The Chase authorized user dilemma for 2 adult households

chase transfers infographic4When signing up for a new Chase card, should you add your spouse or other household member as an authorized user?  The combination of Chase’s 5/24 rule, Chase’s point transfer rules, and Chase’s signup bonus offers make the answer to this question surprisingly difficult.  The point transfer rules and the signup bonuses encourage adding authorized users, but the 5/24 rule discourages it.  I’ll explain…

Chase’s 5/24 rule

In the past year or so, Chase has frequently denied applications for certain cards (such as the Sapphire Preferred and Freedom) due to having opened 5 or more credit cards (with any bank) in the past 24 months.  That means that anyone who regularly signs up for credit cards in order to earn points & miles is likely to be denied when they try to sign up for these cards.  Currently, the 5/24 rule does not apply to co-branded cards (e.g. it does not apply to hotel or airline cards). According to Doctor of Credit, though, the 5/24 rule will be applied to co-branded cards sometime in April 2016.

Regarding authorized users and the 5/24 rule: Chase’s 5/24 rule reportedly includes accounts in which you are an authorized user.  For example, if you haven’t signed up for any cards in years, but five people recently added you as an authorized user to their accounts, you might not get approved for a new Chase card due to having 5 or more new accounts in the past 24 months.  In other words, the 5/24 rule discourages people from adding authorized users who are likely to apply for new Chase cards in the next 2 years.

Note that the 5/24 rule doesn’t seem to be set in stone. There are plenty of reports of people getting approved for new cards despite having opened 5 or more accounts in the past 24 months.  In fact, it happened recently for me: Chase Private Client and Sapphire Preferred 65K.

Chase signup bonuses

Many of Chase’s signup bonus offers include an extra bonus for adding an authorized user.  For example, if you sign up for the Marriott 80K offer, you’ll get an extra 7,500 points for adding an authorized user.  Similarly, if you signup for the Sapphire Preferred 50K offer, you’ll get an extra 5,000 points for adding an authorized user.

Chase’s point transfer rules

Within a household, you can freely move points from one Chase Ultimate Rewards card to another.  However, if you want to transfer points from one person’s Chase account to another person’s loyalty account, then the second person must be an authorized user on the first person’s account.  See: Chase point transfer rules made simple [Infographic]

Note that these rules apply only to cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.  Whether or not you can move points from person to person with loyalty accounts (Marriott, Hyatt, United, etc.), depends upon the rules of each specific loyalty program.

What to do when signing up for new Chase cards?

As a general rule, when signing up for new Chase cards, I recommend adding authorized users who are unlikely to sign up for new Chase cards in the next two years.  Children are good candidates (I don’t believe that Chase has any minimum age requirements for authorized users), or pick a friend or relative who has no interest in adding new Chase cards to their portfolio (get their permission first, of course).  You don’t have to give the authorized user card to this person, you only need it to get extra points with your signup bonus.

What if you’re signing up for an Ultimate Rewards card and you want the ability to move points freely to your spouse’s loyalty accounts?  In that case, keep in mind that authorized user cards aren’t the only option.  Another option is for each of you to have a premium Ultimate Rewards card (Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, for example).  This way, since you can freely move points from one person’s account to another within a household, and each person can transfer points to their own loyalty account as needed.

Reasons to add household members as authorized users

In a multi-person household, there are a several reasons why you might want to add each other as authorized users despite the 5/24 rule:

  • Share category bonuses: Chase Ink cards offer fixed 5X categories. Chase Freedom offers rotating 5X categories.  And, Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2X travel and dining.  If you only have one of each card in the family, it makes sense to add others in the household as authorized users so that they can benefit from those category bonuses.
  • Share benefits: The Sapphire Preferred card offers primary rental collision coverage as well as many excellent trip protection benefits.  It makes sense, then, for everyone in a household to use the Sapphire Preferred account when booking travel.  Sure, each person could have their own Sapphire Preferred card, but then you would be paying more in annual fees than is really needed.
  • Point transfers: As described above, there are certain situations where authorized user accounts enable transfers to loyalty programs.
  • Help in meeting spend requirements: When trying to put enough spend on a card to earn a signup bonus or to earn a big spend bonus, it makes sense to share the burden across two or more people.  This can be easily done by requesting authorized user cards.

For many, I suspect that the advantages of adding authorized users outweigh the disadvantages.

