American Express Small Business Saturday 2016

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This year, Small Business Saturday will be on November 26th, 2016. Although it was started in 2010 by American Express on the Saturday after Thankgsiving, since 2011 this day has been officially recognized by Congress.

As was the case last year, there will be no flat statement credits in 2016 for shopping at a small business. Instead, American Express is offering double points or double cash back through the end of 2016 for shopping at small businesses from now until December 31st, 2016. You must register here first. Find local, participating small businesses on their Shop Small map.

The 2X promotion works these various flavors of American Express. When you use your enrolled Card at small businesses:

  • Membership Rewards cards will earn 1 additional Membership Rewards point per dollar spent.
  • Delta Skymiles cards will earn 1 additional mile per dollar spent.
  • Blue Cash cards will earn an additional 1% back per dollar spent.
  • Blue Sky cards will earn 1 additional Blue Sky point per dollar spent.
  • Hilton Honors cards will earn 3 additional Hilton HHonors points per dollar spent.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest cards will earn 1 additional Starpoint per dollar spent.
  • Plenti cards will earn 1 additional Plenti point per dollar spent.
  • Schwab Investor cards will earn an additional 1.5% cash back per dollar spent.

Rewards cap applies; 2X Rewards valid on up to $100,000 in purchases per enrolled consumer card and $250,000 in purchases per enrolled business card.

American Express has also been adding a lot of new offers – including local small businesses! – to their AmEX Special Offers. Log into your account online and see what you have targeted in your area. You may also see 10% off your cable or Satellite TV bill, 10% off your cellular phone bill, $25 off Verizon Wireless, $20 off $100 at, or double/triple points at merchants like Amazon, Target, and Home Depot.

If you have a small business and accept American Express but aren’t shown on on their Shop Small map, here’s how to get yourself added:

Please contact the Shop Small Team at 1-800-235-8916, Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, EST and have your federal tax ID handy. We look forward to hearing from you!

Participating small businesses can also sign up for additional marketing materials here.

This Fortune article discusses the positive impact that American Express’s statement credits from 2010-2014 had on small businesses after the 2009 recession. It felt good that this promotion supported independent retailers, whereas most promotions go towards the big chains. Small Business Saturday was also a clever way for American Express to tell the public that they’ve increased acceptance of their cards at small businesses, which has always been their relative weak spot due to their slightly higher fees for the merchant.

Original post from Small Business Saturday 2014:

American Express has confirmed that they will bring back Small Business Saturday (SBS) on Saturday, November 29th, 2014 – two days after Thanksgiving. The significant change this year is that now it is up to three separate $10 statement credits, for a total of up to $30 per eligible card. Details:

  • Limit three (3) $10 statement credits per eligible American Express Card. To receive the offer, Card Members must register any eligible American Express Card for this offer. Corporate Cards and all prepaid Card products (other than American Express Serve® and Bluebird®) are not eligible.
  • The number of registrations is limited. Registration opens at 12:00 A.M. MST (“Mountain Standard Time”) on Nov 16, 2014 and will continue until 11:59 P.M. MST on Nov 29, 2014, unless the registration limit is reached sooner.
  • To receive the $10 statement credit, the Card Member must use his or her registered Card to spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location on Saturday, Nov 29, 2014.

Remember that authorized users of eligible cards are also eligible for this promotion. Given that it is three separate $10 credits per card, it’ll make your live easier if you plan out your purchases ahead of time. Here’s my list:

  • Local grocery stores. There’s one where I can find the sunflower seed butter for my kid, and the one with the good raw lasagna.
  • Local restaurants and coffee shops. Just make sure they take AmEx!
  • Local doggie bakery. Usually too pricey for me, but a good place for gifts!
  • Local sporting goods stores and bike shops. Buy some tennis balls, some little things for my bike, etc.
  • Local hardware stores. These are a dying breed, but there are still some non-Home Depot small business hardware stores in my area.
  • Local bookstore. Another rarity, but there happens to be one next to a local restaurant we like!

If they sell gift certificates, buy them! If you only want to spend $10, you can say those can make good stocking stuffers. If you would otherwise buy a $25 certificate for a gift, hey that’s still 40% off what you would have paid. Also don’t be shy about using more than one card at a place. AmEx is paying those $10 credits, not them, so the merchants should still appreciate your patronage.

Other important terms and tips:

  • Qualifying small business locations appear on the Shop Small Map.
  • If you don’t have anything specific in mind, even gift cards to a local non-chain restaurant, grocer, hardware store, or clothing boutique count.
  • In all previous years, additional authorized user cards have been eligible for their own $10 credit. (Authorized user cards with AmEx get their own unique card number.) I see nothing that changes that in this year’s rules. Many American Express cards offer additional cards for free to authorized users like your spouse, partner, or older children.
  • Most prepaid cards are not eligible, but American Express Bluebird and Serve cards are eligible. Given that these cards are free to obtain (officially you can only have one or the other, though) this is another path to an additional free $30 of small business patronage in 2014.
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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  1. I signed up but how to find a small business in my neighborhood that accepts AE?

  2. “Eligible merchants include any independently owned small businesses that accept the American Express Card.” Until Nov 27th, just shop as usual and ask if the local businesses you visit take AmEx. Then think of this offer as a $25 off $25 coupon for lunch, dinner, clothes, dry cleaning, flowers, etc.

  3. Anyone have any other ideas for finding a small business that accepts AE? I don’t want to go around knocking on the doors of 20 small businesses…

  4. Hmm, do you think if a place has two locations, would that be considered a “franchised business location”? My favorite resturaunt has two locations. Sadly, most of my favorite small businesses do not accept amex (stares sadly at chinatown, because $25 at the mom/pop grocery stores would go a long way!)…

  5. I’m not able to speak for AmEx, but I don’t think two locations meets the definition of a franchise. You could ask them if they are both owned by the same folks.

