An authorized user on a credit card account is someone who has a card in their name, but is not directly responsible for paying the bill. Many credit card companies offer incentives for adding an authorized user to your account, but which cards have benefits that extend to secondary cardholders?
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The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card
I have this card in my wallet, but I'm not the one paying the hefty $450 annual fee. My mom added me to her account, because it was free for her to do, and she knew I would really benefit from the card's perks. The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card gives cardholders -- including secondary cardholders -- access to American Airlines Admiral's Club lounges for free. With my secondary membership, I can even bring in two guests to enjoy the lounge with me. As a travel writer, I use this all the time, even when I'm not flying American. As this card technically makes me an Admiral's Club member, I can access these lounges even when I'm flying Southwest out of Pheonix's Terminal 4, which has three different Admiral's Clubs for me to choose from!
American Express Platinum Card
I'm the primary account holder on my American Express Platinum Card, and although it too has a $450 annual fee, it's well worth it to me. I use it to gain access to American Express Centurion Lounges in airports like Seattle, New York LaGuardia, Houston, Miami, Dallas, and San Francisco. Being a cardmember also automatically gives me SPG Gold status at Starwood Hotels, which normally requires 10 stays or 25 nights, and it covers the $85 fee for registering for TSA Pre-Check, which is something that's saved me days out of my life over the past few years.
Adding additional cardholders costs $175 for up to three extra cards, plus $175 for each additional card after that, but every secondary cardholder receives all the same benefits as the primary cardholder does (except the $200 annual airline fee credit). If you have several frequent travelers in your family, the $175 annual fee for a second card is likely well worth it.
Why add a secondary cardholder?
Most cards on the market right now allow for additional cardholders, but don't extend membership benefits to them. So why bother adding them at all? There are actually several reasons to doing so. First, adding additional cardholders that you trust can help you earn more points, as you keep all the points or miles earned from spending on your account. You'll also have some help hitting spend minimums and spend bonuses, like the British Airways' Travel Together ticket. It can also help give someone access to credit who would otherwise be excluded from the card, but this kind of benefit should be reserved for someone you trust.
Other cards offer cash/point bonuses for adding authorized users to your account. These include:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred -- 5,000 additonal points
- American Express Hilton HHonors Card -- 10,000 additional points
- Chase Freedom -- $25 in cash back
Whenever you add an additional cardholder to your account, make sure you can trust them, because it's your credit score on the line if they decide to splurge on a jet ski without your permission.
This story originally appeared on Brad's Deals.