[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. For current terms and conditions, please see card agreements. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Small businesses have been enjoying a moment in the sun for the past few years. Their plight was a much talked-about issue in the last Presidential election. In 2011, the U.S. Senate has even passed a resolution designating that Saturday after Thanksgiving as “Small Business Saturday.” For several years now, American Express has also sought to promote small businesses in its payment network by offering its cardholders a $25 statement credit when they make a purchase of at least $25 from a small business on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
This year, American Express is repeating its Small Business Saturday promotion Nov. 30, but is only offering a $10 statement credit per authorized cardholder when they spend at least $10 that day at a qualifying small business. According to American Express spokesman Scott Krugman, “Big box stores have Black Friday, and online outlets have Cyber Monday, so the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the time for cardholders to discover small businesses in their community.”
Getting the Biggest Statement Credits From This Promotion
Although American Express is only offering $10 statement credits this year, this promotion can be worth far more than $10 to savvy American Express cardholders and their families. First, it’s important to realize that the $10 promotion applies to each credit card held by each cardholder. Therefore, cardholders who hold multiple American Express cards can receive multiple $10 statement credits. In fact, when American Express issues multiple cards to authorized cardholders within the same account, each of these cards has a different card number and is eligible for an additional $10 credit. Furthermore, transactions on both personal and business credit cards qualify for this promotion.
So if someone has a personal American Express card account, and has made a family member an authorized cardholder, then that person’s account is eligible for two $10 statement credits. If that person also has a business card and has made two employees authorized cardholders, then that person could receive another $30 in statement credits, if each card is used for an eligible transaction. So if American Express card members were considering adding more authorized cardholders to their accounts, they can potentially earn an additional $10 by doing so as soon as possible before this promotion.
Also keep in mind that cards that are part of the American Express payment network but are issued by another bank are still eligible. Examples include the Bank of America Accelerated Rewards or Citi AAdvantage American Express. On the other hand, corporate cards as well as American Express branded prepaid debit cards such as Bluebird and the American Express card for Target are not.
Getting Ready for Nov. 30
With cards in hand, cardholders must take the time to register each one of their cards for this promotion, since each card has a different card number. Cardholders must register their cards through American Express in order to participate.
Next, cardholders should plan on finding a small business to shop at. American Express has a list of eligible merchants. For the purposes of this promotion, they define a small business as one that accepts American Express cards, has a location in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, fewer than 25 locations, and less than $3 million in sales last year.
Finally, cardholders can create a plan to make a qualifying transaction of at least $10 using each eligible card on Nov. 30. Since so many Americans will be traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday, it is important to remember that cardholders can still call their favorite stores back home and shop by phone in order to make qualifying purchases and receive their statement credits.
Ideas for Qualifying Small Business Purchases
Many credit card users fail to notice how large a merchant is when they make an everyday transaction, but this promotion compels them to take notice. Here are a few suggestions to easily find a qualifying small business.
Independent Restaurants, Bars and Coffee Shops
Certainly large chains will not qualify as small businesses, but this industry is filled with small, family run businesses. After two days of eating turkey, it may be time to eat out that Saturday, and it is easy to split a check between multiple eligible cards in order to receive several statement credits.
Cardholders can find small gift shops and craft stores in their community that offer unique products for their holiday shopping.
Due to a variety of state laws, independent liquor stores are often forbidden from having multiple locations. Therefore, cardholders can consider purchasing at least $10 in beverages on each eligible card.
Other than a few remaining national chains, book stores tend to be independently owned small businesses where it is easy to spend $10.
Gift Cards and Certificates
Rather than make unnecessary purchases, cardholders can simply buy a gift card or gift certificate from one of the businesses they normally visit. And if that business will sell a gift card or certificate over the phone, this is a great solution for those who will be out of town that day.
Small businesses are an important part of our economy and our community. And when savvy American Express cardholders take the time to support them, they can be rewarded with some generous statement credits.