    AmEx tends to be accepted more at small biz’s that sell “premium” products. A store that sell fancy dog toys comes to mind. (Opportunity for cheap/free holiday gift?)

    If you don’t have something in mind, I would say food would be the easiest thing. My feeling is that if the place is expensive enough that dinner for 2 costs $25, the odds that it takes AmEx are pretty high.

  6. How are you sure that this is a true AMEX website and not a phishing expedition? I definitely trust you Jonathan but can you say anything to assuage my fears?

  7. @John B – Just google “small business saturday” and you’ll see several press releases and news articles on the subject.

    Here’s one official-ly link at

  8. Thanks Jonathan. Just triple-checking to make sure everything is legit and that there is no chance of fraud with this. My girlfriend and I plan on using this at a local wine bar (assuming that it accepts AMEX cards).

  9. Wow thanks for the heads up Jon. Was able to register successfully using my business credit card.

    I wish Amex provided some kind of locator for small businesses on their site. I’m sure they have the information and it would save us time from searching blindly.

  10. on that locater site Ted added, there’s no restaurants within 25 miles of my zip code, weird. I live in a really populated area too.

  11. @ Ted

    Thanks for the link! Useful starting point.

    @ pogo

    I got the same results, or lack thereof. I live in an urban area and supposedly there are no small businesses registered with Amex under the Food/Beverages category. I see mostly electronics and auto related businesses……hmmm.

  12. like Jonathan said, businesses who sell premium products are a safe bet. I’m choosing sushi places. mmm, sushi for thanksgiving.

  13. Well I love sushi and was thinking about that too. I have a ton of those places around here so that’s why I was surprised not to see any listed in the locator. I guess I can always call.

  14. @Ted – Thanks for the link. However, it is a B2B directory – business to business, so the listings are limited to those that would sell things to other business. So restaurants are (at least mostly?) out.

    Really, it shouldn’t be that hard to find a restaurant that takes AmEx. Retail sit-down food is a high-margin business. Just use Yelp, find a few independent places that you like, and call them up. I can’t imagine it taking more than 2-3 calls and thus about 2-3 minutes.

    Nov 27th is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Take a friend/date/loved one out to lunch. You don’t even have to use a *gasp* coupon. I’ll be actively avoiding any shopping. 🙂

  15. @Jon

    Yeah thanks for the clear up. I thought that was kinda strange….and you’re right, I just called a local sushi place and they said they take Amex. Woot woot… I guess I have a sushi date now 🙂

  16. I have two Amex cards – you think I can sign up both and get $25 credit on each? I don’t see anywhere that says I can’t.
    As always, thanks for posting this – this site has saved/made me a lot of money.

  17. In regards to the “eligible merchants” question, then why does the first paragraph of the terms state “you must spend $25 or more at _participating_ small business merchants”.

    “Participating” makes it sound like it’s only small businesses that sign up for the promotion. Yet I agree that the 2nd paragraph of the terms implies it’s any “small” business.

    Also interesting that there are over 300k friends on FB, but I was able to still register my card today. So less than 100k of the 300k have registered? Won’t be surprised if this is as big a mess as the free KFC promo, except it will just be a ton of people bitching about the $25 shafted them on.

  18. I got a response from AMEX. “The participating small businesses would be any locally owned independent small businesses that accept American Express.”

    They were not able to confirm my registration as one of the first 100k, but I did receive an email confirming my registration late yesterday. I guess that will be proof enough if the $25 just doesn’t get credited on it’s own.

  19. Maybe I’m reading to much into this but if I use my AMEX at more than one small business will I receive a $25 statement credit for each SB I use my card at? Or is this a one time $25 credit??

  20. I think it is 1 offer per card.

    Jeff – are your sure that the offer applies to any small business that accepts AE? That ‘participating’ statement is misleading.

  21. DJ – am I 100% certain, no. The quote I posted is the response I got via email from AMEX in regards to my question as to what “participating” meant. I agree that the language they used in the terms is confusing at best.

    Ann – “Limit one statement credit per Cardmember.” From the promotional email I received today from AMEX.

  22. My wife and I both registered our AMEX cards and then spent $25 at an independent, non-chain restaurant on Saturday, 11/27. Neither of us have received our $25 statement credits that are supposed to be posted within 5 business days.

    Has anyone else gotten theirs? I can’t find anyone to contact about this either.

  23. Troy: I did this on two different amex cards and received a $25 credit on both of them within 5 days. It’s possible they didn’t consider the place you made your purchase a small business. I’d call the number on the back of your card. They extended the offer until 12/31 – so you have time:

  24. Had the most delicious steak on the 27th. $25 statement credit was posted the 29th.

    Who to contact? Call AMEX or login and send them a secure message; after all, they are the ones running this promotion.

  25. Thanks for the responses. The place I went to is independently owned, not a chain and very small so if they don’t consider it qualifying then that’s an error on their end.

    My card is actually a Citi AMEX. I called them and they know nothing about the promotion since it’s being run by American Express. I call American Express and they can’t do anything because my card is with Citi.

    Maybe they wanna screw me because they know I have no recourse. I’ve actually made other charges at small businesses since then but I keep referring to the one I made on 11/27 since that’s what the original policy called for.

    If Cit AMEX cards were not supposed to be eligible, then they should have never sent me the email confirming that my card had been successfully registered.

