Posted by William Charles on November 14, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on November 14th, 2018 | by William Charles


American Express Universal Referrals – Self Referrals Working & How To Maximize (E.g 30,000 Points On BBP)

Update 11/14/2018: As mentioned briefly in this post the Business Gold Rewards card is offering 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you refer FROM that card to another card. This is the new highest, previously it was 15,000 on the Platinum card. This means you can now get up to 30,000 points on the BBP.

Original PostAmerican Express recently updated their referral program so that you could refer people to cards you don’t currently hold. We speculated that self referrals would work, we now have confirmation that this does work. It had also previously been confirmed by American Express directly that ‘in general’ the referral bonus you get will be based on the card you referred from. This means if you refer yourself from your Platinum card to another American Express card you’ll receive the sign up bonus + 15,000 Membership Rewards for the referral.

Data Points

Below are are a list of datapoints, the first card listed is the card you’re referring from and the second card listed is the card you’re referring to. For example:

  • Platinum:
    • Gold

Would mean somebody has successfully applied for a Gold card, using a referral link generated from a Platinum card and has received the referral bonus the Platinum card normally gives (currently 15,000 points). Now onto the actual data points:

  • Personal Platinum:
    • Blue Business Plus: 1,
    • Gold: 1, 2,
    • SPG Business: 1, 2,
  • Business Gold:
    • Blue Business Plus: 1,
  • Business Platinum:
    • Blue Business Plus: 1, 2,
    • Gold Personal: 1,


This presents some opportunities. The most obvious is that referral for the Blue Business Plus. Currently that is offering a bonus of 10,000 points after $3,000 in spend within three months. If you referred from a business platinum card you’d get a further 15,000 Membership Rewards points for a total of 25,000 points. This is $2,000 less in spend than the 20,000 points bonus and 5,000 more points.

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Your blog is very helpful. Thank you. Not to be picky, but I want to know what I missed. This blog post seems to end mid sentence. Is there more?

If I had to guess “This is $2,000 less in spend than the 20,000 points bonus and a 5,000 points higher total bonus”.

I also dont see pass the word and

Amex seems to increase the referral bonus to encourage people to continue to apply for their cards even the bank decrease/remove the sign-up bonus in some cases.

I would be worried that they would catch on to self referrals and retroactively disallow them given their recent behavior with RAT team. I would also worry that while they are trying to determine if you gamed them, they may freeze your MR account like they did a couple years ago with the leaked 100k Platinum offer. I had signed up under that offer and they froze my account for almost 2 months while they “reviewed” account activity. Luckily I am on the straight and narrow and a very good customer so it eventually was unfrozen without any further issues. But they have made me wary of doing things like this. Might be worth a warning not to go too crazy with the self referral thing. At best, I think it is a glitch that they will correct and possibly not punish you if you are a good customer, but at worst it could be a very bad idea.

I was so stoked about this until I read your warning. On the one hand there is nothing that says you can’t use your own link. On the other hand the “gaming” language gives Amex carte blanche if you pop up on their radar. No DPs of this yet but considering Amex has clawed back MRs from closed cards when someone gets caught MSing the word of caution is probably wise.

It may be best for P1 to refer P2 and vice versa..

Which isn’t self-referring at all, just what we’ve always been able to do

But this allows you to do it even without holding the card that you want P2 to apply for.


I don’t feel too bad about putting so much effort just to get the 20k/$5k BBP even though 25k/$3k is better. The risk is too high, IMO.

Yes. Scary to go hog wild over these glitches. And it IS a glitch.

If I want to get 25K total for BBP, I’d need a MR-earning business card, right? I only have SPG Biz and all my MR cards are personal

All cards can refer all cards. You only need the Biz Plat for the 25k total because that’s the card that earns you 15k for referrals, plus the 10k signup for BBP.

I can refer from a personal Gold card, earning 10k per referral, so that would be only 20k for me. It’s still a better offer than the “best” offer, because of the lower spend requirements.

Personal Vanilla/Biz Plat both gets 15K MR referral bonus, so either of them would work..

