Referral rate hierarchy

The below article outlines the hierarchy of referral rates, in order, with 1 being the lowest and 8 being the highest, depending on your configuration of AffiliateWP's core features and add-ons.

1. Global referral rate

When a referral rate is defined in Affiliates → Settings → General, this is known as the global referral rate. This is the base referral rate and will apply to all referrals, unless the below settings/add-ons are active and have been configured.

2. Per-category referral rates

Version 2.2 of AffiliateWP introduced per-category rates for the  WooCommerce and  Easy Digital Downloads integrations. When a  per-category referral rate has been defined, this referral rate will override only the global referral rate described above.

3. Per-product referral rates

When a per-product referral rate has been defined (by editing the product), this referral rate will override the global and per-category referral rates. Setting a per-product referral rate is only possible with full integrations that support per-product referral rates.

4. Tiered Affiliate Rates

When  Tiered Affiliate Rates is installed and tiered rates have been defined, and an affiliate reaches the referrals or earnings threshold, all future referrals will be recorded at the next tiered rate (and so on, depending on the number of tiers defined). Tiered referral rates will override the other referral rates mentioned above, for all future referrals — this includes the global referral rate, and per-product referral rates.

5. Per-affiliate referral rate

When a per-affiliate rate is set in the Edit Affiliate screen, this rate will override all other referral rates for that specific affiliate — this includes the global referral rate, per-category and per-product referral rates, and tiered rates. Rate settings that the per-affiliate rate will not override are: Lifetime Commissions, Affiliate Product Rates and Recurring Referral rates on renewal payments.

6. Lifetime Commissions

When  Lifetime Commissions is installed, and an affiliate has been linked to a customer through an initial purchase, the global Lifetime Referral Rate will be used for all future referrals when the linked customer makes a new purchase. The global Lifetime Referral Rate is defined in  Affiliates → Settings → Integrations  → Lifetime Commissions. If a per-affiliate Lifetime Referral Rate is defined on the Edit Affiliate screen, this rate will override the global Lifetime Referral Rate. The Lifetime Referral Rate will override all other rates, with the exception of those generated by the Affiliate Product Rates add-on mentioned below.

7. Affiliate Product Rates

When  Affiliate Product Rates is installed and a product rate has been set in the Edit Affiliate → Product Rates screen, these referral rates will override any other referral rates for that specific affiliate and product with the exception of the Recurring Referral renewal rate mentioned in the next paragraph.

8. Recurring Referrals

When  Recurring Referrals is installed, the first referral is generated by the AffiliateWP core plugin in the order above. All subsequent referrals for subscription payments are generated by the Recurring Referrals add-on using the referral settings in one of the numerous locations (as of version 1.7+) these can be defined.  
The hierarchy of recurring referral rates from low to high is as follows:
  1. Global recurring referral rate found in Affiliates → Settings → Recurring Referrals
  2. Product recurring referral rates (These are integration-specific) 
  3. Tiered Affiliate Rates when this is installed and is enabled in Affiliates → Settings → Recurring Referrals
  4. Affiliate recurring referral rate defined on the Edit Affiliate screen
  5. Affiliate recurring referral rate defined per-product on the Edit Affiliate screen Recurring Product Rates section.  This works exactly like the Affiliate Product Rates add-on, and supports the  WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads integrations.