  26. We know someone who used a Macy’s and they got it.
    But, I used a Citi and did not get it.
    When we contacted Macy’s, they did not know about this promotion, nor does Citi!
    Therefore, we do not know whom to contact!

  27. I think this thing is a big scam. I registered my card, spent $33 on Nov. 27th at a locally owned and operated small business and have still not gotten the $25 credit. I have emailed Amex, called them and get the response that, “Don’t worry, you will get the credit” B.S. I think this is a scheme to get you to make a charge believing it will be credited back “normally” within 5 business days, but it takes two or more complete billing cycles for them to process. They hope that you won’t pay it and incur interest. I have 6 friends who did the same promotion and none of them have gotten a credit yet. STAY AWAY from this one!

  28. I received my credit within a week…checked via the web and on my most recent statement the $25 credit was still there.

  29. I still haven’t gotten my credit and it’s now been one month. Seems to be very hit or miss so I’d suggest only doing this if it’s money you’d be spending at that small business anyway.

  30. Troy Brown says

    I’d avoid doing this promotion unless you are spending $25 on your AMEX anyway. I did it last year (registered, received the confirmation email, spent $25 at a small merchant) but never got my statement credit. The big problem is that there is no one to contact to follow up. I searched high and low for an email address, mailing address, phone #, anything but couldn’t find anything. I called AMEX numerous times, explained my situation but the people I spoke with were not able to do anything nor did they know how to reach anyone who was involved with the Small Business Saturday promotion. I also sent in letters to their general mailing address but never heard back at all. Very very frustrating.

  31. I did it three times. Once for me, and 2x for my parents. We all got our statement credits within a week after our small business purchase. Hope we’ll have the same luck this year!

  32. Do you have to spend the $25 on a particular Saturday in November or just within the given promotional period?

  33. Hi Debbie,

    Are you stating your last year’s story or do you mean you already got the $25X3 = $75 bonus for three persons this year of 2011?


  34. last year! Sorry for the confusion

  35. People, read the terms and conditions carefully. Not all American Express cards are alike and nowadays WHO issues your American Express card is important.

    Within my family, we used Amex issued and bank issues (FIA and Macy’s/Department Stores National Bank) cards last year and they worked. If you worry, about getting your money’s worth, buy a gift card/certificate at the local merchant for the $25.

    Corporate cards will NOT work. Also do NOT use the ExpressPay function, as these transmit different card numbers than what is printed on the card.

  36. Hi Jonathan,

    I have multiple AmEx cards and I have registered all of them with email confirmation responses. Besides, I did not find any restriction such as limit one $25 bonus per person.

    Do you know whether one with multiple AmEx cards can earn multiple bonus?


  37. Hi askmrlee,

    Would like to make sure that I understand what you said.

    1. …”If you worry, about getting your money’s worth, buy a gift card/certificate at the local merchant for the $25. “…

    Did you mean we can register our AmEx gift card to get the $25 bonus? Or, you meant that, if we are not sure what to buy, simply buy a $25 gift card at a local small business store?

    2. … “Corporate cards will NOT work.”…

    By Corporate cards, do you mean that AmEx business cards are not eligible for the $25 bonus?

    I registered my Amex business card and got the email confirmation. Would like to make sure whether AmEx business card is eligible for the bonus or not.

    3. You mentioned FIA and Macy’s card. Did you own multiple Amex cards and get multiple bonuses last year using two or more of the cards? My point is, I have multiple AmEx cards and have registered all of them. Am I eligible for multiple bonuses?

    Thanks in advance.

  38. Is it a total of $25 or more (i.e. $10 spent at one merchant and $20 spent at another merchant will quality) or does it have to be $25 spent at a single merchant?

  39. There is a good reason why many small businesses do not accept AMEX. They charge small businesses up the rear just to accept their card, plus percentage fees for each transaction. Do the small stores a HUGE favor and use cash. That’s how you can really help out the mom and pop shops.

  40. When I successfully registered my card, a Macy’s Am Ex, the fine print stated that it could take up to 2 billing cycles to see the $25 credit. Made my purchase at a company that advertised they were in this promotion, so we’ll see. The company also gave me an additional 15% discount & free shipping as well, so I was happy with that. The $25 credit will be a nice bonus (if I get it!).

  41. I couldn’t sign up. Apparently they limited the number of cardholders that can sign up. R I P O F F for me and the small businesses.

  42. Follow this link for the list of participating merchants.

  43. @Sra Egan – Just wanted to clarify that your link is to a list of merchants who have registered with AmEx to announce that they are actively promotion Small Business Saturday, but there are many more small businesses out there that will work for the promotion.

  44. @SA Wallick. Sorry you feel this is/was a scam. It’s not. The registration was limited to 200,000 and started on November 1, 2011. At the small business where I spent my $25 credits the owner reported that they were able to register on Thanksgiving day the 24th but their son could not do so on the 25th Black Friday because the offer limit was reached. From your post date it seems you tried on the 26th. All I can say is try again next year.

    I got confirmations upon registration and a few minutes after I made the qualifying purchases.

    @andy. 1) I meant but a $25 gift card or certificate from the merchant if possible. That’s what I did with the $5 credit for $20 spend Whole Foods offer. I wasn’t ready to buy $20 of items and it was the last day of the offer.

    2) Business cards like Open are NOT Corporate cards. If you got a confirmation upon registering then you are OK.

    3) I was able to register my card and my wife’s cards which are on the same account but have different numbers plus we have our own separate accounts too. We received confirmation emails upon registration and after making the purchases on all cards and accounts.

    I do not believe Citi was a qualifying issuer for this promo. Again read the terms carefully. BofA (FIA) and Macy’s/DSNB qualified.

