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The Overlooked Credit Card Perk: Refer a Friend Bonuses

Last updated on July 15, 2018 Views: 1625 Comments: 4

In the world of credit card deals, one incentive which is often overlooked is the classic ‘refer a friend’ program. And Amex seems to have the credit card referral market cornered, at least in Canada.

If you’re the cardholder of select Amex cards, you can log into the Amex refer a friend program, choose which American Express referral option to take advantage of, and share the details of a friend who you think might be a good fit for an Amex card. If said friend signs up for the card and is approved by Amex, you’ll enjoy a hefty Amex referral bonus. And, you can do it again too, although there might be a limit to how many credit card referral bonuses you can get in one calendar year.

American Express Cobalt Card

  • 5,000 extra points for every approved referral
  • Up to a cumulative 75,000 points through the referrals plan every calendar year

With 5,000 extra points, you can get two cinema tickets and a $10 gift card for popcorn and drinks at participating AMC theaters, or redeem them for a gift card worth between $35 and $50 at dozens of retailers as varied as iTunes, Sam’s Club, or Saks 5th Avenue.

The American Express refer a friend plan has various restrictions and conditions: You can only refer a friend, family member, or business associate—sorry, no random strangers allowed; it takes 8-10 weeks for the referral bonus to go through; and you won’t be notified if your friend is approved, instead you’ll just discover a lovely surprise in your account after their approval.

American Express Business Gold Card

  • Referral bonus of 10,000 American Express points
  • Refer more people to get up to 150,000 total referral points in a calendar year

10,000 extra Amex referral points can take you a pretty long way – all the way to New York City, in fact! You can redeem your points for Aeroplan miles on a one-to-one basis, so 10,000 miles is more than enough for a one-way short-haul flight in economy. Or, get a $100 voucher at dozens of restaurants or retailers like Barnes & Noble or Tiffany & Co.

The same terms and conditions from the Amex Cobalt card apply to Business Gold card referrals.

American Express Platinum Cards

  • Get an extra 25,000 points for each referral
  • Maximum of 225,000 points per calendar year

Your extra 25,000 points can be swapped on a one-to-one basis for Aeroplan miles or transferred one for one to over a dozen other frequent flyer programs, enough to get you a round trip short-haul ticket to destinations in the USA and Canada. If you prefer, you can swap them for statement credit to offset eligible purchases or get a $200 voucher to spend on a car rental, hotel stay, meals at many food and drink establishments, or at retailers like Bath & Body Works or Neiman Marcus.

Your referral points are awarded according to the same conditions as other American Express referral programs. And here’s another important caveat to note: the person you refer to Amex must agree to let you get the bonus points, so make sure the referral is someone that wants to see you succeed.

American Express SimplyCash Preferred

  • $200 bonus cash back for every successful referral
  • Maximum of $3,000 cash back each calendar year

What might you do with an extra $200? Perhaps enjoy a night out, treat yourself to a shopping spree, or add to your savings fund? It’s completely up to you.

Although it’s a cashback rather than rewards card, the same American Express refer a friend terms and conditions still apply, so you’ll still have to wait 8-10 weeks to find out if you’ll be getting that $200 windfall.

Starwood Preferred Guest Card

  • Get an extra 5,000 Starpoints for every successful referral
  • Maximum of 75,000 Starpoints can be accumulated via referrals in each calendar year

If you choose to spend your Starpoints within the Starpoint program, your bonus is enough to get you two nights at a Category 2 luxury hotel. Alternatively, you could transfer your Starpoints to one of 30 frequent flyer programs, usually on a one-for-one basis.

Resting on a Potential Referral Bonus? Don’t!

If you’re an American Express cardholder, you could be sitting on one of the best credit card deals around. Why not take a few minutes to brainstorm which friends, family, or business associates could fit your card’s profile? Someone who’s in a similar income bracket, business line, or lifestyle is more likely to appreciate your referral and be willing to show their gratitude by helping you maximize your credit card benefits.

Article comments

Salman says:

Hi, Very information article. I got the referral from a gold card holder (mywife). But when I click on the link, Platinum card is not one of the options to chose from. Any advice? Thanks,

GreedyRates says:

Hi Salman, thanks for your question. If your wife referred you to become a cardholder of the Amex Gold Rewards card, then you’ll only be able to apply for that card or others in the same tier, and not cards that have stricter requirements and greater perks. If she was a Platinum cardholder, then the referral she sent you would invite you to sign up for the Platinum card, for example. We suggest calling Amex and asking if this is intentional, because it sounds like this obstacle is preventing you from becoming a customer. Report the issue to customer service (Amex representatives are usually very friendly and easy to work with) and they’ll help you get the result you want.

GreedyRates Staff

Salman says:

Thank you, I will try that and update here as well.

Salman says:

Hi, I did call them and they told me that there is no way to override what it shown. So for Platinum Card it has to be a new application and referral bonus will not be applicable. Thanks!