Companies across the globe are constantly looking for ways to market their products to as many consumers as possible. Credit card companies are no different.
Not a second goes by in America without a credit card commercial on air, and plenty of people can say they’ve received at least one pre-approved offer in the mail.
Some of them even rely on referral programs to acquire new business. These programs (also known as refer a friend programs) exist as a way for credit card companies to reach new customers through previous clients.
This guide will take a look how credit card referral programs work and will dive into each major credit card company’s specific program.
What is a Credit Card Referral Program?
Let’s start with the basics.
Referral programs are a part of marketing known as referral marketing. At their most basic, they are a way to market a product to new customers by offering incentives to pre-existing customers who refer their friends or family to said product. The incentive is usually a cash reward or discount from the company to the referring customer.
These programs are offered by numerous companies covering a variety of different services and products such as cable plans, phone plans, mobile apps, bank accounts, subscriptions, and, of course, credit cards. While referral marketing is a prevalent way to market any product, they seem to be especially useful to credit card companies who already market their products with reward-based incentives from the start. So, a refer a friend program seems right at home with credit cards.
There are several companies that offer their own credit card refer a friend programs. Each of them are slightly different with their own set of terms and conditions and rewards, yet they all offer the same incentive for participating: some form of cash.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular refer a friend programs for credit cards. Below, we will outline the steps taken, and we’ll also discuss the actual refer a friend bonuses offered to participating card holders.
Chase Refer a Friend
The process to refer a friend to a Chase credit card is fairly straightforward, and there aren’t too many pesky limitations. For starters, you need to be a Chase credit card holder to refer a friend, and you must be holding a card with an eligible credit card refer a friend program attached to it. Bank employees cannot participate in the Chase refer a friend program. Right now, there are seven cards with refer a friend programs; see the listing below for more details.
If you have one of these cards, then you can go online to this page and start by entering your last name, zip code, and the last four digits on your card. On the next page, you can start referring friends in several ways. You can share a link via social media (Facebook or Twitter) or text message; alternatively, you can type in names and emails for an email send out through Chase.
Friends will receive a referral email within seven days, but the social media and text option is most likely immediate. Friends who already hold a Chase credit card or are on a Chase unsubscribe list will not receive an email. Note: in order for you to receive any sort of refer a friend bonus, your friends must apply for the card using the links you sent them.
You may refer up to 25 friends within a 24-hour period. You will not receive any approval or denial notifications from Chase regarding a friend’s application due to confidentiality reasons. However, if there is a successful application, the necessary rewards will be credited to your account within eight weeks of approval.
Note: You should not enter any personal information such as your social security number, full name, address, and credit card information on an unsecure, non-Chase, or suspicious website.
Refer a Friend Bonuses
Since there are seven different eligible credit cards in the Chase refer a friend program, there are seven sets of referral bonuses. Some of them are similar, but there is a little bit of variety. We’ll take a look at those now.
Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited Credit Cards
These two credit cards are sister offers from Chase, so they have the same exact bonuses for referring someone. For each successful referral application, a referring Freedom or Freedom unlimited card holder receives $100 in cash back. Card holders are eligible for up to $500 in cash back annually through the program; in other words, you can earn five referral bonuses per year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
For successfully referring the Sapphire Preferred Credit Card to a friend, card holders can earn 10,000 bonus points to their account. This is equivalent to $100, and referring card holders are eligible for up to 50,000 bonus points annually, or $500 in value.
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
A successful referral bonus amounts to 20,000 bonus points, and card holders can accrue up to 100,000 points within a year (or earn from five referrals). These points are redeemable for anything, but they are most valuable towards nights at Marriott hotels. The value for 100,000 points can range from $700 to $750 depending on how they are redeemed.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus and Premier Credit Cards
Referring card holders of the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Card (both the Plus and Premier Cards) can earn 10,000 points per approved application. You can earn up to 50,000 points in a year. This many points is conservatively valued at $500, pegging each referral at $100 in value.
