Amex Frees Up Saturday After Thanksgiving: No Statement Credits

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For the past several years we have spent part of the Saturday after Thanksgiving driving around taking advantage of Amex statement credits that were available as part of their “Small Business Saturday” celebration that started in 2010.  Last year each registered Amex was eligible for three $10 statement credits at small businesses, so that translated in up to $30 “free” dollars per Amex card.  I loved Small Business Saturday not just for the statement credits, but because they were used to support local businesses.

Small Business Saturday

Well, Amex is again having Small Business Saturday on November 28th, but apparently they forgot chips with the salsa because the FAQs here indicate that there won’t be statement credits available this year along with the Small Business Saturday event.

As in years past, American Express will continue to drive awareness of Small Business Saturday and encourage consumers to shop small through local and national advertising.

This year we are not offering a statement credit offer for Card Members on Small Business Saturday, but are instead increasing the support and resources we provide to help small business owners market the day within their communities and truly make it their own.

Not that it isn’t overly clear already, but as part of my own denial I tried to verify this with Amex Chat earlier today, but they didn’t really know the details of Small Business Saturday beyond that it will again be held this year.

Maybe I’m missing a bigger piece of the larger picture, but without the statement credits the whole thing really just seems like just some signs and social media hoopla.  Maybe after five years of promoting “Small Business Saturday”, the momentum is enough to keep the day a success in their minds without any cardmember incentives, but I certainly am not nearly as excited about “Small Business Saturday” without the statement credits.  I’ll still shop local as frequently as possible throughout the holiday season as we always do, but the Saturday after Thanksgiving is now officially free in my mind unless Amex has something up their sleeves that hasn’t yet been revealed.

Thanks to Frequent Miler for first sharing this bad news this morning

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  1. Summer, you win for best post title for this disastrous news. This is a huge hit to AMEX benefits. So much for membership having its privileges. And what a bummer for so many small businesses that were patronized in years past that won’t be this year. I kinda banked on having SBS as partial justification for paying my AMEX annual fees, now it’s probably time to pare down.

    • Gerry, glad you liked the title. I agree many of us had gotten so used to these event it was mentally factored into whether or not it was “worth it” to hold onto some of the cards.

  2. No reason now really to keep all the various flavors of AMEX’s that I have (along with authorized users) Those credits helped to offset the yearly fee.

    • Patrick,

      You need to keep in mind that all of those different flavors and authorized users also have access to the AMEX offers. I’ve made far more “profit” with those then I ever had with Small Business Saturday. While I agree with Summer that my Saturday will now be free and open… I still think that there is a huge upside to having the different cards.

      • Agreed. However, breaking even/profit is much less assured without this once amazing and powerful benefit. Such a shame. I’ve enjoyed this excuse to patronize local small businesses a little more — some that I might not otherwise — and valued how this benefit helped justify the annual fee. We have no idea what offers are in store for OPEN, and everyone’s taste is different. I liked that I could select the business to patronize, rather than react to the ones AMEX selects for me in OPEN. A sad day indeed.

      • I agree about the special offers but very rarely have there been any that apply to me. I have taken advantage of a few but not nearly to the level where they offset my yearly fees.

  3. Summer,

    You have won me over as a reader and I will now use all of your links when possible. Thus far on BA, you are about the only person who has stated they will continue to shop local, unlike some on here have said “don’t bother”; the irony isn’t lost on me as, by definition, all of these blogs are small business!

    As an owner of a small business, I feel we all must stick together. Shop Small Saturday wasn’t about “gaming” AMEX to the tune of $10 at a store, it was about supporting your community. Rant over. But Bravo.


    • Michael, aw thanks. I shop local whenever I can – I wish we could do it more! No doubt blogs are small businesses…some smaller than others. 😉

  4. Last year, I encountered a small business that only took American Express on Small Business Saturday specifically to draw people in by the statement credits. They advertised this promo heavily, even posting step by step instructions on how to register for the credit(s).

    It’s not just the spenders “gaming” the system. I wonder what they’ll do this year?

    • I certainly saw signs outside businesses and in windows promoting Small Business Saturday last year. I don’t see customers choosing that day and AMEX cards for small business shopping anymore. There’s just no particular motive. It will be interesting to see if businesses still promote the idea with their own “door buster” sales now, but without the organized incentive from AMEX, it’s hard to see that really taking off. Maybe the concept simply fades away. I suppose some just spent the minimum at each of several businesses, but I’m sure others did more than that once they were in a store. As MP points out, for some – me included – this had become part of the equation in the keep/drop decision for AMEX cards.

  5. This is good. So we have one more reason to leave AXEX in the drawer. Last year, I took 12 trips to my local small business stores, but this year I can spent more time for Black Friday shopping in the mall.

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