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Most credit card issuers allow you to add authorized user to your accounts, including spouse, family members, friends, employees or, actually, anyone in your life, whom you can allow access to your credit line. And of course, there are pros and cons in every situation.

Pros and Cons of Additional Cardholders

Pros:

  • Meeting minimum spending amount is twice faster
  • Accumulating rewards faster – due to everyday expenses on each authorized user card
  • Annual fee is one per account, no matter how many authorized users you can have (depends on credit card issuer terms)

Cons:

  • Access to credit – authorized user can “overspend”
  • Credit Score affect – as a result from “overspend” account holder may suffer from decreasing credit score as not paying credit card balance on time
  • Benefits (for example, airport lounge access passes) may be send only for main account holder

Strategy of adding authorized user

First of all, there is no particular set formula for all situations. You should weight all pros and cons.

Lets take an example of Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card with annual fee of $95, waived for the first year and an option of adding authorized user for 5000 Chase Ultimate rewards points bonus. And a family of 2 with trusted relations.

Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card has a minimum spending of $4000 within first 3 months. Which can be tough in some situation, who do NOT spend a lot. So, adding an authorized user can be a help. On the other hand you will receive just one bonus of 50000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth of $625 in travel redemption.

If you open 2 Chase Sapphire Preferred credit cards – you will be responsible to meet $4000×2=$8000. Which is pretty impressive sum of money to spend. But, with that said, you can get 100000 Chase Ultimate Rewards sign-up points which are worth $1250 in travel redemption.

So what to do?

In my personal experience.

I opened Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card and added an authorized user (my spouse) to my account. Met minimum spending pretty fast. Received 50000 sign-up bonus + 5000 for adding authorized user and at least 4000 points for meeting minimum spending. And a total of 59000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. After that, we opened (in couple months) a Chase Sapphire credit card for my spouse (her separate account). And she added me as her authorized user for her account. Se has got her 59000 Chase Ultimate rewards points as well. So, we accumulated a total of 59000+59000=118000 Chase Ultimate rewards points, which are worth of $1475 in travel redemption. Which is enough for a good caribbean 7-night cruise.

As for annual fees. we both have an annual fee of $95 on each account. So, we had to decide who’s account to close. As, basically, we are both authorized and closing one of the accounts will not leave us without Chase Ultimate rewards.

Bottom line

So, in our situation we received sign-up bonuses, accumulated points without big effort of meeting minimum spendings and had our vacation payed-off and ready.

Of course, we are a family and trust each other, so this scheme works for us very good. Not to mention that we can transfer Chase Ultimate rewards between spouses very easy inside Chase Ultimate portal, so closing one account and transferring points is very easy.

But, once again, every situation is different. As adding authorized user basically is giving access to your credit line. So its a-lot-to-consider-and-trust-situation.

But, always read conditions and terms of credit card issuer on authorized user policy.

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You can check, which cards allow adding authorized user and which cards give additional bonus for it, by clicking on this link.

Image Credits:Sean MacEntee (flickr) used under CC BY 2.0 license / Resized from original.