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Being an authorized user is an easy way to get a new credit card without the credit check. One problem is that some credit cards charge an annual fee for authorized users. Of course, that doesn’t mean every authorized user gets charged a fee. Even if you pay a fee, the benefits can be worth the cost. So if you’re an authorized user, will you get charged an annual fee?
If you have (or are) a spouse, child, or friend wanting to be added as an authorized user, there are are a few things you should know about adding authorized users.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
Who Pays the Authorized User Annual Fee?
Expect the travel credit card company to charge the additional card annual fee to the primary cardholder’s account. The primary cardholder is always responsible for paying the authorized user’s spending each month.
You can link different bank accounts to pay the monthly balance. Even if the annual fee is charged to the primary card, this fee can be paid from the bank account you plan on using to pay the additional card purchases with.
Credit Cards That Charge Authorized User Annual Fees
Although this list isn’t exhaustive, you are more likely to pay an additional user annual fee if you own a premium credit card with a $450+ annual fee for the primary cardholder.
Don’t plan on paying an additional card fee if the primary account has an annual fee of $100 or less. Of course, there are always exceptions.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express charges a flat $175 on the first 3 additional cards. Whether you get one, two, or three additional cards, you only pay $175 each year plus the $550 primary account annual fee (See Rates & Fees). A family of four would pay $725 annually but a family of five pays $900 annually.
American Express requires $175 for each additional card starting with the 4th extra card if each authorized user has a Platinum Card. Complimentary Platinum benefits for additional users include:
- Global Lounge Collection airport lounge access
- 5x points booking hotel rooms through Amex Travel
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
- Hilton Honors Gold Status and Marriot Bonvoy Gold Elite status (enrollment required)
- Terms apply
In regards to the $200 airline fee credit (that comes in the form of statement credits), this credit applies to the entire account. Enrollment is required.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
There is a $75 annual fee for each additional user for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. The primary cardholder pays the $550 annual fee.
Authorized users can enjoy these complimentary benefits:
- Priority Pass Select lounge membership
- Earn 3x points on travel (immediately after earning the $300 travel credit) and dining purchases worldwide
The annual $300 travel credit applies to the first travel-related purchases made by the primary or secondary cardmembers.
Gas station and grocery store purchases will also count towards earning the annual $300 travel credit, through December 31, 2021.
Unlike the American Express Platinum, Chase only reimburses the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee for the primary cardholder only.
The Citi Prestige® Credit Card charges $450 for the primary user and $75 for each additional user.
Additional users will enjoy free Priority Pass Select lounge membership. They will also earn up to 5x points on every purchase:
- 5x points on air travel and restaurants
- 3x points on hotels and cruise lines
- 1x points on everything else
Like the other metal credit cards, the first $250 in combined travel purchases from the primary and additional users apply to the $250 travel credit.
One upcoming negative change to this card is the 4th hotel night free when booking through ThankYou.com. Starting September 1, 2019, this benefit can only be used twice a year versus the current unlimited redemption option.
Cards That Don’t Charge An Annual Fee for an Authorized User
If paying a second annual fee is out of the question, you may choose these alternatives instead.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card costs $95 annually for the primary user and $0 for each authorized user.
Although you don’t get the $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership, or free Global Entry that you’d get with the Sapphire Reserve, you still get these recurring card benefits:
- 25% travel redemption bonus when booking travel through Chase
- 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers
- 2x points on travel and dining purchases
- Primary rental car collision damage and theft protection
Note that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is often considered one of the best rewards credit cards to have in your wallet.
American Express Gold Card
Although the American Express® Gold Card benefits aren’t as lavish as the Platinum Card from American Express, the annual fee is only $250 (and there are no foreign transaction fees—See Rates & Fees) for the primary card and $0 for authorized users. Card benefits include:
- $120 in annual dining credits for select restaurants, enrollment required
- 1:1 Membership Rewards airline and hotel point transfers
Cardholders also earn:
- 4x Membership Rewards points on dining worldwide (including delivery and takeout), plus, earn 4x points on Uber Eats purchases, too
- 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 annually, then 1x)
- 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
- 1x point for all other purchases
- Terms Apply
American Express® Gold Card cardholders can also get up to $120 in Uber Cash annually. Plus, you’ll earn 4x Membership Rewards® points for each Uber Eats purchase on your card. To use this perk, simply add your card to your Uber account and you’ll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash each month in your Uber account for U.S. Uber Eats orders or U.S. Uber rides. Any unused Uber Cash expires at the end of each month (it does not roll over to the next month).
Cardholders also get up to 12 complimentary months of Eats Pass when you subscribe with your American Express Gold Card. That’s a value of up to $119 annually (based on the $9.99 monthly price over 12 months). With the Uber Eats Pass, you can get unlimited $0 Delivery Fees and 5% off orders over $15 at eligible restaurants. Note that taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum.
This benefit applies only in the U.S. on U.S. orders at eligible restaurants and on eligible restaurant purchases.
Enrollment is required by 12/31/2021. After that, the Uber Eats Pass will begin auto-billing 12 months after your enrollment in this offer, at the then-current monthly price. Learn more about the Uber Eats partnership for more information.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns flat-rate rewards. The annual fee is $95. You earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 on purchases.
Miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed as a travel statement credit or future travel. You can also transfer miles to select airline partners including JetBlue. Also, the Venture is considered to be one of the best travel credit cards. You can read our comparison of the Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Preferred here.
Summary on Authorized User
Some, but not most, credit cards charge authorized users an annual fee. Paying this fee can be worth the fee if you can benefit from the card benefits. It also saves you from having to apply for a new credit line if you have too many recent inquiries or less-than-perfect credit.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.