  45. Amex gift cards or any prepaid value product do not qualify.

  46. I suggest it IS a scam and/or fraud. It is now Feb. 24. I have been fighting with Bank of America (who issued my AmEx card) ever since that day to get my credit. They keep throwing up bogus roadblocks even though I have email proof from AmEx that I have earned the credit. Even BoA’s customer rep has finally agreed that I’m owed the credit. AmEx says it’s BoA’s job to get me the credit and they wash their hands of it.

  47. American Express has confirmed that they will bring back Small Business Saturday (SBS) on November 24th, 2012.

  48. Jonathan, curious as to why you don’t pay the $75 annual fee for the Amex Preferred, getting 6% back at groceries? Thanks for the heads up, small businesses sometimes need this $ reminder to steer us away from big box stores.

  49. @brandon – I do recommend the AmEx Preferred with the annual fee as if you spend $25 a week in groceries the annual fee is covered with the extra cash back.

    I was just trying to think of the best no annual fee American Express card and the Blue Cash everyday came to mind for low spenders.

  50. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says

    Awesome! Definitely taking advantage of this in November!

  51. Jonathan,

    The card number for authorized users of the Starwood Amex is the same as the owner’s card number. So you wouldn’t qualify for two $25 bonuses, right?

  52. Jonathan – Thanks for the update. I have benefit from you and your column significantly and also improved my financial knowledge. Please keep up the great work.

    When is the a signup (if required)?

  53. Would love to do it but the link seems to lead to facebook. I’d rather be dead than use facebook. Not worth $25 to sell my soul to that POS company.

  54. Ah at Amex I found this:

    Thank heavens. Facebook and twitter can burn…

  55. Did you ever think to register a “fake” Facebook with zero friends and then opt out of sharing once you fill in the form instead of complaining about how horrible FB is?

  56. @Andrew. One credit per unique card number registered when the promo goes live.

    @playcentric. Around November 1.

  57. @MAC – Thank you for the update

  58. @Andrew – No, the number for authorized users is not the same for American Express. If you add an authorized user they will have a unique credit card number, and thus be eligible for their own $25 credit.

  59. Has anyone heard the rumor that there will be a limited amount of promotions for this offer? Another site is saying to sign up quickly as not everyone will be able to participate.

    I hope this is not true, but I am wondering if this is going to be like last year or have they changed it. Last year it seemed very simple and straight forward, and to my knowledge there was no cap on the number of people that could qualify for the statement credit.

  60. There was a limit in previous years as well, but it was quite high at something like 200,000+ people. I don’t recall them running out of room, even very close to the actual date. This year may be different, but I think American Express would at least allow a week for people to sign up, otherwise they will get some bad publicity. Just subscribe to comments and you’ll be notified when it goes live 🙂

  61. See my previous post about late sign up. If you wait until a day or two before the day you’ll probably be out of luck. These promos always have a limit of number of participants and this was disclosed in previous years.

    My advice is to subscribe here and at Amex’s small business Saturday site for notifications and don’t delay registering.

    I bet there will be someone moaning and groaning that they couldn’t register the day before and then they will call this a scam.

  62. Still no word on sign up date? I called Amex on10/31 and they said “it hasn’t been announced yet.”

  63. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. The registration date is Nov 18, starting at 2AM.

  64. Signup starts November 18 @ 12 AM MST

    In the T&Cs for this year there is a clause that the merchant must be one of the small shops else you do not get the credit. Was this there last year?

    “Qualifying small business locations are those identified on the Shop Small® Map, available at”. “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”.

  65. Thanks for the tips! My wild guess is that sign-up will close after 3 days. They moved the sign-up date closer to the actual date because they know it will fill up.

    @MAC – I think something similar was in their last year, but I’m sure they got enough complaints about “why didn’t store XXX count” that they want to make it very clear that only businesses on their list count. The map is actually pretty good (well, the list is good, the map not so much), it even lists a lot of people that work from home in my neighborhood, ha.

  66. Hi Jonathan,

    One question: did you mean your wife (as an additional user of your AmEx Spg card) and you both can get $25 (total $50) bonus when you use both cards separately on eligible purchases? Are you sure the additional user can get the $25 bonus in addition to the $25 primary user already gets? Thanks.

  67. Jonathan,

    Where do you see the places listed on the map? For me it only states “COMING SOON”. Does anyone else have this issue?

  68. @Andy – Yes, just be sure to register both cards separately. Yes, it worked for me last year and the terms are the same as last year. It’s per American Express card, and they view each card as an American Express card with its own individual card number. 🙂

    @Eric – You’re right, it appears that they have disabled the map. It was definitely working before. Perhaps they’re tweaking it?

  69. When I go to the Small Business Facebook page, it says liked but I cannot see how to sign up and register my card.

  70. I signed up for promotion in 2010. Purchased my $25.00 merchandize from Ace Hardware on small business Saurday and was not credited on my next statement from AX. I called and they said ACE indicated I did not purchase on that day, I had received an e-mail confirming my purchase on that Saturday and they corrected and gave me credit the next month. How can we insure that we are going to get our purchase credit on the right day from the business we visit?

  71. Just a reminder to everyone: their business lookup site was horribly overloaded on Small Business Saturday last year. Find the locations you want to shop at before Saturday because if you wait you might not be able to see the website. Fortunately I had two stores picked out beforehand, but would have been out of luck if I wanted to look further.

  72. The Registration has started – Enrollment is limited so act early before enrollments run out. Corporate and prepaid cards are not eligible

  73. Does the bloomingdales American express card qualify?

  74. Yes, the co-branded cards like Costco AmEx and Bloomingdales AmEx should work fine.

  75. I can confirm that the Costco Amex cards do in fact qualify; it let me signup without a problem.

  76. Why does Kmart show up as a small busines?

  77. will bank of America, America Express card work too? so is bank of america will credit the $25 dollars?

