Amex neuters Small Business Saturday. No statement credits this year.

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In the past several years, the Saturday after Thanksgiving was like Christmas to those with a handful of American Express cards.  Each year, on that day (dubbed “Small Business Saturday”), Amex would offer statement credits for purchases made at small businesses.  By splitting transactions it has been possible to buy things for free.

Small Business Saturday FAQ

This year, though, it looks as though the party is over.  In the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Small Business Saturday, Amex displays the following:

Is there an American Express Statement Credit Offer for Card Members for Small Business Saturday this year?

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. Learn about the materials we make available at ShopSmall.com/GetReady:

We are also significantly expanding our grassroots advocacy efforts, such as the Neighborhood Champion program, to facilitate more community events and activities to engage local communities to shop small on Small Business Saturday.

The important part, is this: “This year we are not offering a statement credit offer for Card Members on Small Business Saturday.

Nooooooo!!!!!

Hat Tip: Yeshu via Twitter

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Maureen Laspina

Sorry to hear this. I looked forward to using my Amex cards on Small Business Saturday. I thought it was a great promotion for both the small business and prompted me to circle that date on my calendar to shop! It was a win win for both. Too bad for Amex since now I’ll be using my Visa cards for all my holiday shopping!

[…] H/T: Frequent Miler […]

[…] Amex neuters Small Business Saturday. No statement credits this year. (The Frequent Miler). Now you’ll have to spend Thanksgiving with family, not with authorized user cards with their names. […]

[…] is killing the Small Business Saturday credits, boooooooooooooo! Saw it first at Frequent Miler. It just continues the long gradual decline of Amex in our hobby. So […]

iahphx

Well, if the purpose of this promotion is to promote the AMEX card among small businesses, eliminating the financial incentive for cardholders to show up that Saturday isn’t going to help. 🙂

I’m guessing AMEX didn’t like folks with 50 companion cards going nuts. I don’t blame them, even if I was sort of one of those folks. But there are ways to prevent people from being piggy. Like limit a statement credit to the primary cardholder. Easy peazy, and keeps the program intact.

Like most credit card companies, though, AMEX doesn’t seem to know how to close loopholes without a sledgehammer.

JohnnieD

The only reason I have kept my gold amex is sbs offsets the annual fee. When they jacked the fee up to 175, I still said , meh, i’ve got sbs with au x8. Now, as soon as the fee hits-done. Change me to no annual fee card asap. Had 22 cards total (BB too). Sad, sbs had me out of the house all afternoon last time getting $10x3x22.

[…] H/T: Frequent Miler […]

Nick

Hilarious that many of those worst abusers now express their outrage and threaten to close their Amex cards. News flash for you: Amex will be laughing, “great, see ya! – don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” Amex doesn’t need you, doesn’t want you – why the heck would they?

Given the kind of abuse that is promoted and celebrated here, anyone who is surprised they closed this loophole is an idiot. You think Amex employees don’t have access to the internet, and they don’t mind being played for chumps. Riiiiight.

Chalk up another loophole closed thanks to the blogs driving bottom-feeders to abuse it.

Blogs like this are the best thing that ever happened to Amex and the other card issuers. The exposure of loopholes here points their way straight to what they should close next.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Max

I agree that there was some logic and calculation behind this move by AmEx. At the same time, it will definitely reduce my interest in keeping some of their accounts open, especially those with annual fees. And I’m also relieved that there’s one less chore to do around the holidays. 🙂

Bikeguy

Well, my shopping just got a lot easier for that Saturday.

Kadence

Really bummed…. just ordered cards for other family members last week. Wondering if Amex will do any analysis on what was spent last year vs. this year. I can tell you that I used my amex card all over that Saturday, not just at participating small businesses because it was “top of wallet” as Gary says.

Jason

This was my favorite holiday! My wife and I would turn it into a big date day, going out for all 3 meals and doing some shopping. Sad to see it go.

[…] learned from Frequent Miler this morning that Amex Small Business Saturday 2015 will not have any statement credits.  From the official […]

anthonyjh21

I really like how they made it known this annual small business day would continue as usual. Then weeks later an “oh by the way we’re not giving statement credits anymore.”

I understand the spirit of SBS but I cannot see any allocation of resources towards small businesses increasing the likelihood of small businesses doing better than years past with motivated buyers. And isn’t that what this day is about anyways? Make no mistake this was a money saving move. Perhaps a knee-jerk one at that. How else could they justify not telling customers sooner?

lopere

I find it sad that some were forgoing vacations in order to get a handful of $10 credits

And newsflash everyone – SBS wasn’t meant as a benefit for the consumer, but rather was more for the business.

anthonyjh21

Who says they’re mutually exclusive? The influx of spending was heavily subsidized by Amex. BOTH consumers and small businesses lose here.

Eric

I’m pretty sure a large amount of the people commenting on this blog spent only the bare minimum of $10 or so for each card so the businesses aren’t suffering a big loss.

