Over the past five years, American Express has dangled a carrot to encourage cardholders to patronize independent stores on Small Business Saturday: statement credits from $10 to $30.
As the sixth annual homage to mom-and-pop shops starts Saturday, AmEx cardholders who make a conscious decision to forgo the big chains must settle for a warm-and-fuzzy feeling in addition to whatever bargains they pick up.
AmEx, a longtime promoter of Small Business Saturday, isn’t making the incentive widely available this year to cardholders, according to its website.
“This year we are not offering a statement credit offer on Small Business Saturday,” the company said on the “Shop Small” section of its website. “In past years, the offer was one of the ways to encourage our customers to make a habit of shopping at small businesses as they begin the holiday season.” The company’s @ShopSmall Twitter page addressed questions from consumers asking about the credit. “No incentive to shop small,” @atom58 tweeted to @ShopSmall.
American Express said it would continue to promote Small Business Saturday through local and national advertising. It said 55 percent of U.S. consumers are aware of the day — the highest figure yet recorded in a survey done on AmEx’s behalf.