How to earn bonus points by referring a friend to American Express

By |2018-08-14T18:38:09+00:0014 August 2018|

One of my favourite perks of being an American Express card member is that I can earn points by referring family and friends to Amex. With a generous amount of points on offer for each successful referral, this is one of the simplest and most lucrative strategies I use to increase my points balance.

Amex’s referral program is unique in Australia and it’s open to anyone who holds an eligible card issued directly by Amex Australia (i.e. it’s not available to holders of bank-issued Amex cards).

If you’d like to take advantage of the referral program, read on for an explanation of how it works – or if you’d prefer a shorter 30-second overview, check out the video below and then click here to get your referral link.

How you earn points as the “referrer”

The amount of points you receive as the referrer depends on the Amex card you hold, not the card your friend gets (your friend can choose from several cards – more on that later).

For you to receive the bonus points, your friend’s application needs to be approved.

If you hold one of the following cards, here’s how many points you’ll receive for a successful referral.

Card held by referrerBonus points for referrer (usual)
Qantas co-brand cards
Qantas Amex Discovery / Classic Card10,000
Qantas Amex Premium Card20,000
Qantas Amex Ultimate Card30,000
Velocity co-brand cards
Amex Velocity Escape Card15,000
Amex Velocity Gold Card20,000
Amex Velocity Platinum Card30,000
David Jones co-brand cards
David Jones Amex Card20,000
David Jones Amex Platinum Card30,000
Amex own-brand cards
Amex Essential / Gold (credit card) Platinum Edge / Platinum Rewards / Platinum Reserve15,000
Amex Green / Rewards Advantage Card20,000
Amex Explorer Credit Card30,000
Amex Gold (charge) / Platinum / Centurion Card30,000

The maximum number of points you can earn through Amex’s referral program is 200,000 points per calendar year.

How your friend earns points

Using your referral link, your friend can apply for any card that is in the same ‘family group’ as your card.

Here are the four family groups and the cards in each that are open to new applicants:

  • Qantas co-brand cards: Qantas Amex Ultimate Card, Qantas Amex Premium Card, Qantas Amex Discovery Card
  • Velocity co-brand cards: Amex Velocity Escape Card, Amex Velocity Platinum Card
  • David Jones co-brand cards: David Jones Amex Card, David Jones Amex Platinum Card
  • Amex own-brand cards: Amex Explorer Credit Card, Amex Essential Credit Card, Amex Platinum Edge Credit Card, Amex Platinum Card.

When you send your referral link to a friend, they can select which card in the family group they want to apply for.

The amount of bonus points your friend receives is based on the card they choose. As always, they’ll need to meet eligibility criteria and minimum spend requirements to get the bonus points.

Here are the current bonus offers for new applicants who use a referral link. (For comparison, I’ve also shown the bonus for applicants who don’t use a referral link, which is often lower).

AMEX card chosen by applicantBonus points via referralBonus points - no referral
Qantas co-brand cards
Qantas Amex Discovery Card00
Qantas Amex Premium Card40,00030,000
Qantas Amex Ultimate Card65,00055,000
Velocity co-brand cards
Amex Velocity Escape Card00
Amex Velocity Platinum Card60,00050,000
David Jones co-brand cards
David Jones Amex Card30,00020,000
David Jones Amex Platinum Card50,00040,000
Amex own-brand cards
Amex Essential Credit Card00
Amex Platinum Edge Credit Card10,0000
Amex Explorer Credit Card60,00050,000
Amex Platinum Charge Card120,000 (special offer until 29 August)120,000 (special offer until 29 August)

Note that during special promotions, when Amex boosts the sign-up bonuses for specific cards, your friend may receive the same amount of points as is publicly available, rather than more.

