“Stud Card”: How to See Increased Sign-up Bonuses from AmEx (via Incognito Mode) from Referral Links (2020.2 Update: No Longer A Valid Concept)

2020.2 Update: It seems the concept of “stud card” is no longer valid. All amex cards have the same effect now.

2019.5 Update: According to data points on reddit, AmEx Biz Gold and Biz Platinum now become “stud cards” as well. They have the highest referral bonuses, so if you have them, they are the best cards to generate referral links.

These days, it seems AmEx has made some changes to their referral program, and here’s a summary of what we observed.

First of all, it should be already well known that, you may be able to see increased sign-up bonuses from AmEx (via incognito mode) from public links AND from referral links. Sometimes the chance to see the increased bonuses is even higher from the referral link than from the public link. For example, here’s a screenshot of the current increased bonuses generated from a referral link:

We try to find out how to see these increased bonuses from referral links. Here are two necessary conditions that we found:

  1. Your friend (the applicant) must have a good IP address. If not, he/she should use a VPN to change the IP address and try again. This is the same as before.
  2. You must use a “stud card” to generate the referral link. I’ll explain what this means below.

Note that AmEx now allow you use one card to refer other cards. For example, if you want to refer your friend an AmEx Everyday card, you don’t have to have AmEx Everyday. You just need one of AmEx’s own card (such as BCE), and generate a referral link, and then choose any card and send the link to your friend. But we found a problem here: it is very easy to see the increased bonuses (via incognito mode) from the referral links generated from SOME cards; but is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to see the increased bonuses from referral links generated from some other cards. We use one example to show this phenomenon:

  1. Referral link 1. This referral link for AmEx Everyday is generated from an AmEx Green card. It should be easy to see 25k offer via incognito mode as long as you have a good IP address.
  2. Referral link 2. This referral link for AmEx Everyday is generated from an AmEx Gold card. It is extremely difficult to see the 25k offer, no matter what IP address you use.

For the referral links like link 1 above, as long as you can see the AmEx Everyday 25k offer, you should be able to see all the increased bonuses if you click “all personal cards”. We call the cards that can generate this kind of referral links “stud card” (the name is inspired by stud horse). On the other hand, the referral links like link 2 above, is not a “stud card” because you won’t ever see the increased offer from them.

By the way, only AmEx’s own cards (such as BCE/BCP/ED/EDP/Platinum/Gold/Green) has such increased bonuses for now. The sign-up bonuses for cobranded cards (such as Marriott/Hilton series) are fixed at some specific time, therefore the concept of “stud card” does not apply here, so you can use any eligible card to refer your friend these cobranded cards.

Based on our observation, “stud cards” includes:

  • AmEx Everyday,
  • AmEx BCE,
  • AmEx Green
  • AmEx Platinum (YMMV)
  • AmEx Biz Gold (New)
  • AmEx Biz Platinum (New)

If you want to refer your friend an AmEx’s own card, please use a “stud card” to generate the referral link to save his/her time and effort. We also took off all the non-stud cards from our site, so if you use the application links from our site, you only have to worry about your IP address.

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