Sunday Reader Question: Additional Cardholders and Future Credit Card Bonuses

by on September 9, 2012 · 15 comments

in Credit Cards, Sunday Reader Questions

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TPG reader Ketan asks:

“I got a United Explorer Card and a flyer came in the mail offering 5,000 bonus miles if I add an authorized user.  If I do that, if in the future that person wants to have their own card, will they still qualify for getting a sign-up bonus for the Explorer Card?”

Yes. Being an additional cardholder will not disqualify you from getting a sign-up bonus for that same card if you decide to open a new account in your name.

Adding additional cardholders can make sense for a lot of different reasons, like in your case to get incentive bonuses or to have someone in your household earning points for you even if they don’t have the credit necessary to get their own mileage-earning card. However, the real value is when they open up their own accounts and can rake in the lucrative sign-up bonuses for themselves. Two (or more) sign-up bonuses are better than one!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • monique

    Is there a minimum amount of time that a person need to stay on account to get the bonus or can you add an authorized user and remove them at later point?

  • Grant

    Just add an authorized user and when the card comes in the mail, activate it, then destroy it (or keep it somewhere). No reason to remove a user after that.

  • Samuel Adams

    You can feel free to remove them after your bonus miles are posted to your airline account.

  • m.e.

    If my husband is added as a user, will his credit score be affected if he is only added to get the points, and then his card is cancelled after the bonus points are added to the account?

  • TravelShooter

    Somewhat a tangent, but don’t know where else to post;
    Under “top deals hotel cards” the annual fee is no longer waived first year:

    Fairmont Visa Signature Card
    ■2 Free nights at any Fairmont when you spend $1,000 within 3 months.
    ■1 free night in any Fairmont every anniversary when you spend $12,000 within a year.
    ■2 free lounge passes valued at $27.
    ■5 points per dollar spent at any Fairmont.
    ■2 points per dollar spent on airfare, car rentals and trains, 1 point on everything else.
    ■Fairmont President’s Club premier status.
    ■$95 annual fee waived for the first year. <————-NOT TRUE
    ■No foreign transaction fees.

  • Chemist661

    My wife & I apply for CC’s for the signup bonuses. We rarely add each other as authorized users because even as an authorized user, it counts as an open account. The one exception is when we add the other as an authorized user on an account that one of us had for a long time. I recently got added as an authorized user on 2 of my wife’s retail accounts that was opened in 1984. That did wonders for my average age of accounts which was lower because I recently refinanced 3 of my rental properties and after that got 3 new CC’s which dropped my scores some.

    Adding her accounts tempered the credit score drop somewhat since my average age of accounts increased in spite of all the new accounts.

    My mid bureau score dropped from 804 (at time of refi’s in June 2012) to 760. Still plenty high enough to apply for CC’s. :)

  • AJM

    I want to add myself as an authorized user on my husband’s Chase Freedom. I want to maximize the rotating bonus categories, but he doesn’t want to have to keep track of which card to use for what, especially as it changes each quarter. I plan to get this card myself in my next app round, but that’s a couple of months away. The fine print says authorized users are reported to credit agencies. Will this affect my next round of applications?

  • Artrenrut

    If all you want to do is add an authorized user to get the extra points, I’ve found that making my dog an authorized user works fine. I never worry about her running up charges ;-)

  • Mitty

    Just a quick note, while adding an “authorized user” does not affect the authorized user’s ability to apply for their own United Explorer Card, it should be noted that if you make them a *joint cardholder,* it WILL prevent them from having their own Explorer Card, even if they are not considered the primary cardholder on the account.

    My girlfriend and I went through this problem with Chase recently (past 4 months), and it was such a hassle to get it clarified and have her removed off. We were originally told by a Chase Representative that adding her on as a joint cardholder wouldn’t affect her chances of getting her own card since she wouldn’t be the primary cardholder. When she later applied for her own card, they said she was declined because their systems showed she already had an Explorer Card. Needlesstosay, it took a month to get her name off as a joint cardholder (you have to mail in the form and wait for them to process it, etc.), and was just a huge hassle.

    So bottom line: authorized users are great and you should DEFINITELY do it for the extra 5,000 bonus miles (it’s free!), but don’t do joint cardholders.

  • Guest

    Does it affect their credit?

  • PJ

    we got 4@55 with each other as AU except me the only blacksheep @50 for being too late to spot the promotion so 270K all together DONT BE SHY the 65 K target offer is still out there . fake a purchase after you logon might induce the INVITATION to pop up as well if you are not a card member and account is active.. I transferred a few miles back to United from Continental last february to get the 65K invitation to pop up.

  • PJ

    You can add Obama as AU he is too busy running for reelection same result ; AMEX does require SS# to become an AU . I doubt if they do a hard pull on your credti score tho.

  • PJ

    Chase and Bank of American go with Experian score while Barclays goes with Transunion which in m case is about 35 points lower.

  • PJ

    not updated ; it was free if applied by July 31.. I ate the bullet ; contested in Secured Message and no success

  • BobChi

    Obama finds ways to spend my money anyway :) But you’re right. You can name anyone as an authorized user, since the card will be mailed to you. Just destroy that card when it comes if it isn’t someone you truly want using your credit.

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