[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners once they become available here — the American Express Platinum, Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard and Citi Prestige.]
It’s common to find credit cards that reward their cardholders for adding an authorized user. Most of the time this reward is in the form of bonus points or miles. But, often times, it goes much deeper than that. Some cards will offer elite status or additional bonus points if you hit a certain amount of spend during the year. Having an authorized user can help you reach that limit a little quicker.
Something that isn’t talked about nearly as often is what is actually in it for the authorized user. Yes, being an authorized user can help someone build or repair credit, but what else can incentivize someone to become an authorized user? One answer: mutual benefits. There are several credit cards that will actually extend the benefits — or at least some of them — that come with the card to not only the primary cardholder, but also their authorized users.
Let’s take a look at a few cards and the benefits their authorized user can receive.
1. The Platinum Card From American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express (see full review here) is one of the best elite travel credit cards available right now. Because of that it has an annual fee of $550 for the primary cardholder. American Express charges $175 for up to three authorized Platinum Card users and $175 for each one after that. However, the benefits can be well worth it, depending on how often that authorized user travels. Platinum Card authorized users receive everything that the primary cardholder receives except for the card’s $200 airline fee credit. That means you’ll receive access to over 1,000 airport lounges, including the American Express Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Airspace Lounges, and a Priority Pass membership. Authorized users will also receive Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status, Hilton Honors Gold status, and a statement credit for up to $100 every five years for a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check application. The Platinum Card is a charge card, which means you’re expected to pay off all your purchases in full each billing cycle, so it doesn’t carry a standard purchase annual percentage rate (APR).
2. Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
Just like The Platinum Card from American Express, the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard comes with a fairly high $450 annual fee. The difference is that there is no fee to add an authorized user and all authorized users will receive complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges. You can even bring two guests into the lounge with you while traveling. This card carries a variable APR of 15.99%. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
3. Citi Prestige Card
Anyone with a Citi Prestige card (see full review here) can add an authorized user for a fee of $50. As an authorized user, you receive your own Priority Pass membership, which will give you and two travel companions access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. The Citi Prestige carries a variable APR of 15.99%.
4. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card From Chase
As an authorized user of The Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card, you will be able to use the card’s $100 Visa Infinite airline ticket discount. How this benefit works: When you purchase a domestic round-trip coach ticket for two to five people, you will receive a $100 discount. It’s important to note that the discount applies to the total cost of the itinerary, not the cost of each ticket.
Adding an Authorized User?
Cardholder benefit statements are not always very clear on what benefits will extend to authorized users. We suggest that you always contact your card issuer to get clear direction on which benefits are included and which are excluded from authorized users.
Remember, it’s important to read the fine print of all card agreements carefully to determine if a card is right for you. You’ll also want to check you credit before applying, since you typically need a good credit score to qualify for the cards with the best bennies. (You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.) And, if you are opting for a rewards credit card, it’s particularly important to aim to pay your balance off in full each month; otherwise, you’ll risk losing your points, miles or cash back to your APR.
At publishing time, the American Express Platinum, Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard and Citi Prestige credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.