If you have a family member who is also interested in a credit card, it can sometimes make sense to have them apply for a card directly, while other times it can make sense to add them as an authorized user instead. Other times it’s more or less a wash. Of course it depends on the cost to add authorized users, as well as the benefits that authorized users receive.
Well, in this post I wanted to share what I consider to be two of the most lucrative cards in terms of their authorized user benefits, based on the value you get. In no particular order:
This is American’s most premium credit card, which has a $450 annual fee. The card comes with an Admirals Club membership for the primary cardmember, which in and of itself can be worthwhile, given that it’s the lowest cost you could possibly pay for an Admirals Club membership as an Executive Platinum member.
However, it gets much better than that. You can add up to 10 authorized users to the card at no additional cost, and each of them gets Admirals Club access as well whenever they fly. They don’t have to be flying American, and can each take in two guests or their immediate family members.
So while I would have gotten the card just for myself, it’s so much more valuable when you can give all your family and many friends Admirals Club access when they fly at no additional cost. It’s super easy to add authorized users online, and there’s no cost to do so.
I find the Amex Platinum Card to be well worth the $550 annual fee, personally. While that sounds like a lot of money, there are major benefits that offset the annual fee. To start, the card has a $200 annual airline fee credit and $200 annual Uber credit, both of which I value pretty close to face value.
On top of that the card offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines, a Priority Pass membership, access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta same day, access to Amex Centurion Lounges, access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, etc.
While the annual fee is quite a bit of cash out of pocket, one of the great benefits of the card is that you can add up to three authorized users for a total of $175. That fee applies regardless of whether you choose to add one, two, or three users, so you might as well add three.
That means you’re really paying under $60 out of pocket per authorized user. While they don’t get the airline fee credit or Uber credit, authorized users do receive:
- A Priority Pass membership with guesting privileges
- Access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta same day
- Access to Amex Centurion Lounges
- Access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Hilton Honors Gold status & SPG Gold status
- 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines
Those are some incredible perks for under $60 per person per year. So if you have the Amex Platinum Card, it absolutely makes sense to add authorized users.
While the cards are very different, the value of adding authorized users on both The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® and The Platinum Card® from American Express is exceptional. With the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card you can give up to 10 additional people Admirals Club access without paying anything extra, while with the Amex Platinum Card you can pay a total of $175 to add up to three authorized users, and they receive a slew of benefits, ranging from hotel status to airline lounge access.
What’s your favorite credit card authorized user benefit?