for the full degree or part of it. Applying for a bank account using one, which is how I got my Chase account, requires a valid J1 visa, a valid DS-2019 with existing sponsorship, proof of address and some form of proof of study or employment. You then need to find a competent teller (difficult!), and go through all the paperwork with them. It can, quite literally, take hours.

    Servicing the account is only possible in the US, annoyingly.

    Some banks – but not Wise, which isn’t actually a bank account in your name, but is an account in their name which allows you to hold USD in at favourable rates, which helps Wise’s business model – allow you to service your account outside of the US. JPMC and Citi do this, but only at their very small number of international retail branches – in the UK, the only Citi servicing centre is in London.

    J1 is technically a scholar visa. F1 is the student visa.
    But lot’s of people go on J1 visas indeed (which might be problematic if you want to stay in the US after you finished studying).

    Why would you need to “service” your account in a physical place while you are abroad? I still have my US bank account and “service” it online, like I did when I was in the US.

    R 60 posts

    I, a UK-residing US-frequenting individual, have a USD account with Chase, but it was an utter nightmare to set up as – exactly as BA Flyer says – I am not a US taxpayer and therefore have no SSN. Each year, I have to spend a while on the phone with my US accountant and the IRS whilst they confirm that, despite all the paperwork existing to prove I live in a country with a tax treaty, I am not – in fact – resident in the US for tax purposes, and therefore am exempt from taxes. I then have to pay my accountant for the privilege of doing this.

    I assume this is because you have a TIN? Could you elaborate more on what tax reporting requirements are if you’re not living there, don’t have income there when having a TIN? I’m probably in a similar sort of situation.

    You don’t need to be a U.S. resident or have a tax number to apply for a U.S. credit card. With Amex Global Transfer all you need is an address in the U.S. to post your card to and a U.S. phone number. This is how most overseas people start entering the U.S. credit card game, including me

    You wouldn’t be eligible for the lucrative signups bonuses, and wouldn’t be able to apply for another card (Amex or otherwise) without a SSN/TIN though which defeats the purpose.

    harrison 8 posts

    I have a SSN plus my parents live in the US. Not had a US credit card in ten years though. Looking at the Chase BA application, can I use my UK income, which is stated on my US tax return?

    In regards to BA executive club. Is it possible to use my existing UK BAEC number? Is there anything else to watch out for?

    I avoided the Barclays offer due to hassles of FACTA. Opening a HSBC account was hard enough.

    cinereus 161 posts

    You don’t need to be a U.S. resident or have a tax number to apply for a U.S. credit card. With Amex Global Transfer all you need is an address in the U.S. to post your card to and a U.S. phone number. This is how most overseas people start entering the U.S. credit card game, including me.

    So the thread finally delivers 🙂

    So I can get any US Amex via this route?

    kai 79 posts

    I, a UK-residing US-frequenting individual, have a USD account with Chase, but it was an utter nightmare to set up as – exactly as BA Flyer says – I am not a US taxpayer and therefore have no SSN. Each year, I have to spend a while on the phone with my US accountant and the IRS whilst they confirm that, despite all the paperwork existing to prove I live in a country with a tax treaty, I am not – in fact – resident in the US for tax purposes, and therefore am exempt from taxes. I then have to pay my accountant for the privilege of doing this.

    I assume this is because you have a TIN? Could you elaborate more on what tax reporting requirements are if you’re not living there, don’t have income there when having a TIN? I’m probably in a similar sort of situation.

    You don’t need to be a U.S. resident or have a tax number to apply for a U.S. credit card. With Amex Global Transfer all you need is an address in the U.S. to post your card to and a U.S. phone number. This is how most overseas people start entering the U.S. credit card game, including me

    You wouldn’t be eligible for the lucrative signups bonuses, and wouldn’t be able to apply for another card (Amex or otherwise) without a SSN/TIN though which defeats the purpose.

    Untrue as SSN is never mandatory for Amex applications. Just apply over the phone and explain that you don’t have it. You can apply for as many Amex cards this way as you want.

    It’s very easy to get an ITIN if you want to apply for Chase or other banks’ cards.

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