In the past, we’ve seen statement credits ranging from $10 to $30 (3x $10) for purchases made with an American Express card at small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The purpose of Small Business Saturday is to promote smaller retailers in the community. American Express had previously offered the statement credits as a way to expose their card users to said small retailers by offering this nice little incentive.
My 2014 Small Business Saturday haul: 5 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of rum, 6-pack of beer, some jerky and meat sticks, frozen brats and burgers, $50 in movie theater gift cards, and a kid’s birthday gift (gift-wrapped, not pictured) … all for about $11 in odd store totals.
This year, however, the statement credit offered by Amex is NOTHING, $0.00, nada, zip, zilch, and zero. Here’s the excerpt from the Small Business Saturday faq page:
What gives, Amex?
As to why American Express turned the faucet off, the explanation seems simple: it was very expensive for them. Between Nicoleen’s and my Amex cards last year we got $150 in statement credits. But like many corporate cost-saving decisions, the long term effects may prove detrimental, at least with the cohort of card users who are the type to read this blog post. Insignificant as this Amex card perk seems, it could have been the benefit tipping the scales for many card holders to keep their Amex cards. I personally always factored it into assessments of Amex cards. In fact, my wife and I got Bluebird accounts last fall specifically to take advantage of the Small Business Saturday offer. Some of these thoughts are echoed in the comments of this blog post by the points blog behemoth, ThePointsGuy.
There’s a lesson here
To frequenters of travel, deals, and points blogs this revelation is not news. Similar blogs to mine all picked up on the story as soon as this year’s Small Business Saturday page went live a couple weeks ago. I wanted to chime in though, and point out what I think it the take-away: Good deals are never permanent, so take advantage of them when they’re around. Don’t wait!
I’ve made as many mistakes as smart moves in this game, but one accomplishment I am proud of is having a healthy dose of urgency when I recognize a valuable opportunity. Note: I said “healthy dose” which doesn’t mean being desperate or frenzied. It means prioritizing your efforts to favor exceptionally good deals or deals which are known to be temporary.
And most importantly, the elimination of the Small Business Saturday statement credits by American Express should serve as yet another reminder: don’t be surprised when a valuable situation goes away. They all eventually do. The key to capturing and creating value is to recognize and take advantage of good deals when they exist, and to move on and adapt when the current opportunities change or disappear.