Maximizing value from Amex multi-referrals

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We are updating and republishing this post because the current +4 referral offer ends in 11 days and it may just be the deal of the year if you play it right.

That is because when you use your American Express card to generate a referral link (including almost any Amex card that earns Membership Rewards points, excluding the co-branded Schwab and Morgan Stanley cards) and you refer someone else who is approved by 12/1/21, you will receive +4 Membership Rewards points per dollar on all spend for 3 months on up to $25K in purchases on your card (on top of whatever welcome offer there is for your friend).

You have until 12/1/21 to trigger this offer with a qualifying referral and your 3-month clock begins when your friend is approved. Thanks to Amex multi-referrals, the person you refer can open almost any Amex card with your link (including co-branded cards with Delta, Hilton, or Marriott and business or consumer cards that earn either Membership Rewards points or cash back). You get your reward in the form of +4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (on up to $25K in purchases for 3 months) regardless of which card they open with your link. You can even make it simple and generate a direct link to the card they want (as seen below in this post).

For a couple playing in 2-player mode this can be huge. As an example, let’s imagine that Player 1 has an Amex Gold card, which ordinarily earns 4x at restaurants and 4x at US Supermarkets (on up to $25K in purchases per year, then 1x). Now let’s imagine that Player 2 wants to open the Delta Gold SkyMiles card for the current welcome bonus (and with no annual fee for the first year at the time of writing). Player 1 can generate a referral link from the Amex Gold card that earns Membership Rewards points and Player 2 can use that link to open a Delta card that earns SkyMiles. Player 1 will get +4 points on all purchases on the Amex Gold card, which means 8x at restaurants and 8x at US supermarkets during the referral bonus window. That would be awesome!

In this video, Nick explains how to do exactly that: use a An Amex Gold (Membership Rewards-earning) card to create a link to the Delta Gold SkyMiles card so that your friend can open the SkyMiles card and you can get +4 Membership Rewards points per dollar on all spend on your Amex Gold card.

Again, this is an awesome short term opportunity because if you refer a friend, you will get an amazing return on all spend for 3 months on up to $25K in purchases and even more incredible return in bonus categories.

If the card you use ordinarily earns 1x on unbonused purchases, you will suddenly earn 5x total on all unbonused spend for 3 months. But better yet, this stacks on top of existing bonus categories for great returns. Just some examples with the +4 offer:

  • Blue Business Plus: 2x everywhere (on up to $50K in purchases each year, then 1x) + 4x referral offer = 6x everywhere
  • Amex Gold Card: 4x dining and 4x at US Supermarkets (on up to $25K in purchases per year, then 1x) + 4x referral offer = 8x dining and at US supermarkets subject to the same limitations
  • Amex Platinum card: 5x on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel or prepaid hotels through Amex Travel + 4x referral offer = 9x flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex travel or prepaid hotels through Amex Travel
  • Note that there are many other good examples

Another way to stack this deal is to open a new Amex card and refer someone else before you even begin spending on the card. This way, your welcome bonus spending will earn both your new card welcome bonus and the referral bonus.

For example, Nick wrote about how he opened the Amex Platinum card through the link at restaurant reservation website Resy (you can find a link to that offer on our Amex Platinum card page). That offer is good for both 125K points after $6K in purchases in the first 6 months and 15x at restaurants and when you Shop Small in the US. Before spending on the card, he will use his referral link to refer someone else to an Amex card and earn an additional 4 points per dollar — even on those 15x bonus categories! That makes for an absolutely incredible 19x in those two bonus categories.

In that scenario, completing just the $6K in purchases required for the welcome bonus at restaurants and when you shop small in the US during the 3-month window after triggering the referral bonus, he would earn 239,000 points (125,000 from the welcome bonus +  90,000 for $6K spend at 15x (only available as part of the welcome bonus on the Platinum card via the Resy link) + 24,000 for $6K spend at +4 from the referral offer). At a base level, those points could be redeemed for $2,629 if you also have the Schwab Platinum card (or if you someday open that card), making for a phenomenal return on spend.