  78. Looks like all the Safeways near me is on the list. Could that be accurate?

  79. If you’re not sure if the card will work, just go to the sign-up page and try it as it will verify the card number.

    I personally wouldn’t buy something at a national chain like Kmart or Safeway, even if it was on their map. There are so many good small businesses out there, why not go ahead and support one of them?

  80. I agree on supporting small business, but I was just shocked to see them on the list when I was searching for vendors.

  81. I wasn’t able to see the Kmart’s or Safeway’s in my area, so it may be a local thing. Not worth having to worry about possibly being disqualified for the credit either. 🙂

  82. My costco card worked fine. Looks like free Mexican food for me on Saturday, woohoo!

  83. Actually Safeway does show up for me, but if you look closely it’s only the Blockbuster Express kiosk instead (which actually are all Redbox now anyway).

    I’m getting pizza. 🙂

  84. playcentric says

    I found the directory/map search very difficult. It’s even not up to date as some list shops are no longer in business in my area.

    Is there a phone # to call to confirm the participating shops? Is Home Depot or Lowes qualified? What qualifies a small business? I remember Obama during the debate stated Donald Trump is a small business.

  85. Does anyone have experience with using multiple cards at the same location (different cards, same card user)? Seems like it should be OK, but I just wanted to check.

    @playcentric I’m no expert, but there’s no way that Home Depot and Lowes would qualify as small businesses.

  86. Where do I find verification of my registering my American Express for shopping on small business Saturday?

  87. playcentric says

    Adam – Multiple cards use should be ok. I did last year. Make sure to sign a different slip for each card.

    Nancy – Verification email is sent to you within minutes at enroll. Check your junk email folder if it’s not in your inbox.

  88. I did all my purchases at the “Small Business Saturday” at the same location today; all the charges descriptions were “Square”. That means the charges were all small business qualifying charges, I think. Now, I am counting the eight weeks for these statement credits. Happy holidays to all of you players.

  89. I got a confirmation e-mail after doing my Small Business Saturday purchases today with the subject line “Thank you for Shopping Small”. I decided to just get a couple of $25 gift cards at a locally-owned hardware store that I often use for small home improvement projects when I don’t want to drive all the way to Home Depot or Lowe’s.

  90. The stores I had picked out were closed today! Bummer!

  91. Closed on a Saturday during the biggest consumer zombie-fest weekend of the year?! 🙂

  92. Received two email conformations after my 2 purchases, hopefully will see credits by Tuesday the latest, great success this year, I bought a bunch of boneless chicken and Italian sausages filled the freezer up.

  93. I registered my Blue Cash Amex as well as my FIA Amex and received email confirmations of both. However, when I used them on Saturday, I only received a “thank you” email for the Blue Cash Amex. I called Fidelity and the rep had no idea what I was talking about. I called Amex directly and the rep looked up my card and said that it was a bank issued card and that, yes, it qualified. However, I need to call Fidelity regarding the credit. Ugh. Frustrating.

  94. Crystal,

    I had the same problem with FIA last year. It took many phone calls but eventually they credited me the $25. Fortunately this year I received a confirmation regarding that card but I didn’t receive the confirmation for 2 other Amex cards that I used. I hope I won’t have a big hassle like last year.

  95. I previously thought that I would have to count 8 weeks before receiving the $25 statement credit. Wow, it’s been less than 48 hours since the purchases and I have received all the statement credits for that. Thanks to AMEX and Square San Francisco; thanks to all the bloggers here, too; and thanks to those small businesses that accept AMEX. See you players next year.

  96. @Crystal – I belief you will receive the credit. I have a Macys AMEX that qualifies too and I received the credits for using Macys AMEX this year and last year–under different description for the same credit amount of $25. Please go to your Fidelity statement account to find it. If anyone has an AMEX issued by Citi Bank, purchase made using it will qualify, I think.

  97. I registered my card then spent more than $25 at my local Publix grocery store. It didn’t seem like a small business to me but it was listed on the map. I received a confirmation when I registered but no confirmation when I shopped. Do you think I will get the $25?

  98. @Eric and Wanny, thanks for your input. I will stay on top of it and hopefully be able to get the credit. 🙂

  99. Received credit on my Blue Cash AMEX, still awaiting credit on my Citi AMEX, looking at my Blue Cash AMEX activity online, I see next to the charge I made on Saturday it says: (Shop Small Offer), so look for that on your credit card activity page.

  100. Small business owner here. Returning the purchases is pretty uncool. An entire extended family made purchases last week, and today returned each of those $25+ purchases. A real PITA.

  101. Received credit on my Citi AMEX, that was easy.

  102. Just checked both of my statements and I’ve received the credit for my Fidelity Amex as well as the Blue Cash Amex. Woot!

  103. I was able to register my Macy’s Amex (first year I’ve used this one), but I never got the “thank you for shopping small” email after the $25 purchase on Small Business Saturday. I just checked the account, and no credit is shown. My other regular Amex cards showed credits within a couple of days. Am I to believe that this credit should work on my Macy’s card? Especially since it allowed me to register the card number? Who do I call . . . Macy’s or Amex? Thank you!

  104. I registered and received my confirmation email. Checked out the map and saw that my local supermarket (Publix) was listed. Spent over $25 there on Saturday Nov 24. But have not received the credit. I called my AmEx issuer (Hilton Honors) and they had no idea what I was talking about. Don’t know who to go to now. Or could it be that my supermarket was not really a small business even though it was listed on the site. I am starting to feel like I was rooked.

