Like Free Money? Pay Attention to Small Business Saturday

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Last winter it felt like Amex’s mission in life was to hand out free money.  Between Small Business Saturday and the Gift Chain, I know many of us got hundreds (thousands?) of dollars from Amex over a short period of time.  Miles and points are fantastic, but a few hundred bucks around the holidays ain’t too shabby either!  If you are familiar with Small Business Saturday, then you probably already have Saturday November 24th marked in red marker on your calendar.

If you aren’t familiar with Small Business Saturday, essentially the way it worked last year is that you registered each Amex you have (including authorized user cards that have different account numbers) in early November, and then you used them to shop at small businesses (i.e., not Home Depots, Sears, or other large chains) on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  There was a list of some eligible small businesses available, but the list was certainly not all-inclusive.  As long as you charged at least $25 on your Amex that day you got a $25 statement credit…for each registered card.  It was fantastic.  I bought lots of $25 gift cards to local restaurants that I then used throughout the year.  It was also a great way to support local businesses after so many of us spent big bucks on Black Friday sales at the chain stores the day before.

Cards issued by American Express, like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and Starwood Preferred Guest Amex, certainly worked, but Amex cards issued by other banks, such as the AAdvantage Citi Amex also worked.  Both business and personal cards worked.  I would be thinking about which Amex cards you have tucked away, so that you are able to get them all registered in case Small Business Saturday works the same way this year as it did last year.  While the date of Small Business Saturday has been announced, the details surrounding this year’s promotion have not yet been released.  It is always possible it will be completely different this go round than in the past couple of years.  Last year the details were announced in early October, with registration opening in early November.  If that trend holds, we should know all the details within the next few weeks.

You can register your email address now with the website so that you will hear the details as soon as they are announced.  Here’s to hoping this holiday shopping season was as rewarding as last year!


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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. Last year I went to my local wine merchant and used my 4 AMEX cards to buy a $115 bottle of champagne. Net cost was $15. They thought I was crazy. 😉

  2. Alright, can someone help me out on authorized users? If I have a citi amex card and my husband does too, can I add him as a user on my account and he add me as a user on his account? I’m assuming there isn’t a credit pull either? Also, does anyone know which cards give different numbers when adding an authrized user…citi amex? amex surpass? amex hilton? delta amex gold?…. Thanks!

  3. -I don’t think my Citi AUs have different card numbers – just the Amex ones.
    -I looked couldn’t find any info about the prepaids from last year (though maybe I was looking in the wrong places), so I can’t say for sure. I’d love to find out though!

  4. I am very excited about this. Last year I let the day slip by and didn’t take full advantage of it. This year, we will rack up and I will be prepared. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Used our Amexs last year to buy one of those expensive Foodsaver vacuum systems. Mrs. PerryPlatypus was thrilled to finally get one of these machines near free to add to her kitchen goodie collection. This year can anyone say KitchenAid or Cuisinart 🙂

  6. Can you use the same Amex card multiple times (say you went to ten different restaurants and purchased $25 at each restaurant)? Would you pay for $25 ten different times and receive statement credits worth $250?

  7. Amex prepaid/serve cards do not work. Citi Amex does not work, because authorized users do not have non-unique card numbers. Amex issued cards do.

    • @Sam, you are right – only the AUs for the Citi cards don’t work due to non unique account numbers. Only on $25 credit for those. I assumed the prepaids probably wouldn’t work, but just couldn’t remember for sure. Thanks!

  8. While I have a few Amex cc in my wallet, knowing Small Biz Sat. is upcoming, yesterday I applied for the Amex Hilton cc, and was approved. I’d been considering applying for it for sometime, and the little nudge I needed was reading your blog, MP. Thx so much for the headsup! I participated last year in the Small Biz Sat. and am so glad Amex is having another one this year. Very cool!

    • The annual fees vary based on the type of Amex….many are waived the first year. Small Business Saturday is not reason by itself to get an Amex, but it is promos like this that sure to help encourage you to keep them around!

  9. Love this promo. Last year, though, it was a bit uncomfortable. We went to a local merchant — a husband and wife shop. We told them our plan when we walked in, and then came to the counter with over $200 worth of stuff and asked them to charge it as 8x$25 transactions. Husband gets all huffy — lecturing us about how they have to pay a transaction fee for each charge and it’s really unfair. At which point, we say, “sorry to have troubled you, we’ll put the stuff back.” Husband says, “thank you.” Wife, calmly (she’s done this before), says, “Honey, wouldn’t we rather pay the transaction fee on $200 worth of sales than pay no transaction fee on zero dollars worth of sales”?

    At which point, he storms off, and I realize, this promo is crucial if small businesses are to be saved from themselves. Sometimes, the crushing weight of the big box stores destroys mom and pops. Sometimes, it’s pop, who isn’t really fit to be part of the operation. The moral — if you have the choice, talk to mom not pop!

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