Just one week ago Robert broke the news about American Express’ Three-For-All. This enhancement to their current (and very generous) universal referral system is designed to reward the person referring someone with 3 extra points/miles/%CB on the card referred from. This turns cards like the Personal Platinum into a 4x everywhere–the Personal Gold into 7x at Grocery, and something like an Amex Everyday Preferred into a potential 4.5X MR everywhere (with 30 transactions a month).
To test this out and get more information on how it works, and where it might malfunction I did a quick referral and have been playing with the 3x since. I’ll document some data here for the broader readership. If you’re on the fence about this promo hopefully today’s post clarifies it a bit, and shows you just how powerful this offer can be.
Referral Process: Personal to Business Confirmed Working
The T&C clearly mention you cannot refer from a Business card and earn the 3x. That we know for sure. We were not sure if a Personal – > Business referral worked.
To test this, and because I wanted t have my P2 apply for a business card to stay under 5/24, I went with a referral from my personal Platinum to a Delta Business Gold.
One happy accident is that my P2 had been in the “no bonus” popup American Express Penalty Box. The referral generated during this promo did not receive that pop up, and she should receive the Delta signup of 60,000 skymiles.
There’s a bit of faith that has to happen with this process–it isn’t like the person being referred sees anything at all about the 3x, and while American Express says they will email confirming the 3x is active, that wasn’t the case in my experience.
Emails Confirming 3x Not Always Being Sent
I referred my P2 on 10/1. By 10/3 I could see the referral points posted to my MR account (Sidebar: Amex is crushing it). At that point I still hadn’t seen an email mentioning my 3x activated. So I chatted with an Amex Rep who was able to confirm that the 3x was indeed attached to my personal Platinum.
A lower interaction method could be to put a small charge on your card after your referral is approved and test if the 3x points post or not.
3x MR Points Posting Quickly, Unsure of other Currencies
I can confirm that while the terms and conditions say the bonus points could take 8-12 weeks to post, that’s 8-12 weeks in American Express time. Which really meant 2 days in my experience.
If you were to opt for something other than Membership Rewards points I can’t say how long those would take to post. Cash back or miles might take until statement close (or longer). We’ll need more data points to know for sure how those post.
Charge or Credit? Why I went Charge Card
One thing you do need to consider is which card you want to refer from which will ultimately earn the 3x. Considerations you need to make are:
- Referral Capacity: American Express caps referrals per card. This means once you hit your yearly (calendar) cap you earn no more points for the referral. Referral amounts vary from 7,500 to 30,000 on different MR earning cards. These tend to be better on charge cards than credit cards.
- Where you’ll be spending: The 3x is tied to a specific card, and stacks with category bonuses. This makes cards like the personal Gold a powerhouse at Grocery (7x). I was low on referral capacity on my gold and honestly, I don’t trust myself with 7x Grocery, so I went with a Platinum.
- Total Spend vs. Credit Line: I want to spend big in the next 3 months and not be constrained by credit lines. This means I’m going with a Charge card instead of an Everyday Preferred. While the total earning is slightly less I think the total points I’ll earn could be much more this way.
- Future Retention Offers: We’ve seen that American Express can reward spend when your annual fee comes due. Putting a lot of spend on my relatively unused Personal Platinum
Putting Three-For-All in Perspective
This is a Big Deal. 15,000 – 30,000 Membership Rewards points on a referral plus 3x on even a nominal $5,000 a month for three months earns you up to 75,000 more Membership rewards than the spend alone. P2’s approval should generate a sign up bonus, but even if you weren’t able to get a sign up bonus on P2’s new card, the 75,000 you could earn on your referral is equivalent or greater than the sign up bonus on many new cards. And with no stated cap, and big spending opportunities this could be a 6 figure points win.
Considering that you could potentially refer again (on a different card) near the end of the month for another 3 months, and earn a total of 4 net months of 3x–this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored.
Yes there’s analysis that needs to be done. And certainly there could be eyes on your account if you choose to use the 3x for inappropriate spend. And you’ll need a P2, or someone other than yourself you can refer. But as we always say on the podcast:
We’ve done a lot more, for a lot less!
– Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I’ll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.