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


Update 4/4/23: The day after posting this tip, Miles Earn And Burn shared that I could expect to see my referral ability on my lost card disappear within a month or two.

Matt knows his stuff and sure enough, my ability to refer from that card disappeared. Sadly, it was even quicker than a month or two – it was more like a couple of weeks. Unfortunately I didn’t think to actually generate a referral before that happened, which means I’ll need to be careless once again if I want to be able to refer my wife for a new Amex card to earn a referral bonus as well as the +5 points on U.S. supermarket purchases.


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referrals on our Gold and Platinum cards over the last few years, so it makes me wonder if Amex places some kind of unpublished limit on how many points you’re allowed to earn from referrals on any given card.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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L Gio

Just tried this. New card arrived yesterday. I activated it and went to check today and nothing, still not available to refer from my Personal Gold and Personal Plat 🙁


So I’m about to try this technique as I’ve been locked out of referrals on my Amex Plat for a little while now. Before I do, just to make sure I know what to expect, I’m assuming that by “losing” my card, I will be issued a brand new Amex card number, and thus will need to update that number for any auto-pay vendors that I was using this card for? Also, safe to assume that any card perks that I had yet to (fully) utilize (e.g., travel incidentals credit) will just carry over to the new card in just the same status they were in before? Thanks for the guidance!

[…] Stephen, over at Frequent Miler, shared a great tip on getting a referral to populate again once it had disappeared. This could not have been better timed since both my Amex Platinum and Amex Gold stopped populating referrals late last year. After using Stephen’s tip, sure enough, I was able to generate Amex referrals once again. So…what’s the tip? […]


Interesting. My ability to refer was not taken away again , been over a 1 year now.


problem for me was I had 90+200$ offer for one day and later changed to 10k, I have saved the link and sending it to others, but not sure if anyone applied or i would get the referral. Noway to track Amex


I “lost” my Gold card for the second time in the past month this week. Just received the new one today, referred my wife, and she was approved.


Do you need to wait to activate the new card before the referral works? Or once lost does the website allow immediate referral link generation?


My referral link was good for only one day after my gold card was “lost”. When P2 tried to apply for a new Platinum card via my link, she got the deadly popup window that she was not qualified for the bonus even she doesn’t own the platinum card before.

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.