12 reasons why your college student should be an authorized user on your Chase Sapphire Preferred

Jun 14, 2021

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The decision has been made. Your child has selected the college they will attend. For some, it may be a community college close to home. Others might be off to a university that’s a long car ride or even a flight away.

Regardless of the location, the transition to college can be a costly one. It’s also an excellent opportunity to prepare your college-bound teen to be a responsible user of credit, as well as for you to earn the welcome bonus on a new travel credit card.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is worth adding to your credit card portfolio right now due to a historically high sign-up bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That’s worth a cool $1,250 toward travel booked through Chase, among other redemption possibilities.

Ready to get the card? Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred increased 100,000-point bonus

You can put any costs for your child’s college move on the card to help you meet its introductory offer spending requirements. Plus, once you’re approved, you can add your child as an authorized user for free. Here are some of the reasons you might want to do so.

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What is an authorized user?

Adding your children as authorized users to your credit cards will help them build a credit history and will (hopefully) lead to better credit scores as they transition to adulthood. (Photo by Maskot/Getty Images)

When you add an authorized user to your credit card, you as the primary cardholder are granting permission for that person to be added to the account. This means they can use your credit card to make purchases, sign up for subscription services, and take cash advances out on that account.

Related: Building credit history: Adding your kids as authorized users to your credit cards

But adding an authorized user also means that you assume the responsibility of paying for their transactions, so there is some risk. Even if your additional user promises to pay you back for their purchases, you and solely you are responsible for their debts and spending at the end of the month. That’s why it’s very important to have a frank discussion with your authorized user about any spending expectations and limits for using your credit card.

That said, there are also plenty of benefits to adding your child as an authorized user to your credit card, including the opportunity to rake in more rewards points while helping your child build their credit.

Related: When should I avoid being listed as an authorized user?

Adding an authorized user to your Chase Sapphire Preferred account

Adding an authorized user to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card is easy. Simply log into the Chase webpage for adding authorized users. From there, select the card account to which you’d like to add an authorized user and click “Next.” You will be redirected to a page where you must enter your authorized user’s full legal name, date of birth and address. Then click “Add authorized user,” and you should be done.

You can also complete this process over the phone by calling the customer service number on the back of your credit card.

Once this process is completed, your authorized user will be issued a card with their name on it, which is linked to your account. As the primary cardholder, you will receive all correspondence on the account, including statements and other notifications, so that you can stay on top of any credit card activity.

It’s as simple as that.

Related: Everything you need to know about authorized users

The benefits of adding your child as an authorized user

(Photo by Riley Arthur for The Points Guy)

These are the main benefits of adding your college student child as an authorized user onto your Chase Sapphire Preferred.

1. No extra annual fee for authorized users

Unlike with many other premium rewards credit cards, you won’t have to pay an extra annual fee for your student to hold their own Chase Sapphire Preferred account, so there’s no financial downside in this respect.

2. Earn even more rewards

One of the best reasons to consider adding an authorized user – your child or someone else, like a spouse – to your Chase Sapphire Preferred account is that any points they earn from spending belong to you as the primary cardmember. That might not seem fair to the authorized user, but since you’re the one extending your credit to them and accepting responsibility for paying off any balances, it’s a decent tradeoff.

3. Help your child build credit

One of the most important reasons you should consider adding your child as an authorized user on your credit card account is to help them establish, build, and improve their credit.

If they haven’t had a credit card before, they might not have enough credit or work history to be approved for their own credit card. However, by adding them to your account, you are lending them the strength of your credit history and helping them build their own. Eventually, they’ll be able to leverage it for their future financial needs, including additional credit cards or other types of loans.

Plus, if you’re financially responsible and pay your balances off on time and in full every month, it will reflect well on your authorized user’s credit report and raise their score over time.

4. Meet the minimum spending requirement

In addition to your own purchases, your authorized user’s spending counts toward meeting the minimum spending requirement for the Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s sign-up bonus offer, which can make it even easier to earn.

