Reader credit card question: What are the best luxury cards based on annual fee and authorized user fees

Apr 27, 2020

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Editor’s note: Every Monday, we answer your credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com. This post has been updated with the latest credit card information.

TPG reader Adrienne recently emailed us, asking for a comparison of premium travel rewards cards that includes the annual fee and authorized user fees:

In order to do a true cost comparison for my family, I will need a card for me and my husband. Do you have a comparison among the luxury cards that shows the annual fee AND any additional fees for additional cards?

Adrienne

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We have a guide to the credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users that provides a deep analysis of benefits and fees for both the primary cardholder and authorized users. So, for today’s reader credit card question, I’ll compare the annual fee, authorized user fees and authorized user benefits across the following premium travel rewards cards:

For all the cards in this article, authorized user cards earn the same number of points as the primary cardholder. However, authorized users may not get elite status benefits, baggage allowances, statement credits and other perks. So, let’s take a look at the benefits that are afforded to authorized users on select premium travel rewards cards.

In This Post

Comparing premium travel rewards cards for authorized users

Card Annual fee Authorized user annual fee
The Platinum Card from American Express $550 (see rates & fees) $175 for up to 3 additional Platinum cards, then $175 per additional Platinum card (see rates & fees)

None for additional Gold cards (see rates & fees)

Chase Sapphire Reserve $550 $75
Citi Prestige Card $495 $75
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard $450 None for up to 10 authorized users
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card $550 (see rates & fees) $175 for each additional Delta Reserve Card (see rates & fees)

None for additional Delta Platinum Cards (see rates & fees)

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card $450 (see rates & fees) None (see rates & fees)
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card $450 (see rates & fees) None (see rates & fees)

The information for the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Platinum Card from American Express

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first three months. But, you may be able to snag an elevated welcome bonus using the CardMatch tool (targeted offer; subject change at anytime).

Annual fee: $550 (see rates & fees)

Authorized user annual fee: $175 for up to 3 additional Platinum cards, then $175 per additional Platinum card; none for additional Gold cards (see rates & fees)

Benefits for authorized users:

Related reading:

Apply here: The Platinum Card from American Express

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

Annual fee: $550

Authorized user annual fee: $75

Benefits for authorized users:

  • Same earning rates, shopping and travel protections as the primary cardmember
  • Priority Pass Select membership with the same privileges as the primary cardholder
  • At least 12 months of complimentary DashPass, although the subscription period will begin and end based on when the first user (primary or authorized user) activates the subscription

Related reading:

Apply here: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Citi Prestige Card

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening

Annual fee: $495

Authorized user annual fee: $75

Benefits for authorized users:

Related reading:

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

Annual fee: $450

Authorized user annual fee: None for up to ten authorized users

Benefits for authorized users:

  • Same earning rates and inflight discount as the primary cardmember
  • Access to American Airlines’ Admirals Clubs when on same-day travel with American Airlines or American’s partners for you and either immediate family members or up to two guests (does not include access to American Airlines partner lounges).

Related reading:

Apply here: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $550 (see rates & fees)

Authorized user annual fee: $175 for each additional Delta Reserve Card, but none for additional Delta Platinum Cards (see rates & fees)

Benefits for authorized users:

  • Same earning rates as the primary cardmember
  • Travel and shopping protections (based on card type)
  • Complimentary access Centurion Lounges when flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight booked on a U.S.-issued American Express charge or credit card. Bring up to two guests for $50 each per visit. (additional Delta Platinum Cards aren’t eligible)
  • Complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or operated flight. Get access for $39 per person, per visit when traveling on a Delta partner airline flight that is not marketed or operated by Delta. Bring up to two guests or immediate family for $39 per person, per visit. (additional Delta Platinum Cards aren’t eligible)

Related reading:

Apply here: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 150,000 Hilton points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership

Annual fee: $450 (see rates & fees)

Authorized user annual fee: None (see rates & fees)

Benefits for authorized users:

  • Same earning rates, shopping protections and travel protections as the primary cardmember
  • Up to $100 property credit when you use your card to book an eligible two-night minimum stay at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad properties

Related reading:

Apply here: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $450 (see rates & fees)

Authorized user annual fee: None (see rates & fees)

Benefits for authorized users:

  • Same earning rates, shopping protections and travel protections as the primary cardmember
  • Up to $100 Marriott Bonvoy property credit when you use your card to book an eligible two-night minimum stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis

Related reading:

Apply here: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Other options for authorized users

Jordan Pond
(Photo by Jerry Monkman/Aurora Photos/Getty Images)

Adrienne didn’t specify why she wanted to add her spouse as an authorized user. So, it’s difficult to determine what benefits she is hoping to extend to her spouse as well as whether they might be better off each getting a card. But, here are some other options that may work better for some couples.

Each sign up for a card

It may make sense for both individuals to apply for cards if the benefits provided by both cards can justify the annual fees. For example, one person could apply for a cobranded hotel credit card and the other could apply for a cobranded airline card. Or, one person could apply for a Chase card and the other could apply for an Amex card.

The card’s benefits and your lifestyle may justify both individuals having the same card. For example, it could make sense for both individuals to have their own Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card if you can use both airline fee credits and resort credits. Plus, both individuals can utilize Hilton Diamond elite status and Priority Pass Select membership when traveling separately.

Related reading: Cards currently offering welcome bonuses of 100,000 points or more

Spouse uses mobile wallet card

I’m able to make purchases on my husband’s account using cards of his that are stored in my mobile wallet. So, if you’re mostly looking to boost your earning rates, this may be an option. However, many merchants still don’t offer mobile payments and some merchants, including airlines, may require that your name match the one on the card — so this isn’t a perfect solution.

Related reading: How do mobile wallets code for credit card bonus categories?

Consider a mid-tier travel rewards card

If you’re looking to share a travel rewards card without any authorized user fees, you may want to consider a mid-tier card like the Citi Premier℠ Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or American Express® Green Card. All of these cards offer modest earning along with a modest annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and no fees for authorized users (see rates and fees for the Amex Green Card).

The information for the Citi Premier card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi Premier: Which mid-tier travel card is better?

Bottom line

Before adding an authorized user to your card, it’s a good idea to consider your options. If there’s a fee to add an authorized user, you should decide whether the benefits offered to the authorized user are worth it. You may also want to consider whether it would make more sense for the potential authorized user to instead sign-up for their own card — especially if the card offers valuable credits, free nights and a sizeable welcome bonus.

Related guides

Featured image by Ascent XMedia/Getty Images.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green, click here.

2019 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.