how Amex referrals work

Complete Guide: How Amex Referrals Work? 

Credit card signup bonus are the best way to earn points. When it comes to American Express for example, you can find bonuses as high as 190,000 points for the Business Platinum or Business Gold card. Converted into cash, that can mean a bonus of more $2,000. But these bonuses require large spending, and also you need to be eligible when applying. Referral bonuses on the other hand are effortless. You just invite a friend or family member to apply for a card they want, and you earn a bonus. But how do Amex referrals actually work?

American Express has a ‘Refer a Friend’ program that makes it easy to refer and earn lots of points. Here you can find all the details and learn how Amex referrals work, how to invite friends, and how much you can earn. Let’s get into the details.

American Express ‘Refer a Friend’ Program

The American Express ‘Refer a Friend’ program let you invite friends and family members to apply for American Express credit cards. This program is available online to eligible Basic American Express Card Members with a U.S. Consumer or Business Card and qualifying Additional Card Members on eligible Consumer American Express Green Card, American Express Gold Card, and American Express Platinum Card accounts of at least 18 years of age.

Sometimes you might notice that you’re able to refer from one card, but not another. Amex determines eligibility to participate in the Referral program based on your creditworthiness and other factors including your account history with American Express.

how Amex referrals work

How Much Can You Earn with Referrals?

Depending on your card product, you can earn up to:

  • 55,000 Membership Rewards® points, Delta Bonus Miles, or Marriott Bonvoy points per calendar year
  • Up to 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points per calendar year
  • Up to $550 in statement credits per calendar year.

The bonus for each referral varies from time to time. You might see a bonus of $50 or $100 for cash back cards. Or 10,000 and 20,000 Membership Rewards points and sometimes as high as 30,000 or 45,000 points. So if your referral bonus shows as 20,000 for example, you can invite three friends to maximize your annual allotment of referral bonus points. You will earn 20,000 for the first friend, 20,000 for the second friend, and only 15,000 for the third friend, since the annual limit is 55,000 points. The best referral bonus are usually on Membership Rewards earning cards.

Who Can You Refer?

This program is intended for you to invite only your interested personal friends, family and known acquaintances. You can NOT self refer. That’s a big no-no

American Express also says that you should not publish or distribute your referral links in locations where the audience is likely to include individuals you do not know or who may not be interested in the Card. If you decide to post your referral link on any third party website or platform, such as a social media website, you must:

  • also comply with that third party’s terms of use, and
  • make it clear to those who view your post that you may also earn a reward if they are approved for a new Card.

How to Generate Referral Links

To can start referring friends here. Or just log into your Amex account and scroll all the way down to find “Refer a Friend” under “LINKS YOU MAY LIKE”. If you don’t see this link, it usually means that you can’t currently earn referral bonuses.

If you’re eligible, you should clearly see what you referral bonus will be and what bonus will be available for the person you’re referring.

how Amex referrals work steps

In this case, I’m logged into my Blue Business® Plus Credit Card account. There’s a limited time offer, with the referral bonused doubled. I will earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points for every person I refer. The person signing up will earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after using my link to apply, getting approved, and fulfilling the requirements listed in the offer.

For people who have more than one American Express card per log in, you can easily switch between accounts on the top right corner, where it says “Select one of you cards to refer”. You will then see the specific referral bonus and signup bonus for that card. Copy your link and send it to a friend, or share it by email and social media.

How to Refer to Amex Card You Don’t Currently Have

The link you get on the referral page will refer your friend to the same card you have in most cases. But you can also refer people for many other Amex credit cards and still earn a referral bonus. Even if you don’t have those specific cards yourself.

Here’s how that works:

In this case I’m referring from my Amex Business Platinum. Copy your own link (which starts with http://refer.amex.us/..) and open it in a browser. You will see the welcome bonus available for that same card. Then click “View all cards with a Referral Bonus” on top left, or a variation of that. You can then choose “All Business Cards” or “All Personal Cards”.

