American Express Small Business Saturday 2011

American ExpressSmall Business Saturday, the easiest way to “make” $25, is back for it’s second year. Smack in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was American Express’s promotion in which you could get a $25 statement credit if you spent at least that much at a “small business” that day. There are various other business focused promotions associated with it, like $100 in free Facebook ads, but for consumers, the $25 is one of the easiest ways to benefit from having an American Express card.

To take advantage, you’ll need to register at the Small Business Saturday website once registration opens on November 1st. Last year, the promotion was limited to the first 100,000 to pre-register their card so you’ll want to act quickly. I’ll try to get a reminder out before the 1st.

(Photo: neoliminal)


American Express Credit Line Increase Returns

Back in late 2009, I shared a tutorial for how to increase your line of credit on an American Express credit card. As the credit crisis intensified, American Express removed that option from the account management screens – leaving many without a way to request an increase online. Well, the hawks at Fatwallet have reported that the option has returned!

The original tutorial still works (the menus are slightly different but you get the idea) and the original advice of “don’t be greedy” still applies. Don’t request very large increases (keep your limit under $25,000 and don’t make a large jump) and don’t request one too often – no more than once every six months. You should get an automatic increase, if all goes well, or a message that says you will be contacted for financial review (that’s bad).

Why would you want to request credit line increases? It reduces your credit utilization and can mitigate some of the negative effects of canceling other credit cards.

Since my limit is above the $25,000 threshold, and mostly because I don’t need more credit, I haven’t bothered using it.


American Express Eliminating Some Foreign Transaction Fees

American Express announced this month that they would be eliminating foreign transaction fees for Platinum and Centurion cards starting at the end of the first quarter of 2011. Foreign transaction fees are fees tacked onto purchases made in another currency and one of the big reasons why we opened up a Capital One credit card prior to our trip to Europe last year.

As an added bonus, if you’re a Platinum or Centurion cardmember, you get $200 in airline fee credits that can go towards airline fees from food to changing a flight to airport lounge day passes to checking a bag.

According to an updated list of foreign transaction fees at, Capital One is still your best bet for avoiding a foreign transaction fee (unless you have a Platinum or Centurion American Express card).

 Bank Deals 

American Express Small Business Promotion

AMEX Small Business PromotionRight before Thanksgiving, I received an email about American Express’ Small Business Saturday promotion where you can get a $25 statement credit for spending $25 at a small business (on Saturday, November 27th). By the time I got to the email, Saturday had already passed (along with Sunday) so I couldn’t take advantage of it. It turns out that the promotion was so popular that American Express has decided to extend the promotion until the end of the year. All you have to do is register here with your name, AMEX number, security code, and email address. Then, spend $25 or more at a single participating small business and you’ll get a $25 statement credit

Act quickly, it’s limited to the first 300,000 enrollees and the credit will post 5 business days after your purchase.

Some terms & conditions:
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Spend American Express Membership Rewards at Amazon

I recently learned that you can now spend your American Express Membership Rewards at as part of their Shop with Points program. When you couple it with free Amazon Prime for students (my wife is a graduate student), you have yourself a nice little two-day shipping fueled by points I was having difficulty spending.

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 Your Take 

Your Take: Your Favorite Credit Card?

JD PowerEvery year, JD Power & Associates puts out a credit card customer satisfaction survey in which all the major credit card companies are listed along with their scores. It’s a 1,000 point scale and this year the “winner” was American Express with 769 out of the possible thousand. The silver medal goes to Discover Card with a 757.

I wanted to do an informal Bargaineering comment survey to see who you guys rated as the best credit card issuer. Is your favorite American Express? Discover? Citi? Chase?

I don’t call my credit card very often and I’ve never had an issue with any of my cards, so the basis of my satisfaction really just boils down to cash back rewards. In that regard I’m close to JD’s results as my favorite card is the American Express Costco TrueEarnings card followed by the Citi mtvU card.

What’s your favorite and why?


How to Analyze Credit Cards Reward Programs

Credit card companies are always competing for “share of wallet,” that is a piece of your spending pie. They will offer new account bonuses to entice you to sign up. They will give you reward points of cashback to entice you to keep using their card. They’ll throw out low introductory interest rates to make spending your money a little easier.

As consumers, you might think it’s easy to compare offers. If someone offers you 1% and someone offers 2%, the 2% is better right? Not necessarily. In the world of reward programs there are two sides – the earning of points and the spending of points. It’s very easy to only focus on the earning of points and assume that spending it will be easy. As some travel credit card holders have quickly learned, sometimes spending it isn’t as easy as it seems.

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Credit Cards with Concierge Service

How would you like a personal assistant for free?

Lost? Can’t figure out your GPS? Don’t have a GPS? Ring up your credit card’s concierge service and ask!

Need tickets to a show? What about tickets to another country? Both are within a credit card concierge service’s wheelhouse and booking both are complimentary (the cost of the tickets aren’t, but the service is free and you can’t even tip them if you wanted to).

Concierge service used to be the exclusive benefits of those carrying American Express’ Centurion Card (yep, the black one made of the pulverized bones Spanish privateers), but today you can find it as a benefit of a lot of cards you wouldn’t expect.

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