We will talk more about strategies for triggering this offer and ways to take advantage of the increased return on spend on this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air podcast (publishing tomorrow – 11/21/21 – on both Youtube and all of your favorite podcast platforms). Be sure to subscribe now and enable notifications to get word when the episode is published. For now, read on for more about Amex multi-referrals and what makes them awesome in the original post below.

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Amex is now allowing cardholders to earn points by referring friends from one card to multiple different Amex cards.  Previously, you could refer friends only to the same exact card that you have.  Now, however, with some cards you can refer friends to almost any Amex card, and with other cards you can refer friends to any card within the same brand.

Why this is awesome:

  1. When a friend or family member wants an Amex card that you don’t have, you can still earn points or cash by referring them from a different Amex card.
  2. Even if you have the card that your friend wants, you can refer them from a different card in order to earn a bigger bonus.

In the next sections I’ll explain how to find your referrals and how to decide which of your cards offers the most valuable referral rewards during normal times (though note that for a limited time, until 12/1/21, most cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards have the +4 offer instead of a set number of points).

Key background info regarding Amex Multi-Referrals

Here’s what we know about Amex Multi-Referrals:

  • Co-Branded cards with their own rewards programs (Delta, Hilton, Marriott) can refer only to other cards within the same brand.
  • Co-Branded Membership Rewards cards (Schwab Platinum, Morgan Stanley Amex, etc.) can refer a friend but those cards receive cash back for every referral rather than standard Amex referral offers (i.e. no +4x offer).
  • Non co-branded Membership Rewards cards can refer to almost any card in the Amex portfolio (not including co-branded Membership Rewards cards from Schwab and Morgan Stanley)
  • Non co-branded cash back cards can refer to almost any card in the Amex portfolio (not including co-branded Membership Rewards cards from Schwab and Morgan Stanley)
  • When you refer a friend to a card which earns a different type of reward, you will earn the rewards promised to you.  E.g. if you start with a Membership Rewards card and refer someone to a Hilton card, you’ll earn Membership Rewards points for a successful referral.
  • Annual earning limits are per card.  For example, if you had both the Platinum and Gold Membership Rewards cards, you can ordinarily earn up to 110,000 points per year total even though each card is capped at earning 55,000 Membership Rewards points for referrals each year. However, note that during the +4 referral offer, you can actually earn up to 100,000 points on a single card since you will earn +4 points per dollar on all spend up to $25K in purchases for 3 months. This offer is available once per card, so in that example where you have a Platinum and Gold card and you refer a friend from each of those cards, you could earn as many as 200K total points if you meet the purchase caps. Note that multiple referrals on the same card will not stack for +8 or +12, so during the +4 bonus it only makes sense to refer 1 friend from each of your cards.

How to Find your Amex Multi-Referrals

To find your refer-a-friend offers, you can log into your Amex account and switch your focus card one by one.  However, I think that the easiest approach is to log into the Amex Refer site: https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/referral?id=201279&intlink=US-MGM-Inav&inav=footer_refer_friend

Once there, you’ll see a referral offer (if any are available for your Amex cards), and, if you have more than one offer, there will be an arrow on the right indicating that you can click to view the next offer, like this:

If you scroll down, you’ll see something like this:

Press “Copy” to get the referral link for the card you were viewing.

Next, paste that link into a new browser window.  You may have to remove the extra text (remove everything up to “http://”):

Apply for The Business Platinum Card® with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! http://refer.amex.us/DAVISp81u?xl=cp27

You will then see a direct referral screen (a referral to the same type of card that you started with):

Press Continue, and scroll down until you see something like this:

Or something like this:

The above options let you find referrals to other cards besides the one you started with.  For example, in the images above, I started with a Business Platinum card, but let’s say I want to refer my friend to a Hilton Ascend personal card.  In that case, I would click “Looking for a Personal Card?” and I’d see a bunch of personal card offers.  I’d scroll down to find the Ascend card for my friend:

Next, I would press “Continue to Card Details” whereupon I’d finally see the referral page for the Hilton Ascend Card:

Finally, I’d copy the URL and email it to my friend.  If my friend signs up through my link and is approved, I’ll earn the Business Platinum refer-a-friend bonus of 15,000 Membership Rewards points!  The team at Frequent Miler (in this case, Nick) has proven that this works.

