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Was American Express Small Business Saturday Worth It??

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Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Small Business Saturday

Was Small Business Saturday Worth It?

If you read many blogs or were on Twitter yesterday, then you are probably tired of hearing about Small Business Saturday. As enthusiasts, we tend to get overly excited about deals which involve anything free, especially money!

I always do my best to figure out the math of a deal before participating, but sometimes I get too excited. Everyone’s excitement got me thinking yesterday about whether Small Business Saturday is worth it or not.

Since part of the focus of this blog is to look deeper into deals, I thought I would breakdown Small Business Saturday instead of just posting all of the “free” stuff I scored yesterday.

Why Does American Express Do It?

Small Business Saturday

To start, lets look at what the promotion is designed to do. American Express designed Small Business Saturday not to gain goodwill with merchants (although this may be a side effect), but to build brand loyalty.

When you went and bought something yesterday, realizing that American Express was paying for it, you no doubt felt a sense of pleasure. In other words, you made an association between American Express and positive feelings. Amex Offers works in much the same way.

Was Your Return Worth the Time Invested

Small Business Saturday

So how much time did you spend before Small Business Saturday planning? How much time did you spend at stores splitting your transactions? Was it worth it for the monetary gain you received?

In previous years, Small Business Saturday was much easier time wise, given that it didn’t require multiple transactions. For many years they gave $25 credits, which was great! Last year that was reduced to just $10. It only took me about 30 minutes to max out last year, but my take was much lower.

I am not someone who adds phantom authorized users to maximize my number of cards for promotions like Small Business Saturday. For me, there is too much risk of ruining my lucrative relationship with Amex, so I maximize without pushing too hard. Yesterday I had 12 cards which were eligible for Small Business Saturday.

My Return on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

In addition to 2 x $10 transactions for lunch, I got $30 in free gas ($10 at a time), $110 in Ace gift cards, $10 worth of light bulbs & $200 in Amazon gift cards. Of course each transaction was carefully done $10 at a time.

Thankfully I am in an area where there are a number of participating merchants. My total time spent including driving and in-store was about 2 hours. I am not including lunch, since that wouldn’t quite be fair.

In the end, I received $360 for about two hours worth of “work”. I also spent about 30 minutes beforehand planning for Small Business Saturday, so we’ll call it 2 1/2 hours for $360 or $144 per hour. I generally consider a deal to be really good when it nets about $100 per hour of value.


While I probably could have answered the question as to whether or not Small Business Saturday is worth it in a shorter post, I wanted to break down my thinking and why it is so important to evaluate everything. In this hobby it is so easy to chase the wrong deals and not maximize the right ones.

Based on your time spent, do you think Small Business Saturday was worth it? How much time did you spend out there? How did your day go? Let me know!

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Most of the local health food stores and liquor store where on the list. So for me it was $180 in vitamins and beer in less than an hour. Well worth it!!!

  2. My two daughters were home from college so we continued our tradition of Small Business Saturday shopping and eating. We had six cards, so $180 to spend. While we did pick up a few gift cards for my DH to use later (he was not in town), we mainly purchased Christmas presents. College kids only budget about $10 a gift for their friends anyway and local stores are a great place to find unique, well-priced presents. Throw in lunch, dinner and a half dozen books for ourselves, and we had a perfectly lovely (and perfectly priced) afternoon!

    • I think the only ones profiting of this were bloggers who pushed this super hard to generate clicks and referrals. Most people who got caught up in the frenzy of small amounts of free money either spent money they would not have otherwise spent or bought giftcards that have a good chance of ending up not being redeemed or sitting in a drawer for months before being redeemed.

      • While I am sure some bloggers profited, I don’t think you are really correct.

        I for one never linked to an Amex card or said anyone should apply for one. If people can make over $100 an hour then this is definitely a deal worth writing about.

        While I don’t know what everyone did, I would assume most people will use their gift cards. In my case I have an almost immediate use for the Ace gift cards and the Amazon gift cards are loaded to my account. I will use them as I buy things at Amazon. In other words, I will use every dollar of credits given.

        J did you participate? If so, what did you buy?


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