Disney Visa Credit Card
If you have a Disney Visa from Chase, then you can earn 50 Disney Rewards Dollars for referring just one friend. You can refer up to ten friends in a year which amounts to 500 Disney Rewards Dollars.
American Express Refer a Friend
If you are an American Express cardholder, then you have exclusive access to the American Express refer a friend program. You may only refer an American Express credit card that you are holding, and it must be an eligible card in the refer a friend program. On top of that, your account must be in good standing in order to receive any sort of refer a friend bonus.
In order to get started, you must enter your login credentials on American Express’ secure referral login page. Afterward, you will be brought to a new page where you can enter the names and emails of friends. American Express discourages you from spamming tons of people; they want you to refer only friends and family after gaining their permission to do so.
After this step, your friends and family will be sent a personalized link through email, facebook, twitter, or text leading them to a credit card application. If they are approved after submitting, then you are eligible for the relevant credit card refer a friend bonus.
When a credit card referral application is approved or denied, you do not receive any sort of notification. However, if an application is approved, you should receive the associated bonus within six to eight weeks. Your friends and family must use the specific link you send them if you want to receive the bonus.
Friends and family will not receive a referral offer under two conditions. First, they already have the American Express card being referred. Second, they have opted out of receiving marketing communication and notifications from American Express.
Note: You should not enter any personal information such as your social security number, full name, address, and credit card information on an unsecure, non-American Express website.
Refer a Friend Bonuses
There are numerous refer a friend offers because American Express has seventeen eligible cards in the program.
Platinum Card from American Express
For each family member or friend who acquires a Platinum Card through your referral, you can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards. The refer a friend bonus cap is 55,000 points, so you can refer only 4 people before maxing out. These point values are considered to be $150 and $550, respectively.
Blue Cash Everyday Card
If you successfully refer an acquaintance to the Blue Cash EveryDay Card, then you can receive 75 Reward Dollar as a credit to your card account. Each year, you can earn up to 550 Reward Dollars through the refer a friend program which amounts to eight successful referrals.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
Referring cardholders of the SPG product from American Express can earn 7,500 points per referral if a friend can get approved. A yearly cap of 55,000 points is in place, so you can earn rewards from referring up to eight people each year. This offer is valid through 10/31/2018.
Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards
If one of your friends gets a Gold or Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card through your referral link, then you will earn 10,000 bonus miles which would cover a one-way ticket with Delta. You can earn a maximum of 55,000 bonus miles during one year, so you would have to refer six people in order to max out your referral bonus eligibility.
Hilton Honors Card
With a successful Hilton Honors Card referral, American Express cardmembers can earn 20,000 points, and they can earn up to 80,000 points through referrals each year.
Hilton Honors Surpass Card
A referral bonus for a Hilton Honors Surpass Card amounts to 25,000 bonus points, but this card has the same cap, 80,000 points, as its counterpart, the Hilton Honors Card.
Amex EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred Cards
If you can refer a friend to one of these cards, then you stand to gain 10,000 Membership Rewards points. The cap is set at 55,000 points, so you can refer six people before running out of room to refer people for cash. In summation, each offer is worth $100, and you can earn $550 total.
Gold and Platinum Delta Skymiles Business Credit Cards
10,000 bonus miles are offered to cardholders who refer a friend or family member to the Gold or Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card. The yearly cap is set at 55,000 miles, so you can refer up to six people before referral bonuses are no longer offered.
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card
For referring a friend to the SPG Business Credit Card, you should be credited 7,500 bonus points to your account. You can earn up to 55,000 points for referring eight people annually to the card, and the offer should be valid through October 31, 2018.
The Business Platinum Card
If you can refer someone to the Business Platinum Card, then you should receive 15,000 Rewards points as a reward. 15,000 points is considered equal to $150. You can earn up to 55,000, or $550, of those rewards points through referral bonuses annually. To hit that cap, you would have to refer four people within a year.
