How to Maximize Small Business Saturday – Today Only!

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Today is officially Small Business Saturday which means it is time to go support small businesses and get some “free money” from Amex!  This is something you should absolutely do for yourself, and also remind your friends and family members to do the same.  In case you aren’t already familiar, here are the basics you need to know. 

Small Business Saturday1.  Register all of your American Express cards for Small Business Saturday.  Hopefully you already did this as the online registration is currently down, though on Twitter it seems you might still be able to register using #AmexShopSmall after linking your Amex card and Twitter account here.

  This means consumer and small business Amex cards, authorized user cards with their own unique card number, and even Amex cards issued by other banks (like the Citi AAdvantage Amex cards) are eligible.   Corporate and prepaid cards are not be eligible, however American Express Serve and Bluebird are eligible this year!  Each registered card is eligible for its own round of up to $30 in Small Business Saturday statement credits.

2.  Check the Small Business Saturday Map and find some local business or restaurants that are eligible for the statement credits in your area.  It is always possible that a business will work that isn’t on the map, but the safest play is to stick to the map.

3.  Go get up to $30 in statement credits on each registered Amex card today only.   Each registered card is eligible for three $10 statement credits for purchases at eligible small business of $10 or more.  This means you can get a total of $30 in statement credits per registered card.

Amex Small Business Saturday

You will have to have some strategy in order to maximize this promo since it just lasts today and you may have multiple Amex cards all eligible for three $10 statement credits each.  Charging $30 in one eligible store will not trigger three $10 statement credits, it would just trigger one.  You would need three separate $10 transactions, which could be annoying for retailers, especially on this busy shopping day.  However, if you go during an off-peak time (like between lunch and dinner for restaurants) then they may be a bit happier about helping you with multiple transactions….just be nice and leave a tip.

My strategy will be to go to a few small businesses that I needed to visit anyway, and then maximize the rest at a local restaurant by purchasing $10 gift cards to use as stocking stuffers…or to stuff myself with throughout the year.  The restaurant we usually visit on Small Business Saturday to load up on gift cards even has a bonus on purchased gift cards this time of year, so it is a very nice double dip!  If only they were still part of a dining plan, it would be a sweet triple dip!

I have ten eligible and registered Amex cards (including authorized users), so that should be $300 in statement credits today if we max out the promotion as it is written.  Even if you only have a couple of Amex cards, $30 in statement credits per card is a big deal for families, especially that (expensive) time of the year!

How are you planning on taking advantage of Small Business Saturday?!

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. This is when I kick myself for not getting authorized user cards!

    Glad you mentioned checking any point/mile dining portals you might be registered with. I have a list of restaurants that I might use for SBS, and NONE are listed on the dining portals!

    hope you had fun in NYC!

  2. I registered before when you posted about it. We used my husbands card for breakfast and purchased 2 bottles of red wine on the way home for upcoming get togethers for our other 2 $10 orders. I didn’t however register my card (opps). I was however just able to register on their site my card and received a confirmation. I plan on going to a few local liquor stores for wine (in NY you can only buy wine there). I will double dip that with the Simi/Alexander Valley rebates on the bottles if you purchase multiples. The wine is around $11 a bottle, so a $1 out of pocket after the credit, plus i get money back! Thanks!

  3. If you like El Rey Taqueria in Houston – they give you a free $5 gift card after you purchase a $25 gift card. So, this morning, I started my Shop Small Saturday at the El Rey on Washington Ave, and I bought three $10 gift cards, all on separate transactions, and then they also gave me the $5 free gift card! El Rey is right down the street from us, and we go there all of the time, so free $35 in gift cards will be used!

  4. between my wife and I and our two older teen daughters we had 11 American Express Card. We had each one swiped 3 times each with 27 swipes at a local store than sells quality athletic shoes and 6 other swipes at a local restaurant getting $330 worth of gift cards. When I got home I had 33 separate e-mails from Amex thanking us for participating in Small Business Saturday. This $330 dollars more than made up for annual fees on the cards. thanks to Amex.

  5. I hate to be the one to post a problem, but I definitely had one. I had fresh food prepared at a restaurant and when I reached checkout, the didn’t even take American Express. I found the merchant on the shopsmall map before going to the restaurant. I was forced to use a visa credit card. I’ve contacted Amex to try to get the $10 credit regardless. I also asked Amex about two other establishments I wanted to patronize today which appeared on the shopsmall map — it turned out that one was participating and one was not. The folks working the checkout counters at the retailers knew nothing about the promotion.

  6. How to tell if your purchases qualified: You should receive an email from Amex immediately after you make each purchase of $10 or more, with the Subject line “Thanks for participating in the Small Business Saturday offer”. The email begins:

    Dear [name],
    Thank you for using your registered Card ending in [nnnnn] to Shop Small. American Express will issue a $10 statement credit for qualifying transactions within 90 days.
    You can take advantage of the offer up to three times today, for a total of up to $30 in statement credits.

    If you do not receive that email, I believe you are unlikely to receive the $10 credit.