All your MR gets pooled together. Just make sure you always keep at least one MR card (personal or business) open to keep your MR alive

Amex Blue Business + is the perfect card to keep your MRs alive. No annual fee, 2x (3.8% return on transfers), full transfer available. [removed]

DP: Referred from Business Gold to the BBP and got 10k (I already maxed out Business Platinum 55k in referrals)

Could you self-refer to multiple cards and receive the referrer bonus each time? I.e. if I have biz platinum, can I refer myself to Blue Business Plus and also Business Green Rewards and receive the 15,000 referrer point for each card (30,000 points total, plus the sign up bonuses on the two cards)?

i think the answer so far is yes, but what remains to be seen is how amex RAT takes action.

So if you self-refer to a card you’ve had in your lifetime do you get the referral bonus? I wouldn’t mind getting an AMEX Delta card again for free checked bag, and a 15k referral bonus would make the whole thing pretty much worth it. Well except I’m max’d out on AMEX cards!

Work for me with biz gold (referred from biz plat). I canceled the card over a year ago and just reapplied for the referral bonus

IMO the best opportunity for someone looking for just the sign up bonus would be to refer Biz Green from Biz/Vanilla Plat.. can’t beat 25K MR with just one purchase..

It looked like you can refer from personal to business (and I would assume vice versa). Any confirmation on that?

Definitely looks allowed based on the website

Yes, we mentioned that in the original post.

Referred my friend from my personal gold card to business plat, no referral bonus showing. He was approved.

Hi TM, Could you please let us know what is the status of your referral bonus? I am looking to refer myself (i dont have amex biz card) from my personal gold card. TM

Still no referral bonus. He was approved approximately two weeks ago. I have not yet reached out to Amex.

I refer my spouse but I don’t think I would refer myself. Seems like you are just asking for trouble from Amex. Also 25k Amex points aren’t enough for me to create a new account.

^^^this. talk about a move to raise a red flag + a shift in aaoa, not worth it imo

Biz Plat -> New Gold Personal worked. points posted this morning.

I successfully referred myself for a business gold rewards card from a personal vanilla platinum. 15K MR posted a few days after I was approved.

On another note, I see in one of my referral offers that the SPG Luxuy card’s 100,000 offer expires 103/1/2018. Any idea if the offer will improve or just disappear?

I got a targeted offer in the mail for $125k on the SPG Luxury. I applied and was instantly approved after getting the “too many open and closed cards” message on the Hilton Aspire. So, 100k isn’t their top offer. And just because you get a bad pop up on one card doesn’t mean it’s Am Ex wide.

Thanks for the information. But according to FM’s handy-dandy chart I am not eligible for SPG Luxury bonus because I just got bonus on the Chase Marriott Biz about 11 months ago.

So, hopefully in a year, they’ll have better offer.
That would also be about the time when those people who signed up this year are deciding whether to keep their card, so I’ll have a pretty good idea how valuable it is after year one. The combined program will also be a year old, and I’ll have a pretty good idea how many hotels will move up and what hotels will still be redeemable for the 50k anniversary certificate.

Just noticed on P2s account that 15k MR posted from self referral of Personal Platinum to BGR. Approved 10/8, points posted 10/10.

I tried both my wife and mine – it only lets us refer to cards we have… how do I refer to cards I don’t have?

no sure if you can

My SPG Business refers only to the 3 SPG cards but my Blue Cash Preferred and Business Rewards Gold cards refer to any personal or business card. Maybe you have a co-branded card?

Here’s a personal DP about this topic.
Self referred from amex plat (personal) to amex gold business. 15k referral points posted in my account 2 days after self-referral/instant approval.

Despite this success, I personally would not recommend to self-refer. After submitting the referral/application I had regrets shortly after. I was nervous about the referral points not posting and even worried about the sign up bonus for the business gold card being at risk. At the end of the day, amex can take away any ref points/sign-up bonuses at any time if they think it even remotely falls under their “gaming the system” section of their ToS. Even though my points posted, I still don’t know if I’m in the clear long-term. For your own peace of mind, I recommend to only do this if you absolutely do not have a player 2 to work with and only if you are okay with not receiving your referral points.

They can already do that for anything. Is there any requirement in the ToS that you must refer someone other than yourself?! If not, I don’t see what the problem is — the cost to AmEx is the same (everyone knows they pay big bucks to the bloggers per referral, known to be higher for some cards than what we have here), plus referrals in total are quite limited anyways.

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