Small Business Saturday: Free Money from American Express the Saturday after Thanksgiving!

Since 2010, American Express has run the Small Business Saturday promotion the Saturday after Thanksgiving in which cardholders are given an incentive to shop at their local businesses. This year, American Express will give up to three statement credits of $10 for purchases of $10 or more at local businesses on the Small Business Saturday map.

So, if you found that your local wine store was taking part in this promotion, you could go to the shop, purchase three $10 gift certificates and have AmEx reimburse you via statement credit. Statement credits are the best because the card issuer does all the work – the cardholder doesn’t have to call, email, text, or write a letter asking for reimbursement.

It is essential that to make each of the $10 purchases separately. To use the previous example, a $30 bottle of wine would only get $10 reimbursed, since it would be one purchase of $10 or more.

$30 is nice, but we can do better. A lot better.

AmEx is crediting $30 per card number and any additional cardholders have separate card numbers. For example, if I wanted to add my dad as a authorized user, the first 10 or so numbers might be the same, but the last 4 or so would definitely be different, as if he had his own, separate credit card. This means I can register the authorized credit card for the Small Business Saturday promotion, making me eligible for an additional three $10 reimbursements. Awesome!

In terms of credit, making someone an authorized user does not mean the main cardholder receives another hit on his or her credit score for “opening” a new card for an authorized user. The authorized user is also not subject to any credit inquiry and the card will not show up on the authorized user’s credit history, since the social security number tied to the account is the main cardholder’s, not the users. Basically, both folks are free and clear from any kind of negative credit impact.

So, you got family and friends? If so, it’s time to start making them – all of them – authorized users, because there is some serious cashback potential this holiday season.

I have five different American Express cards:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest personal credit card
  • Starwood Preferred Guest business credit card
  • Platinum charge card
  • Gold Delta Skymiles credit card
  • Blue Cash credit card

Right away, I am eligible for $150 in statement credits, as 5 x (3x $10) = $150. This is free money and the only thing better than free money is. . .more free money (this isn’t Jeopardy). Let’s re-do the math, adding the fact that that I have made my mom, dad and sister authorized users on all of my cards except the Platinum, since an additional user costs $175.

I have six of the extra 12 cards, already!

I have six of the extra 12 cards, already!

Four of my cards now have 3 additional authorized users, each with their own separate card numbers. For the Small Business Saturday promotion, that’s as if I have 16 different credit cards. Add in my Platinum card and I have 17 total cards ready for reimbursement. My total available savings will be: 17 (3 x $10), or 17 x $30, or $510. Yes, $510!

I plan on going to a couple of the nicest restaurants in Charlottesville, buying gift certificates and splitting the credits down the middle. While fine dining can be expensive in Central Virginia, it ain’t New York City, so I think $250 will more than cover a meal for a family of four. And I’ll be doing that, twice, for free.

So, if you have AmEx credit or charge cards, take advantage of this promotion. Registration opens at “12:00 Mountain Standard Time (MST) on November 16, 2014 and will continue until 11:59 P.M. MST on November 29, 2014, unless the registration limit is reached sooner.” November 16 is a Saturday, so I will be hugging my computer at 2 A.M. the morning of November 17, ready to register. The ways to register are below, via AmEx’s T & C’s:

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Remember, even one card gives you a free $30. Do your part and keep it local this Black Saturday!

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