Friday, August 15, 2014

American Express - Shop Small August (limited markets... or is it?)

As much as I can love any credit card company, I love American Express.  Their well-known Small Business Saturday promotion was one of the most generous promotions out there for several years, offering a $25 statement credit per Amex card for purchases at small businesses on the last Saturday in November.  Though the promotion was scaled back to $10 per card last year it is still extraordinarily generous.

Amex runs similar, less known promotions throughout the year, usually focused on one town or event.  On Flyertalk, I learned that Amex is running a "Shop Small August" promotion that offers $5 statement credits for up three purchases of $5 or more at small businesses in Houston, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, or Sacramento.  Three beers per card at your local micro-brewery?  Three discounted sandwiches at your local lunch spot?  Just make sure each charge is run separately and its more free money from Amex.

One thing that Amex usually does very well is to develop useful websites to go along with their promotions.  The website for the promotion is here: Shop Small August. As of this posting, registration is still open.  So it's a no-brainer if you live in one of the featured cities.

Shop Small August
Too see where the credits are available, scroll down the page for a link to a map of qualified businesses in each city.

 Interestingly, at least some airport locations are included in the list of qualified "small businesses."  For instance, Shipley Donuts and Famous Famiglia Pizza at IAH are both included.  Bizzarely, TACA airlines also appears on the list:
I'd assume that some airport locations in MIA, SNF, and MSP might also be on the list, so if you're transiting any of those airports before the end of august, this deal might be of some use to you.

Now, I don't live in any of those cities, so I didn't figure it would be worth looking into.  But then, as a matter of curiosity, I did some research and it turns out that you may still be able to benefit.

The reason is that at least some of the qualified small businesses have websites.  And at lest some purchases through websites qualify for statement credits.  I was personally able to make a $5 online purchase from a small craft business in the Minneapolis area that qualified for the credit.  I've been getting "thank you for using your card notices," so there doesn't appear to be any trouble brewing.  Of course, this is very much a YMMV situation, for the Ts & Cs state very clearly that online purchases do not qualify:


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