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The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most valuable credit cards on the market. With the 3X on dining and travel, $300 travel credit, 1.5 cent travel portal redemptions, Priority Pass lounge access, and amazing travel and purchase protections, it’s really hard for other issuers to compete with this card.
But is it worth paying a fee to add an authorized user to your account?
This article will answer that question by taking a look at all of the Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user benefits.
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What are the Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user benefits?
The biggest authorized user benefits are:
- Priority Pass membership
- Travel and purchase protections
- 3X on dining and travel
Authorized users do not get the Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check benefit or the $300 travel credit.
I’ll discuss all of these in detail below.
Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user fee
In order to add a Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user, you’ll have to pay $75 per authorized user.
Compare that to the Amex Platinum which allows up to three authorized users for $175 and the Citi Prestige which allows you to add authorized users for $50 each. $75 per authorized user isn’t terribly expensive but it’s high enough to make sure that it’s worth what you’re paying.
Also keep in mind that the Sapphire Reserve’s little brother, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, allows for authorized users for no additional charge. The Chase Freedom also allows for free authorized users to be added.
Avoiding the authorized user fee
Some people find themselves in the couple conundrum where the couple both want to hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve but they don’t want to pay the fee for the additional authorized user.
For people in this situation, there are two separate routes you can go:
The “poor man’s” authorized user
The poor man’t authorized user allows you to receive a separate Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card so that you end up with two separate cards that remain active. Simply call up Chase and tell them you want a replacement card with the exact same number, expiration date, etc.
You’ll soon receive an additional card in the mail which can be used concurrently with your prior card. Obviously, this card won’t have the “authorized user’s” name on the card and won’t come with perks like Global Entry, but that’s why it’s the “poor man’s” authorized user.
The good thing this options is you can still use to earn points and at no additional cost. I regularly my version of Brad’s Sapphire Reserve to pay for parking for work and it works out great.
Do the math
You can always run some numbers and figure out if you’ll be earning more in rewards and receiving more in benefits than you would be paying in authorized user fees.
If you’re just going to add one user, you need to determine if your benefits and rewards equal $75 or higher.
For example, if you spent $2,500 on dining and travel in a year then you’d net $75 worth of rewards redeeming your points for a statement credit at 1 cent per point. If you’re redeeming points at 1.5 cents per point that’s $1,666 worth of spend on dining and travel to earn $75 back.
Or if you’re comparing that to a card that earns 2X on dining then that spend amount might be closer to $5,000 at a valuation of 1.5 cents per point.
But those spending thresholds don’t factor in all of the other valuable perks like Priority Pass. To give you a better sense of the value, below are all of the Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user benefits.
3X on dining and travel
Just like the primary cardmember, an authorized user on the Sapphire Reserve will earn 3X on dining and travel. Again, if you’re only concerned with earning additional bonus points the poor man option might be best option. While some some merchants will require ID verification, I rarely have that issue when using Brad’s card.
Priority Pass airport lounge access
The Chase Sapphire Reserve airport lounge access allows for the primary cardholder and up to two guests to have Priority Pass access. (Chase just changed this from unlimited guests.)You can read more about this lounge policy here.
Each Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user will be given their own Priority Pass airport lounge access, which means that they can bring in their own two guests.
So if you’re always going to be traveling with up to two of your prospective authorized users, they will already be covered for airport lounge access via your own Reserve card. But if they travel alone and want to get access to Priority Pass lounges, then they probably need to be added as an authorized user.
Out of all of the Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user benefits, this perk is probably the most valuable.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Protections
The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with some of the best travel and purchase protections offered by any credit card.
Sapphire Reserve authorized user rental car protections
The most significant in my opinion is rental car insurance (or collision damage waiver). The rental car coverage for Sapphire Reserve authorized users is primary coverage, which means that you typically don’t have to file a claim with your rental car insurance company and can avoid a rise in your premium.
In some cases, this perk alone is well worth the $75 one has to pay be added as an authorized user.
Sapphire Reserve authorized user travel and purchase protections
But primary rental car coverage is only of the many protections that the Reserve comes with. You’ll also get all of the following built-in protections.
- Lost or damaged Luggage –-For checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000.00
- Trip Interruption — If your trip is canceled or cut short by covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.
- Trip Delay Reimbursement — If delayed more than 6 hours you are covered for expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket
- Baggage Delay Reimbursement — If delayed more than 6 hours, you arecovered for essential expenses, such as toiletries and clothes for up to $100
- Purchase protections — Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account
- Extended Warranty Protection — Extends the time period of the original manufacturer’s written U.S. repair warranty by 1 additional year on eligible warranties of 3 years or less, up to a maximum of $10,000.00
- Return Protection — You can be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.
- Travel accident insurance — Travel Accident Insurance consists of two benefit types, Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance and 24-Hour Travel Accident Insurance, which provide coverage for accidental death or dismemberment, or a combined loss of speech, sight or hearing, experienced on a covered trip.
- Roadside assistance — Free for up to $50 and up to 4 times per year
You can read more in-depth details about all of these protections here.
Benefits Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized users don’t get
While authorized users get tons of valuable perks, they also don’t get everything. Here’s a lot of what they miss out on.
Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check
Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized users don’t get Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check credits to use individually. These perks allow you to breeze through security and customs and can be serious time savers. Other cards like the Amex Platinum offer these benefits to their authorized users.
$300 travel credit
The Sapphire Reserve has an awesome $300 travel credit that can be used on just about anything travel-related. However, Sapphire Reserve authorized users do not get their own travel credits.
It’s understandable that Chase wouldn’t give authorized users a $300 travel credit when they only have to pay $75 for their annual fee and other cards like the Platinum Card don’t offer separate travel credits for authorized users.
No authorized user bonus
When you add an authorized user to the Chase Freedom or even the Chase Sapphire Preferred you’re eligible to earn an additional 5,000 point authorized user bonus. No longer available.
Also, there is no sign-up bonuses offered for adding Sapphire Reserve authorized users to your account. The only way you can earn the 50,000 point sign-up bonus is if you open up a new credit card with Chase (and you haven’t received that bonus in the last 24 months).
Final word on Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user benefits
The Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized user benefits are valuable if you’d like to have Priority Pass access. Getting a full membership for $75 is a bargain (assuming you’d actually use it). But beyond some additional protections, there’s not a whole lot of value on the table. And so for many people, I think getting a separate Sapphire Reserve card via the poor man’s method might be the way to go.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.