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Referral bonuses offer a great way to earn some extra points by bringing your friends into the game. But what happens when the bank doesn’t pay…?
As you can see in our advertiser disclosure (the fine print at the top of the page), some of the links we use are referral links. Since we aren’t a “big time” operation yet, we don’t have a direct relationship with any bank. Therefore, we rely on the various banks’ refer-a-friend programs to earn a few extra miles/points. These referral links are available to most cardholders, and they allow you to earn a bonus (generally 5,000 – 20,000 points) for referring a friend. If a friend uses your link to get the card, you get the bonus… or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.
Brooke and I each have a few Chase cards. We’ve been able to generate referral links on both of our Chase Sapphire Preferred cards and one of our Ink Plus cards. When we write articles here, or recommend the cards to our friends, we often use these referral links. For links on this website, we also track approximately how many people click on each of the links. So far in 2016, we have counted hundreds of clicks through each of these links.
Chase offers 10,000 points per referral on the Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Plus, with a maximum of 50,000 per card each year. With hundreds of clicks though each link, we should expect to have generated at least five referrals per card. However, when I checked our Chase accounts, we had only earned a single 10,000-point referral bonus across all three cards! Sometime must be wrong.
I reached out to Chase via secure message to find out what was going on with our missing referrals. This is a very gray area, where we have to rely on the honesty of the bank to credit referral bonuses. Below is a transcript of the conversation on the Ink Plus card account:
Me: Hi – I do not believe that my referral bonuses have been credited appropriately for this card. It appears that only one referral credit has been posted to this account. Please correct this and credit the appropriate amount of referral bonus points. Thank you.
Agent #1: Hello, Thank you for contacting Chase about your bonus points. I would like to inform you that you have received your bonus points of refer a business of 10,000 and these bonus points are reflecting on your July 2016 statement. If you need any other assistance, you can send us a secure message. We appreciate your business and thank you for choosing Chase.
Me: This does not address my concern. 10,000 points is a single referral, but I have directed hundreds of clicks to the referral link. I should have earned the maximum referral (50,000) points by now.
Agent #2: Thank you for contacting Chase about the bonus points for your referrals. I am sorry our previous email did not address your concern about referral points. I am pleased to confirm I have added the 40,000 bonus points to your account. These are available for immediate use and will be reflected on the next statement.
Notice in this conversation that I simply asked them to check on the status of the referral bonus credits and issue the appropriate bonuses. The first agent only confirmed the single referral bonus. However, when I pressed further, magically another 40,000 points showed up!
This situation was even more strange on both of our Sapphire Preferred accounts. I sent a very similar series of messages, but the agents assured me that our links were working correctly. They told me that no referrals had tracked on either account. Then boom… 50,000 points appear on BOTH of our accounts one day after the last message.
This bothers me quite a bit, because there is no accountability or method to accurately track referrals. Chase has the responsibility to act honestly. However, these 140,000 points (enough to fly around the world) would likely have never reached our accounts, if I had not pressed the issue. You may have referred friends or posted your referral links in an appropriate place, but not gotten any bonus points. Sometimes these bonuses can take time to appear, but if you’ve seen nothing after a few months, there may be a problem. If that is the case, you should reach out to Chase and inquire. Cheers!