American Express is offering customers the chance to pocket up to £220 through its credit card referral scheme.
The promotion, which runs until January 31, means those with a Platinum Cashback or Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card can earn up to £40 for each friend they recommend who goes on to open one of its credit cards.
The card issuer offers similar deals to customers with other cards in its range, including enough free Avios to fly to LA or Sydney and back.
Of course, refer-a-friend schemes aren’t unique to credit card companies. Some banks, utility, broadband and mobile providers will also give you cash or giftcards for recommending new customers.
Fly to Sydney and back for free: American Express offers lucrative refer a friend scheme on its BA cards but you will have to recommend 10 people in a year to get the maximum
TOP REFERRAL SCHEMES
Nationwide pays £100 to you, and £100 to any friend you refer who takes out a current account with the bank.
Ovo offers a £25 voucher for Amazon, M&S or Argos each.
Sky gives a £50 prepaid MasterCard each.
Three offers a £25 Amazon giftcard each for recommending a friend to the network.
Virgin Mobile offers up to £100 to share for mobile contracts bought by a friend.
Plusnet gives you money off your bill when you recommend a friend. You get 50p off each month for phone contracts and 75p for broadband.
Estate agent eMoove pays £100 to you and gives a £100 discount on friends’ listings.
Zipcar offers a £25 driving credit to both you and anyone you recommend who becomes a member.
The AA offers a £20 M&S or Amazon.co.uk giftcard for you and a friend on breakdown cover.
Vanquis Bank pays £25 when a friend you refer spends on a new credit card.
The popular American Express cashback credit cards are already the most lucrative on the market paying 5 per cent back in the first three months of membership, and up to 1.25 per cent after that depending on which card you choose.
After the first three months the free option, its Platinum Cashback Everyday card, pays a tiered rate of 0.5 per cent on up to £5,000. Spend more than that and you earn 1 per cent.
The Platinum Cashback Credit card comes with a £25 annual fee. But after the first three months you get 1 per cent on spends up to £10,000, and 1.25 per cent if you spend more.
The more people customers refer, the more they are paid. The amount you earn per person also depends on which card you have (see below).
Cardholders can log in to their account and refer people by email or Facebook or by sending a personalised link.
You will have to be patient though as any money earned through the referral scheme will be added to your existing cashback pot and paid in the month after your card anniversary.
Friends and family will need to apply, and be approved, for their American Express card before January 31 2018. The card they choose can be any of its range, excluding the Basic Card.
Make money from your mates: American Express pays up to £220 on both its cashback cards
What about the others?
American Express also offers a permanent referral scheme for friends and family on its other rewards cards.
Membership Rewards scheme cards:
Preferred Rewards Gold Card members can earn 9,000 points for every person they successfully recommend, up to 90,000 Membership Rewards points per year – that’s enough to get an economy return flight from London to Sydney.
There is a £140 annual fee but this is waived for the first year. It comes with a 20,000 Membership Rewards point bonus if you spend £2,000 on the card within three months. Each £1 spent earns one Membership Reward point.
If you have the Platinum Card you can earn 18,000 Membership Reward points for every person you recommend, again up to a maximum of 90,000 per year.
The card carries an eye-watering fee of £450 per year, but you get 30,000 Membership Rewards points to sign up and spend £2,000 in the first three months.
It also comes with a range of benefits including airport lounge access and worldwide family travel insurance. Each £1 spent earns one reward point.
Both of these cards require you to clear them at the end of each month.
British Airways American Express Avios cards
British Airways American Express Credit Card customers can earn 4,000 Avios for each recommended new customer, up to a maximum of 90,000 each year. That’s enough to fly premium economy from London to LA and back.
The card already offers 5,000 bonus Avios after a £1,000 spend in a month, a companion ticket after a £20,000 annual spend and 1 Avios for every £1 spent.
If you have the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card you get a higher 9,000 points per person, again up to the 90,000 annual limit.
The card costs £195 per year but you get 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in three months, a free companion voucher after a £10,000 annual spend and 1.5 Avios per £1 spent.
What about referring a partner? You may be better off with a supplementary card instead
If you are thinking of recommending your partner to your credit card provider in order to earn extra points, you may be better off in some cases adding an additional card to your own account instead.
You will need to weigh up the value of extra points earned by you under the refer a friend scheme, and the sign up bonus for new customers paid to your partner, against any extra annual fee.
If you have one of the British Airways American Express cards you will also need to consider the value of the companion voucher too.
Rob Burgess of frequent flyer website headforpoints.com, which focuses on travel credit cards, said: ‘There is no obvious right or wrong answer as to whether you should give your partner a supplementary card instead of referring them for their own card. (Beyond, of course, the obvious fact that you are liable for their spending if they have a supplementary card on your account).’
If your credit card offers a bonus for spending a large sum, such as the 2-4-1 Avios voucher offered by the British Airways American Express card, then you may prefer to give them a supplementary card so that both of you are spending towards the same target.
Burgess adds: ‘If you have substantial credit card bills, on the other hand, it may be better for each partner to have their own BA American Express. My wife and I each have our own British Airways Premium Plus cards so we can generate two 2-4-1 vouchers each year, which is handy as we are a family of four.’
It is also worth considering whether the loyalty points you earn can be combined. British Airways lets you have an Avios household account, where up to six people can merge their Avios into one shared pot. Even if you each have your own BA American Express credit card, the Avios can still be merged.
‘The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, which earns hotel loyalty points, also benefits from the fact that Starwood members can share their points with family members,’ says Burgess.
‘If you have an American Express Gold or Platinum charge card, on the other hand, you cannot pool the Membership Rewards points you earn with your partner. This means that you may prefer to give your partner a supplementary card on your Gold or Platinum card – so the combined points stay in one pot – rather than each of you running your own account.’
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