Most of you already know that one of my favorite American Express promotions, Small Business Saturday, is returning this weekend on, well, Saturday, November 24. I know all of my readers are diligent and probably have enrolled all of their AmEx cards by now, but if you somehow missed the boat, you can always enroll now here on this page.
The best part of Small Business Saturday is that it’s basically free money. Yup, each enrolled AmEx card will give you a $25 statement credit when you spend $25 at a participating small business near you. I currently have 3 American Express cards, so for me that means $75 in free gift cards to some of my favorite local spots. Last year, I used my registered cards to purchase $25 gift cards at some of my favorite restaurants.
This year I plan on taking it up a notch – by combining the Small Business Saturday promotion with the current bonus-miles dining program promotions that are also going on, essentially earning me not only a free $25 gift card, but also up to an extra 1,500 bonus miles for a just $5 out of pocket cost.
- After enrolling your AmEx in the Small Business Saturday promotion, create an account with a dining program associated with your airline of choice, also linking that same AmEx to the dining program.
- Most of the airline or hotel-associated dining programs have new-member bonuses with a chance to earn up to 1,500 bonus miles with your first dine. As a specific example, The AAdvantage dining program currently has a promotion whereby new members can receive a bonus of 1,500 miles after completing their first dine/brief review within 30 days of joining. The new member bonus is in addition to the miles per dollar you’ll earn by dining.
- By purchasing a $30 gift card from (or actually dining at) a participating restaurant on Saturday, not only will you get a free meal or gift card, you’ll also walk away with 1,500 extra AAdvantage miles for just $5. To break it down, I value 1 AA mile on average, at approximately 1.8 cents, making 1,500 miles “worth” $27. Even if you keep the value of your AAdvantage miles on a super conservative side, valuing them at a penny each, 1,500 miles would be worth $15. American Airlines sells miles in increments of 1,000 for $29.50, so getting 1,500 miles, at 1/3 of a penny each, for $5 is a total no brainer.
Like You, I Have More Than One AmEx, Now What?
A key thing to remember is that one single credit card can only be linked to one dining rewards account/program at a time. You have the option of registering multiple cards, but to make this work, you’ll need to create a new account with another dining program for each additional American Express card. For me, I registered each of my 3 cards separately in dining programs with AAdvantage, United MileagePlus (1,000 bonus miles for new member bonus – note: $50 spend required), and US Airways Dividend Miles (also a new-member bonus of 1,000 miles).
Other Important Notes to Consider:
- Only one account per email address is permitted with each dining account, so if you’re currently an active dining program member (which I assume most of you guys are), you’ll have to re-register with a new email address to qualify for the new-member bonus.
- In order for any general dining program points (including the new-member bonuses), you must complete a very brief 2-minute “dining experience” review/survey, which will be sent to your email sometime after your purchase. Do not forget this step.
- Definitely check to see if your resaurant of choice is indeed participating in the dining program network in the first place, and if they are also participating in Small Business Saturday. Both of those componenents are necessary for this to be a success.
- Once you’ve verified that your restaurant is eligible, make sure there are no “black out day” restrictions. Some restaurants opt-out of dining programs on weekends or busy days. Good thing I went ahead and checked. Turns out, my first-choice actually has a Saturday restriction. Boo.
Hell yeah! Free money and cheap miles are the key to my heart. Go get ‘em!
How are you planning on taking advantage of Small Business Saturday this year? I’d love to hear about other awesome ideas as well!