While credit card signup bonuses continue to be the quickest and easiest way to earn points and miles, another good option is to refer friends to credit card and loyalty programs you are already a member of. In some cases you can earn points, miles, or credits when your friends signup. When you recommend a good offer this way, it can help your friend earn points towards free travel while rewarding you at the same time. Often, getting points or credits is as easy as posting a link through your favorite social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.). In some cases, you need to explicitly name friends. In those cases, it’s best to ask your friends first if they would like the referral. In all cases, I only recommend this if the offer your friend would receive is at least as good as the best available public offers.
Potential point & mile earnings: 55,000 points per card type (In the example shown below, it is possible to earn up to 165,000 points total)
If you have any American Express credit cards, browse to www.americanexpress.com/refer to see if you are eligible to refer friends. When I log in, for example, I see offers for the Platinum card, the Starwood Preferred Guest card, and the Delta Platinum card:
For each card you would like to recommend to friends, click through and compare the referral offer to the best publicly available offer (found here) to make sure that your friends would receive a good offer. In my case, I clicked through each of the above options and found that they matched the best publicly available offers. So, I would feel comfortable referring any of the above to friends interested in those cards. Note that the current offers require friends to be approved for their new cards by June 30 2014.
In particular, this is a great time to refer friends to the Starwood (SPG) card since it currently has a better than usual 30K signup offer (usual is 25K).
Potential point & mile earnings: 50,000 points per card type (Up to 100,000 points if you have both the Sapphire Preferred and Freedom cards)
If you have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Chase Freedom card, browse to www.chasereferafriend.com and enter your information to see your refer-a-friend offer. Here’s an example of what you might see if you have the Sapphire Preferred card:
Whereas American Express requires you to enter in your friends’ contact info, Chase also offers the option to invite friends via Facebook and Twitter. In my opinion, that’s an easier and less intrusive option. With both the Sapphire Preferred card and the Freedom card, you can earn 5,000 points per friend who signs up. The current offer for the Sapphire Preferred card says that referrals and approvals must be complete by June 30 2014. The current offer for the Freedom card says that referrals must happen by June 20 and approvals by June 30 2014.
In particular, this is a great time to refer friends to the Chase Freedom card since it currently has a better than usual 20K signup offer (usual is 10K). Note that they advertise the Freedom bonuses as cash back (i.e. $200 cash back), but it comes in the form of Ultimate Rewards points. This is great because people with a Freedom card and a premium card such as the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold can transfer points from the Freedom card to the other card, and then transfer points to airline and hotel programs.
Hotel Booking Services
Many hotel booking services have referral programs that offer credits to both you and the person you refer. In most cases, earning credit is dependent upon your friend actually using the service to book a hotel. Here is a quick roundup of a few that I’m familiar with:
- Orbitz Rewards: You and your friend receive $25 credit
- Marriott Rewards: For the first year of your friend’s membership in this program, you and your friend receive 2000 bonus points for each of your friend’s paid stays, up to 5 stays.
- PointsHound: You and your friend receive 250 points or miles after their first booking
- RocketMiles: You and your friend receive 1000 miles after their first booking
- Travel Pony: Your friend will receive a $35 travel credit. You will receive a $25 credit once they complete a stay
- Hotel Tonight: You and your friend receive $25 credit
Like the hotel booking services, some car services have referral programs that offer credits to both you and the person you refer. In most cases, earning credit is dependent upon your friend actually using the service. Here is a quick roundup of a few that I’m familiar with:
- Lyft (on-demand car service): You and your friend will receive a free ride (worth up to $25). NOTE: your friend can do better by signing up and using promo code SLICKDEALS to get a free first ride worth up to $50.
- Uber (on-demand car service): You and your friend will receive $10 (or sometimes more when they run promotions). NOTE: your friend can do better by signing up and using promo code DELTA to get $25 credit.
- SilverCar (luxury car rental service): You and your friend will receive $25 credit once they complete their first rental.
In addition to the travel related offers shown above, there are many options for earning cash by referring friends. I’ll follow up soon with a post dedicated to cash back options.
Usually I direct people to my Best Offers page for credit cards and to my Signup Links page for hotel and car services and other miscellaneous programs. In this case, though, I want to invite readers to use the comments below to offer referrals to others. Be sure to be explicit about which card or service you have a referral to. Put in your referral URL or ask people to email you for referral requests. If you put in a URL, your comment will most likely go to moderation or even to my blog’s spam folder so give me some time to approve these before they appear below. Feel free to include travel related services not shown above. I might add your suggestion to the lists in this post.
Last updated on September 29th, 2014