You can then choose “All Business Cards” or “All Personal Cards”. I clicked on All Personal Cards, and as you can see, there are 16 cards to choose from.

If I click on the Amex Gold card, I will see the offer and the application page for that specific card. Here, you can actually copy the URL and send that link directly to a friend. This is a link that usually starts with https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/credit-cards/referral/prospect/… 

When he/she clicks the link he/she will see the Gold card and apply right away. That’s if you want to make it easier for your friend to apply. But they can also go through these same steps themselves and choose the card they want.

Limitations

There are limitations on which card you can refer to, depending on what American Express credit card you currently have. Membership Earning credit cards usually are the best options to refer from. That’s not only because they have the best bonuses, but you also able to refer to all Amex cards. If you have a co-branded card, then you are limited to referring friends to cards within that same family of cards.

Membership Rewards and Cash Back Credit Cards

If you have one of these credit cards, you can refer to any other Amex card:

  • Blue Business Plus
  • Blue Business Cash
  • Blue Cash Preferred
  • Blue Cash Everyday
  • Cash MagnetGreen Card
  • EveryDay
  • EveryDay Preferred
  • Gold Card
  • Gold Business
  • Green
  • Green Business Card
  • Platinum Card
  • Platinum Business Card
  • Plum

There’s are also cards like Charles Schwab Platinum for example. You can’t refer anyone to this card, but if you do have the card, you can refer to any other Amex card and earn a statement credit (usually $100).

Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards

If you have one of these credit cards, you can only refer to other Delta SkyMiles cards:

  • Delta SkyMiles Gold 
  • Delta SkyMiles Gold Business
  • Delta SkyMiles Platinum
  • Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business
  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve
  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business
Hilton Honors Credit Cards

If you have one of these credit cards, you can only refer to other Hilton Honors cards:

  • Hilton Honors
  • Hilton Honors Surpass 
  • Hilton Honors Aspire 
  • Hilton Honors Business
Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

If you have one of these credit cards, you can only refer to other Marriott Bonvoy cards:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business

amex pay over time cards

How to Track Referrals

American Express doesn’t make it easy to track referrals. To see all the referral bonuses you have earned, you can go to your Rewards Summary. Here you will see referrals listed, but the details will not show on which card the bonus was earned.

If you look at the total of points earned for the year, you can probably get some idea. Referral bonuses are included in “Bonus Earn”. For this Platinum card for example, I have earned the full 55,000 points from referrals and 30,000 from a retention offer.

But this is not a very reliable option. It works in this case for me since I have barely used the card, but if you have other bonus earn, it’s hard to figure out. The best way is to just keep good records.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about how Amex referrals work.

  • Q: Do Amex Referrals count as income?
  • A: You will very likely receive 1099s from Amex for referrals. You will get one for each Amex card you refer from. If you earn 55K points for example, you’ll get one for $550 of income.
  • Q: If I refer from my Amex Gold, but my friend applies for a Hilton card, what points will I earn?
  • A: The referral bonus is dependent on the card you refer from. In that case you earn membership Rewards points.
  • Q: How long does it take for referral bonuses to post to my account?
  • A: Amex says 8-12 weeks, but it’s usually just 2-3 days.
  • Q: Is the 55,000 annual limit per card or per person?
  • A: The annual limit is per card.
  • Q: Can I refer other people in my household?
  • A: Yes! Just do NOT refer yourself. Husband can refer wife, and wife can then refer husband for example.

If you have any other questions that are still unanswered, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.

How Amex Referrals Work: Guru’s Wrap-up

The American Express Refer a Friend program is a great way to earn big bonuses from credit cards that you already have in your wallet. This is usually best way to apply for a new card if referrals show the same offer as the public bonus.

If you have one Amex card, you can earn as much as $550 or 55,000 Membership Rewards points in a year. If you have two or three cards, you can earn double of triple that amount, assuming you can maximize your referrals.

Hopefully this guide has provided you with everything you need to know about how Amex referrals work. Have any tips, corrections, questions. Ask away!

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