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October 5, 2015

Small Business Saturday Stunner

Filed under: Finance,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:34 am

Shop SmallSince 2010, American Express has promoted the Saturday after Thanksgiving as “Small Business Saturday.” It is designed to get shoppers to “shop small” and patronize small retailers across the country, particularly those that accept the American Express card.

As an inducement from the very beginning, AMEX has offered their cardholders a $25 statement credit if they spent at least that much at a participating store. In 2013, they dropped the rebate to a mere $10, but made up for it last year by offering three $10 credits if one shopped at three different stores.

That was then, and this is now. For 2015, the company quietly dropped a bombshell on bargain hunters. Buried in a set of frequently asked questions, was the news.


Small Biz Saturday

No statement credits this year.

It was great while it lasted, but it had to have cost the company millions and millions of dollars. It was one of the most generous promotions that any cardholder could take advantage of once a year, and it will be missed.

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  1. Not sure how I feel about this one: It was a sales promotion. They don’t last forever. There is nothing to stop those small businesses from offering their own version. BTW. AMEX just revised its so-called cash back rules for cardholders; enough twists, turns and varying percentages based on the type of business, to make your head turn. On the other hand, Capital One Visa – straight 2% back. No bee-ess.

    Comment by Marty — October 5, 2015 @ 6:55 am
  2. I will never bitch when a “freebie” is taken away, enjoy it while it lasts.

    Comment by Maxamus — October 5, 2015 @ 8:39 am
  3. The small business Saturday program was extra promotion so I won’t complain too much that it is gone. If American Express wasn’t making a profit on the promotion then I wouldn’t blame them for stopping it.

    I would prefer a credit card that offered me consistent rewards. My 2% cash back citi card is reward enough for me, but I know a lot of shoppers get a thrill from constantly changing promotions that encourage specific purchasing habits.

    Comment by Wayne R — October 5, 2015 @ 10:35 am
  4. I am a big fan of AMEX, so while I understand the change, I felt it both promoted small local business (Yay!) and the fact that those business should take AMEX. Maybe they can offer something behind the scenes still to do that when they mention “support” – Wishful thinking? Probably, but would be nice.

    Comment by Rachel — October 5, 2015 @ 11:41 am
  5. From the experience of contesting a charge with Amex and Visa, the customer support was SO much better with Amex that I would not use Visa again for any purchase unless I have no choice. The hoops Visa asked us to go through (everything had to be faxed or snail-mailed; email was not an acknowledged form of correspondence. Well great, if only we had a viable fax machine at home). Incidentally, this past Small Business Saturday, the owner of a tiny wine boutique on Long Island told me that, though in the past it was true that Amex charged businesses more than the other CC’s for transactions, they now all charge the same.
    And no, I don’t work for Amex, nor do any friends or family.

    Comment by Rebecca — October 5, 2015 @ 5:13 pm
  6. I would imagine that with Amex failing to renew the 2016 Costco contract. They have to watch every penny now.
    Until the realize the real reduction in revenue by loosing one of their largest client bases.

    Like many others as soon as the Amex reward card is no longer taken at Costco, I will have no reason to ever need an Amex again.
    Unless they can offer a better cash return with no annual fee then the new Costco visa or MasterCard will. And that’s highly doubtable.

    Comment by Scott — October 6, 2015 @ 7:23 am
  7. Follow-up to Scott’s comment: I’ve had my AMEX account for 21 years, and their service has been superb. They’ve never failed to back me up. Conversely, I once needed VISA as my secondary insurance after a car accident. Not only was the paperwork beyond insane, the incompetence made the Keystone Cops look like an elite military unit.

    So, having Costco dump AMEX rankles me on a lot of levels. Pre-AMEX, Costco would only take Discover, so I had to get that card. When they switched to AMEX, AMEX switched my existing account number to a new Costco card number. I had to advise everyone who had my card on file. Now, they’ve got to change it back to something. Problem? So far nothing they’ve offered has the same perks. I don’t want a cash back card, which is what they’re pushing. And I’ll likely have to pony up an additional annual fee. Meanwhile, Costco is forcing every member with an AMEX card to get two new cards: a new AMEX (assuming you still want to have one) and a Costco VISA. Worse, again it’s on the members/cardholders to advise everyone they do business with that their account information has changed. That’s millions of accounts! Can I get a “Hey, Costco! WTF?”

    Comment by JJ — October 21, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

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