Paying With Credit Card On Laptop

Being an authorized user on a credit card can be amazing for a variety of reasons.

Maybe you’re just starting out with credit and benefiting from someone else’s excellent credit use to elevate your score, so that you can open up your own accounts later on; or maybe it’s about the cool travel perks gained by being an authorized user on some of the best cards, like lounge access.

Yep, some cards offer all the benefits the main cardholder receives to all authorized users, without charging any extra for the users, which makes for fun possibilities!

Plus, for primary cardholders, having authorized users on the account can make it easier to hit spending requirements or get real value from a card, particularly those with high annual fees! Some credit cards even offer bonus points for adding users!

Whatever the reason for being an authorized user, people who want to make the jump to eventually become a primary cardholder themselves often worry about a pressing issue, when making the jump: rewards bonus eligibility.

Can you still earn one of those amazing points bonuses for a card, even though you currently have one in hand, as an authorized user? The short answer: almost always, yes!

Paying With Credit Card On Laptop

Credit Card Welcome Bonuses For Authorized Users?

One super confusing piece of the “terms and conditions” to receiving credit card welcome bonuses is that you generally can’t currently “hold” the card, to be eligible to earn a new welcome bonus.

This is designed to keep people from constantly opening and closing accounts, just to get more rewards.

Since an authorized user might physically be “holding” the very card they’re about to apply for in their hand at the time of application, this jargon can really make people think they’ll be ineligible to receive a welcome bonus.

Some credit card issuers use the words “primary cardholder” to describe people who wouldn’t be eligible for a bonus, and others use “current cardmember” but either way, being an authorized user doesn’t make you either.

The good news is that, generally, simply being an authorized user does not restrict someone from earning a full welcome bonus on that same credit card, if they choose to apply for the same card as a primary user themselves and open their own account.

They’re not counted as a cardholder or cardmember, just by being an authorized user.

amex gold cards

So yes, even if you’re an authorized user on an Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire, the new Capital One Venture X or virtually any other account, this factor alone should not stop you from earning a full welcome bonus from the same card, if you were to apply for your own account.

Only being a primary cardholder of any of these would complicate that. Other rules, such as 5/24 from Chase, lifetime rules from Amex, or Capital One card limits can play a part in the approvals process, but being an authorized user alone should not factor into earning rewards bonuses when you do apply.

Hot tip: for banks like Chase, being an authorized user can count towards the 5/24 status, but if you are denied for instant approval, you can call and ask for authorized user accounts not to count against you on the application.

a credit card and sunglasses on a stone surface

Best Practice: Don’t Have “Too Many” Authorized User Accounts

Even if calling a reconsideration line works, the best strategy for any future credit applications is to limit your overall number of authorized user and card accounts, just to keep things clean and easy.

Credit card issuers are typically more likely to approve people for new credit if they don’t think they already have too many cards, or too much readily available credit access at the time of applying. It begs the question: why do you need more credit?

If you’re just starting out on a credit journey and have someone extremely reliable willing to add you as an authorized user to their account(s), it’s a great way to improve your score and benefit from valuable travel protections. Just maybe don’t become an authorized user on “all” their cards.

Whenever it’s your turn to apply for a card and become a primary user, having been an authorized user on an account won’t keep you from earning one one of the incredible bonuses lurking out there, but having too many accounts can indeed keep you from getting approved.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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