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On the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 30, 2013 this year), American Express encourages folks to shop at Small Businesses and offers a $10 statement credit for using an American Express credit card on a purchase of $10 or more.
Emily and I registered all 6 of our American Express cards the last few years and got $300 in free money (6 cards X $25 per card X 2) by using our American Express cards. We took Emily’s grandma for some holiday shopping in Ohio!
This year the statement credit is $10 instead of $25, but that’s still much better than a statement credit of $0! Small Business Saturday is a great day to stock up on purchases which you make in any case.
What Are Small Businesses?
Only in-store purchases at registered small businesses and restaurants qualify. Unlike last year, online purchases from small business don’t qualify. Last year, some readers got statement credit for online shopping, but your miles may vary (YMMV).
That said, you may be able to call your favorite small business and buy gift cards from them over the phone and small business usually process telephone orders manually.
Purchases made at franchises and large chain stores such as Starbucks, Barnes & Nobles, etc. are ineligible.
The terms also say that small businesses have to sign-up to be part of Small Business Saturday. Only businesses which appear in the Small Business Saturday map will give you the $10 statement credit.
The terms also say that if the small business uses a third party service (say the Square card reader attached to a mobile phone), you won’t get the $10 statement credit.
I don’t like these extra restrictions, but as I keep saying, whenever an offer or promotion is too generous, banks, airlines, or hotels will find ways to cut back on benefits.
The terms also say that “government agencies, public administration, charities, non-profits, trade associations, shopping property management companies, direct sellers, and political organizations” do not qualify as small businesses.
Register For Small Business Saturday
You have to register your American Express cards before using them at a small business. The registration page is not yet available, but opens at 12:00 am Mountain Standard Time on November 24, 2013. Registration is limited!
You can also sign-up for updates on when registration opens at the Small Business Saturday website.
In my experience, you can use the same email address for each credit card you register.
American Express Credit Cards Issued By American Express
You can register your American Express cards AND authorized user cards!
American Express cards have separate credit card numbers for authorized users which allows both the primary card holder and the authorized user to get the $10 credit.
So if you have the American Express Starwood card and your partner is an authorized user, BOTH of you will get the $10 statement credit for using your cards.
Be careful adding multiple authorized users to all your American Express cards, so you don’t trigger a financial review. Some folks who added many authorized users to their cards triggered a financial review of their account.
As authorized users on your card, your partner or children can still get the signup bonus if they apply for their own card.
You can add authorized users by calling the number on the back of your card or by logging on to your American Express account online. There is usually no impact to your credit score by adding an authorized user.
American Express cards include Membership Rewards point earning cards, the Starwood & Hilton hotel cards, and Delta cards.
American Express Cards Issued By Other Banks Such As Citi Or Bank Of America
You can also register American Express cards issued by other banks, such as the Citi AAdvantage American Express, Virgin Atlantic American Express, Penfed, Barclays, USAA etc.
Authorized users cards issued by these banks will NOT get a separate $10 credit because authorized user cards usually have the same credit card number as the primary card holder.
American Express Gift Cards, Bluebird & Corporate Cards
You won’t earn a statement credit on American Express gift cards, American Express Bluebird, or American Express corporate cards.
How To Maximize The $10 Statement Credits:
- Buy $10 gift cards using separate American Express cards
- Go to lunch or dinner and ask the server to split the check 5 ways (each above $10). Tip extra!
- Buy something and use multiple cards in increments of $10 to pay the bill
You can earn a $10 statement credit for every American Express card you use at small businesses on Small Business Saturday when you make a purchase of $10 or more!