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Best annual fee credit cards that don't charge authorized user fees

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If you're looking to build credit, becoming an authorized user on someone else's credit card is a great option. But it may not be free.

While you can be added to a no annual fee credit card for no extra cost, some cards with fees may charge over $100 per authorized user. Sometimes the perks authorized users receive are worthwhile, but other times it just doesn't make sense to fork over an additional fee.

However, there are annual fee credit cards that don't charge additional fees for authorized users. This is a win-win: Authorized users can build credit and the primary account holder can save money and earn more rewards.

Below, CNBC Select reviews which annual fee cards don't charge authorized user fees.

Annual fee cards without authorized user fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Primary cardholder annual fee: $95
  • Authorized user fee: $0

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

  • Rewards

    5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 2X points on travel and dining worldwide, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening — worth up to $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    17.49% to 24.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

On Chase's secure site

American Express® Gold Card

  • Primary cardholder annual fee: $250
  • Authorized user fee: $0 for up to 5 cards, then $35 per card

American Express® Gold Card

  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide and shop at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then it drops to 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See rates and fees

  • Balance transfer fee

    See rates and fees

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

On American Express's secure website.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

  • Primary cardholder annual fee: $95
  • Authorized user fee: $0

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card

  • Rewards

    Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    Receive 50,000 bonus points — a $500 value — after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Regular APR

    17.49% - 24.49% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

On Bank of America's secure site

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Primary cardholder annual fee: $39, waived the first year
  • Authorized user fee: $0

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    1.5% cash back on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $39

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    26.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Fair

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Information about the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Primary cardholder annual fee: $95, waived the first year
  • Authorized user fee: $0

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    5X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel℠, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase, plus 10X miles on thousands of hotels on hotels.com/venture (through January 2020)

  • Welcome bonus

    50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0 first year, then $95

  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    17.49% to 24.74% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

Information about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Primary cardholder annual fee: $95, waived the first year
  • Authorized user fee: $0

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95, waived the first year

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months on purchases; N/A on balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    16.24% to 25.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

Information about the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

What benefits do authorized users get?

The biggest perk is the opportunity to build credit or improve your credit score. Any purchases made by authorized users earn points toward the primary account.

But some cardholder benefits are only available to the primary cardholder and not authorized users. If a card has annual statement credits, for example, those generally only apply once to the primary account. For example, the American Express® Gold Card offers an annual $100 airline fee credit, but authorized users don't get their own additional $100 credit.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Information about the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, and Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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