  105. Meh. They are only giving a $10 credit this year for SBS. Serve cards are now valid.

  106. Re: using multiple AMEX cards – would it not be possible to split at the register say, a $50 transaction or something into at least $10 increments on different cards and pick up the $10 bonus on each card?

  107. I think an additional significant change this year is that the small business actually has to be registered to participate. I would appreciate anyone confirming this, or setting me straight.

  108. Michael,

    Wasn’t that policy already in effect last year?

  109. Re: using multiple cards – can one just buy something that costs say, $50, and split it up at the register into $10 charges on several AMEX cards to qualify for several bonuses?

  110. @Cody. Yes, split tender transactions will work as long as you meet the $10 minimum for each card. Many people have reported in past years doing that for restaurants.

  111. Only if the store/seller will allow that. I am not sure how or why a store would want to do that. It would look the same to Amex, so it would be totally up to the seller. That means they would have to re-price the item so you could split it, or they would have to eat the credit card charge multiple times. There is no way I would want to pay the credit card fee 5 times when normally I only pay it once. Would you?

    My plan, make 9 purchase of ~$10.00 each (since I will be registering 9 Amex cards).

  112. @Michael – I don’t believe they have to be registered to participate, they just need to be included on their ShopSmall map. But the map appears to just find non-chain business that have a AmEx merchant account and thus accept AmEx. But that means a lot of people’s residential houses were listed since that is the address on file. That’s what I mean by use common sense, if it is a local small business with a real storefront that takes AmEx that is on the map, then you should be good.

    @Cody – You’d have to ask for a split transaction. The ability to do that is included in most modern POS cash register systems. Many restaurants for example can split a check easily. Older systems it may be harder. For example you and your spouse/friend could both eat a meal and then you just hand them two cards and ask to split evenly.

  113. @Paul/Jonathan – right, but just out of curiosity re Paul’s point, would the merchant pay any additional interchange fee? (i.e. is it a percentage of the charged amount – resulting in the same total fee no matter how many swipes the purchase goes on – or is it a fixed fee meaning addl fee with more than one swipe?)

  114. Cody, the merchant would have to pay fees 5 times to Amex (1 for each card used). The most cards I have ever used on a single transaction is 2. I’m sure most merchants would frown upon any more than that (rightfully so).

  115. @Cody – my personal experience is that there is a small fee and then a percentage. If the fee were not included then it would be the same, but I do not believe it is solely based on a percentage.

  116. @Cody – It all depends on the merchant account agreement that they agreed upon in the contract. Like I believe that McDonald’s has negotiated their own flat percentage so people can charge their $1 burger and they can still make money. But I would agree that the majority of small biz is probably something like 30 cents + 3%. That is why you see a lot of “$5 minimum” or “$10 minimum” signage. So yes splitting would probably cost them more in fees.

    They way I look at it, if they are cool with a $10 charge from 10 different peoplee, then they shouldn’t mind that much if you need to break it up. I would say that splitting it like 9 ways is probably gonna stick out as weird though and they might balk. I wouldn’t try more than 2, maybe 3 max if it was me.

  117. @Code,
    In the past 2 years, I always split among my Amex Cards for $25 each. I got all the $25 statement credit for all primary and additional user cards.

    The point is, I went to the store a few days ago and asked the owners if they allows me to do so. when they hear I am going to spend $100+, they agree. Yesterday, I went to a local Chinese restaurant to ask again and they agreed. Small businesses usually agreed but a very large (standalone) Chinese restaurant denies, I guess, because they have enough customers and they do not care $100 bucks.

  118. Registration is open!

  119. Thanks! Registered and got the confirmation e-mail immediately afterward. The new map is improved from last year, from what I can tell. You can log into your account and they will suggest popular places where people have shopped with similar spending profiles. Looks like they recommend either sushi or a bike repair shop.

  120. Do American Express cards issued by other banks count for this? In addition to my American Express branded cards I’ve got one issued by BOA. Anybody have any experience with this?

  121. @Mike. Yes, co-branded Amex cards are eligible. Nothing new. Since, co-branded cards only have one unique card number you are limited to one offer unlike with Amex issued where each card holder has a unique card number.

  122. Registered just now and it still works!

  123. Online orders don’t qualify. Found it after I register.

  124. Cashed in again this year. Thanks for the reminder!

  125. Did anyone else receive email confirmations about only some of their Amex cards being used for Small Business Saturday? I would think it should be an all or none kind of thing.

  126. @Eric. Amex as usual is hit or miss. Went to a bakery today and used 2 different types of Amex cards on 2 transactions. No emails. Business takes Amex, is on the map, has Shop Small decal on the door. No email confirmation for either.

    Then later go to a burger joint that is on the map and takes Amex using another Amex type card. Instant email. All cards were registered within minutes of each. Go figure. Same issues Amex has had every dang year they have done this promo. All transactions pending in my accounts with correct business names.

  127. Well, that was a bust. Decided to give this promo a try this year. Registered my Amex card without a hitch. I decided to try a local restaurant on the ShopSmall website directory, and even ordered something extra since I was expecting to get a rebate back. When the check came, I placed my Amex on the card, but the waitress said, “Oh no, sorry, we only take Visa or Mastercard.” Uhh… I pulled out my smartphone and double-checked that the restaurant name and address was still on the ShopSmall website. I even asked the manager if it was true that they didn’t accept Amex, and if he was aware that he was on the Amex small business directory. He basically shrugged it off and said he was just a small business that can’t afford to accept Amex given their higher merchant rates. Arg. I had to pay with another card in the end. No $10 off for me. If there’s one thing worse than missing out on a good deal, it’s paying full price when you thought you were going to get a deal.

