In the last couple of years American Express has punished people that used their own referral link in various ways, like clawing back points, removing the ability to generate referral links for bonuses, or in the worst cases with a shutdown. They’ve widened the net in the past few days too. (To be clear, this isn’t for you referring your partner and vice-versa, it’s for you applying for a new card using your own referral link.) This isn’t just a problem with American Express either: AA has done it, Chase has done it, Stripe and Paypal will ban you for running your own credit card, etc.

My bit of weekend wisdom: Never charge your own cards directly, never refer yourself directly, never send money to yourself directly; always use a P2 as a firewall (such as a spouse, sibling, parent, or similar). Most of the time you can get away with it for a few months or possibly even years, but the axe almost always comes down.

Weekend hint: There are ways to send money directly to yourself with online payment processors, and a prominent, very old processor will let you send money directly to your self with a credit card. Say it with me though: “If you’re gonna do it, use a P2.”

Have a great weekend!

An old video game screen with pixelated white text on a black background and the words: "Player 2 Start!"
Twice the players is twice the fun, but also a way to avoid shutdowns.

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