This year American Express gave out $10 statement credits for each $10 spent at a small business up to 3 times. Basically for each AMEX card you have, you can potentially receive $30 of credit from a small business. This year was my biggest AMEX Shop Small loot yet because I added a few authorized users and AMEX Serve/Bluebird were eligible for Small Business Saturday.
I ended up using 11 AMEX credit cards to get $330 worth of free stuff. My main strategy was to go for $10 gift cards at small chain restaurants. In Southern California, small make your own pizza shops are quite popular right now and they are all labeled small businesses. These pizza joints included Blaze Pizza, Pieology, and Pizza Rev. The reason why buying gift cards at these types of restaurants is that there are multiple locations and are constantly opening new restaurants. Here is an added bonus:
This was an awesome deal because I could buy 3 $10 gift cards and get a free pizza as well! I ended up buying 6 of these gift cards and getting 2 free pizza coupons. Awesome deal, free gift cards and free pizza coupons on top of it!
I found that a great strategy on AMEX Small Business Saturday is to visit a mall with unique stores. Since I was visiting family in Orange County, I found that Fashion Island in Newport Beach is a great place that meets that criteria. I pulled open the Shop Small map and found there was over 100 small businesses that accepted AMEX!
So on Saturday afternoon, I went with the wife to the outdoor mall and started visiting a few small restaurants. To please the other half, we found some actually clothing shops that were small businesses. We bought a few items for her then we found a pet store and bought a few items for the dog. Our final AMEX Shop Small loot is as follows:
- (6) $10 Blaze Pizza gift cards with 2 free pizza coupons
- (1) $45 Sweater (4 swipes)
- (1) $22 Asics running hat (2 swipes)
- (3) $10 Lemonade gift cards
- Dog toys and dog harness (3 swipes)
- (1) $20 Gelato gift card
- (2) $5 Gelato waffle cones
- (1) $30 Clothing Shop gift card
- (2) $30 G Burger Gift Cards (not pictured)
- (3) $10 Local Restaurant gift cards (not pictured)
We did a total of 33 swipes this year on 11 AMEX cards to get $330 worth of free stuff! Two of these credit cards were my parents’ credit cards, but my wife and I have 9 AMEX cards which include AMEX SPG, AMEX Blue Cash Preferred, AMEX Delta Gold, AMEX Hilton HHonors Surpass, AMEX Bluebird, AMEX Serve and authorized user cards for almost each card. I didn’t have a problem getting any of these to work except one store accidentally charged $20 on a gift card instead of $10 and we had to void it and do it over (hopefully it works out).
In conclusion, American Express is awesome! Although Chase usually has the best credit card sign up bonuses, AMEX shines in these promotions like Small Business Saturday and also AMEX offers that you can load onto each and every AMEX card you hold. I’ve gotten 50% off Starbucks and Petco gift cards and other free money from AMEX. If you don’t have any AMEX credit cards, you might want to consider signing up for an American Express credit card. For the points enthusiast, I would sign up for the AMEX SPG credit card (email me at email@example.com for a referral) or consider an AMEX Business Rewards Gold Card, see Doctor of Credit’s post for a 50-75K offer.
How was your AMEX Shop Small experience?