  128. @Kenneth – same thing happened to me. Saw a Thai place.on the SBS map/list. Asked for a $10 gift card there and decided to eat there as well. I had several Amex cards registered for this promo so I decided to use one card for the gift certificate, and another for the dinner. When I pulled out an Amex to pay for the gift certificate, I was told that they accept discover, visa and MasterCard only. I told them that their restaurant is listed on the SBS map. The waitress didn’t even know of SBS but being polite, checked with the manager who said that he thinks Amex must randomly throw any local business on their list because this restaurant never accepted Amex. I should have checked before ordering.

  129. Glad to read that I’m not the only one who was tricked by the SBS map. Found what I thought was a participating local business on the map, went there on Saturday and quickly found out that they don’t take American Express. I didn’t bother hunting around for another place. I didn’t have grand plans for that $10 credit but it’s still annoying that AmEx wasn’t completely upfront about eligible businesses (in my area, at least).

  130. linda buchanan says

    I registered Ny Hilton Am Ex card and I shopped at a place that was a small business (I think) but the $10 credit is not reflected in my statement. How long does it usually take to appear on your statement? If it doesn’t appear soon will my Am Ex 800 customer Rep know what I am even talking about?


  131. Linda, I got the cashback on the three cards I used this deal on, so I think you should have gotten yours by now. Does the place that you made the purchase at show up on the SBS map? If so, definitely ask AmEx about this

  132. @Linda. I just chatted with Amex via chat to get the credit issued on 2 accounts where I should have received the credit. The business even had a Shop Small decal on their door and they were on the SBS map but never did get an email for this business.

  133. Linda, please call Hilton AMEX and tell your story. The rep will help you solve the matter. Good luck.

  134. Glad it’s back this year. I read the terms, but don’t see an answer – does it have to be three different stores? I don’t see anything specifying that. I’m hoping that I can make three purchases (of $10 or more) at the same store and get the credits. Any thoughts on that?

    • I don’t see anything in the terms that would prohibit shopping at the same store. If your store is willing, you could even do a “split tender transaction” and spread one large purchase on separate cards. For example you could buy $45 of stuff and buy it in three $15 transactions on the same (or different) card.

      The transaction fee to the small business will be a bit higher, but if they have decent margins they should still be willing to do it.

  135. I actually work at the small business in question (and will be working Small Business Saturday – so I won’t have a lot of time to go to other stores!) – so no problem on the store end. We’ve really pushed SBS – we promote that weekend as ‘Green Friday’ (we’re a nursery/garden center) as well as Small Business Saturday, and market it as more relaxed, locally focused, etc etc than the big commercial Black Friday. (And I know what are margins are – even counting my employee discount, it’s still a hefty margin. lol.)

    • Haha, perfect. Also remember that it is per card, so line ’em up! 🙂 A local nursery garden is a good idea, I should see if the one near me takes AmEx. We just planted a fig and lime a year ago, and another nice tree might make a nice holiday present. 🙂

  136. Checked the Amex Shop Small website and it does not appear to be populated with businesses.
    I checked for participants in Seattle and Tacoma and they indicate none. Hard to believe there are no participants in such a large area. Amex needs to improve the site before promoting this.

  137. Where do you register at?

  138. Does the authorized user need to register or the main account holder is sufficient?

    • I believe every person needs to register their cards individually. Every card has a unique number for American Express, even authorized users.

      Register at on Sunday morning. I can’t see them not at least keeping it open that long, if only for public relations reasons.

    • Every card (each having a unique card number) must be registered individually. Just registering the main card on the account won’t register the AU card.

  139. Sofaking Nuts says

    I’ve read and re-read this post and for some reason it’s not registering – are you saying that I can get 3x $10 credits on my card and my wife, who is on the same account but has her own card (and her own card number) can also get 3x $10 credits? Thanks.

  140. Kevin – at, but it doesn’t accept registrations until Sunday. And Sofaking Nuts – yes, that’s what it means. between my husband and I, we have 4 cards (my blue, his green, and his optima that I’m an AU on), so we’ll be able to get 4 x $30 per card = $120. you and your wife will each get the 3 x 10, so $60 total.

  141. can the card be used at the same merchant for 3 different transactions ($10*3) to get the maximum benefit? or the 3 transactions have to be at 3 different merchant?


  142. Registration for SBS 2014 is now live.

  143. Is the Delta AMX card eligible? What about the Fidelity AMX? I registered my AMX blue card, but can’t figure out how to register the other two cards.

    • Scratch that – registered all three! It only showed up on the special offers page on for the Blue card…. I had to manually register the other two on the general AMX ( website. It didn’t show up when I logged in to either the Fidelity (FIA) or Delta AMX sites, but I still got a confirmation email for all three cards! This seems too good to be true…..

      • Too good to be true, but it really is true. This seems to be the first year that Amex offered SBS registration on its own site under the “Offers for You” for Amex issued cards, but these do not include the authorized user which has its own separate account number.

        The best practice is to go directly to and register each card number

    • I have used both Delta Amex and Fidelity Amex with SBS promo in the past and have received statement credits successfully. They are eligible for AmexSync offers too.

  144. Jonathan, are you sure that it’s live? I went to the site and don’t see a place to register yet.

  145. I could not figure out how to sign up but I did look at the map. One of the restaurants listed in my area, has been closed for about two years. Made me wonder how accurate the map is. Still looking to sign up.

    • Linda, click on the “Small Business Saturday” link that Jonathan posted above. This loads the SBS page. From there choose “Register Now”. Submit your info and you should be good to go.

