Which AMEX Card is Best for Adding an Authorized User for Partner Transfers?

by joeheg

American Express only allows cardholders to transfer Membership Rewards to partner accounts of authorized users, and those authorized users need to have been added at least 90 days ago. What does this mean?

American Express pools all your Membership Rewards into a single account. Still, you can’t transfer (or pool) Membership Rewards between people, even with your spouse, family member, or authorized user(s). This rule is more restrictive than those of Capital One, Chase and Citi, which all let you send points between accounts.

You can currently transfer Membership Rewards points to the loyalty accounts of people who are authorized users on one of your American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards. For example, I can transfer Sharon’s Membership Rewards to my Delta SkyMiles account. I can also send my Membership Rewards to my dad’s ANA Mileage Club account, which is what I did to help them have enough miles to book their trip to Bali and Thailand. When I did this, I added him as an authorized user to my account so I could transfer the points the next day. That’s no longer possible due to the 90-day hold period before you can make transfers to authorized users.

There’s no doubt AMEX’s RAT team suggested this change to keep people from selling points. All you needed to do was add someone as an authorized user. What’s to keep those with little to no moral compass from sending points to whomever they want if someone is willing to pay them for the points? In this case, a 90-day hold period seems reasonable.

To ensure that you can transfer Membership Rewards to someone in the future, it’s a good idea to add them as an authorized user on your American Express card that earns Membership Rewards. Which American Express card is the best choice for this purpose?

These are the things I take into consideration when deciding which AMEX card I want to add an authorized user:


Depending on which card you choose, you can pay anywhere from $350 to add an additional user to the Business Platinum card, $195 for additional users on a Personal Platinum card, or no charge to add users to any number of other American Express cards.

Now, there may be a good reason to add someone as an authorized user to an American Express Platinum personal or business card. Most importantly, authorized users get some of the same perks as the primary cardholder, like lounge access to Delta Sky Clubs and Centurion Lounges.

That’s not the basis of this post, so I’m going to say that when it comes to adding an authorized user only to allow point transfers, these cards aren’t the best choices.

Or are they?

Credit Report Consequences

One of the biggest drawbacks of adding authorized users to credit cards is that if it’s a personal account, it will show up on your credit report even if it’s not your account. This can be a good thing if you’re looking to build credit, but if you’re trying to stay under Chase’s 5/24 rule, this is a big problem. You can call the bank and explain how you’re just an authorized user and not responsible for the charges, but that’s one more step I’d prefer to avoid.

Considering this, the best card to add someone to for allowing transfers of Membership Rewards to their accounts would be an AMEX business card. The same ones I just said weren’t a good idea. Here’s why.

American Express Business Charge Cards

If you have any of the American Express Business charge cards (Platinum, Gold, or Green), you can add additional users to your account. For example, say you have a Business Gold Card. You can add additional Gold cards to your account for $95 each, OR you can provide an Employee Business Expense card to an authorized user for FREE!

In fact, all AMEX business charge cardholders, no matter the card type, can add Employee Business Expense cards for no charge.

If the only reason you’re adding an additional cardholder is so you can transfer points to their partner accounts, this is the best option. There’s no cost, and the cards don’t show up on the authorized user’s credit report.

American Express Blue Business Plus Card

The Blue Business Plus card has no annual fee and earns 2x points on all purchases up to $50,000 per year. It also allows authorized users to be added for free.

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American Express Everyday Card

What if you don’t have an American Express business card? The best option would be to have one of the American Express Everyday cards.

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This is one of the only cards where I added myself to her account. This allows me to transfer Sharon’s points from her AMEX account to my accounts if necessary.

Final Thoughts

Planning in advance can help you make the most of transferring your American Express points to other people’s accounts. As per their policy, you need to have an authorized user on your account for at least 90 days before being able to transfer points, so it’s good to add an authorized user well before you need to transfer points. However, adding an authorized user is a quick and easy process, and if you choose the right card to add them to, you can do so without any additional expense.

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