Amex Removing Referral Ability For Some Cardholders Again


The RATs might be at it again.

A couple of years ago American Express offered the opportunity to refer yourself for a new card in order to earn both the regular welcome bonus and a referral bonus. This was presumably an inadvertent change as Amex subsequently clawed back points from people for doing just that.

American Express AMEX RAT

That wasn’t the only consequence for people who self-referred. Many found that they lost the ability to refer people to other cards which potentially resulted in missing out on tens – or hundreds – of thousands of points over the past couple of years.

In a recent episode of Ask Us Anything, a reader asked if there was anything they could do about being able to refer again. A different reader subsequently commented that opening a new Amex card seemed to provide the opportunity to refer new users from that card even if you were previously banned from doing so on your other cards.

According to new reports on Reddit which Doctor of Credit found, people who’d regained the ability to refer new cardholders by opening a new card themselves have had their referral ability revoked on their new card(s) too. It’s not clear yet if this is being rolled out to every person that was banned from referring by Amex, but it’s certainly not a good sign as people in that category are clearly being targeted by Amex and not in a good way. It therefore seems like Amex has worked out how to refer-ban you at an overall SSN level or something along those lines.

If you previously lost the ability to refer new cardholders and then regained it by getting a new card, it’d be worth checking to see if you’ve lost that ability again. If not, it might be advisable to generate some referral links now in case that’s taken away from you once more. There’s no guarantee those links will earn you anything after a second referral ban, but it doesn’t hurt having them on hand in case your P2 (or someone else) is planning on applying for a new card soon.

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[…] March 17, 2021, a user comments on Frequent Miler […]


The graphic on this article is outstanding.


Not a fan. We play on opposing teams, but the people at Amex charged with making it harder to exploit the system are just doing their jobs. They’re not rats and the world could benefit by less dehumanization, not more.


To be clear, I thought it was amusing not that I actually think they are rats. This is fair point though and I agree.

David Kemp

A year or two ago I read that Amex was shutting people down for referring a spouse. I stopped doing that but haven’t heard anything more since. Anyone know if spouse referrals are “safe” now?


Funny, over at AMEX UK ( American Express Referral Programme Terms say “You will receive your bonus if your friend or family member uses your link to apply for a Card…”  Yet over here in America the referral program appears to discriminate against family members ( with statements like “Refer a Friend, Reward Yourself….The more people you refer, the more you can earn.” For American cards the reference to family is missing and the inference in denying rewards for referring family members is that family are not “people,” at least in a country where 17% of marriages are multiracial (and that does not even add in those of us in SO relationships that are multiracial). So is AMEX anti-American, anti-family, racist or what?


Erm, what? How on earth is this about race? Are you proposing the UK does not have interracial families?

Al C

Weird. Just noticed tonight that I can’t do any Amex referrals. I had never self referred or seen anything like that on my account before. I had even referred a family member a few days ago without issue. Weird.