Jayson

I spent 3 x $10 per card and then x 20 cards, so I gave that business $600 I would not have spent otherwise buying their gift cards to spend on pizza at their restaurant. I got to enjoy free pizza all year long. I think most people would have gone that route. Then again maybe people that read this blog aren’t into maximizing free cash…So, my guess is that $600 probably did matter at least somewhat to that particular small business…

anthonyjh21

He didn’t reference any particular subset of amex customers.

Yes, the readers of this blog no doubt purchased closer to the minimum than the overall amex user. My opinion on this remains the same. Amex dropping the statement credits will have a net negative impact on both the consumer and the small business.

meathead

they may reverse course for next year. Once they see how few amex transactions they will get on SBS. I can’t understand the logic here. You had a net setup and drove fish to it. Now you’ve replaced that with simply launching a net out and hoping something will swim by. they may want to increase profitability but you need to have revenue first.This is a revenue killer. I’d love a slice of their data to see the year over year declines.

C

🙁

PAtrick

I concur with most folks here. Without the SBS credits to help offset the cost of the card, no need to have multiple flavors of AMEX or authorized users.

Pam

I recently decided to keep an Amex card open because I could offset part of the AF with my SBS savings. I had fun last year with SBS savings. Without the SBS credits, this makes the fees harder to justify. And yes, it will make a difference to me in my decision to keep a card open – or not. I keep track of my savings from SBS and sync offers to see just how much each card is actually costing me. And with the lousy sync offers lately (and I’m still mourning the AAdmirals Club benefit loss), my Amex cards aren’t looking as attractive any more.

Blanca

My husband will be soooo happy that he will not be “persuaded” by me to stop at every ‘hood Food Town location on his way home from working 10 hours to get $10 worth of free groceries from his stack of Amex! I am actually kind of relieved too.

Why does every “deal” seem to involve driving into a ghetto area (Smart and Final I’m talking about you in Las Vegas) and/or getting into it with an uneducated “cashier” somewhere (Apple Pay at HEB and Urban Outfitters). Burnout.

Thinkfirstyo

Define “hood”, “ghetto” and uneducated if you would be so kind?

Blanca

Shooting in parking lot of food town qualifies for hood ghetto and uneducated and for all I know and have witnessed the undesirables are white…http://www.texaschlforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=70323

To poster below I put cashier in quotes because that is the job they are supposed to be doing but are not…example one tried to slide half my order to me over free because she found out I was donating it to a food bank! That is theft plain and simple. I told her she forgot to ring up some of my stuff.

Eric

I don’t like your borderline racist comments but I’m curious why did you put “cashier” in quotes?

Carl

Well, this sucks. I was looking forward to SBS as well having been accumulating cards and planning for it. I agree with the poor offers that they send out, but of course they are high end, that is the part of the market they are trying to re-target to. But not very well, I think. I still like the points as the MR points are very useful, but when fee times come around, then I think there will be cancellations.

They are trying to increase profitability so I guess reining in this particular promotion is not an overwhelming surprise to me now that I think about it. Not the best way to do it.

Matt

Dang, this sucks! I missed out last year because I had an epic stomach virus on SBS and wasn’t up to leaving the house, or really doing much of anything.

[…] HT: frequentmiler […]

[…] it seems that the Thanksgiving weekend gravy train has ended. Frequent Miler points out that American Express has updated the FAQ on their Small Business Saturday website. Here […]

atxtravel

From what I’ve heard most small businesses go out of their way to avoid taking Amex cards due to much higher fees and I believe some other issues. With no financial incentive and no bonus category I’d rather whip out my 2% card.

Chris F.

The %s are different for every card, but AMEX is at the top end, so many small businesses in my area do not take them either. Why would they need to as most people who have a CC will have a Visa/MC?

Interestingly, the %s are also higher for rewards cards vs. more non-bonus-spend cards, and of course debit cards are the cheapest to take. Since my family opened a retail shop, I’ve found myself more likely to take out the debit card when visiting other shops in the area. The points hoarder in me cries, but every little bit helps a lot of these places.

Net Netty

If the extra .05-.8% (That is an extra 5 cents to 80 cents per $100 in sales) in extra fees for amex is gonna kill your business then you were not going to be in business long anyway.

Chris F.

“Kill your business” is a bit exagerrated; I don’t see anyone going out of business over CC swipe fees. However, every bit does help. With Visa vs. Amex, that ~$0.80/$100 is not huge, but where’s the small-business retailer’s incentive to take Amex over Visa? Most people know Amex charges higher swipe fees, so they’re understanding when the Mom-and-Pop corner store says “Sorry, no Amex.” Small Business Saturday brought traffic to local stores at the same time it encouraged us to use our Amex cards, so if anything there’s less incentive to accept Amex as a form of payment now — additional marketing material isn’t much of a substitute.

The difference is much larger when it comes to debit vs. credit, though. Debit is a set fee typically, whereas credit is a %. So that $100 sale goes from a fee of around $0.25 with debit to $2-3 with credit.

Net Netty

Hey no worries guys. Another deal will come along!

Chris F.

If abuse was the problem, it’s surprising they didn’t try something like $5 off $25, or limiting statement credits to one per card.

I feel a lot better about scheduling a football game for that day, now!

