Should Your Partner Get a Supplementary Card or Their Own Card?

Jun 26, 2019

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If you’re a points person, you may have at least one credit card that earns loyalty points. You may also be able to obtain a supplementary card, which is a secondary credit card that has its own card number, expiration date and CCV number but is in the name of a partner, family member or trusted friend but is still part of your own account.

The supplementary cardholder can use the card to make purchases for which you, as the primary cardholder, will earn points. However, you will be responsible for paying the balance each month.

But if your partner, family member or trusted friend is considering either applying for their own credit card or becoming your supplementary cardholder, how can you determine which is the best application for you both to achieve your travel goals?

Supplementary Card Scenarios

It can make sense for that person to become your supplementary cardholder rather than applying for their own card when you are trying to reach a certain spending requirement. That minimum spend could be needed to be met in order to receive a welcome/sign-up bonus or other loyalty bonus, such as a British Airways 2-4-1 Companion Voucher that you might not reach with only your own purchases. For example, if you are required to spend £4,000 within the first three months in order to obtain the welcome bonus on a card and are concerned you may not reach, you may consider adding a supplementary cardholder for the primary reason that it could help you reach that bonus.

Remember that you, as the primary cardholder, are responsible for all charges on your account — regardless if they are made by you as the primary cardholder or your supplementary cardholder.

If you have a card with a high annual fee, you might also opt to have a supplementary cardholder, rather than both of you paying a high annual fee. Be aware that for some premium cards, there may be a fee for issuing a supplementary card. The supplementary cardholder will usually enjoy all of the benefits the primary cardholder, such as travel insurance and lounge access where it is provided to the primary cardholder.

Also, if you are keen for all of the points from both cardholders’ purchases to be pooled into one account (i.e. because you might not reach your travel goals if the points were split between two people’s loyalty accounts), it might make sense to have a supplementary cardholder rather than two separate cardholders.

(Photo by Josh Gribben / The Points Guy)

Own Card Scenarios

If you do not expect to have any problems reaching minimum spend requirements in order to receive a welcome bonus, then it may be more appropriate for that other person to have their own account and card. In that case, both of you can receive separate welcome bonuses and maximise your rewards earning opportunities.

The 2-4-1 Companion Voucher you can obtain from the British Airways Premium Plus Card from American Express UK can be enormously valuable depending on how you use it. I have saved thousands of pounds using it to book my partner and me in Club World to Hong Kong (HKG) for next year.

As you can only earn one Companion Voucher per account per year, if you find that both you and a supplementary cardholder might reach the £10,000 spend each year to earn the Companion Voucher, then it could make sense for both of you to have your own card and account. While each of you would have to pay the annual fees for your individual cards, in theory, if both of you could earn separate Companion Vouchers, you may be able to use the two Companion Vouchers to obtain a value higher than the two annual fees.

This scenario may be particularly advantageous for a family of two parents and two children. If the two parents can each earn their own Companion Voucher by having their own cards and accounts, then they could potentially use the Companion Vouchers at the same time for the family of four to travel together, but only pay the Avios for two people, noting fees, taxes and surcharges are payable for all four.

Remember that with two separate cards, the points will be earned in two different accounts, and most programmes will not allow you to pool or transfer the points into one account so you may be limited with how you can use them.

Featured image by The Points Guy.

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