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Long before I started earning points via credit card sign-ups, my wife and I probably carried 2-3 credit cards that we used for our day-to-day purchases. We’ve always secured an extra card which made each of us authorized users. We did that simply because we each wanted to have the same access in using the credit card whenever needed.

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However, since learning about this points-earning hobby, the words “Authorized User” have brought new meaning to me. I learned that I need to be cognizant about the cards under my name, PLUS the cards where I was named as an Authorized User. Why does that matter?

Mind your Chase 5/24 status

  • What that means is, let’s say you opened three new personal credit cards within the past 24 months, and you were also named as an Authorized User on another account that was also opened within the past 24 months, that brings your 5/24 status count to 4/24 (three new cards under your name plus one Authorized User card). This is quite important especially to those who are new to the points-earning hobby, and are trying to stay under 5/24 in order to qualify for the lucrative Chase credit cards.
  • There are data points that show folks who were successful in getting their new Chase card approved when they mentioned their Authorized User status; this, however, should be kept in mind when applying for new Chase credit cards.

(SEE ALSO: The Chase 5/24 rule: cards you still CAN get

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Meet minimum spend requirement quickly

Most of the points-earning credit cards these days have a minimum spend requirement that you have to meet. The spend could be as low as $500, and I’ve seen them as high as $10,000. So how does having an Authorized User help meet the spend required? Let’s say you add your spouse as an Authorized User. There are big chances that you and your spouse could be at two different places at many different times. If you were at a restaurant, you could charge your meal using your new credit card. Your spouse (who you named as an Authorized User) could also use the new credit card (with her name on the card) and that charge counts toward your minimum spend. This is how my wife and I do it , we divide and conquer our minimum spend.

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Gain extra bonus points

I’ve also read many postings that asked, “I opened my card 5 months ago, can I still add an Authorized User to get the bonus points?” It’s a very good question. But there are rules to be followed when adding Authorized users. There are quite a few travel rewards credit cards that offer bonus points by adding an Authorized User to the account. The typical requirements are:

  • add the Authorized User within the first 3 months of opening the account
  • require the Authorized User to make a purchase
  • meet the minimum spend requirement

Once these are met, the bonus points will be awarded.

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Samples of credit cards that offer bonus rewards for adding an Authorized User:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 5,000 Bonus Points
  • Chase Hyatt Credit Card – 5,000 Bonus Points
  • Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card – 7,500 Bonus Points
  • Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card – 7,500 bonus points
  • United Mileage Plus Explorer Card – 5,000 bonus miles
  • Ritz Carlton Rewards Credit Card – 10,000 bonus points

Few notables (other than earning bonus points)

  • American Express Platinum
    • According to American Express website, “when you add a Platinum Card Member to your account, earn rewards points for their eligible purchases, all while treating them to Concierge service, Priority Pass and TSA Pre✓.
    • Cost to add Authorized Users = $175 (add up to three authorized users)
    • Receive additional Priority Pass, access to Centurion Lounges, Delta Clubs
    • Global Entry Credit $100
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • Authorized Users can get their own Priority Pass membership. This entitles them to unlimited visits, and they could bring unlimited guests with them to the lounge.
    • Earn 3x points whenever they use their card for dining and travel.
    • Receive similar benefits that come with the card such as travel protection, car rental protection, purchase protection.
    • Cost to add Authorized Users = Cost is $75 per authorized user per year
    • Unlike the Amex Platinum, CSR Authorized Users do not get additional credit when they apply for Global Entry,

Every once in awhile, I’d receive an email from Citi informing me of a promotion such as :

  • Citi Thank You Premier Card
    • Earn 2,500 Thank You Points after you add an Authorized User and spend $2,500 on purchases (between a certain period of time)
  • Hilton American Express and Everyday Preferred Cards
    • Adding an authorized User – these cards have been known to have offered temporary bonuses in the past

Just note that the examples mentioned above could be subject to change.

The Takeaways

  • Know the bonus associated with credit card sign-ups, and check if there’s additional bonus when adding an Authorized User
  • Adhere to the timeline when Authorized Users are to be added to the account
  • Ensure that you meet the required minimum spend to get the bonus
  • Know how being an Authorized User could affect someone’s Chase 5/24 status

Can you think of other reasons or additional incentives of adding an Authorized User?

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