Unable To Refer From An Amex Card? You Need To Lose It.


At some point in the last couple of years both my wife and I stopped being able to generate referral links from our Amex Gold and Platinum cards. My cards were affected first, then more recently my wife’s Gold and vanilla Platinum cards stopped appearing on the referrals page.

I recently saw someone give some advice on Facebook about how to resolve this issue and sure enough it worked for me. You just have to lose it.

Lost card

No, you don’t need to lose it at an Amex rep. You need to “lose” your card. Doing that results in your account having a new card number which seems to reset whatever block Amex had on your card and lets you generate referrals again.

I decided to try this out a few days ago on my Amex Gold card in the hope that not only would it let me generate referrals again but that I’d be able to refer to the increased 90k + $200 offer. It was simple to do this online and I was even able to arrange for the new card to be delivered to the hotel we’re staying at next week.

I’m not sure if it happened as soon as I marked the card as “lost”, but when checking my account a day or two later I noticed that I was indeed able to generate referral links from that card.

Amex Gold lost card generate new referral link

That was the good news. The disappointing news was that I’d only earn 10,000 bonus points for each referral on that card which means I’m not targeted for referring to the latest 90k + $200 offer. Still, at least I’ve regained the ability to refer from it.

I’m not sure what causes American Express to axe people’s ability to refer from certain cards. I think both my wife and I have earned several referrals on our Gold and Platinum cards over the last few years, so it makes me wonder if Amex places some kind of unpublished limit on how many points you’re allowed to earn from referrals on any given card. Interestingly, both our vanilla Platinum cards which we’ve referred from before lost their ability to refer, while my wife’s Schwab Platinum card remains unaffected. That Schwab Platinum card has never earned any referrals seeing as it comes in the form of $100 statement credits rather than Membership Rewards which would be more valuable.

I can’t remember where I saw this tip on Facebook. I think it was in our Frequent Miler Insiders group, so if it was you – thanks and a tip of the hat! Update: Thanks to Hov in the comments for confirming that it was Brett Holmes who shared this in Frequent Miler Insiders – thanks Brett!

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Al C

Known hack. Referral used to hang around a couple months but now it looks to be gone after 48hrs. I expect even this will be fixed soon. Thanks FM.


Are you still able to refer people on your personal gold card? I previously had not been able to refer anyone on my personal gold card, so I “lost” it as you suggested. Sure enough I was able to refer others again, but with a lower referral offer (same as you). Today I logged back in and I am back to not being able to refer people on my gold card. Very frustrating. Just wondering if I am the only one.


This is easily the most hopeful & (hopefully) valuable tip I’ve read in awhile.
We’ve (P1 & P2) been locked out of referrals for over the past year and I have no clue why and, until now, no hope of reversing the situation.

Thanks very much for the tip messrs Pepper & Holmes 🙂


Make sure you save the referral link once you generate it, once the replacement card comes back in the mail you will lose your ability to refer again.


I “lost” my card a couple of hours ago…I couldn’t refer right away, but now it shows up.

[…] Stephan at FM shares an open secret in the hobby for several years about how to get out of the American Express penalty box for referrals (but unfortunately not other penalty boxes): “Lose” your card, AmEx will issue a new one with a new account number, and referrals will work.What’s not stated though is that this only lasts for a month or two, then the replacement card ends back in the referral penalty box. […]


I had an unauthorized charge on a Gold card a few days ago, a new card with new number was sent out. Unfortunately that did not bring back ability to refer on that card. Might have to lose it now too


yeah, do it, it just worked for me


Had the opposite happen (unintentionally) to me yesterday. I requested a pink gold card damage replacement and now my platinum and gold referral generators are gone.


Hi Stephen, try taking your referal link and plugging into Chrome in incognito mode. I don’t have the gold card, but have the Platinum card. In Amex, my offer only shows as 80K. But then when I put into Chrome I get 150K and the $200 statement offer. Also, I have the 90K + $200 offer on the Gold card when I click all personal cards in the link. And want to note I was in referral jail before I used this technique to get out of jail. First time in a long time that I have seen a referral offer.

Last edited 13 days ago by Bret

Ah understood, that makes sense. Good to appreciate that framing


I was in the referral jail forever on my vanilla platinum card. I had obtained the card through an upgrade offer on my gold card and if I recall it correctly, I had maxed out in my 55k referral MR points prior to the upgrade (2 referrals, both to P2 at 30k each). I have canceled the card since then, so can’t confirm if this strategy works. No referral issues ever with 4 other cards that I have with AMEX.

Brandon S

I was literally JUST wondering if there was a work around. Haven’t been able to generate referral links from my vanilla platinum or personal gold cards for some now, while the rest of my cards have been totally fine. Have never self-referred, and have referred P2 and some friends here and there, but never hitting the limits ever.

However, I just today got an email from Amex encouraging me to ‘Refer my Friends’ with the personal gold card referenced in the upper right – one of the ones I haven’t been able to refer from. Might have to ‘lose’ the card… Thanks for the tip!


Data point: I had a clawback some years ago for self-referrals. After that I lost referral bonuses on all my cards, MR, Hilton, and Marriott. However, I later got another Hilton card and now that is the only one that offers me referral bonuses. Have never “lost” any of the other cards.


Brett Holmes in FMI brought it to the group.


same here, got the referral link back but only 10k per referral


I lost referrals on my Bonvoy Brilliant for referring someone else who wasn’t eligible for the bonus due to them taking a 10 ENC upgrade offer for Chase Boundless 18 months prior. I could still refer but only for 1k points.

After about two years, I can now generate Bonvoy Brilliant referrals at a normal rate (currently 10k referral bonus).

So my theory is Amex punishes you for referring to someone they consider to be a potential gamer.


I don’t know about your theory because my P2 has referred me lots of times and it’s hard to imagine that I’m not considered a gamer.


Got the referrals to show up as well after reporting the card lost. Unfortunately it’s not the higher referral (10k and 60k signup) but will update the post if things change.


Do you recollect if you self referred at any point?


I swle referred back in 2019, got a claw back and haven’t been able to refer in 2+ years

Larry K

This is great, Stephen. I haven’t been able to refer personal cards for years. I just ordered a lost card replacement for my personal platinum, and a referral offer showed up 15 minutes later. For what it’s worth, I have AU cards and I did not order news ones of those — I wondered whether this might affect whether it would work. Unfortunately, my offer is the crummy one — 15k for a referral, 80k offer, though it is offering me the 5x on groceries. I’m going to lose my gold card in a couple of days!


Report back if it ups the referral bonus or the referred SUB please.


Just trying to find the higher referral.. only getting the 80k offer on my two cards, and the one from a friend