Why pick the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Here’s why you should add your college student as an authorized user on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, specifically.

1. Generous Sign-up bonus

Currently, when you open a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is the highest bonus we’ve ever seen for this card. With a dorm room to furnish, books and supplies to buy for classes and transportation costs to get your child to college, it won’t be tough to hit the $4,000 requirement. Just time your spending accordingly as you need to reach the threshold within three months of opening your account.

2. Dining rewards

As an authorized user on your account, your student will earn 2x points on dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.

3. More earning opportunities

Your student will earn 1x on all other purchases, all of which will go to you, perhaps to redeem for travel rewards for college visits.

4. Points are 25% more with Pay Yourself Back

Chase introduced a new feature called Pay Yourself Back last year and has extended it through Sept. 30, 2021. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, your points are worth 25% more (so 1.25 cents apiece) when you redeem them for statement credits after using your card at grocery stores and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), home improvement stores and select charitable organizations.

This is a nifty offer since you can purchase lots of dorm essentials at home improvement stores and your student can pick evenings to skip the dining halls and order delivery right to their door. Then you can use your points for statement credits to help offset those expenses.

5. Ride-share perks

As the primary cardholder, authorized users can register to earn 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3x points in addition to the 2x points you already earn on travel. Many students don’t have cars on campus and use ride-share services, so this could be a lucrative bonus opportunity.

6. My Chase Plan payment planning

This isn’t specific to the Sapphire Preferred; it’s available to all Chase credit cardholders. You can break up card purchases of $100 or more into fixed monthly payments with My Chase Plan – no interest, just a fixed monthly fee. So if you want to spread out expensive college spending sprees, you could use My Chase Plan to budget out those payments off of your revolving balance.

7. Redemption opportunities

Among the most lucrative options to redeem Ultimate Rewards points is transferring them at a 1:1 ratio to three hotel and 10 airline partners. In other words, each Ultimate Rewards point can be converted into one airline mile or one hotel point with these partners.

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to British AirwaysFlying BlueJetBlueEmiratesSingapore AirlinesSouthwestUnitedVirgin AtlanticAer Lingus and Iberia and three hotel programs: HyattIHG, and Marriott. So if your student is flying home, or if you are planning a visit their college town, there’s value here.

8. Book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for more rewards

Your Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel booked through Chase. However, you can often get a better value by transferring points to the card’s 1:1 transfer partners. Use comparison sites to yield the best redemption values.

9. DoorDash DashPass subscription

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, your student can register for at least one year of DoorDash DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service by Dec. 31, 2021. DashPass normally costs $9.99 per month and includes unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 from eligible restaurants. Translation: more brain food, fewer fees.

10. Built-in travel coverages

If your student takes flights to return home for school breaks, Chase Sapphire Preferred’s comprehensive travel protections might come in handy. These include trip cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance and baggage delay and loss coverage.

11. Purchase protection

Items purchased by your authorized user are covered for up to 120 days after purchase if they are stolen or damaged, so long as they used the Chase Sapphire Preferred to buy them. There is a cap of $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

So if their new speakers get stolen, or their desk lamp falls on the floor after their roommate gets caught in the extension cord, there’s a remedy. The card also offers extended warranty protection that adds a year to eligible manufacturers’ warranties for more peace of mind.

12. Peloton Digital Membership

Your student won’t have space for fitness equipment in a dorm room, but they can still take advantage of up to $60 back on a Peloton Digital Membership now through Dec. 2021. This offers access to workout classes through the Peloton App, on their phone, TV, or tablet.

Related: Should the Chase Sapphire Preferred be your next card?

Bottom line

Whether it’s becoming an authorized user or getting them their own credit card, it’s a good idea to educate your child about smart spending and positive financial habits. Adding your college student as an authorized user to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card can be a great way to help them build their credit history and learn to use credit responsibly under your guidance, all while taking advantage of the card’s many benefits and earning you more rewards points.

Additional reporting by Eric Rosen.

Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.

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