American Express Small Business Saturday is an annual promotion that, in past years, offered a statement credit of $25 when you made a purchase of $25 or more at a qualifying small business. Terms for this year’s offer have not been released, but the date will be November 30, which gives you just two months to get ready.
Get ready? When most people hear about this promotion for the first time (and I was the same), it sounds like just $25. Big deal. It’s a nice discount off a purchase you might make anyway, but not normally enough to get excited about. However, the way this promotion has been implemented before has been pretty lax.
I have four American Express cards — consumer and business SPG cards, a consumer Premier Rewards Gold card, and a business Platinum card. I can add additional cardholders for the SPG cards and the Premier Rewards Gold card for no fee. I can add up to three additional cardholders to the Platinum card for $175 (and there are some reasons this might be a good deal anyway, so I’ll ignore the cost for the purpose of this post). So with four accounts, I can easily get 10 or more separate cards. I’ll stick with 10 for the sake of easy math and the size of my wallet.
The rules of Small Business Saturday last year stated that only one $25 credit will be awarded per card, but apparently multiple cards on the same account can receive multiple credits. If you’ve ever complained about a $65 annual fee on your SPG Amex, there’s no excuse. American Express is one of the most generous card issuers when it comes to cash back promotions, including this one. You not only make up the fee but can even make a profit.
Finally, more business participate than you would expect. Many of the local stores also sell gift cards, which look the same as any other transaction. Last time I went to a participating restaurant with a stack of cards and asked to buy a $25 gift card on each one. I walked away with $250 in gift cards and got $250 in statement credits. Megan and I enjoyed free brunch for over a month!
The exact terms and conditions and the list of participating businesses have not been published yet, but getting additional cards issued now would be a good idea.