Picking the most valuable card

Referral offers change over time and can range from as low as 5K points per referral (sometimes seen on the Amex Everyday card) to 35K or even 40K points per referral (sometimes seen on the Amex Gold or Platinum cards, though note you are still limited to earning a total of 55K points from referrals on any single Amex card).

At a high level, picking the card to use for referrals is simple: Pick the one that you have that offers you the most value per referral. During the +4 window, most cards have the same +4 offer.

One exception to the limited-time +4 offer is the Business Platinum card. That card is currently offering both 15K points and +4 points per dollar on up to $25K in purchases for 3 months when you refer a friend. If you have a Business Platinum card, referring from that card can be an amazing deal.

Don’t max out if you can help it

Update 11/19/21: Note that the +4 offer allows you to earn more total points than the ordinary cap since you earn +4 on up to $25K in purchases for 3 months. The information below refers to the more typical 15K, 20K, or 30K type of referral bonuses.

I realize that most readers won’t have the “problem” of having too many referrals, but for those who do, consider the following:

Annual maximums are rarely a simple multiple of the referral bonus.  As a result, if you max out your referrals for one card, you will often earn fewer rewards with that last referral.  For example, the Amex Gold Card offers 10,000 points per referral, but with a 55,000 point limit.  After you’ve successfully referred 5 friends, you would only earn 5,000 points for the sixth friend.  For that sixth friend, you’d probably be better off using a different Amex card in your arsenal to refer them.

Similarly, if you think you may max out your best earning card, consider referring within brand when possible.  For example, if you have both an Amex Platinum card and a Delta Reserve for Business card, you would probably prefer to earn 15K Membership Rewards per referral from the Platinum Card rather than 15K Delta SkyMiles from the Reserve for Business Card.  However, if you’re pretty sure that you’ll max out your Platinum referrals, then when a friend wants a referral specifically to a Delta card, you should consider using your Delta Reserve for Business Card for those referrals (since that card can refer only to other Delta cards).

Re-evaluating Amex Card Value

The ability to refer friends to multiple different Amex cards from one source card makes Amex cards more valuable than before.  Consider, for example, a couple that tends to sign up for at least one new Amex card each year.  The extra points they could generate through these referrals may be enough to justify keeping an Amex card that they were previously considering cancelling.  For example, in the recent post “Is 4X worth $250 per year? How much are those Amex Gold 4X categories (grocery & dining) worth?” I offered a simply formula to help readers decide if the new Gold card is a keeper.  I didn’t think to include the value of friend-referrals though!  If you filled out the formula and decided that you would cancel your Gold card when the annual fee came due, you may want to rethink that decision in light of the value of multi-referrals.  An extra 10K or more Membership Rewards points per year might just make the card a keeper.

The added value of Amex cards is especially true for cards that tend to offer very high referral rewards (such as the Platinum and Business Platinum cards).  In fact, this is one feature that the generic Amex Platinum card has which its branded rivals does not (see: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?).

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SamBam

Two questions:

1) Even tho I have many Amex cards, but don’t say have a Delta card of any kind, am I still eligbile to be referred for a Delta card of some kind from another person, or Hilton or green or some other random Amex card I don’t have…..and I and referrer will still get respective bonuses?

And…

2) Just to be clear, EACH card I have is eligible for the +4? So if I have five cards, each of the five could get +4??? Or can we only do this on one card once no matter how many amex cards we have?