Note: There are several American Express cards with referral bonuses that are not featured on this list. These include the Premier Rewards Gold Card, the Blue Cash Preferred Card, the Business Gold Rewards Card, and the Plum Card.
Discover Refer a Friend
You must be a cardmember in order to participate in the Discover credit cardreferral program. You may only refer friends to a card that you are holding, and that card must be eligible for the Discover Refer a Friend program. Your account must be in good standing in order to refer a friend.
In order to get the referral process going, you must sign into Discover’s Refer a Friend page with your Discover login credentials. You will be provided with a referral link for the card on your account. You can send this link to your friends via email or some other form of communication.
After receiving the referral link, your friends have the option to submit an application with Discover (Note: friends who either already have a Discover card or are opted out of Discover’s marketing communications emails will not be able to receive the referral email). If the application is approved, then you are eligible to receive a cash back or miles bonus credited to your account.
Keep in mind that you will not receive any notification whether a friend’s application is approved or denied; however, if it is successful, the bonus will eventually appear within five weeks of an approval. A referral application must be approved before December 31, 2017 if you are to receive any referral bonus this year.
Discover does not explicitly state which cards are eligible for the program; however, it does state which cards are ineligible. These ineligible products include the Discover Business Card, the Discover Business Miles Card, the Essential by Discover Card, the Escape by Discover Card, or the Miles by Discover® Card.
This guide presumes that all other Discover products are eligible for the Refer a Friend program; these include the Discover it Card, Gas & Restaurant Card, NHL Card, Discover it Miles Card, Student Card, Student Chrome Card, and Secured Card.
Note: You should not enter any personal information such as your social security number, full name, address, and credit card information on an unsecure, non-Discover website.
Refer a Friend Bonuses
While there are several eligible cards in the Discover Refer a Friend program, there are only two separate referral rewards for successfully referring a friend: a cashback bonus and a travel miles bonus.
Cash Back Bonus
If you are holding a cash back card from Discover (any of the aforementioned credit cards aside from the Discover it Miles Card), then you will receive a $50 cashback bonus for each friend referred to Discover. While cardmembers can refer as many friends as they like, they can only receive rewards for ten referrals in a year, amounting to a maximum of $500 annually in referral bonuses.
Travel Miles Bonus
If you refer a friend to the Discover it Miles Card, then you can receive 5,000 miles per referral which amounts to a $50 value. Like before, you can only refer up to ten friends in a calendar year, so you can earn a maximum of 50,000 miles annually, or $500.
Avoiding Credit Card Referral Program Scams
You may have noticed that you are sometimes required to enter personal, identifying information including your name and credit card number in order to send referral messages to your friends. Naturally, these requirements open the door for scammers to phish for your information by setting up fake, believable credit card referral landing pages.
You should be on the lookout for any sort of unsecured website that prompts you to enter personal information. It should be fairly obvious whether a site is secure or not. Chase, American Express, and Discover all have their own official landing pages, and they are clearly safe, secure, and owned by the company itself. A safe bet would be to navigate to the refer a friend landing page from their company homepages.
Notable Companies Without Refer a Friend Programs
As mentioned earlier, there are only three major companies (two credit unions and one big bank) that offer credit card referral bonuses in the United States, and they’re all listed above: Chase, American Express, and Discover. There are a few big banks that are worth mentioning; these banks DO NOT have a referral program on their credit card products.
Citi, a notable provider of credit and banking products, does not have its own credit card referral program. If you manage to get your friends to sign up with Citi, then you shouldn’t expect any sort of bonus or thanks in the United States. There are a couple Citi refer a friend programs offered internationally, but this review focuses on offers in the U.S.
There is currently no Capital One refer a friend program for credit cards. Capital One does have a few enticing introductory offers, but they are only awarded to those who meet the requirements after applying for a new card all on their own.
Another major company without its own credit card refer a friend program is Bank of America. While Bank of America used to offer a referral program on checking accounts, the promo is no longer offered.
If a website is posing as any of these banks, then steer clear of them! Protect your personal information.
Author: Andrew Rombach
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