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UPDATE: The Starwood American Express credit card offers in this post are no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!
Do you know the trick some folks are using to multiply the great money-saving AMEX deals?
Adding authorized users to their account!
This can help you get the most out of deals like AMEX Small Business Saturday, which returns on November 28, 2015.
Last year I saved $30 per AMEX card on Small Business Saturday. Along with AMEX Offers, this is 1 of my favorite American Express card perks! And by adding authorized users to your card, you can save even more!
I’ll tell you everything you need to know about authorized users and explain how they can multiply your savings!
More Savings & Other Perks of AMEX Authorized User Cards
Along with sign-up bonuses and miles & points for spending on American Express cards, you can also earn for shopping with your card at certain retailers.
With Small Business Saturday happening in a few months, you could potentially save a lot of money by adding authorized users to your cards.
We still don’t know the details about how much you can save this year, but last year you could earn 3 $10 credits at local businesses on EACH of your AMEX cards.
If the deal is the same this year, when you add 4 family members to each of your 4 AMEX cards, you’ll get a total of $600 in savings for the holidays (5 people including you X 4 cards = 20 cards x $30 each = $600)!
There are other great reasons to add family members to your account:
- Additional users can help you meet minimum spending requirements
- Your good credit score could help them start building a credit history
And authorized users can still earn the sign-up bonus, if they decide to sign-up for the same AMEX card down the road.
There Are Some Risks to Adding Folks to Your Account!
While there are wonderful advantages to adding an authorized user, there are also drawbacks, such as:
- Liability – You’re ultimately responsible for any charges authorized users make on your account. So only add responsible folks you trust!
- Exceeding Your Credit Limit – An additional user’s purchases count towards your credit limit. This puts you at a greater risk of going over your limit. So you may need to keep a close eye on the spending for both accounts. I never let my current balance exceed more than ~30% of my credit limit.
- Your Credit Score Could Take a Hit – If anything goes wrong, it’s your credit score that’s on the line.
To minimize these risks, set spending limits and alerts on authorized user cards.
And if you want to add a family member who doesn’t like dealing with credit, you could create an authorized user account with their permission and hang onto the card. Thank them later by letting them enjoy some of the discounts!
Some folks add their teenage children but never give them the physical credit card. That way, they don’t have to worry about misuse of the card but their child’s credit score rises because the credit is handed responsibly. And the parent uses the card for the added discounts!
How to Add Authorized Users to Your Account
You can call the number on the back of your card to add an authorized user. Or you can do it online by signing-into your AMEX account.
For example, If you’ve recently signed-up for the AMEX Starwood personal and small business cards to take advantage of the increased sign-up bonus of 30,000 Starwood points, here’s how to add an additional user.
Step 1 – Log-in & Go to Your Profile
Sign into your American Express account and click the “Profile” tab.
Step 2 – Click “Card Management” and Manage Card Members
Next, go to “Card Management” and select “Add Someone to Your Account.”
Step 3 – Complete the Form
Add your friend or family member’s information to the form. The new cardholder must be 15 or older and you’ll need to provide their social security number.
You may even be able to add yourself as an authorized user on your own card. (Although I don’t recommend this.)
Most AMEX cards allow you add up to 99 authorized users. However, some folks say adding more than a couple additional users to their card triggered a financial review. So be careful!
Also, read the fine print because some cards charge annual fee for adding authorized users.
Here are some examples:
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold – No annual fee for 1st 5 additional cardholders and for 6 or more additional cards there’s a $35 annual fee per card.
- The Platinum Card from American Express – $175 total annual fee for up to 3 additional cards and $175 for each following card. Authorized users also get lounge access, TSA pre-check or Global Entry credit, and Starwood Gold status.
- Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express – No annual fee for adding cardholders.
You can also add authorized users to AMEX Bluebird and Serve cards. These also qualify for Small Business Saturday and AMEX Offers.
However, there are potential drawbacks because your credit can be impacted by any poor decisions your authorized user makes. So do NOT do this unless you completely trust that your friend or family member will act responsibly.
That said, you can monitor their accounts closely and set spending limits to make sure you’re protected. And this is an easy way to earn statement credits with your American Express cards!