There are a variety of reasons to pick up credit cards, from big welcome offers, to generous return on spending, to valuable perks. Generally when we talk about the value proposition of credit cards, we do so in the context of the value for the primary cardmember.
However, for some cards there’s a lot of value to be had for authorized users as well, and I think that’s an interesting angle to discuss. Yes, authorized user spending can generally rack up rewards at the same rate as the primary cardmember’s spending, but sometimes it goes beyond that. This could be especially useful if you have a big family and you want them to reap the benefits of your credit cards as well.
In this post I wanted to share the four cards that I tend to think offer the most value for authorized users, starting with the most generous.
1. Capital One Venture X Card
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) has a $395 annual fee, and offers lots of awesome benefits for the primary cardmember, ranging from a $300 annual travel credit to 10,000 anniversary bonus miles.
However, you can also add up to four authorized users to the card at no extra cost, and they get several useful benefits as well. Each authorized user gets a full Priority Pass membership, getting them access to the world’s largest network of airport lounges. They also receive access to Capital One Lounges, including the Capital One Lounge DFW.
Getting four “bonus” Priority Pass memberships with your annual fee is pretty unheard of!
2. Citi AAdvantage Executive Card
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review) has a $450 annual fee, and the card’s biggest benefit is that the primary cardmember receives an Admirals Club membership.
What really sets this card apart from other cards offering lounge access is that you can add up to 10 authorized users to the card at no extra cost, and they each receive Admirals Club access as well. They can each bring two guests or immediate family members into the club when flying American same day. There’s not a card that offers lounge access for more people with a single annual fee.
3. Amex Platinum Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) has a $695 annual fee (Rates & Fees). Unlike the two cards above, there is a cost to add authorized users. Specifically, you can add up to three authorized users to the card for a total of $175 (Rates & Fees), so in the right increments that comes out to under $60 per authorized user.
Amex Platinum authorized users receive all kinds of perks, including Amex Centurion Lounge access, Delta Sky Club access, a Priority Pass membership, Hilton Honors Gold status, access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and the Amex International Airline Program, and much more (enrollment required for some perks).
4. Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) has a $550 annual fee, though that’s pretty easy to justify based on the $300 annual travel credit plus excellent bonus categories. You can add authorized users to the Chase Sapphire Reserve for $75 each.
The primary benefit of adding an authorized user is that they’d also get a full Priority Pass membership, including credits at Priority Pass restaurants. That $75 authorized user cost could easily be recouped after one visit. If someone doesn’t otherwise have lounge access, getting a membership in the world’s largest airline lounge network for that price is a solid value.
There are many angles from which you can look at the value offered by credit cards. Typically we’re focused on the primary cardmember benefits, but there’s also tons of value to be had with authorized user benefits.
Especially noteworthy is that the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card allows four authorized users at no cost, and they each get a Priority Pass membership. Furthermore, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® allows 10 authorized users at no cost, and they each get Admirals Club access.
What’s your favorite credit card for authorized user perks?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).