For My Mom’s Birthday, I Got Her … a Credit Card?!

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

For My Mom’s Birthday, I Got Her … a Credit Card?!

JasminFor My Mom’s Birthday, I Got Her … a Credit Card?!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

Jasmin:   Don’t we all have friends and family who are impossible to buy gifts for when birthdays or the holidays come around?

My mom is one of those people.  She’s retired and is more interested in getting rid of things than acquiring more stuff.  Usually, I’ll ask her what she wants, and she’ll say “Nothing!  I have everything I need!  Then, when pressed, she suggests items like new socks (not helpful).

So on her last birthday, it was time for a different approach.  As part of her gift, I paid a yearly fee to add her as an authorized user to one of my credit card accounts.  And because of the Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership the card comes with, her recent travels have been much more comfortable.

Gift Idea Authorized User Lounge Access
Here’s My Mom and Daughter Enroute to Paris, Making Short Work of the Buffet at the Priority Pass Plaza Premium Lounge in Toronto

It’s worked out really well for her.  And I’ll show you how you can share similar awesome benefits with friends and family who like to travel!

The Gift of Authorized User Lounge Access

Link:   Are Airport Lounges Worth It?

Link:   Will Authorized Users Get Their Own Priority Pass Membership?

Link:   How Do Authorized Users Activate Their Priority Pass Membership With Chase Sapphire Reserve?

There are a number of premium credit cards which offer complimentary lounge airport lounge access to the primary cardholder.  But a few also allow you to add authorized users who’ll receive the same or similar benefits.

So if you have loved ones who enjoy traveling, this is a terrific way to take them under your wing and treat them to VIP-style amenities on their future trips.

Card LoungesGuest PolicyAnnual Fee (Primary Cardholder)Annual Fee (Authorized User)
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American ExpressDelta SkyClub access when traveling on a Delta coded or Delta operated flightUp to 2 guests and children under 21 years of age for $29 per person$450

Terms Apply
$175
Delta Reserve for Business Credit CardDelta SkyClub access when traveling on a Delta coded or Delta operated flightUp to 2 guests and children under 21 years of age for $29 per person$450

Terms Apply
$175
The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN

Priority Pass Select, Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClub (when traveling on a Delta flight), Escape Lounges, Airspace Lounges2 guests (except Delta SkyClub which costs $29 per guest)$450

Terms Apply
$300
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressPriority Pass Select, Centurion Lounges, Delta SkyClub (when traveling on a Delta flight), Escape Lounges, Airspace Lounges2 guests (except Delta SkyClub which costs $29 per guest)$550

Terms Apply
$175 for up to 3 additional cards, $175 each for the 4th or more additional card
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
American Airlines Admirals Club access2 free guests or immediate family (spouse/domestic partner and children under age 18)$450Up to 10 free authorized users
Citi Prestige® Card
Priority Pass Select access2 free guests or immediate family (spouse/domestic partner and children under age 18)$450$50
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Priority Pass Select accessUnlimited guests (at lounge's discretion)$450$75
Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit CardPriority Pass Select accessUnlimited guests (at lounge's discretion)$450Free

You’ll notice each of these cards has a steep annual fee for the primary cardholder.  But keep in mind, in addition to lounge access, some of these cards offer perks like travel credits, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits, and other valuable benefits that can offset the annual fee cost.

And some, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® and Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, don’t charge anything extra to add an authorized user.  So if you have one of these cards, it’s a no-brainer to add a trusted friend or family member and get them into airport lounges for free.

I Added Mom to My Citi Prestige Account

Link:   Citi Prestige

I’ve kept the Citi Prestige in my wallet for a few years now.  Even though it has a $450 annual fee, it’s worth it for the outstanding travel perks and benefits that come with the card, including:

When you take the $250 air travel credit into account, it effectively reduces the annual fee to $200 ($450 annual fee – $250 air travel credit).  And I’ve gotten hundreds of dollars back each year by making the most of the 4th night free hotel benefit.  Plus, having Priority Pass Select lounge access has saved me a ton of cash instead of spending money on expensive airport food and drinks.

Gift Idea Authorized User Lounge Access
My Mom Enjoyed a Light Meal in the VIP Lounge at Clark International Airport in Angeles City, Philippines

Adding my mom as an authorized user to my Citi Prestige was easy to do online through my Citi account.  Her credit card arrived in the mail quickly, but it took ~2 weeks to receive her Priority Pass membership card (which you must present to gain lounge access).

Getting her an authorized user Citi Prestige card has had another benefit as well.  My mom loves to bargain hunt and sometimes she’ll call or text – from a store – saying there’s a great sale on kids’ shoes, or athletic gear, or what have you.  I’ll often ask her to pick up a few things for me.

Before, I’d just pay her back in cash.  But now that she has her own Citi Prestige card, it’s easier for her to use it so that I get billed on my statement.  Plus, I get to keep the points from her spending!  🙂

Just remember, you should only add folks you completely trust as an authorized user on your credit card accounts.  Because you’re responsible for any charges they make.

Mom’s Thrilled With Her Priority Pass Select Membership!

As a retired airline employee, my mom still travels a lot.  She’s always jetting off to fun places, like the Philippines for the winter or to Europe with friends or family in the warmer months.  Now that she’s got her own Priority Pass Select membership, she’s very much enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere, free meals and drinks, and comfy seating in the airport lounges she’s visited.

So far, she’s tried out:

Of course, she didn’t get many pictures of herself in the lounges.  Instead, her snapshots are mostly of food and the “very nice” lounge staff who made her feel like a real VIP.

Gift Idea Authorized User Lounge Access
Here’s Part of the Buffet at the Plaza Premium Lounge in Hong Kong. My Mom Spent a Couple of Hours There Waiting for a Connecting Flight Home

She also loves the complimentary, fast Wi-Fi which makes it easy for her to check her Facebook and chat with friends and family.

Mom’s just getting a big kick out of it.  So I guess she knows what she’s getting (again) for her next birthday!

Bottom Line

Adding a loved one as an authorized user to certain premium credit card accounts is a unique and fun way to give the gift of better travel.

For $50 per year, I added my mom to my Citi Prestige account.  And now, whenever she travels, she gets complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge access.  She’s already enjoyed free meals, drinks, and a quiet place to rest at half a dozen lounges around the world!

It’s something to consider if you have friends or family who are super hard to buy birthday and holiday gifts for (if they can use the perk!).  Just remember to only add folks you trust as an authorized user, because you’re responsible for any charges they make.

Come back each Wednesday for a new installment in our Family Travel series!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!