AmEx offers 2X rewards for shopping at small businesses

Amex 2016 shop small promoIn past years, American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) has offered small kick-backs for shopping on Small Business Saturday. This year, it’s changing that in a major way.

Instead of getting a single statement credit on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, cardholders can now earn 2X rewards per dollar spent through Dec. 31, 2016, when they shop at businesses on American Express’s Shop Small map.

Read on for promo details – and how to make sure you’re properly enrolled.

How to sign up

To participate in this promotion, you need to:

1. Enroll. You can do that here. Most American Express personal and OPEN Small Business cards are eligible. Additional cardholders on your account will be automatically enrolled, too, meaning their eligible shopping will earn extra rewards.

2. Make sure the business you want to shop at is part of the promo. You can check via American Express’s map.

3. Use your enrolled American Express card at that merchant by Dec. 31, 2016. Up to $100,000 in spending is eligible for 2X rewards on personal cards – up to $250,000 in spending with select business cards). Rewards will appear in your account within 10 to 12 weeks after the promotion ends.

The following are just some examples of the cards that are eligible for this promo:

Important details and caveats

Getting “2X” rewards doesn’t mean all your rewards earned at small businesses will be multiplied by two. Only the card’s baseline earnings for all purchases will be double, according to the promos terms and conditions.

For example, with the Premier Rewards Gold card, you’d earn 2X reward points on all non-category spending (because you usually earn a baseline of 1X on all purchases, and the Shop Small promo doubles that). However, you will NOT get 4X points per dollar if you use the card at a grocery store on AmEx’s Shop Small map, even though the card earns you 2X at grocery stores. Instead, you’ll earn the 2X you’d usually get from the card, plus 1 more MR point through the Shop Small promotion.

So what about cards that earn more than 1X rewards points on ALL general spending? Take, for example, the Hilton HHonors Card and the Hilton HHonors Surpass card, which both earn 3X Hilton points on all spending. If you use that card at an eligible small business, you’ll get an additional 3X points per dollar on every dollar spent because the baseline earnings rate is 3X points per dollar.

In other words, look at your card’s baseline rewards earnings for “all” purchases. That’s the amount that’s going to get tacked on to the rewards you earn per dollar spent.

Use the table below to see what the promo will get you from some popular AmEx products:

Rewards earned from American Express 2016 Shop Small promo
Blue Cash cards1 additional percent cash back per dollar spent
Delta SkyMiles cards1 additional SkyMile per dollar spent
Hilton HHonors American Express cards3 additional Hilton HHonors points per dollar spent
Membership-rewards earning cards1 additional MR point per dollar spent
Plenti credit card1 additional point per dollar spent
Schwab Investor card1.5 percent in additional cash back per dollar spent
SimplyCash Plus Business credit card
1 additional percent cash back per dollar spent
Starwood Preferred Guest card1 additional Starpoint per dollar spent

Maximizing the offer

You can enroll multiple cards at once. So, if you have several AmEx cards, you can continue to use them as you normally would. For example, you’d probably want to use your Blue Cash Preferred card at any eligible local grocers for a total of 7 percent cash back at grocery stores (6 percent from the card plus an additional 1 percent from the promo). But if you’re trying to also earn Membership Rewards points for an upcoming trip, you’d probably want to use an MR-earning card (like the Everyday Card, the Platinum Card or the Premier Rewards Gold) at any small businesses that don’t fall into one of your card’s bonus categories, thus earning 2X MR points per dollar.

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