Nick Reyes

1) Yes. In the example video embedded in this post, I show how to use an Amex Gold card (that earns Membership Rewards points) to generate a link to a Delta card (and I don’t have any Delta credit card). If my friend is approved for the Delta card, they will get the associated Delta bonus and I’ll get the +4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the Amex Gold card. You do not need to have the card for which the applicant is applying.

2) Yes, each card that earns Membership Rewards is eligible for the +4. Let’s say you have the Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, Amex Everyday, and Blue Business Plus card. You could refer one person with your Amex Platinum referral link and refer one person with your Amex Gold link, etc, and get +4 on all of those cards when the people you refer are approved.

YY Fung

That’s awesome, and I really like you video showing me and confirming this. I have my husband just applied for PLAT, and generated the referral link. I want to use his link to refer someone for gold card. I notice the SUB of gold is 60K, not 75K. Is it the trade off?

Dom

Is there a way of telling which card I am referring from? I have 3 Business Platinums and 1 Personal Platinum. I want to refer from the Business Platinum I just opened before I do my $15k spend. But when I go to refer it defaults to my Personal Platinum. I can select any of my 3 Business Platinums but I have no way of telling which one is the new one I want the bonus on. I’ve tried the app and desktop, but I don’t see any way to differentiate between the 3.

Dom

Thanks! Removing the other cards worked.

Dom

Another question. I tried referring my P2, but got the no bonus pop up. I went ahead and applied anyway for the Blue Biz Cash. Will I still get my +4 bonus?

DaveC

Can you clarify something? My wife has BBP and Plat Business cards. Both have 15k referral bonuses. If she sends me a referral from her BBP and I use that link to sign up for the Plat Business 120k offer, I’ll get the 120k and she’ll get the 15k plus +4K on her BBP? Basically, she’ll get the bonus if I apply for a different card than she referred to?

Last edited 6 days ago by DaveC
jan

Can we create a referral for Resy Amex?

I realize this is quite an old thread but relevant to the current offerings, thanks!

Nick Reyes

No, there is no Amex Platinum referral offer that is as good as the offer available through Resy and you can’t refer to Resy.

See

Can you refer from a personal card for a business card?

Nick Reyes

Absolutely! See the video embedded in this post.

Pam

I was ready to send my Plat referral this morning, & it’s gone! AMEX replaced it with several of my other non-MR cards. Thought I was safe since said til 12.1 but apparently AMEX can, & will, yank at will.

Harry

Gone as in you are not seeing it as an offer? If you haven’t, it might still be there by going to the right side of your home page and click on referrals. When I do that, all my cards appear. Scroll right on each card the referral terms will show. Your Platinum referral might still be there. I’ve had referrals and other bonuses to appear in my offers and be gone the next time I sign-in. It can be a game.

Nick Reyes

You are the second person today to say that their Platinum card referral was gone, so I guess Amex must not be showing it where you expect to see it, but I’ve never ever heard of being unable to refer from an Amex-issued card except when some people got the ability to refer taken away for referring themselves a couple of years ago. Unless you’ve been referring yourself, I am 99.7263517% sure that your referral is available, it’s just a matter of you finding the path to the links.

If you’re on desktop, log in and scroll all the way to the bottom and click “refer a friend” and you can scroll through all of your Amex cards to see the referral offers. You can also copy down all of your links now so you don’t need to worry about finding them later (the links do expire now and then, but they are usually good to go for a while).

You could also try clicking here to log in and see your referral offers:

https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/referral?id=201279&intlink=US-MGM-Inav&inav=footer_refer_friend

Nick Reyes

Well I immediately take all that back. See this post from Doctor of Credit:

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/american-express-removes-some-users-ability-to-refer-friends/

justmeha

i have had my links come and go on multiple accounts. so i am not sure it is always available.

Nick Reyes

I’ve literally never ever seen referral links “go” on any of the cards in my household. Ever. Nor have I heard of it happening outside of that self-referral thing.

Nick Reyes

I should add that at times the “refer now” button between the transactions and Amex Offers isn’t always there, but clicking the refer a friend link at the bottom of the page has always brought me to the referral links for all the cards on a login.

