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More Negative Changes to the American Express Referral Program

UPDATE- I updated the part about not being able to receive the sign up bonus any more (for those who already had the credit card previously), even if you are referred by a friend. 

I am going to have a hard time writing this post up. This is such disappointing news, but it was expected, so I can’t say I am surprised.

American Express Canada is continuing to make negative changes to its sign up bonus and referral program. First, we saw the change to only one lifetime sign-up bonus per credit card. The only except is if you are referred by a friend, but that policy also took a negative hit where you need to wait at least 6 months in between sign ups.

Now, there are further changes to specific credit cards in the portfolio. Below are some of the changes to watch out for:

American Express Gold Rewards Card

In terms of the referral bonus, this is the update:

  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: Effective January 11, 2016, this Card is no longer eligible for a referral bonus. You can still refer the Card to your friends and family but you will not earn a referral bonus for any approved referral.

In terms of the sign up bonus offer, this is the update:

  • This offer is only available to new American Express Gold Rewards Cardmembers. For current or former American Express Gold Rewards Cardmembers, we may approve your application, but you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus.

This is a double whammy. Those who already has this credit card before will no longer able to receive the amazing 25,000 sign up bonus again, even by being referred by a friend, as well as the discontinuation of the 10,000 referral bonus. As they say, all good things come to an end.

The American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card

In terms of the referral bonus, this is the update:

  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: Effective January 11, 2016, this Card is no longer eligible for a referral bonus. You can still refer the Card to your friends and family but you will not earn a referral bonus for any approved referral.

In terms of the sign up bonus offer, this is the update:

  • This offer is only available to new American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Cardmembers. For current or former American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Cardmembers, we may approve your application, but you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus.

Another double whammy. This credit card was at its best when the first year fee was waived. It has been going downhill ever since. This is probably the nail in the coffin.

The American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card

  • SPECIAL OFFER: Your friend could earn our highest AeroplanPlus Platinum Card miles offer of 51,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when they charge $1,000 in purchases to their card in the first three months of Cardmembership. Offer ends March 31st, 2016.

This referral bonus offer looks to also to be coming to an end. So take advantage of it while you still can.

Speculation

What I loved most about referral bonuses is that it helps justify the annual fee. After 1 referral, you generally get enough bonus points to cover 1 year’s worth of annual fee, so it helps justify paying the second year annual fee. This was actually a strong incentive to retain a credit card beyond the first year and reduce the amount of churning.

Now, all I can see is that once people cancel their credit cards, they probably won’t be signing up for it again. Is this maybe what American Express is trying to do? Slowly phase out the American Express Gold Rewards card? I really can’t see this as a move to encourage more customers.

Going Forward

These changes should be an indication to us that more changes are coming, so I know that I made most of this post sounds like doom and gloom. On the bright side, the rest of the referrals remain intact. So if you see an offer that you still want to take advantage of, do it now. Don’t wait!!

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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