  146. Linda,

    Just go here and click on “Register Now”.

  147. Jonathan, I appreciate your blog. It has saved me a bundle. I signed up for this promotion once before thanks to your heads up and it worked out great. It’s free money! I also am greatly appreciative of the WSJ free subscription offer you highlighted last year. That was a fantastic offer. Your blog is the best! Hands down!!!

  148. My husband and I have 2 Amex cards between ourselves which were issued by Costco and we both receive the same statement every month. I registered both the cards and I have received confirmation emails for both the cards seperately. Would we be able to spend $30 separately, which would be a total of $60 waived in the same statement? Please help.

  149. I didn’t see anything in the fine print about using the same card 3 times at one store

    can we just go in, buying 3 things for $11 each, on 3 transactions .. and get $10 back on each? At the same store?

  150. Another tip, do not use an alternative wallet to pay for your SBS promo purchase. This includes using PayPal, Google Wallet, SoftCard, Apple Pay. Also if you use an order ahead type service for your small business restaurant this may not qualify. The key here is to spend directly with the merchant using the card number you used when you registered.

    If you use the ExpressPay feature of your Blue or SPG card (assuming you still have it), you’ll transmit a different card number than your account number. If you use an alternative wallet, you’ve made a wallet transaction and not directly with the merchant.

    Happy shopping!

  151. Hi
    I have a Amex card with 3 family members authorized. So does it mean I can use all three cards and make $10x 3ea purchases. That would be $30 per card, and $90 for my whole family?

  152. This is a “better safe than sorry” comment — Does anyone recognize the merchant “RCM BUSINESS SOLUTIONS” in Pasadena, TX? About a week after I registered online for this Amex promo, a random card-not-present charge from this company was added to my Amex card, even though I pretty much never shop with this card except at Costco. Amex alerted me to the transaction due to the “card-not-present” status. Anyway, just wanted to put this out there just to document it. If my card has been compromised, it’s not quite clear how it took place yet.

    • I also noticed a charge from “RCM BUSINESS SOLUTIONS” in Pasadena, TX for $6.42 on my AMEX card…which I also had only just pulled out my AMEX (that I normally do not use or carry) to recently register for the Small Business Saturday.

      I contacted AMEX and they are in the process now of removing the charge.

      I found this web site by doing a search for “RCM BUSINESS SOLUTIONS on amex bill”

      AMEX won’t tell me how/why they charged me…but whomever RSM Business Solutions is…they are scamming somehow or someone has hacked our registering for the AMEX Small Business Solutions and tried to make some BS charge to see if the AMEX numbers were good.

      You may want to ask AMEX to issue you a new card!!!

    • The RCM Business Solutions Pasadena charge for $6.42 was on my most recent statement! And I hadn’t used the card to register for Small Business Saturday – just for Costco, Wal-Mart, Michaels, Chevron and Safeway. AmEx is removing the charge now that I’ve disputed it. I called RCM company, which is located in Chicago, and spoke to the billing manager. Nothing about the charge tied in with his company and he appreciated knowing about the bogus charge in his company’s name being applied to AmEx cards.

    • I also called AMEX’s customer service line and notified them that I don’t recognize the $11.27 amount charged on my card from RCM Business Solutions Pasadena. AMEX immediately processed the dispute and removed the charge, but I’m definitely concerned that somehow my card info has been compromised and that I’m not alone!

  153. Wow…

    I wonder what we all have in common.

    KC, Do I understand in reading your response that you did NOT register you AMEX card for small business Saturday??

  154. I used three AMX cards on Small Business Saturday this year – $30 on each card: AMX Blue, AMX Delta, and AMX from FIA Card Services (Fidelity Card). I received the post-purchase confirmation email from AMX for all three purchases on all three cards. On December 1st I received $30 on each of my two regular AMX Cards – Blue and Delta. As of today, December 3, I haven’t received anything on the AMX from FIA Card Services (Fidelity Card)….. Will I need to call FIA? I noticed above that in years past (2011) people have had to call FIA… has anyone had to call FIA in more recent years (2012 or 2013)? Has anyone received a credit this year (2014) from FIA for Small Business Saturday? Since I received three post-confirmation emails from AMX for the FIA transactions, I assumed it would work without a hitch… Hoping to not have to call… FIA doesn’t have an email option – only a phone number.

    • I’d give it a few more days (maybe next Monday?), before checking into it. I used four cards this year. The two cards issued directly through American Express have the credit already, the other two do not. I got an email confirmation on all 12 of my purchases, so I expect that it will just take a little longer for the third-party bank-issued cards to get the credit. The same thing happened last year, and the credit came through with no problem.

  155. Got my $30 total credits in just a few days. thanks again for the tip!

  156. Regarding the “delay” in credits posting on licensed Amex cards (FIA, Citi, etc) don’t be alarmed that it may take longer for credits to appear. First of all the confirmation email says this could take up to 90 days. But in practice this should take much less time. Maybe a week or two. I have not had problems with recent Amex Sync deals or SBS in the last 4 years so just be a little patient.

  157. I went to 3 businesses listed in the sbs website but only got $10 credited (on the authorized card). Anyone else get partial credit? I am not inclined to try this again…..

  158. Either call AMEX, chat with AMEX online, or send them an email through their web site.

    Explain the basic details with the merchant name and you will get your credit in a few days.

    I Had to do that with one card and it was quickly resolved.

  159. Yup, got it now by calling. Just noticed one of the places I went to didnt post until the next day (even though I went at noon).

  160. Sofaking Nuts says

    I guess there’s no credit available in 2015,

    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.

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