Summary

Chase has rules that both encourage and discourage adding authorized users.  If the only reason you want to add an authorized user is to get a bigger signup bonus, then I recommend making sure to add someone who doesn’t plan on applying for Chase cards in the near future.  If you need the other person to be an authorized user for other reasons (as shown above), then it’s probably worth doing.  Just keep in mind that they might have a harder time applying for new Chase cards in the next two years if this authorized user card pushes them over the “5 accounts in 24 months” barrier.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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40 Comments on "The Chase authorized user dilemma for 2 adult households"

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Crys
Guest

My daughter in law recently added me as an AU to her business acct but adding my SS number was not required. How does Chase track this back to me without my SS number?

katye
Guest

They just know. My family add each other all the time without SS number, and the AU accounts show up on our credit reports. I suppose they can check you down by your address/joint account, etc. I haven’t lived with my parents for years, but somehow Chase could still link us.

Juergen
Guest

In the past it was possible to add people without ss-number, for example my dog with made up name. Just never gave the cc to my dog 😉

Val
Guest

On two recent Chase apps (Marriott and Hyatt) I added my husband as AU and was not asked for a SSN. I added him at the time of my own application. Maybe if you add an AU after receiving the card they will ask for an SSN?

Tana
Guest

Hi Greg – First off I love your blog, it is one of the few that I read daily, but telling people to add their children on as authorized users – especially when you say their is no age limit meaning go ahead and add on your infants and small children – is crossing an ethical line. Honestly – telling people to just randomly add authorized users just for the points, even if you get their permission, is a little hinky. One never knows how an authorized user may effect someone’s credit report in the future (as we have seen with this new 5/24 rule, etc) and so why on earth would you want to recommend potentially messing up your child’s credit report for what amounts to maybe $100 worth of points? Also – I am guessing that a decent amount of people asked to be added on as an authorized user (if they are even asked) just “so I can get the points” do not have a clear understanding of what that really means for their credit report. Anyway – this is just my 2 cents – people are going to do whatever they want but a little disappointed that you would help them along this slippery path.

G
Guest

I agree with you. Adding small children seem unethical since they don’t even have a solid understanding about money and finances. Also, given that cc banks are tightening more and more their rules on who can and can’t receive bonus points, it is possible that you may be harming the chances of your child to get that cc in the future. What if the rules change to once in a lifetime and being an AU counts toward that? Sure, a rule like that seems highly unlikely now but, how about 10 years down the road? The Chase 5/24 rule also seemed highly unlikely as recent as a year ago. My point is that there’s no telling what’s the cc rules will be in the future. So, I’m leaving my kids out of this.
Now, if you have a teen who’s about to embark into the world of cc’s, then adding them as your AU might help their cc scores. In that instance, I think it might be OK.
Adding a friend is a bad idea, imo. Because that friend may not be into the game right now and might be OK with you adding them as AU but if the friend changes his/her mind down the road and decides to get into the cc game, you just ruined their chances to travel for very cheap. I’m not sure it’s worth the few thousand points you’d be gaining from it.

NoonRadar
Guest

As long as you pay your credit cards timely (most churners do, if they don’t, they’re in the wrong hobby) the only effect you will have on your/a child from you adding them as an authorized user is a positive one for that child, building their credit profile.

But if someone would rather not, they can just make up a name, many just add their pets. Or not add one at all and forego the additional points. Chase doesn’t check for SSN when it comes to authorized users, same with some other banks. But some other banks do, in which case you will know because the SSN of the auth user is a mandatory field/requirement.

Larry
Guest

My wife and I are applying for the Marriott personal and business cards. I applied for both 2 weeks ago and am still pending review hoping Chase will take some excess credit from one of my 5 Chase personal cards and Ink Cash business card to create the new Marriott cards. If I am successful my wife will try for both. Once we both have our review decisions we plan to add each other as AU for the extra points we will need for a 7 night and SW airline package. How long would we have to stay on as AU to get and keep the extra points. And if we then remove each other as AU will that prevent Chase from considering the AU cards in their 5 new cards in 24 month count. It should not be legal for them to count an AU as and AU has no responsibility to pay that account. Matching up names and addresses of spouses without Social Security numbers is also a questionable procedure. The extreme example of someone who has 5 AU cards and no other cards in 24 months getting denied for
5 new in 24 months is rediculous.

Tony
Guest

Thank you for letting people know being added to AU shows up in your credit report. This happened to me. I used to always add myself to my mother’s account as AU as I usually manages her credit cards (She likes flying for free but doesn’t want to deal with the hassle). I was denied the Freedom card due to the 5/24 rule and 2 of those I was an AU. I tried to explain to retention that they were not my accounts but they didn’t care. I notice if I am added to a random friend’s account as an AU then it doesn’t show up in my credit report.

