How to get a token to access the Azure cost API

1 minute read

The Azure Cost CLI is a command-line dotnet tool created to facilitate interaction with Azure’s cloud costs. While the development of the tool was a technical endeavor, it posed a significant challenge in one particular area: authentication.

Authentication Complexity

Obtaining a token to access the Azure Cost API without burdening users with usernames, passwords, or the creation of service accounts was a challenging issue. The need for a straightforward application that could retrieve the account information directly from the environment necessitated a unique approach.

Utilizing DefaultAzureCredentials

The answer was found in DefaultAzureCredentials. This functionality attempts various credential providers to find a valid one, offering a seamless way to authenticate. The approach enabled the retrieval of a token without adding complex authentication steps.

ChainedTokenCredential with AzureCliCredential

To refine the process, a new ChainedTokenCredential was created, placing the AzureCliCredential at the start and then falling back to the default options if necessary. Below is the code snippet that encapsulates this elegant solution:

// Get the token by using the DefaultAzureCredential, but try the AzureCliCredential first
var tokenCredential = new ChainedTokenCredential(
    new AzureCliCredential(),
    new DefaultAzureCredential());

// Fetch the token and ask explicitly for the Azure Cost API scope
var token = await tokenCredential.GetTokenAsync(new TokenRequestContext(new[]
    { $"" }));

// Set the resulting token as the bearer token for the HTTP client
_client.DefaultRequestHeaders.Authorization = new AuthenticationHeaderValue("Bearer", token.Token);

Simplicity and Flexibility

This method’s success lies in its simplicity and flexibility, enhancing user experience and leveraging existing Azure CLI setups across different environments.


The Azure Cost CLI tool is more than a utility; it represents a thoughtful response to a real-world problem. By innovatively combining ChainedTokenCredential with AzureCliCredential, a solution was crafted that is not only efficient and secure but also simple to use.

For developers and administrators seeking a user-friendly way to interact with the Azure Cost API, this approach provides a practical and elegant path forward.

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