I signed up for a Citi credit card and in the application added my spouse as an authorized user so she could use it while I am away and we could meet the spend requirements (it's a mileage card).

If she's just an authorized user on the card, does that mean she is no longer eligible to sign up for the same credit card in her own name? People normally sign up for these one for each spouse to maximize mileage bonuses, and I'm curious if I have already ruined that by adding her as an authorized user.

2 Answers 2


She can apply for her own card as well. So long as her credit is ok and she can be approved on her own score, it shouldn't be an issue. Keep in mind, most airline cards have an annual fee, $80 or so, which is why we decided to get the card in my name and I could always get tickets in any family member name. A card in her name will get you the new bonus (maybe 20,000 miles?) but after a year, the fee kicks in.

  • so even though the Citibank card shows up on her credit report, she can still apply for the exact same card herself and they will accept it even though the credit report shows her having the card? Also, is there a difference between a joint account holder and an authorized user?
    – jjeaton
    Sep 2, 2011 at 21:37
  • Yes. A joint account holder means you both own the card, you can add users regardless of their credit, the money is owed by you. As an authorized user, she can still apply for her own account. Sep 2, 2011 at 23:41
  • Now I'm not sure which one she is... How can I tell? :)
    – jjeaton
    Sep 3, 2011 at 5:27
  • Ask. The customer service people (number on back of card) should be able to tell you this. They can also tell you if there will be any issue with your wife having one where she is the primary owner. Sep 3, 2011 at 11:54

Not only CAN a spouse get her own credit card, she SHOULD.

As an "authorized user" of your card, she can spend on your credit card, but ultimately it's up to YOU to pay.

If she gets her own credit card, it's HER responsibility to pay. She ought to do so, and establish credit in her own name, in case, heaven forbid, anything happens to you.

Many widows (and a few widowers) were left "stranded" creditwise when the primary earner passed away, and the spouse had no credit history.

  • Haha, yes that is good info, but there isn't any concern for her credit in this situation. Her credit is great, we both have our own cards in addition to joint cards. It was this one card we were wondering about because we would like to get another mileage bonus and didn't want to just apply and have it thrown out if she's an authorized user.
    – jjeaton
    Sep 4, 2011 at 1:02

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