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Small Business Saturday is one of the best times to be a credit card churner – each year (for the past several) American Express has given out statement credits for shopping at small / local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Between my wife and I, we have 6 American Express cards that are eligible for Small Business Saturday, so it seemed prudent to do a bit of planning. After looking at which businesses counted on the Small Business Saturday website, I came up with a plan for my 18 statement credits.
- 7 at the Kenwood Theater, a local first-run movie theater. This will allow us to go out together as a family to see a matinee, with enough left over for Carolyn and I to have a separate date
- 1 at El Rancho Grande, which I’ll do as a $30 gift card purchase. This will satisfy my signup bonus for the American AAdvantage dining program, earning me an additional 2000 miles.
- 2 at Busken Bakery – mmmm donuts
- 2 at Graeter’s Ice Cream – mmmm more donuts! (and the ice cream is amazing also!)
- 3 at Currito’s, which is a burrito place similar to Chipotle
- 3 at Ferrari’s Little Italy, a local Italian restaurant.
It’s go time!
I was actually planning on being out of town with our church youth group in Louisville for most of the day, so I broke up my spending day in 2 parts. First off, I hit the bakeries which were open early in the morning.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen these
Small business Saturday. First stop Busken Bakery mmmmm A photo posted by Points With a Crew (@pointswithacrew) on
And of course, if you’re not following me on Instagram, well why the heck not?!!?
After returning back to Cincinnati from Louisville about 5pm, I set out to hit the final 4 steps. I managed to hit the movie theater at the perfect time – right before the big evening rush where asking to buy 7 gift cards in separate transactions might have gotten me the ol’ stinkeye. Then over to Currito, and Ferrari’s.
I had called El Rancho Grande the night before and they said that they did not sell gift cards, so I decided to hit my backup place that was also a member of the United MileagePlus Dining network – MJs on Main. After I found where to park, I bought my $30 gift card (to qualify for my dining network signup bonus and earn 2,000 United miles), which should only cost me $20 due to the statement credit.
A problem with duplicate transactions?
There was some concern from people beforehand that multiple $10 transactions at the same place with the same card would be flagged as fraudulent and/or require a call into Amex to set straight.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I did not have a problem with that, and I was typically buying exactly $10 of gift cards, usually 2 or 3 (or up to 7) at the same place. There was one restaurant where the system asked if the second $10 purchase was a duplicate, and the cashier initially said “yes” before ringing it and answering “no”.
Extending the life of your miles and points
Another great feature of doing this is dusting out a card that I don’t use too often. I have an American Express Hilton HHonors card, which I barely use (since the amount i get per $ of spend is not particularly exciting).
I recently got a notice from Award Wallet that my Hilton HHonors points are expiring (in February). So it was a great opportunity to put a bit of spend on my Hilton card, which will keep my points from expiring.