Pam

Thanks for the tips, and I have been using the Refer a Friend link.

My 5 other non-MR cards all show up, just not my Platinum anymore since this a.m. It still shows in my Offers even under my Plat account, but when I click on it I’m taken to the same (other) 5 non-MR cards as the Refer a Friend link does.

I have never referred myself or done anything suspect with AMEX or ever gone thru any type of review thru decades of card ownership. BUT last evening I went on AMEX chat to confirm the referral bonus would stack with my Plat upgrade bonus and was told “yes” (I wanted to check before sending the referral link today since other posts didn’t specifically address stacking with an upgrade bonus).

I went back into chat after the Plat referral offer disappeared, and the agent said they can come and go and to keep checking back. I wonder, however, if it was removed from my chat above of my stacking intentions? Very coincidental. And doesn’t feel right to me them doing that since they put an expiration date on the offer! Seems if they are going to hold me to 12.1, they too should extend it til then. Major bummer, though, I had finally sat down and figured out massive spend on the card over the next few months to maximize both offers.

Pam

I hadn’t tried #3 before your suggestion, but I now did/redid all 3 methods, & the Refer A Friend/Business Square is still there for all my 5 non-MR cards just not my Platinum.

I could understand if I was simply never targeted to begin with, but to be sitting in my Plat acct for weeks (waitinv for the right time) & then poof.

Thanks for your help, though – I also contacted AMEX but they say they cannot manually put it back or provide me a referral code for my friend to use.

If/when it shows up again should I send it out & tell my friend to hold off applying til I’m ready or are there also expiration dates on applying with the referral links?

Pam

Sorry, I meant if AMEX brings it back again after 12.1. And hopefully a mth or so before the expiration of my upgrade bonus so as to double dip part of the spend anyway!

Mary Jane

Greg, interesting article! Do you think they might extend the referral offer that ends in 12/1?

Nick Reyes

No, I don’t think they will extend it. Maybe they will offer it again sometime, but I don’t think they will extend it.

Dom

Can you refer to 2 different people to get 8X?

harv

I have the vanilla Platinum card, Delta Platinum and Hilton Honors card. I can refer the Delta and Hilton cards but am unable to refer my vanilla Platinum card. Why would Amex not allow me to refer it? thanks.

harv

American Express Removes Some Users Ability To Refer Friends – Doctor Of Credit

When I click on refer while viewing my vanilla Platinum card only it only allows me to refer my Delta or Hilton cards.

harv

American Express Removes Some Users Ability To Refer Friends – Doctor Of Credit I am not the only one. When looking at my Platinum card online I click on the link that says refer a friend and two options appear, refer my Delta card or refer my Hilton card. There is no option to refer my Platinum card.

bo knows

I want to refer friends from both my business gold (20k per referral) and person gold card (10k per referral) . can I get 55k referral points for business gold and personal gold , so total 110k if I refer enough friends. or I can only get 55k maximum even if I use both business gold and person gold to refer?

Spike

Do you have confirmation on this from experience with personal referrals (assuming you have some special arrangement yourself as affiliate links are different). AMEX CR say it’s 55k per account holder, but they rarely know what they’re talking about…

Spike

Thank you!

Rob

Is this still true? I called Amex CS and they said the 55K referral points limit is per account (not per card).

[…] This is a small site with a limited following so most of the data in this chart came from the Frequent Miler, who has a great post on the same subject.  This chart does include some additional data points […]

[…] For more details, see: Maximizing value from Amex multi-referrals. […]

Toys Samurai

My biz Gold actually gives me 20,000 referral points, more than my biz Platinum’s 15,000.

BTW, does it matter if the referred person ends up signing up a card that he had previously owned? Obviously, he wouldn’t get his own sign up bonus, but would I still get my referral bonus? You see, with the new referral system, there’s no way to control which card the referred person would sign up ultimately and there’s always people careless enough to forget what card they previously owned.