Dr. Bob
Guest

Just a footnote about adding your (real) child to your account. When my daughter turned 16 and was now driving on her own I added her to one of my credit card accounts so that she could have a credit card with her just in case of a breakdown of the vehicle. Not a big deal at the time. Now run the clock forward about 4 years and she applies for a credit card on her own. Approved – no problem and the report came back with a credit score of over 800. Low and behold all that time she was “sharing” my excellent score (always paid bills on time) without us knowing. Sometimes it pays to add your child to your account – just my two cents worth.

Cee
Guest

You’re right about this. I had an excellent credit score going into college because my parents gave me an authorized user card on their account when I was in my early teens. Assuming the parents who are doing this are responsible with their own payments and not excessive with the amount of cards they give to their kids (and if the kids are responsible when they’re given the card), it’s actually beneficial.

Tana
Guest

Agree that giving a teenager an AU card for emergencies or to teach about responsibility is beneficial and will help with their credit history, although a credit score by itself is not very meaningful to auto, house lenders, etc who will look at the actual credit report and being a AU will not really help there. I have read too much about people adding their newborns and small children on as AUs and wish that FM would have been more selective with his wording in his original post – which he did in a followup comment :).

Tana
Guest

My apologies – it was a ‘G’ that replied to a previous comment – not FM. I was reading it on my phone and misread.

Christian
Guest

The primary car rental insurance is good for authorized users as well?

Dustin
Guest

I was curious about how many authorized user accounts are really showing up on my credit report. Using credit karma, it’s only showing a couple accounts, when its really more like 5. If people are concerned, just double check these au accounts are showing up.

T.A.
Guest

Freedom’s 5x rotating categories have a limit of $1500 ( Ink’s 5x categories also have a limit though much higher). If there is an authorized user on your account, then your account gets twice the limit? Or the user is ‘sharing’ into the limit?

Chris
Guest

Total newbie here. Got stung by this one. I recently got the Sapphire, UA Exp and RR personal cards and added my wife as an AU on all three. She has two Citi AA in the last two years. I was able to get her the Sapphire, but got shut down on UA Exp and Chase IP because she had “too many cards.” I got her off of my three cards and have been working with TU and Experian to get those off of her reports, but a couple still show up as “Terminated.” Does anyone know if these still count against the 5/24 once their responsibility has removed? This looks like a way for Chase to end doubling up by two cardholder households. And I was just getting started. Bummer.

Gabriel Martinez
Guest

Ok…I get the point about not wanting to add them as an authorized user for accounts younger than 2 years old…but what about adding them to A) accounts OLDER than 2 years old, or B) to an INK account. This should get around the problem since if you add them to accounts older than 2 years old, it will not show up as a newly added account on the AU credit report. In addition, I’ve NEVER seen an INK BUSINESS card show up on my credit report…especially as an AU. Thus that’s a great option to have if you want to transfer points back and forth…

MEL
Guest

My mom just applied for the BA Chase card with me as an authorized user. She has applied for 1 credit card in more than 5 years, but she got declined because I have too many credit request on my record. WTF??

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[…] FrequentMiler When signing up for a new Chase card, should you add your spouse or other household member as an […]

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[…] Chase 5/24 Rule Update – The Authorized User Dilemma […]

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[…] The Chase authorized user dilemma for 2 adult households – Navigating Chase’s many rules and policies to determine whether it makes sense to add authorized users to your accounts. […]

Nobody
Guest

You can always (well, at least for most banks I know) request an AU account be removed from your credit report, after you cancel the AU card.

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[…] Chase has recently tightened their approvals for many of their cards. For some cards they will not approve you if you have opened up 5 or more accounts across all banks during the past 24 months. As far as I know that rule isn’t in place for this card, however it is rumored to be implemented soon. You may also want to consider if it is a good idea to add a spouse or household member as an AU to your account for the extra bonus. You can find more info on that at Frequent Miler. […]

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[…] is probably good for their business and probably has less chance of infuriating customers the way Chase’s 5/24 rule and Amex’s once per lifetime rule […]

Nate
Guest

I just added myself as an authorized user with my nickname and it worked

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[…] For more about authorized user cards, please see: The Chase authorized user dilemma for 2 adult households. […]

TE
Guest

A friend of mine only has Freedom and her dad is gonna get the Sapphire Preferred soon. They all have the same address and she doesn’t plan on getting a premium UR earning card anytime soon.

The goal is to combine her points with her dad’s, so he can book. How do you think this can be done? Does he need to add her as an AU at the time he applies?

Thanks!

Nick Reyes
Editor

No, he doesn’t need to add her as an AU. Two people in the same household can combine points. See our guide here:

https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/03/08/chase-point-transfer-rules-made-simple-infographic/

In the Ultimate Rewards portal, there is a link under “use points” that says “Combine Points”. If they click there, the process of linking up is pretty straightforward

TE
Guest

Thanks for clearing that up, Nick.