Capital One’s Refer a Friend: How the Program Works for Both Parties

Capital One’s credit card portfolio is vast, and most of the cards participate in the Refer a Friend program. Whether you have the premium Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card for rebuilding credit, you can earn bonuses by referring friends for their own Capital One card. The ability to make referrals isn’t available to every cardholder, but for those who can, a referral is an easy way to earn extra miles or cash back.

Recipients of referral offers stand to profit from a referral offer, too, but there are a few things to consider before applying.

Here’s what the referring friend and referral recipient need to know about Capital One’s Refer a Friend program.

How to Refer a Friend for a Capital One card

Referrals may be sent via email, social media platform or text message from within Capital One’s app or website.

In the app

  1. Click on the “Special Offers” tile.

  2. In the “Refer to earn rewards” tile,” click “Get referral link.”

  3. Send the referral link using the method of your choice.

On the website

  1. Log in using your Capital One credentials. 

  2. Click on the Refer a Friend link that says “Refer now.”

  3. Send the referral link using the method of your choice. 

Making referrals: Caveats and considerations

  • Only some Capital One cards participate in the Refer a Friend program. Check to see if your card is eligible here.

  • Only cardholders whose accounts are in good standing and not in default are eligible to send referrals.

  • You will only earn the referral bonus if the recipient is approved for a Capital One card, applies for that card using your referral link and doesn’t already have a Capital One card.

  • Referral bonuses may be taxable income. 

  • Capital One call center employees, Capital One relationship managers and employees of Capital One bank locations can’t participate in the referral program.

  • Referral bonus offers vary by cardholder. In this way, Capital One’s Refer a Friend program is similar to American Express’s, which also customizes referral bonuses to each cardholder. 

🤓Nerdy Tip

The IRS treats credit card rewards earned from spending and referral bonuses differently. Generally speaking, credit card rewards aren’t taxable because they’re considered a discount on purchases. A referral bonus, however, isn’t a rebate. The issuer will send eligible cardholders a 1099 that shows the amount of extra income earned from referrals. One bonus point is typically worth 1 cent, but the amount can vary depending on the issuer.

Referral bonus annual limits

Capital One caps the amount of cash back or miles you can earn from a single referral and on an annual basis. Note that the individual amount per referral may vary between cardholders and over time. Here are the limits:

Accepting a Capital One referral: Caveats and considerations

Compare referral sign-up bonuses

Before you submit an application, note the sign-up bonus offer from the referral. It’s listed below “New Cardmember Offer” on the referral link webpage. Compare the referral sign-up bonus against those offered on Capital One’s website and sites like NerdWallet to make sure you get the best value.

If you decide to apply through the referral link, simply click the link from your friend and follow the prompts for applying for the credit card.

Choosing a card

Some referral recipients will only be able to apply for the Capital One card that the referring friend has; others will have a range of credit cards to choose from. For example, a referral from a Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card cardholder will only allow the recipient to apply for the SavorOne card, but a Spark Miles Select cardholder can generate a referral link that allows the recipient to apply for that card or the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit.

The information related to the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One, Capital One Spark Cash for Business, Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business and Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business credit card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

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