5280 Miles

Hey Greg. Got any good news???
Any update on Amex GC?
This is bummer news… Thanks for posting.

Maora

Might as well cancel the whole Small Business Saturday campaign. Luckily I only have no-annual-fee AMEX cards, but still this is a bummer. No statement credit = no incentive to shop. AMEX can’t understand this simple logic?

JL100

Wow – they could at least do $5 on $25! Weak!

J. Grant

All this talk about canceling cards… I bet most people who said they’d cancel will keep their cards.

SDO

Why is that so hard to believe? It doesn’t take much effort to cancel a few cards.

Dan

Agree. People think posting they will cancel cards will make Amex change their mind. People do the same thing with devaluations and threatening to change to another program. Amex isn’t reading this blog…

Net Netty

You better believe they are aware of this blog and the other big ones. How silly and naive to think they dont pay attention.

will s

Right, that’s why they’re one of the sponsors of this very blog, oh clueless wonder.

Eric

What I’m really confused about is why so many people have Amex cards with annual fees.The only one I have is BCP and I make the money back with their generous cash back.

anthonyjh21

For those who utilize Amex points they’ll find value in the annual fee cards. I currently only have one AF card, the BCP just like you.

Kathy

This does completely stink! I plan for those credits and it helps me justify all the stinking annual fees that I pay. UGH!

Silver Springer

Was on the fence on keeping one of my Amex cards and now will cancel it.

Geoff

“Marketing materials”? That’s hilarious. More stuff for the landfill!
Here’s a “marketing” tip: Give cardholders incentive to use their card(s) and justify the fee(s).
Very lame AMEX, very lame.

JS

This.

Mark R.

Time to reduce the # of my AMEX cards!

SDO

Thanks for reporting the sad news. Oh well, time to cull my current flock of AmEx cards.

Jamie

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but SBS was actually a factor in us deciding not to travel at Thanksgiving. At least there’s time to rethink that. Thanks for the headsup!

Randy

Well, we went ahead and made the plan to travel – but I DID hesitate. So we’re all a bit compulsive, its just a matter of degree. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tom

If you plan it right, you can travel AND get the credit through online shopping. You just have to find the right stores.

Kevin

Looks like it is time to cancel some Amex cards. This was one of the single best benefits of having the card and offsetting the annual fee. Yes, I know there are still AmexOffers, but lately they either haven’t been targeted towards me or they get snapped up too quickly by everyone when they are public offers.

brian

@Nancy…totally off-base…how is that abuse? Oh, it’s like the guy that had > 60 cards.

Just makes their cards that less valuable and their yearly annual fee all the more unbearable to keep. Too bad they couldn’t just keep the SBS to primary cards instead of penalizing everyone with their 5 sub-cards to EACH of their Serve cards…..*ahem*

Eric

I said that a while ago that authorized users shouldn’t have access to Amex Offers, SBS, etc. It just encourages people to abuse the system.

A

Just another reason to dump their overpriced cards.

will s

Agree, and I’m sick to death of reading about “highly targeted” AMEX offers that might be appealing to me, but all I ever see is endless offers for high end boutique and surf shops….

this Small Business Saturday “thing” was the only reason I’d kept open some of my older Amex cards…. Trimming time just ahead.

the amex gravy train for miles bloggers ending soon too.

Maora

Endless useless offers…agree

meathead

What’s the point? They are investing in a bunch of cardboard clutter….sorry- Marketing Materials. Shipping them to Merchants that may or may not put them in front of the card swipe terminal. And I have zero incentive to pull that card out at that particular merchant. So Amex has essentially spent $ on worthless marketing cardboard.

Only angle COULD be some enticed Amex Offers timed with the event.

Nancy

Think it has anything to do with people trying to take advantage of the system? Basically splitting a meal out or a purchase among their dozens of Amex cards and then bragging about it online? Hmmmm…

FWIW, we take advantage of all promos and deals, but we don’t abuse the system. Abuse gets it cancelled

Susan

what a pandering defender of the privileged system….. So the fat cats running the show at AMEX abuse and diss us, and you flip it around and accuse “us” of abusing them…. (with our little $10 purchases for one lunch a year, split over two checks) How very tidy.

Such faux style arrogance…. yup, you betcha, such “abuse” will get the cards cancelled. (best reconsider your AMEX portfolio, Evonna)

lonyangel

Nice post and thanks for sharing it.

Susan

Yes, thanks very much for the alert. Does two immediate things for my family: Frees up a wee nagging guilt in back of our minds for traveling over Thanksgiving. Second, frees us up to unload several aging, and now essentially useless AMEX cards. (the AMEX offers pool also dried up a long time ago too — worked great at first, but now we don’t get any of the decent “highly targeted” offers. So very tired of getting misleading offers for dining in Manhattan, diamonds, super high end make-up, etc., etc. etc. — all garbage for the non-Trump class) We much RESENT that we no longer get the “good” everyman’s AMEX offers (say to Lowe’s), and we’re now “released” to show our displeasure…. by walking away from any AMEX cards in our wallet no longer performing…. Ya fired Donald T AMEX) 🙂