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Quick points: The benefits of adding a relative as an authorized user

Oct. 29, 2021
4 min read
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Adding a loved one — whether it's a partner, child or another family member — as an authorized user on a credit card can help in many different ways.

For one, it might simplify things. Instead of putting expenses on multiple cards and settling up after the fact or paying multiple different bills each month, you can simply divide one bill between two people or pay from one shared account, depending on your situation, of course. Plus, the primary cardholder earns all the points, which could help if the authorized user didn't care about points anyway.

But there are other perks that come with adding someone as an authorized user, too. In this edition of Quick Points, we'll take a closer look at these benefits and discuss how this can help you earn more points and benefit the authorized user at the same time.

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Benefits of adding an authorized user

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Beyond just simplifying expenses, there are some lesser-known benefits to adding authorized users to your credit cards. Some of these include:

  • The primary cardholder earns rewards on all transactions — and after all, if you're liable for paying an expense, you might as well reap the rewards, too.
  • Likewise, the authorized user's spending usually counts toward the minimum spend requirement for welcome offers.
  • The authorized user will build credit when you pay your card on time, which can be beneficial if you add your child as an authorized user.
  • Speaking of children, authorized user cards generally have lower age requirements. For example, American Express lets those as young as 13 years old become authorized users. Chase doesn't have a minimum age limit.
  • Some premium cards let authorized users access travel benefits. For example, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® authorized users 18 or older can access Admirals Club lounges with their card when flying with American Airlines or another Oneworld carrier.

In most cases, authorized users are still eligible for the card's welcome offer if they decide to apply for their own card down the road. So if you add your partner as an authorized user on your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and they later decide to open their own card, they're still eligible for whatever welcome bonus the card is offering when they apply.

Related: Credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users

The risks of adding (and being) an authorized user

Adding an authorized user doesn't come without risks.

The main risk of adding an authorized user to your account is that you're still liable to pay all charges posted to the account, even if your authorized user makes the purchase. With this in mind, you should only add extremely trusted individuals as authorized users on your card.

One way to mitigate this risk is by adding spending limits to authorized user cards. Not all banks offer this, but the most notable is American Express. You can add limits as low as $200 to American Express authorized user cards.

Further, authorized users take on some risk when being added to someone else's account, too. If the primary cardholder doesn't pay their bill on time, the authorized user's credit may also suffer. That said, in most cases, the authorized user will not be held liable for charges made to the account if the primary cardholder doesn't pay their bill.

If you find yourself in this situation, call the issuing bank and ask to be removed as an authorized user. You can then dispute the late payment with the credit bureaus if necessary.

Related: How to save your credit score after a late payment

Bottom line

Adding a relative or another very trusted person as an authorized user is a great way to build up your points stash while helping that person build credit and take advantage of various perks. But before you add an authorized user to your account, make sure you're comfortable with the risks.

Feature photo by Maskot/Getty Images

Featured image by Getty Images/Maskot
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
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670-850
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases