Supplementary Credit Cards - Why/How are they useful?

Supplementary Credit Cards - Why/How are they useful?

Supplementary Credit Cards - Why/How are they useful?

Summary/TL;DR

Supplementary cards are useful for giving a friend, partner or family member an additional card that can be used to help you earn points. This can be useful if this person is unable to obtain their own Credit Card (no credit check or salary is required), and is a particularly good way to accelerate points earning opportunities as any purchases made on the supplementary card represent a regular transaction no different to those made by the primary cardholder.

Often times, supplementary cards are free of charge (up to a certain number). Additional benefits include giving (limited) access to insurances ordinarily offered to the primary cardholder, and giving someone else an indirect line of credit, which can be useful in situations like paying for a hotel deposit.

For American Express Credit Cards, an additional benefit is getting additional access to Statement Credit Deals. This is because each supplementary card has its own unique card number, which how entitlement to these deals is determined. This means being able to take advantage of the same deal multiple times.

Provided the person you're issuing a supplementary card is aware of roughly aware of how Credit Cards work, supplementary cards should only be advantageous. There is no harm in having them and I would therefore encourage you to explore the benefits of having an additional cardholder.

You should however, be aware that all purchases made by additional cardholders are still the responsibility of the primary cardholder! This is where a tool like Splitwise could come in handy to help you track expenses, in cases where you pay for things first!


Supplementary Credit Cards - Why/How are they useful?

Supplementary Cards are additional cards that you can issue under the name of another person other than the primary cardholder. Why would you get one? Because:

  • They are (usually) free
  • An additional way for you to earn Credit Card Points by having a card issued to a friend/family
  • In the case of American Express cards issued by American Express directly, additional access to American Express Statement deals, independent of the primary card. I will elaborate more on this below.
  • Giving a friend/family member access to (limited) insurances provided to the primary cardholder

Here are some answers to some common concerns..

  • The supplementary cardholder does not need to be earning an income at all, and no credit check is required - this is because all their purchases on this additional card are the responsibility of the primary cardholder
  • There is however, usually an ID check required and an minimum age requirement of 16

American Express Statement Credit Deals - Why having multiple supplementary cards is useful

Background of the AMEX Statement Credit Deals

The American Express Statement Credit deals are ones that I have made references to before in some of my earlier posts. The nature of these deals are often along the lines of (to use some recent examples):

Importantly and rather restrictively, these deals generally are only accessible once per card. This is where having supplementary cards can come in handy..

In the case of the first two deals (Hey You, Coles Express), these are particular versatile.

Hey You is a coffee-ordering app which I will post about in a future post. Benefits include being able to order directly from your phone without having to line up, and having your coffee/drinks/snack ready for you to pick up upon arrival, thus not having to queue. This explains their previous name, "Beat the Queue". God knows why they changed their name..

Back to the deal, effectively your $4 coffee becomes $1 (without factoring in the 2% Hey You fee) for each unique American Express card you have.

Coles Express doesn't need much of an introduction. You can effectively see the deal as giving you $10 off for any transaction above $40. Alternatively, you could buy a Coles Myer Gift Card instead, thereby artificially extending the validity of the deal for you, and also expanding the versatility of the deal. The increased versatility is due to the versatility of the gift card itself - Coles Myer Gift Cards can be used at: Officeworks, Coles Supermarkets, Myer, Coles Express Petrol Stations, LiquorLand, Target, Kmart, Vintage Cellars. You can even simply top up your Opal Card if you're Sydney-based.

Usefulness of multiple AMEX supplementary cards

If you hold an American Express Credit Card issued directly by American Express (i.e. one that you can see on amex.com.au), every supplementary card you have actually gives you a unique card number. Each unique card number can be enrolled independently for each of these deals.

As an example, if you have two supplementary cardholders, you are able to take advantage of the deals above three times.

For you to be able to issue a supplementary card, you will need to use someone's name. This could be a partner, friend or child. Often times you will be asked for ID, unless they are an existing customer with American Express (i.e. they may have a record of them). It is ordinarily not possible to get a supplementary card issued in your own name (which is logical).

If you hold an American Express Credit Card issued by one of the banks (NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank), only NAB Supplementary Credit Cards are issued with a unique card number. Supplementary Credit Cards issued by Westpac and Commonwealth Bank have the same card number as the primary cardholder. The only differentiating factors being name, expiry date and security code.


Do you have any experiences with using supplementary cards? Was there anything that I missed? Feel free to leave a comment and please subscribe if you want to read more posts like these!

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