How to obtain and share your referral link

If you’d like to share your referral link with friends and family, follow these steps:

  1. click here to go to Amex’s online referral hub or go to the Amex app on your smartphone
  2. log in with either your UserID and password, or with your credit card details
  3. if you hold multiple Amex cards, choose the card you want to create a link for
  4. read the terms and conditions, and if you agree, check the box “I agree”
  5. the link will be displayed on the page, ready for you to share.

Once your friend receives the link, they simply click on it and apply for a card in the usual way. They must use your link for you to get the referral bonus.

Click here to get your referral link from Amex.


If you’re not yet an Amex card member and you’d like to become one, reviews of our favourite cards are available here. I especially want to highlight:

  • the Qantas Amex Ultimate Card – my top pick for earning Qantas Points. It comes with the highest Qantas Points earn rate on spend, a $450 travel credit each year that fully offsets the annual fee, lounge entries and much more (plus 55,000 bonus points).
  • the Amex Velocity Platinum Card – my top pick for earning Velocity Points. It has the highest Velocity Points earn rate on spend, a complimentary flight each year, lounge entries and other great perks (plus 50,000 bonus points).

American Express is one of our valued partners. This article is sponsored by American Express.

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About the Author:

Kris is the founder of The High Life and a complete travel addict. Originally from Perth, he's now based in Melbourne - but he's happiest in the air travelling to somewhere new. In 2018, Kris will be exploring Thailand, southern Europe, the USA and Mexico.


  1. Joseph 8 August 2018 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Great article – thanks.

    I cannot find a link to the terms and conditions of this promotion anywhere – do you have a link to the terms?

    Do the referral process need to be completed by 15 August, or simply started by 15 August … for example, you might refer someone, but it might take 2 weeks to complete the process, so is the 15 August deadline for the start or finish of the referral process?

    Have AMEX boosted their referral bonus in the past? If so, how often does this type of boost normally promotion happen?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Kris Brankovic 8 August 2018 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Joseph, the T&Cs are available when you log into the Amex referral hub to get your referral link (follow the link in our article). The 15 Aug deadline is to start the referral process. This is the first time I’m aware that Amex has boosted the referral bonus.

  2. J 4 August 2018 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Wondering if anyone has received more than 200K referral points.

    The email I recently received from Amex for successfully referring a friend said CAP is 200K points. I also called Amex and was confirmed once I reach the 200K Cap there won’t be any more referral points

    • Kris Brankovic 5 August 2018 at 12:43 am - Reply

      Hi J, the extra 200k cap on top of the normal 200k cap applies until 15 August. Not sure why the call centre didn’t know that, but it’s definitely the case (this article was sponsored by Amex HQ to spread the word!).

  3. Michelle 2 August 2018 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Hi Kris,

    just wondering whether I can use my platinum card to refer my friend to have a American Express Essential? and will I still have the 60k referral points? Thank you.

    • Kris Brankovic 2 August 2018 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      Yes that’s right – enjoy!

  4. Zerxes 22 July 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Kris, do the people you refer have to be new to AMEX or not held a card in the last 18 months? Any idea how long after they get the card you get the bonus points? Thx

    • Kris Brankovic 22 July 2018 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      Yes they have to meet Amex’s eligibility criteria for bonus points (18 month exclusion). In my experience, the bonus points are credited within a month of meeting the minimum spend.

  5. Stacy 22 July 2018 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Hi Kris,
    Where can I find any info regards to earn up 400000 points for referring friends information on Amex website ? I’ve done few referl and it’s stop at 200000 points at the moment .

    • Kris Brankovic 22 July 2018 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Stacy, I don’t think Amex has info about this on its website. Amex reviewed this article, so the info in it is correct. You get an extra 200k points cap until 15 August.

  6. Priya Fernandes 4 April 2018 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Kris, I am a supplementary cardholder with my husband as the primary cardholder. If I apply through my husband’s link and my application is successful, will he receive the referral bonus, and, will I receive the sign up bonus?

    • Kris Brankovic 4 April 2018 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Yes you will 🙂

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