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Points of View: Should my partner get their own card or be added as an authorized user?

Aug. 15, 2022
6 min read
Beautiful adult couple at cafe shopping online while man holds credit card both smiling
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You may have heard the term "two-player mode" when it comes to points and miles. Couples can plan their strategies for credit cards and points and miles together, which can lead to more rewards.

However, there is a common question here for couples: Should my partner get their own credit card or should I add my partner as an authorized user on my credit card?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer here. Before you decide which is better in your situation, let's look at the benefits of each approach.

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Benefits of adding your partner as an authorized user

(Photo by Marko Geber/Getty Images)

Related: Credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users

Benefits of your partner getting their own credit card

  • Your partner can earn a sign-up bonus, adding to your combined stash of points and miles.
  • You can earn a referral bonus by referring your partner to apply for a credit card.
  • Between the two of you, you can take a combined approach toward travel rewards. One of you can earn the miles needed for flights on an upcoming trip while the other focuses on earning free hotel nights, for example.
  • You won't affect each other's credit reports, which can be important when applying for new credit cards. Having fewer accounts that appear on your credit report may be a benefit when applying for credit cards with banks that frown on customers with many cards.
  • Won't lose access to the benefits of your card if you separate or upon death of the primary account holder.

Related: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions

Questions to ask yourselves

No two couples are the same. Ask yourselves the following questions to help decide whether it's better to add your partner as an authorized user or whether they should get their own credit card:

  • Can you meet the spending requirements for a sign-up bonus without adding your partner as an authorized user?
  • Can you afford another annual fee if your partner gets a card that has one?
  • Will your partner get benefits as an authorized user or do you need separate cards to access those perks?
  • What is your long-term credit card strategy? Consider how being an authorized user on someone else's credit card can impact this positively or negatively.
(Photo by Maskot/Getty Images)

You may find that your answers to these questions evolve over time.

The answers may even change depending on the bank. A perfect example is American Express. While other banks will report the account opening date (which could be several years ago) on your authorized user's credit report, newer accounts from American Express will see today's date (or the date you add the authorized user) listed on your partner's credit report. This can shorten the user's average age of accounts and impact their 5/24 status.

Bottom line

After considering the benefits on both sides and analyzing the questions above, you can make an informed decision on whether it's better to add your partner as an authorized user or have them get their own credit card.

Luckily, even if you add your partner as an authorized user, you can later remove them if you want. Your partner can still get a sign-up bonus on that same credit card later on, after being removed.

Conversely, if your partner gets a separate card, they can later close it and become an authorized user on your account. Thus, it is possible to choose one side of the equation today and then change it later on.

Editor’s note: "Points of View" is a new series evaluating decisions on which credit card to use. If you’re facing a dilemma about which card is best for an upcoming payment, email us at tips@thepointsguy.com.

Also in this series:

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card from American Express please click here.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
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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  • 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
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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
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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