AMEX Small Business Saturday in 2012 will be on November 24, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. You can get a $25 statement credit per AMEX card for spend over $25 at small businesses that day. Here are the details:
1. Take stock of all your AMEX cards, and consider adding your spouse, partner or family members as authorized users or adding yourself to a spouse, partner or family member's AMEX cards. Don't go overboard, as adding an excessive number of authorized users sometimes triggers an AMEX financial review. There is no shame in just getting $100 in AMEX credit on Small Business Saturday, which is what we did last year, although of course many folks will get much more.
2. On November 18, register your American Express cards. You cannot register your card until registration opens on November 18. Note that enrollment is limited, so I highly recommend you register all your AMEX cards as early as possible on November 18. AMEX corporate, prepaid and gift cards are NOT eligible.
3. Use your registered AMEX card to purchase $25 or more in a single transaction at any small business that accepts AMEX on Saturday, November 24. The AMEX terms say that qualifying small business locations are those identified on the ShopSmall.com map or that accept American Express through Square. But more on this later.
4. Receive a $25 statement credit for each qualifying card purchase within 8 weeks.
AMEX Small Business Saturday 2012 FAQ
When Can I Register My AMEX Cards for Small Business Saturday?
You can register starting at 12am MST (2am EST) Sunday November 18. Since enrollment is limited, I recommend you register all your AMEX cards as soon as possible on 11/18/12.
Which AMEX Cards are Eligible for the $25 Small Business Saturday Credit?
All American Express cards EXCEPT AMEX Corporate, Prepaid and Gift cards are eligible. For example:
Are All AMEX Authorized User Cards Eligible to Receive a $25 Statement Credit?
No. Only authorized users of AMEX cards issued by AMEX are eligible to register and receive the $25 statement credit. AMEX licenses its use to certain other financial institutions such as Citi, so for example if you have a Citi AAdvantage AMEX, only the primary cardholder will be able to register and receive the $25 statement credit. Same with the Fidelity American Express, which is actually issued by FIA Card Services, and any other third party issuers that use AMEX by license.
Is There Any Downside to Adding Tons of Authorized Users to My Cards to Maximize This Deal?
Well, the top risk is triggering AMEX scrutiny, from a financial review to actually closing down your account. Another thing to be aware of is that the primary cardholder's account will appear on the authorized user's credit report. This is beneficial to the authorized user if the primary cardholder has had the card a long time (increases the average age of accounts), account always paid on time, and low utilization. Conversely, it's not so great for the authorized user if the primary cardholder has only had the account a short time, is frequently delinquent, etc. Note that adding someone as an authorized user does NOT prevent them from signing up for the same card as a primary cardholder and getting a signup bonus.
Do I Have to Give the Social Security Numbers of Authorized Users?
If you're adding new authorized users online, AMEX requires you to provide the birth date and social security number of a new authorized user. By phone, some people have been successful at simply saying they don't have the social security number handy for the new authorized users they seek to add, and still getting them added. Obviously you should only add actual (not fake) authorized users--most likely spouse, partner, or family members--with their permission.
Can AMEX Expedite Cards So I Receive Them in Time for Small Business Saturday?
Yes, just request the card(s) to be expedited when you call. Typically takes 2-3 days.
Is There a Maximum Amount of Small Business Saturday Credit I Can Receive?
No, but there is a limit of one $25 statement credit per registered card. If you in fact have 50 cards/authorized users and manage to register all of them for Small Business Saturday (please do not attempt to get this many right now if you don't already have them) then that would be a total of $1250 in statement credits.
Are Only the Small Businesses on the Shop Small Map and in the Square Directory Eligible?
Officially, yes. Per the official American Express Terms and Conditions "Qualifying small business locations are those identified on the Shop Small® Map, available at ShopSmall.com. In addition, small business locations that accept American Express through Square also qualify and can be found on the Square Directory at https://squareup.com/directory/?cmpId=amex or from your mobile phone using the Square Wallet app. Small business locations that do not appear on the Shop Small® Map or that do not accept American Express through Square will not qualify for the $25 statement credit offer."
That said, in AMEX's Small Business FAQ for Small Business Saturday, it says "you don’t have to “sign up” to be a part of Small Business Saturday. The day is for all to celebrate you and the contribution your business makes to the community and the economy. Thus, whether you are a brick-and-mortar retail store, restaurant or online-only business, just by being a small business owner, you’re already a part of it. As such, participation is as simple as being open for business this November 24th."
That indicates to me that $25 spend at ANY small business (not chains or franchises) is eligible, even if it doesn't appear on the Shop Small map. I plan to spend at some small businesses not on the Shop Small map, and I'd be surprised if I didn't get the credit. But decide based on your own risk tolerance--I'm not AMEX, so I can't guarantee that a given transaction will qualify for the credit.
Can I Receive the $25 Credit for Online Purchases at Small Businesses?
Yes, at least according to the American Express Small Business FAQ (see above quote). If you're a TravelSort member, you can even get $25 off a TravelSort Hotels booking that day, even though TravelSort is entirely online :) Since many of our best hotels are by request only, I recommend you contact us before 11/24 for quotes.
Can I Purchase Gift Certificates to Use Later?
Yes--it's a good opportunity to purchase gift certificates to your favorite local restaurants, cafes, independent grocery, spa, boutiques, etc.
When Will I Receive My $25 Statement Credit?
Per the AMEX Terms, allow up to 8 weeks. Last year I saw my statement credits appear within a week of Small Business Saturday.
Have more questions or tips to share about AMEX Small Business Saturday 2012? Let us know!
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