There are a variety of reasons why a credit cardholder would want to add an authorized user.
For others, an authorized user could open the door to more cash back rewards if their significant other uses the card. My wife is an authorized user on my Old Blue Cash Amex because it earns 5% back on gas, groceries, and at drugstores.
Obviously I don’t want to have to be there all the time for her to earn 5% at the pump, or 5% while shopping at the grocery store. Essentially our cash back earnings get multiplied by her having access via the authorized user account.
Yet another reason to add an authorized user is for things like Amex Offers, where you can earn cash back savings for buying certain stuff.
Before our wedding, I signed up all of our authorized user accounts to that awesome Smart and Final deal where you received $25 back for spending $50. Most people just bought gift cards.
For us, it meant nearly all of our booze for the wedding was half price. We had about ~10 cards that we were able to load the offer to so it paid major dividends.
Get Bonus Points for Adding an Authorized User
That brings us to the final reason (that I will mention in this post) to add an authorized user. Many credit card companies, especially Chase, will offer a bonus if you add an authorized user to your new card account within a specified period of time.
For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points if you add an authorized user within three months of account opening and make a single purchase.
So on top of whatever bonus you get for opening the card yourself, you can snag another 5k points for simply getting a card for your spouse or sibling and making any small purchase.
Those 5k points can certainly come in handy if you need them while transferring points to a frequent flyer program. They’re also worth $50 if you redeem them for cash. So it’s pretty much a no-brainer.
But suppose your spouse/sibling already has the Chase Sapphire card. Can you still make them an authorized user on YOUR Chase Sapphire card and earn the 5k bonus?
The answer is yes. The idea being that authorized and primary cardholders are different and both may add their own value to the individual user and card issuer. After all, two people with one card means a greater chance of spending.
Get the Opening Bonus Despite Being an Authorized User
Additionally, someone who is an authorized user but never primary should also be able to get the bigger opening bonus if they were to apply for a primary card for the first time as well.
So if someone were only an authorized user on a Chase Sapphire card, but later wanted their own card, again, because they may want to control their own account for whatever reason, they should be treated as a new cardmember and entitled to the opening bonus.
Between two people, they should be able to earn nearly 120,000 UR points if they both add one another as authorized users and meet minimum spend when the 50k offer is in effect.
It breaks down as:
- 50k bonus for spending $4k (x2) = 108,000
- 5k for adding authorized user (x2) = 10,000
- *5k for referring that person = 5,000
- 118k-123k Ultimate Rewards points
You could potentially earn 123,000 points together if one person refers the other and gets another 5,000 bonus points. That 123,000 points would be good for $1,230 in cash or a whole lot of free travel.
Note: Just be careful of the 5/24 rule that applies to Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards. Adding someone as an authorized user may push them over this limit, though I’ve heard you can ask for an exception if this is the case.