Amex +4: Deal of the year?

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If you have been sleeping on the Amex +4 referral promotion, it is time to wake up. The chance to earn at least 5x everywhere (and 8 or 9x in popular bonus categories or as much as 19x) Membership Rewards points per dollar spent is a terrific opportunity that you shouldn’t miss. How can you trigger it? What are the best ways to take advantage of the increased return on spend? How am I planning to earn 600K from a single card? We discuss all of that and more on this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air.

Also read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler, including how you can save thousands on a European cruise, the best uses of your ThankYou points, and more.

Frequent Miler on the Air

  • 00:39 Giant Mailbag
  • 7:51 What crazy thing did Greg the Frequent Miler do this week?
  • 13:27 Mattress running the numbers: Is it worth indirectly buying Membership Rewards points for 0.9c per point?
  • 19:12 Main Event: Is the Amex +4 referral deal the deal of the year?
  • 43:17 Question of the Week: Is the Rewards+ a good downgrade option from Citi Premier?

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This week at Frequent Miler

Maximizing value from Amex multi-referrals

The real beauty of the +4 referral offer is that you can refer to almost any Amex card to pick up the bonus. So if you want 8x restaurants and US Supermarkets (4x on up to $25K per year, then 1x, plus 4x from the referral offer), you can refer a spouse to a fee-free card like the Everyday or Blue Business Plus or even a co-branded card like the Delta Platinum and get your +4x on the Gold card. We’ve updated this post with details of the current referral deal. You can 10 days left to trigger the deal and then 3 months of +4 goodness. Get after it now!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of timing

I finally put my money where my mouth is and opened the Amex Platinum card under what is indisputably the best new credit card offer we have ever seen. But I’m not going to leave it at 125K + 15x — I plan to pump it up to 19x and max out the spending cap on a single purchase. Unfortunately, my timing probably cost me $400 in credits, but when I bank 600K points I won’t lose much sleep over that last set of airline and FHR credits. Cross your fingers for me that this all works out.

Status cruising: Saving $2K+ on a cruise to Europe, Alaska, etc with a match

I visited Santorini several years ago and look forward to going back next year!

I started this post with absolutely no interest in a cruise and ended up booking a 10-night European cruise for four passengers for $1157 net with a $200 onboard credit (it only would have been $680 without the kids!). That’s a huge discount over the sticker price. Whether you want to cruise the fjords of Norway, around Iceland, through the Greek Isles, to Alaska or Hawaii, or just stick around the Caribbean, there are some great deals to be had with this match.

10 Years of Frequent Miler

Can you believe that Greg forgot about the 10 year anniversary of the day that he decided to start what would quickly become a full-time career in the blogosphere? What struck me about this post was the incredible comments that people left. Reading page after page about how much people have enjoyed Frequent Miler and appreciate our approach certainly made me very proud to be a part of what Greg has built. Thanks to those of you who took a minute out of your day to say something kind; it meant a lot. We certainly look forward to the opportunity to keep building something better and to continue helping people travel more and more comfortably for a long time to come.

How to use your Citi ThankYou point fortune

Unfortunately, temporary transfers to AA have ended, but Citi has added Choice Privileges at 1:2 and Wyndham Rewards at 1:1, significantly bolstering their transfer program. Citi now has a couple of my favorite award sweet spots in Turkish and Wyndham and they have a really compelling suite of fee-free cards to complement the Premier. If they would only add back some travel protections and bring the ThankYou system out of the stone age (make it easy to pool / transfer points without weird expiration, Citi!), they might be able to compete once again for the chance to play third fiddle behind Amex and Capital One. Yeah, I just insinuated that Capital One has passed Chase Ultimate Rewards for the #2 transfer program in my mind. That’s another topic for another day.


That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep your eye on this week’s last chance deals so you don’t miss any opportunities to stack in the lead-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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41 Comments
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Lulu

Based on your experience, how long does it take for the +4 to post after a charge?

Lulu

Thanks Nick. I just saw the bonus points post. It looks like it takes 3 days after the charges are posted. By the way, I just want to say that out of all of the travel points and miles bloggers I follow, you guys come out on top when it comes to useful information and tips. Really enjoy all of your posts.

lorem ipsum

On the Resy Plat, does the 15x for $25k in combined purchases refer to the first $25k in Restaurants and Small Business, or does it refer to the first $25k spend regardless of category, with 15x applying only to the portion that is Restaurant and Small Business? I interpret it as the former, but I couldn’t assure P2 I am 100% confident. My finger’s getting itchy and wants to pull the trigger, but I want to be sure I’m reading the terms correctly.

lorem ipsum

Woohoo, Resy triple-dip, here I come!

Ryan K

I woke up this morning and discovered that the “Refer A Friend Limited Time Offer” section on a couple of my cards has been changed to a “Let’s Shop Small® on November 27” section. This seems to have happened overnight.

Has anyone else noticed this? Is there another way to access the referral link for this +4 offer?

Ryan K

Nick, thanks for the reply. The link that went missing for me was on an Amex EveryDay card which is the only one I carry that was targeted for the +4 promo.

Inexplicably, I logged back in and the links were back on both the account page and the “Refer a Friend” page. I went ahead and copy and pasted them to someplace safe just in case it starts acting up again.

Ryan K

Bizarre. I have referral offers on 3 of my 4 cards: Blue Cash Everyday, Hilton, Amex EveryDay. Notably absent is my Amex Platinum. This seems to be the case both when looking for the link on the account page for each card as well as the “Refer a Friend” page. My Amex Plat is not a co-branded version, it’s the regular personal card.

lorem ipsum

Do I understand this correctly? Assume for this example that I can’t buy a car with the Resy Plat. Apply for Resy Plat, when approved refer P2 for Business Green, spend $25k on Resy Plat and $3k.on Biz Green.

