Making Your Money Last

Refer a Friend to Your Bank or Credit Card — and Reap Rewards

Some major card issuers are giving referral bonuses to eligible cardholders.

Do you like your credit card or bank account enough to recommend it to a friend or family member? You may be able to scoop up extra cash, rewards points or frequent-flier miles by making a referral—and your friend may get a bonus, too.

Several major card issuers provide referral bonuses to eligible cardholders. Chase, for example, offers $100 cash back for each friend (up to $500 total per year) who signs up for a participating Chase Freedom card and 15,000 points for each friend (up to 75,000 points per year) who gets the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Chase also offers referral bonuses for some of its airline and hotel cards, including those that offer rewards from the United MileagePlus, Marriott Bonvoy and Southwest Rapid Rewards programs.

For most of its cards, Discover offers a statement credit of $50 to $100 if you make a referral, and your friend gets a statement credit after making a purchase within the first three months (log in to discover.com/sharediscover to see the amount available and annual cap). American Express and Capital One have referral programs, too.

For checking account customers, Chase offers $50 for each friend (up to $500 per year) who opens a qualifying checking account. TD Bank provides $50 per friend (up to $500 per year) that you refer to a personal checking account, and your friend gets $50 if he or she meets certain account activity requirements in the first two months.

Beware the tax bite. Generally, credit card rewards are not taxed if you spend money to earn them. But because referral bonuses are not usually tied to spending, you may receive a Form 1099 from the card issuer reporting as taxable income the value of rewards you claimed through referrals. Similarly, you may pay tax on bonuses you receive for opening or referring a friend to a bank account.

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