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Do Amex Referrals Cause The Popup? Multiple Data Points Say They Do

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Personal Referrals Lead To The Amex Popup

Personal Referrals Lead To The Amex Popup? Multiple Data Points

If you remember I wrestled with the Amex Popup last year when I tried to apply for the Charles Schwab Platinum card.  I was not able to get it because of the popup and Ryan just rubbed it in my face that he got it first try.  Well after about 6 months I finally slayed the popup and was able to get new American Express cards again.  Well it appears there is something else causing the popup to show for some.  It appears that personal referrals lead to the Amex popup as well for some cards.

First Of All What Is The Amex Pop Up?

Before we get ahead of ourselves I should go over what the Amex pop up is.  Around a year ago American Express started a program that would alert people if they were not eligible for a welcome offer.  This pop up would appear after you hit apply telling you that you would not receive the welcome offer. You would be offered the chance to cancel the application after they informed you.

It sounded like a pretty customer friendly thing at first.  Amex was going to let us know if we had the card in the past and just forgot about it etc.  The program quickly morphed into something much more obscene and obscure.  Amex had changed their terms that they could pretty much deny anyone for any reason they wanted.  That is when the pop up started appearing in large numbers for people in the miles & points hobby.  We were labeled as gamers or abusers and we were locked out of Amex applications.  That was true for me too, until now!

Multiple Data Points

I first had reader Megan reach out to tell me that her recent application was thwarted by the annoying Amex popup.  She had been using a person to person referral to apply so she could get extra points for the application, one of the perks of the two player system!

After seeing the popup she decided to use a regular link instead and forgo the extra points for using someone’s personal referral.  This time there was no popup and she was able to grab the card and the juicy welcome offer. Her application was for a Delta personal card.

I thought this was kind of bizarre but thought maybe it was a unique experience.  Why would American Express block applications that offer points? Referrals have to be one of the cheaper avenues for American Express to acquire new business.  But then Megan sent me a Reddit thread that had the same thing happen. She also said she has read a few more data points that match their experience.  It appears, for now at least, this has always involved the Delta co-branded cards.

Final Thoughts

I am not sure why American Express would be targeting referrals with the popup but it could be the reason for your recent dismay on your Delta application.  If you have recently tried to apply for a new card and got one it is worth trying a non personal referral link to see if the popup still appears.  Maybe the person referring the card is the issue or maybe their algorithm is going haywire sometimes.  I can’t see the reason for it but if you run into the issue it is worth trying to see if this is a workaround to your popup.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Wife got the Gold card for 60K the other day. We did the Chat thing to confirm when the bonus needed to be completed. They said she would not get the bonus. There was no pop-up and they only gave a general comment. Very shady.

  2. As a datapoint(s), my wife applied for the Amex Gold Bus and Amex Delta Plat Bus using referrals from myself, and from a friend and received the pop-up for each app. Applied again three weeks later and still receiving the pop-up (using my referral link). Thought it was due to pop-up purgatory, but will try again without using a referral link to see if it’s due to the referral.

  3. Just a data point: I recently referred two friends to Hilton Surpass Amex. They applied within two day of each other. One got the popup and one did not. Both have never had Amex and both are not into this hobby either. This is the first time I provided my referral to anyone.

    • my apologies, multiple just means “more than one” so this is perfectly fine. still think it’s a poor stylistic word choice and not worth a post but hey, your blog your call.

      • Multiple as in 4 which has now become 8 or 9 after the article posted so multiple is completely accurate.

        Amex creating a popup solely because it comes from a person to person referral is a pretty big deal, not sure why you don’t think it is worth covering but I think most people would tend to disagree. If they got the popup they may have just stopped there like Will below when they could still get the offer via other routes. Especially with the increased offers on the Delta cards right now I would think it would be something people would want to know.

  4. My wife used my referral link (from a delta card) to apply delta platinum and saw the pop up. She never had delta platinum in the past and we never saw the pop up in the past. I was wondering what went wrong and now all is clear.

  5. Title is confusing. We all knew the popup appears on referrals. The news is that popups may be caused by referrals. Big news if true. Also, what’s the deal with the “personal” referral caveat? What’s different about personal vs. business referrals?

    “It appears, for now at least, this has always involved the Delta co-branded cards.”

    This is based on a single data point?

    • It was meant as they are the cause of it. Probably should have used cause instead.

      Personal meant as in person to person referrals. I’ll add that in.

      No all of the data points dealt with a Delta card but someone on FB posted it happened on the Gold Amex too so it may be more than Delta it appears.

  6. This explains a lot! I tried to refer my young adult son to the Delta Gold card. He got the popup, even though he only has 1 Amex card (still open). This is his only credit card! I was shocked, since I have never gotten the popup despite having 7 open Amex cards (most in the last 2 years), and even closing a couple. Maybe we will try for a different card or give up on the referral points.
    Although, as a counter data point, I was able to refer my daughter to the Delta Platinum and get the referral points.


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