Last updated on November 24th, 2020
There are a vast number of exceptional travel credit cards on the market today. And many of these provide impressive rewards, perks, and benefits to those with good-to-excellent credit scores. When individuals can’t get the travel credit cards they want, they turn to friends and family, becoming an authorized user on their account. So, do those fancy credit card perks also apply to authorized users?
What Is an Authorized User?
First things, first: what is an authorized user? An authorized user is someone added to a credit card account by the account holder. Authorizing a user gives them access to the line of credit and their own credit card that they can use to make purchases.
One of the benefits of adding an authorized user to a credit card is that the user gains the benefits of the primary account holder’s good credit. If the primary account holder continues to use the card responsibly and make on-time payments, they can build a positive credit history for the authorized user and get rewards cards of their own.
One of the top reasons why people love rewards cards is the impressive signup bonuses they offer. Some of the top-tier travel credit cards, including the Platinum Card from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the Citi Prestige, offer huge introductory bonuses.
While adding an authorized user won’t double the points on offer, authorized user spending does count towards the required amount to earn these bonus rewards. For cards that offer 100,000 miles/points or more, having more than one person working towards that threshold can make them much easier to reach.
Authorized Users, Credit Card Perks, and Elite Status
Like signup bonuses, travel cards often benefit from elite status in loyalty programs. Except for the ultra-premium cards, most cards come with entry or mid-tier levels in these programs, with additional spending necessary to reach further levels – and perks.
Adding an authorized user increases the chances of reaching the tiers, thanks to multiple cardholders spending towards the same goal. Multiple spenders, however, only have one benefactor. Introductory status boosts through spending requirements only count towards the loyalty status of the primary account holder in most cases. This rule means that the authorized user can help the account holder reach the best tiers with their own spending, but they can’t enjoy those benefits themselves.
Like elite-tier status, authorized users also don’t get to enjoy their own statement credits. Cards like the Platinum Card from Amex offer impressive statement credits, including travel credits, Saks Fifth Avenue credits, and more. These credits are for the entire account – and not each user.
Card Perks and Benefits
Typically, rewards credit cards grant the benefits of the card to all authorized users. This means that everyone on the account enjoys the lounge access, room upgrades, and other luxurious card features.
This extension of benefits to all users on the account sometimes comes with an extra charge. The Platinum Card, for instance, charges $175 per card, while the Sapphire Reserve charges $75 per authorized user. For additional users who plan to make use of these prestigious cards, however, the costs of obtaining the card are well worth it.
Should You Become an Authorized User?
So, should you try and become an authorized user on a friend or family member’s travel card? Conversely, should you consider adding a family member or friend to your own card?
Adding an authorized user requires a great deal of trust. After all, not only does the authorized user’s credit score stand to gain from the account holder, but account owner is dependent on the new user to use the credit card responsibly. If the authorized user misuses the card, they hurt both their credit score and that of the account holder.
If, however, the authorized user intends to use the card correctly, and they plan to make the most of the impressive benefits these cards provide, adding authorized users is a no-brainer that offers exceptional value to all involved. The card issuer enjoys increased spending, the account holder earns big bonuses and higher loyalty tiers, and access to credit card perks they otherwise couldn’t receive for the authorized user – what’s not to like?