I end up with 125k Resy Plat signup bonus + 125k (25k spend x 5) + 25k Biz Green signup bonus + 3k spend. So $28k spend + $695 Plat AF = 278 MR?

lorem ipsum

Thanks for the reply, Nick. Most, if not all, of the $25k + $3k spend probably will be paying taxes (I’ve got other min spend to hit on other cards too). So add $560 in fees (2% of $28,000).

See

Tried to refer P2, but they got the pop up saying they wouldn’t be eligible for the welcome bonus. They’ve never had the card before, only have 1 Amex (gold), way under 5/24. The only thing I can think of is that they have annual fee due on Gold card and trying to open up fee free card to keep MR alive. Cancelled the application, but do you think this is related to the specific card they were opening or something else? Didn’t know if I should try again in a few days for a different card.

NK3

It seems like every week there is a new deal we can’t refuse. I’m not complaining! But for those of us who don’t MS as much as you do, or who have limited MS opportunities in their area, it can be tough to choose which deals to pursue, and which to pass on. Deals like this +4 offer or the Venture X are intriguing, but there is a big opportunity cost. Between my P2 & I, we currently are working on Paypal deals between 2 Marriott Amex cards & 3 Freedoms (up to $17k spend), the extra Freedom Flex deal, Hilton free night spends ($8k x2), finishing up 15k spend on WoH before the end of the year, a targeted Citi spend offer, plus finishing up spend on a retention offer and a couple SUBs. Oh, and trying not to waste the good spend categories on cards we already have (5x or 5% on grocery, gas, home utilities, etc)!

Each person has to decide which offers make sense in his or her situation, but given all the killer deals, I would be curious to hear which you guys thought were keepers for those of us who are looking to have somewhat more minor league spend in the next few months, like “only” around $20k or so.

Martha

After you refer someone and they get approved for a card, how will I know when I can start using my card to get the referral bonus? Does Amex send an email?

Thanks,

Martha

Jia

If my two Amex cards all have this +4 referral offer, can I get this bonus twice?

Captain Greg

I’m sure this will likely be a topic in December/January, but I still say that Brex was the deal of the year. 110k bonus, no hard pull, no AF, longterm keeper card (4x on dining, 8x on rideshare), plus the additional 100k bonus for linking to PayPal. Yea, there were some bumps along the road, but to get over 200k points on a great keeper card with no downside (in terms of credit pulls, AF, etc.) is an incredible deal.

Lagaleven

Timing has worked well for us. P2 is in the middle of SUB for BBP card 50k MR after $15k spend in 12 mo. Referred P1 to get the +4. Getting 6x everywhere now while completing the $15k. Now considering how to get another referral to get +4 on P1 SUB. Gotta love the points avalanche from AMEX. Chase, where you ar for the last 2 years?

Another Jeff

How you gonna say do +4 instead of LifeLock? You can use your +4 to get LifeLock for 95 points per $ or 105 if it goes to 100%. Not including Norton promo.

Data point: downgraded Citi prestige to custom cash. Rep said card number wouldn’t change (I didn’t even ask). Card is exactly the same with expiration date and security code. Super annoying since the prestige is a metal card. Guess I gotta hold onto it for a couple years before I can toss it. Denied for Citi premier 🙁

Recommend upgrade/downgrade cycle between premier and prestige until you get approved for another premier. Can double dip the $250 prestige credit(calendar year) to pay $90 fee every 2 years. -$5 from prestige $95 from premier.

Another Jeff

Yeah, spending 40k+ would definitely be difficult for me…14k between CSP and Hyatt is difficult enough. Gotta up my MS game

Another Jeff

PayPal showing 20% cash back for me. Seems like a portal but I don’t think they have one?

That would be net -10% with rakuten excluding other cc earnings/spend. -19% with Schwab 1.1*90=99% if you want straight cash?

Captain Greg

I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether this is a great idea or asking for trouble:

I have to spend $15k for 150k MR on Amex bus platinum. I have the referral bonus on this card (+4x), and I have the offer to get 20k bonus MR points for each AU that spends $4k (up to 100k bonus points). Should I open 5 AU cards and charge $5k (@1.5x base + 4x ref bonus) in taxes on each, or is this just asking for Amex to shut me down? By my estimate I’ll make almost 400k MR points, but it will cost me almost $500 (2% fee on taxes), I’ll have to float $25k until the IRS pays me back, and might I be asking for trouble from Amex. I guess my biggest question is whether or not I’m being too risky with Amex.

I’m sorry that I have already mentioned this on Nick’s post earlier this week, but now I’m asking more about the risks of doing it (as opposed to understanding all the potential points I could get).

Last edited 13 days ago by Captain Greg
Captain Greg

Thanks Nick. My only reason for thinking it was a risk is because I’m kind of “gaming” the system. Obviously I’m doing everything within their rules, but I’m squeezing every last drop out of stacking these offers. Since Amex can be shut down happy, I could envision a scenario where they shut me down because I’m abusing the system in their opinion, etc. I appreciate your insight.

Another Jeff

As someone still waiting on my 2020 refund, I would say be prepared to float it. 🙁

Captain Greg

That’s concerning. I was prepared to float about $13k in the spring, but I got the money back before credit card statement even posted.

Nun

Does your green Amex really offer a 20k bonus for each additional cardholder? I received a similar offer on personal platinum. Although it says I can add multiple cardholders Amex told me I’d only get 20k once. Thanks

ffI

The +4 offer last year had no limit of 25k.
THAT was the best offer and well (ab)used.

ffI

You are right. 1+3 was 4x times 1.25c = 5c cash back – unlimited
This year it is 1+4= 5x @ 1.1c = 5.5c cash back for 25k
I still think the former is better