Guide to Credit Card Referral Programs

Monday, July 22nd, 2019
Updated: July 22nd, 2019
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Credit card referral offers is a great opportunity to earn additional money or bonuses like points, cash back and miles just for sending an invitation to apply for a particular credit card to your friends or relatives. Luckily, most major credit card issuers offer referral bonuses for their cardholders. If using these programs wisely, they may become a real gold mine. But what should you do to participate?

How Referral Programs Work

As it was mentioned above, you do not need much effort – just send an invitation. Such an invitation should contain the specific referral link that will later help the issuer understand who this new applicant came from.

In order to reach more people and get better chances for rewards, some even share referral links in social networks However, note that posting this kind of offers in, for example, forums or Facebook groups can be banned. Moreover, issuers often limit the number of referral bonuses they are ready to pay out, to 5-10 per year. As for the amount of credit card referral program benefits, it may range from $25 to $200.

The most pleasant thing about referring a friend is that frequently not only you but your friend will get rewarded as well. The main condition is that the invited friend must apply for the card and be approved. Sometimes, this person will also need to make some purchases with their new card before receiving the credit card referral bonus. Besides, banks often require your account to be in good standing to receive the referral reward.

How to Participate in Referral Programs

Here we collected some credit card issuers which allow you to refer a friend. Pay attention to the fact that referral rewards sometimes may be taxable to you.

  • Refer a Friend Discover

Discover’s referral bonus allows their cardmembers to get a $50 statement credit once their friend becomes a cardmember. Your friend receives the $50 statement credit as well when they apply through your referral link, are approved by December 31, 2019, and make their first purchase within the first three months. The statement credit will post to your account within 2 billing periods after each referral is approved. The maximum number of referral bonuses you can receive per calendar year is 10 or $500 in tote.

To receive a personalized referral link to share with friends, you need to log in to your Discover account. Note that not all Discover credit cards are eligible. For example, you can’t get the referral bonus with the Discover it® Secured card and the Discover it® Business Card.

  • Refer a Friend Citi

Citi typically offers a referral bonus of around $100, or 10,000 bonus points, for up to five friends invited per year. Unfortunately, the referral program is not available for every Citi customer. You can easily check it in your online account.

  • Refer a Friend Chase

Chase’s referral program conditions differ depending on a credit card. For example, if you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can get $100 cash back for each approved friend, up to $500 annually. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you will earn 15,000 bonus points for each approved friend, up to 75,000 bonus points annually. And with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, you tend to receive 10,000 bonus points for each approved friend, up to 50,000 bonus points annually.

Referral links can be found in your Chase online account.

  • Refer a Friend Capital One

Capital One is another issuer that provides the opportunity to use their referral program only to selected users. Usually, the bank sends e-mails with an offer to participate in the referral program and detailed information.  As a rule, when inviting a friend, you will be able to get extra cash back or miles.

  • Refer a Friend Amex

American Express also offers different amount and types of bonuses for holders of different cards. Having the Platinum Card® from American Express, you will get 15,000 Membership Rewards points when your friend is approved, up to 55,000 points per calendar year, while the Hilton Honors American Express Card will bring you 20,000 Hilton Honors points for an approved friend, up to 80,000 points per calendar year.

To see referral offers and get links for your card, log in to your online account. Remember that your account shouldn’t be past due.

All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

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