How to Maximize American Express Small Business Saturday ($25 for Every American Express Card You Have)!

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American Express is usually disliked (& not accepted) by many small businesses because of their higher fees.  So on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 24, 2012 this year) American Express curries favor with small businesses by encouraging folks to shop at small businesses by offering a $25 statement credit for using an American Express credit card on a purchase of more than $25!

Last year Emily and I registered all 6 of our American Express cards and went shopping with her grandmother whom we were visiting in Toledo.  We ended up with $150 in free money (6 cards X $25 per card) just by using our American Express cards.

Here are a few tips on how to maximize the small business Saturday promotion.

Register for Small Business Saturday

You have to register your cards before using them at a small business, but the registration page is still not available.  I’ll update this post when the registration page is live.

In my experience, you don’t need a separate email for each credit card you register.

American Express Credit Cards issued by American Express

You can register your primary American Express card for the promotion, as well as additional cards!

That’s because American Express issues a separate credit card number for additional cardholders and folks reported getting the $25 credit for additional cardholders as well.

For example, if I add Emily to my American Express Starwood card as an authorized user and she gets a card in her name, we can BOTH get the $25 statement credit for using our cards.

However, I wouldn’t go overboard and add 7 additional users for ever American Express card you have, because some folks have reported having a financial review for opening too many authorized users.  In particularly,  adding even 1 user to the American Express Business Gold card has been known to trigger a financial review.

As always, be reasonable.  It is probably fine to have your partner or kids as authorized users, but adding all your cousins, uncles, aunts, and grand parents is probably pushing it.

Note that adding someone as an authorized user doesn’t prevent the person from getting the sign on bonus for him or herself.

You can call the number at the back of your card to add an authorized user or go online to add an additional user.  Infrequent Flyer Miles writes that you can also call 866-929-5163 to have your additional cards rush delivered to you.

Popular miles & points 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 register cards issued by other banks, but carrying the American Express logo, such as the Citi AAdvantage American Express, Virgin Atlantic American Express, PenFed, Barclays, USAA etc. for the $25 statement credit.

However, you can’t register additional cardholders with these cards to get a separate $25 credit.  That’s because additional cardholders get the same credit card number as primary card holders.

Note that adding someone as an authorized user doesn’t prevent the person from getting the sign on bonus for him or herself.

  You can call the number at the back of your card to add an authorized user.

American Express Gift cards

Unfortunately, you didn’t earn a statement credit with American Express gift cards.

Where can you shop?

The terms define small businesses as (bolding mine): Qualifying small businesses include small, locally-owned storefront and online businesses with $10 million in annual revenue or less. Businesses in the following industries are excluded: government agencies, charities, non-profits, trade associations, shopping property management firms, political, religious and educational organizations. Small businesses that are part of a franchise brand with more than 100 stores are excluded.  Additionally, if a franchise brand has more than 20 corporate-owned units, then the entire brand is excluded.  Small businesses that promote any of the following are not eligible for the Program: pharmaceuticals, drugs, politics, pornography or sexual aids, diet aids, gambling, liquor, tobacco, firearms/weapons, or any sensitive topic with respect to current events

Most small shops & restaurants still qualify.   For example, we plan using our $25 statement credit at a small Greek restaurant, a bookstore, etc.

Franchises and large chain stores such as Barnes & Nobles, Starbucks, etc are ineligible.

How to Maximize the $25 statement credits:

  • Buy $25 gift cards, with separate American Express cards, for your favorite independent store or restaurant and use them later
  • Go to lunch or dinner and ask the server to split the check 5 ways (each above $25).  Don’t forget to tip extra!
  • Buy something you want and split the bill in $25 increments and pay for it with multiple cards
  • Buy gift cards or make purchases at small business online.  However, your card has to be charged on November 24th to get the credit, so it could be better to call and have them run your card immediately.

Bottom Line

The American Express Small Business Saturday is a fun way to earn $25 for every American Express credit card you have, as long as you spend at least $25 with an American Express card.  But November 24th is approaching fast, so start thinking about ordering additional cards for authorized users to take advantage of the deal.

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