TPG credit card reader question: Does being an authorized user prevent you from applying and earning a sign-up bonus?

Oct 5, 2020

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a weekly column to 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

There are many benefits to adding authorized users to your credit card accounts, and there are also a number of benefits of being an authorized user on someone else’s account — especially if you are a beginner trying to build credit.

But with so many credit card issuers having strict policies on who can be eligible for sign-up bonuses, many have concerns about how authorized user status affects their eligibility for card bonuses.

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Hey Madison, I just read your article on the new Chase Sapphire Preferred Card bonus. Do you have any idea if being an authorized user of my wife’s CSR card would disqualify me from getting it? Not sure if that’s considered the same as a “current cardmember.” Thanks!

Simon H.

Good news for Simon, and every other authorized user out there — being an authorized user on his wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t limit him from being able to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. “Current cardmember” refers to someone who’s name is on the primary account. Being an authorized user doesn’t preclude you from being eligible for the card or its bonus.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. — a lucrative bonus TPG values at $2,000. (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

And this isn’t just a Chase policy. With so many elevated offers out right now — from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card — many are probably wondering whether they are eligible to apply. While each card issuer does have it’s own policies on application restrictions and who can earn sign-up bonuses, authorized user status alone shouldn’t trigger rejection based on “current cardmember” rules.

But that doesn’t mean that authorized user status can’t impact your eligibility to apply in other ways — especially Chase credit cards.

Related: Who’s eligible for the elevated Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus? 

Be mindful of the 5/24 rule

Being an authorized user doesn’t count as being a “current cardmember,” but it does count toward your overall 5/24 status. Chase has an unpublished rule that if you’ve added five or more cards to your wallet in the past two years, you almost certainly won’t be approved for a Chase credit card. Authorized user status does factor into that count.

If you know your authorized user status on a card puts you over the 5/24 threshold, you can call the Chase reconsideration line and ask for these accounts to not be considered.

Related: How to calculate your 5/24 standing

Bottom line

When you apply for a new credit card, it’s important to make sure you will be able to take full advantage of everything the card has to offer — including its sign-up bonus. Missing out on a sign-up bonus may not be the end of the world, but it can cost you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in first-year value. Plus, Amex only gives you one chance to earn a welcome offer per lifetime per card, so if you for any reason can’t earn the bonus the first time you apply for the card, you’ll be out of luck to ever earn the bonus in the future.

Make sure you check out our full guide on credit card application restrictions for a more thorough rundown of each issuer’s application restriction policies. And check out which cards are currently offering sign-up bonuses of 100k and up that may be worth applying for.

Featured photo by Eva-Katalin/Getty Images.

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