    Some have advised that each purchase at a store should be a slightly different amount.

    Amex says the credit will appear within 90 days, does anyone remember the actual time?

    • On similar AMEX promotions, going on right now, once the charge posts (which is normally 1-2 days depending upon weekend etc.) all my credits actually posted 1 day after the posting (sometimes showing up online in 1-2 days)

  7. I just bought $150 worth of gift cards at Uncle Julio’s Restaurant. 15 separate transactions $10 each, 5 credit cards. Wohoo!

  8. I got $210 using 7 different cards at 3 different merchants/restaurants buying 7 $10 gift cards at each. I think the commenter above me is only going to get $50 in credits, not $150, because I believe you can get 3 x $10 per card, but it has to be at different merchants.

    • Agree with OP, nothing about using different merchants. For example we purchased (9) $10 gift cards to a local movie theater on the AMEX map and we received 9 emails. A day or two will tell for sure 🙂

  9. Hmm, should I be worried? I received an email for the first 6 transactions that I did but haven’t received any since then. I did check the small town map and all of the businesses are listed there.

  10. I find many shops refusing to do 3 separate transactions.. They are saying they get charged for each transaction and it’s not profitable for them..

  11. One restaurant I went to today was also part of Dining Rewards Network, and another gave a $10 bonus when I bought 5 x $10 in gift cards. Suh-weet!

  12. It took me a few hours this year, but we got $580 in gift cards to our favorite restaurants! That was 54 swipes from 18 cards at 5 restaurants, including a $40 bonus at one restaurant for buying $200 from them. Fun and exhausting at the same time!

  13. With a few authorized users and 4 amex cards I had a total of 10 cards for this promotion. $300 in free stuff = awesome
    Already received emails for each of the 30 transactions involved! Thanks Summer. You Rock….Next year I will authorize more users! Thank you

  14. The “Small Business Saturday Map” is not properly updated. One business that closed over 18 months ago (and had their building razed) is still listed on the map, 🙁

    • There were 2 local stores I do frequent that were on the list – and yet they were closed for the day! Seems a bit stupid.

      Also the AMEX website is quite pathetic.

    • One local store on the Amex map actually closed about a year ago.

      Clerks at two stores that I went to, stores on the Amex list and map, told me they do not accept American Express CCs. However, when the clerk at one of the stores saw that I wanted to purchase $60+ of products, he suddenly decided that he DID accept Amex and ran them without a problem…he seemed to be an owner and not just hired help.

      At the other “no Amex” store, the young clerk stood firm on his refusal.

      Evidently, Amex doesn’t spend a lot keeping their store list or website design up to date.

  15. I have 6 cards and maxed them all for $180 – and I bought nothing that was not in our usual buying plan and everything will be used within 3 weeks. Luckily we have a high-end supermarket where we shop and they were on the list. I did not ask for any split transactions like some do.

  16. Swiped 9 cards at 3 of my fav restaurants. However, did feel a bit self conscious since the cashiers informed me I was the only one who did this. Oh well, guess that’s what happens when you live in an upscale area of LA and people act like it’s nothing to spend $100 on a meal for 2 regularly

  17. OMG… Thank you!!! I watch your blog all the time and can not believe I did not know about this little diddy. Wow… So I got home last night after a super packed day and night yesterday I reviewed this posting. At 10:30 PM EST I totally went into action and registered 5 cards I had (I wish I had more – next year). My Serve and Bluebirds did not have a balance as I had cashed them out this month. I hit three stores (Brew pub / local fast food / Historic Inn) between 11 & 11:30 PM. None of them had any idea what I was doing and they were all happy to do it for me once they knew. I had them all create one $50 gift card with 5 swipes. THANK YOU Again.Joe

    • I just found two more cards I had not even activated in my ladies name which I could have used… Next year I am all over this promo…Thanks again. Joe

  18. Got $600 from this sweet promo. Went to the places I wanted and asked for gift cards valued $200, instead of 20 $10. They were happy to keep adding $10 to each card until it reached $200.

  19. Love hearing all of the SBS success stories! We ended up using three swipes on one card for a virtually free lunch. We then used most of our cards to get $270 worth of gift cards at a local restaurant (one swipe at a time). This then triggered a $50 bonus gift card for a total of $330 in gift cards that we will use throughout the year.

    We went to the restaurant around 2PM when they weren’t busy, told the girl we’d tip her $20, and we all had fun.

    I also helped my parents get theirs done at another restaurant where we hit some problems with fraud holds doing multiple transactions of the same amount. We then finished up at another local restaurant when no more transactions would go through at the other restaurant.

    All in all for less than an hour’s “work” we brought in well over $400 in gift cards we will use throughout the year. Thanks Amex!

  20. Yesterday was great! Spg amex, delta gold, serve, platinum card and wells fargo propel amex got me a pretty good payday! I went to phoneica market in houston and bought 7 $10 gift cards to shop with. I also bought gift cards for pinks pizza, pondicheri restaurant, el rey restaurant and house of pies. I suffered no spillage by just using gift cards. Ill adjust my strategy next time.

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