When I reviewed the best credit cards in Canada a few months ago I touched on the fact that I took advantage of several sign-up bonuses in order to boost my rewards. I found that the best card issuer for these types of bonuses – hands down – is American Express.

What I look for is a rich bonus offer that is easy to attain so that I don’t have to go out of my way to earn more points. I prefer a no-fee card or an offer that waives the annual fee in the first year. I also want to make sure the rewards are easy to redeem so that I’m not stuck with unused points.

The American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card ticked all three of those boxes for me. Spending $500 within three months is very reasonable. The $65 annual fee is waived in the first year. And 2,000 Air Miles can easily be redeemed using the Air Miles Cash program. My favourite way to redeem Air Miles Cash is instantly at participating grocery stores, where 2,000 AIR MILES gets you $210 in free groceries.

Another card that fits the bill is the Amex SimplyCash Card, where you can earn 1.25% cash back on everything you buy and up to 5% cash back at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants for the first 6 months. If I spend an average of $1,250 monthly on 1.25% cash back, I could earn up to $187.50 in cash back annually!

Another element of value that you won’t find with any other card issuer with the Amex Refer A Friend program. Here’s how it works:

Amex Refer a Friend Program

American Express Cardmembers can earn a bonus for each approved referral, plus your friend or family member can earn a Welcome Bonus. In my case – for the American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card – I’d get 500 Air Miles for each person that I refer, up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 7,500 reward miles. For the SimplyCash Card, it’s possible to get bonus cash back when referring a friend. Then see how your monthly purchases can add up!

Refer a friend to an American Express Card

What’s cool is that the program works for both new and existing American Express Cardmembers. New members can add to their already generous Welcome Bonus by referring a friend or family member to sign up. And for existing or long-time American Express Cardmembers, the Amex Refer A Friend program means a chance to earn a bonus all over again.

This chart shows the initial Welcome Bonus and Refer A Friend offer for five different American Express Cards, including the SimplyCash Card, Gold Rewards Card, Starwood Preferred Guest Card, American Express Platinum Credit Card, and AeroplanPlus Platinum Card:

Card   Refer A Friend Cardmember Offer Refer A Friend Prospect Offer

(includes Welcome Bonus)

Gold Rewards Card 10,000 Membership Reward points (up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 150,000 Membership Rewards points) –That’s enough for a $100 credit on your next flight 25,000 Membership Rewards points after $500 spend in the first 3 months + First Year Free
Starwood Preferred Guest Card 10,000 Starpoints (up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 150,000 Starpoints) – that’s enough for up to 3 nights free at a SPG property 20,000 Starpoints on $500 spend in the first 3 months
AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card 500 Air Miles (up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 7,500 Air Miles reward miles) – that’s enough for tickets to sporting events 2,000 Air Miles on $500 spend in the first 3 months, + First Year Free
­American Express Platinum Credit Card 15,000 Membership Reward points (up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 225,000 Membership Rewards points) – that’s enough for a round trip short haul flight (Toronto to Montreal, New York or Boston) 60,000 Membership Rewards points after $1,000 spend in the first 3 months
AeroplanPlus  Platinum Card 15,000 Aeroplan miles (up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 225,000 Aeroplan Miles) – that’s enough points to get you a round trip flight to New York City, Chicago, Montreal and other short haul destinations 41,000 Aeroplan miles after $1,000 spend in the first 3 months

Amex Refer A Friend Program – Cardmember registration process

It’s easy to turn your recommendations to friends or family members into great rewards:

  1. Visit americanexpress.ca/referafriend
  2. Fill in your name and card number
  3. Send the Refer A Friend invite out to friend and family members via email or
  4. Make sure your friends apply for the card through the link in the e-mail or Facebook post and you could earn a referral bonus for each approved referral

Now there are some conditions and so you’ll notice that I’m not asking blog readers to sign up under my name. That’s because you have to actually know the person to whom you’re referring the Card – hence the “friends-and-family” referral program.

I did recommend the American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card to my wife and several friends so that they could take advantage of the 2,000 bonus Air Miles and so that I could boost my Air Miles bonus by 500 reward miles per approved sign-up. Who knows, I might use the rewards to treat them to a night out at the movies. Win-win.


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