One of the best ways to increase your miles and points balances quickly is via credit card referrals. Many companies offer existing customers the opportunity to introduce others to their products and will usually offer an incentive to both the referrer and referee for doing so. The credit card industry is no exception – with by far the most generous offers coming via American Express.
And they’ve just got even better.
Who can refer whom
I’ll try and keep this as simple as possible. Essentially there 3 key points-earning ‘families’ within American Express:
- Platinum, Preferred Rewards Gold and Green cards
- British Airways Premium Plus Card and the BA Credit Card
- Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Credit Card
Anyone with any of those cards can refer any card within the same family. For example, an Amex Gold cardholder can refer somebody for the Platinum, Gold or Green cards and receive a referral bonus.
Traditionally, you weren’t able to refer a card from a different ‘family’. I.e. if you have a BA card you couldn’t’ refer a friend to the Gold card. This does appear to have changed in recent times.
How many points can you earn from referring a friend?
As alluded to earlier, both the person sending a referral and the person using that link to apply for a card, stand to earn bonus points by using this method.
Here are several examples of the bonuses available:
Preferred Rewards Gold Creditcard:
- Referrer – 9,000 bonus Membership Rewards (MR) points
- Person being referred – Increased 22,000 MR points welcome bonus (regular bonus is 20,000 MR points)
British Airways Premium Plus Card:
- Referrer – 9,000 bonus Avios
- Person being referred – Increased 26,000 Avios welcome bonus (regular bonus is 25,000 Avios)
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Credit Card:
- Referrer – 5,000 bonus SPG points
- Person being referred – Increased 11,000 SPG points welcome bonus (regular bonus is 10,000 SPG points)
Limits on referrals + positive new changes
You can earn a maximum of 90,000 bonus MR points each year, from referring people to the Platinum/Gold/Green cards. If you simply referred people to the Gold card that is the equivalent of 9 referrals – fairly generous.
Previously, the limits imposed on other card members were more restrictive, particularly in the case of BA card members. You could earn a maximum of 45,000 Avios from referring people to BA cards or 45,000 SPG points from SPG card referrals.
At 5,000 SPG points a pop, the limit on the SPG card allowed you to refer 9 friends – much like the Gold card example above – again quite reasonable.
On the BA cards, however, if you chose to refer friends to the BA Premium Plus Card, you were essentially limited to just 5 referrals over the course of the year – pretty restrictive.
Well, it seems the powers that be at Amex agree – and when I logged into my account last Wednesday I noticed new wording:
It seemed as though Amex had raised the number of referral points possible to 90,000 on BA and SPG card products!
I tweeted Amex asking if this was a mistake or a permanent change and they confirmed these limits have now been raised.
Indeed, the Terms and Conditions of the Referral Programme have also been modified to reflect this change.
Why the Amex referral scheme is relevant
Some may shrug their shoulders and wonder why they should care. After all, they don’t know anyone who wants to apply for a card at the moment anyway.
There is more to think about though. This can be a great consideration in getting an Amex card in the first place. Take the special 5,000 Avios welcome offer currently running on the free BA Credit Card for example. While 5,000 Avios is a decent offer on a free card you might think it a lot of hassle to go through for a relatively small bonus.
But if you can turn that 5,000 bonus into almost 25,000 by referring just two people to the BA Premium Plus card – that changes the equation completely and bears thinking about.
You can of course share referrals between partners/spouses etc. Holding a Gold card, for example, means that your partner applying for one is worth 31,000 MR points altogether:
9,000 referral bonus MR points + 22,000 MR points welcome bonus
You can find links below to the extensive reviews of ‘reward-earning’ Amex cards that we have covered on Tricks of the Trade:
- Platinum Card (reviewed here)
- Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card (reviewed here)
- British Airways Premium Plus Card (reviewed here)
- BA Credit Card (reviewed here)
- Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Credit Card (reviewed here)
Other useful info
- You can generate your unique referral link via the Amex desktop site or within their app.
- Although it seems blatantly obvious – remember that referral bonuses are only awarded if the person applying uses your link to directly apply for the card and is successful in their application.
- In theory, the T&C’s say it can take up to ten weeks to receive any bonus points. In practice, I’ve found most of my bonus points post within 3-5 working days. If the person I referred didn’t receive an instant decision, I’ve often been able to tell them they’ve been accepted (based on receiving my referral points) before they hear from Amex.
Credit card referrals are a great way of boosting your points totals through the year. If you and your partner/other family members are all applying for cards, this should definitely be something you take a good look at to make sure you are maximising points earning potential!