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Similar to the Chase-Refer-A-Friend program, American Express also has its own Refer A Friend, Reward Yourself program that you can refer a friend to apply for an Amex card. You earn referral bonus points in return when your friend's application is approved using your referral link. 

In this post, I want to provide my data on how long it takes for the Amex referral points to post and go over some frequently asked questions about the American Express Refer A Friend program.

When Does Amex Referral Bonus Post & How to Refer A Friend For A Different Amex Card?
Photo Credit: American Express
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    How does American Express Refer A Friend bonus work?

    One of the American Express card's benefits is the opportunity to refer a friend to an Amex card. This includes both charge and credit cards. You will receive referral bonus points when your friend applies for an Amex card using your referral link and gets approved. You can refer just about anyone to apply for an American Express card that you have and even for a different Amex card that you do not have (more below). 

    To earn referral bonus rewards, you need to ensure that your friend applies for a particular Amex card through your referral link, or you will not receive the referral rewards. 

    Furthermore, the Amex Refer A Friend program limits how many referrals you can refer per calendar year (January - December) to earn referral rewards. If you max out your allowed referral bonus points per calendar year, you will not earn any more referral rewards for that particular Amex card until the next calendar year. 

    How to generate an Amex card referral link?

    The easiest and most straightforward way to generate a referral link for a specific American Express card is to do the following on your computer's desktop:
    • Go directly to the American Express Refer A Friend website
    • Log into your Amex account. 
    • You will be presented with all referral bonuses available on each American Express card that you have, along with each offer's terms. 
    • Scroll down on the page, and you will be able to refer via email, social media, or direct referral link.  

    It's worth mentioning also that sometimes American Express Refer A Friend site is not working. Unfortunately, when that happens, you will have to wait it out by checking until Amex's resolved. 

    How to refer a friend on the Amex app?

    The method above to generate the Amex referral link is for the computer's desktop. If you are on the go and want to create a referral link using the Amex app, try the following:
    • Launch the American Express app and sign in. 
    • Tap on the American Express card that you want to refer someone to. 
    • Tap on the Membership 
    • Tap on Use Points and Explore Rewards
    • Tap on Visit Membership Rewards Home
    • Scroll down until you see the button that says Refer Now under Special Promotions.
      • If you receive the error that says "This campaign has expired," simply tap on the URL that's provided under the wording "You can see current offers by visiting here."

    How to refer a friend for a different Amex card?

    Unlike the Chase-Refer-A-Friend program, American Express now allows cardmembers to refer a friend for a different Amex card whether you have that card or not. You can refer to just about any Amex card using the referral link of the card that you have. 

    For example, you have the American Express Platinum Card. You can generate a referral link to earn bonus points for the Platinum card, but your friend wants American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card. You can, in fact, refer your friend to the Blue Cash card, too, by using the referral link of the Platinum card. I'll show you how below. 

    To use Amex refer a friend for a different card, you'll need to do the following:
    • Go directly to the American Express Refer A Friend website
    • Log into your Amex account. 
    • After logging in, scroll down on the page to get the direct referral link from the Amex card you have and want to earn its referral rewards. 
    • On your computer's browser, go to that referral URL. Once the page is loaded, go to the top where you see Your Referred Card | Personal Cards | Business Cards sections. (See the screenshot below).
    • Click on the section that the different Amex card falls under, whether a personal card or a business card. 
    • Find that different Amex card that you want to refer to and click on the card's name.
    • Select and copy the entire URL. That is your referral link for that different Amex card. When your friend applies for the card using that link, the Amex system automatically tracks in the back end, and you'll earn referral rewards accordingly. 
      • The URL is very long with random characters. You can shorten it with the help of a free URL shortening service such as Bitly before sending out the link if you'd like. 

    Amex Refer A Friend Different Card
    Amex Refer A Friend Different Card

    There are a few things to note when it comes to Amex refer a friend for a different card:
    • You can refer to just about any Amex card whether you have that card or not. 
    • Each referral bonus of the different Amex cards is based entirely on the referral bonus of the Amex card that you use to generate the other card's referral link. What I mean by that:
      • Suppose you generate a referral link for an American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card that you do not have using the referral link of the American Express Platinum Card that you do have. In that case, the referral bonus you'll earn will be in the form of American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points, not Marriott Bonvoy points.
    • You cannot use the hotel or airline's credit cards referral link to generate a referral link for the Amex Membership Rewards points card. 
    • All terms and conditions, along with the maximum referral rewards you can earn each calendar year, also go with the original Amex card that you use to generate the different card's referral link. 

    Can you refer yourself for an Amex card? 

    No, you cannot. 

    American Express will claw back your referral rewards, which may also jeopardize your banking relationship with American Express. Therefore, do not refer yourself to an American Express card. 

    Can you refer your spouse for an Amex card?

    Yes. The American Express referral program is known as American Express Refer A Friend, but in reality, you can refer just about anyone for an Amex card. You can refer your friend, neighbor, roommate, spouse, domestic partner, colleague, and even a stranger who is eligible to apply for an American Express card. You can also refer a business to an Amex business card too. 

    How to keep track of Amex referrals?

    Chase allows you to keep track of referrals yourself, but American Express does not. The only way to keep track of Amex referrals is to contact American Express customer service, and they can see that information on their end. You can just chat with Amex and simply ask them to check for you. 

    There is another way, but it is time-consuming. You can keep track of Amex referrals on your own by looking at your American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points summary and counting the referral bonus points that you have earned so far against the maximum number of bonus rewards that you can earn in the calendar year (January - December):
    • Log into your American Express account and go to Rewards
    • Under Rewards, click on Points Summary
    • Select the month from the Date Range drop-down menu to view your earned referral bonus points. The description should say something like this 15K MR PTS/REFERRAL BNS.

    How long does it take for Amex referral bonus points to post?

    According to American Express Refer A Friend program, "The bonus will be posted to your account within 8-12 weeks after your friend is approved."

    In practice, though, it takes only 2-3 days. Here's my data point:
    • On September 13, I used the online chat feature to ask the Amex rep to check how many referrals I have left for my account ending XXXX. 
    • The rep checked and told me that he saw one referral was approved on September 12 and advised me that the referral bonus could take 8-12 weeks to be posted to my account. 
    • On September 14, surprisingly, my referral bonus points from that approved application were posted to my account. 

    How to check an Amex referral application status? 

    It is not possible to check who applied for a particular Amex card through your referral link and what the application's status is, etc. American Express will not disclose that information due to individual privacy concerns. 

    If you refer an Amex card to someone you know, the simplest way is to just ask the person whether their application was approved or not. 

    Does Amex report income to the IRS for referral bonus points?

    Yes. Amex reports income to the IRS for referral bonus points that you earn. You will receive the 1099-MISC form, which stands for Miscellaneous Income, and you are required to report that income properly on your tax. 

    Unlike the Chase Refer-A-Friend program on tax reporting, Amex only reports your referral bonus points income on Amex cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points. This applies to both consumer and business Amex MR-earning cards. 

    American Express values the referral points earned at 1 cent apiece. For example:
    • If you earn a total of 55,000 bonus Amex MR points from referring your American Express Platinum Card, you will be taxed on a $550 income. 

    It's worth noting that reward points earned through non-referrals such as credit card sign-up bonus points, your usual card's spending bonus points, etc., are not taxable to trigger the 1099-MISC IRS form from American Express. 

    Amex Card Referral Bonus