PHOTO: iStock

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In an effort to assist small businesses that have been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, on Monday, American Express launched a new set of credits across almost all of its US personal and business cards to reward customers who shop at small businesses.

American Express card members will receive a $5 credit for every $10 spent at a small business using an Amex card. The offer can be used up to 10 times between now and Sept. 20 for a total of as much as $50 in shopping credits.

The credits are part of an initiative by Amex to help jump start spending at small businesses, after a recent survey commissioned by the issuer showed that 65% of US small businesses said in order to survive 2020, they need their regulars to come back.

“We’ve long believed small businesses are the fabric of our communities and recognize the essential and unique role they play around the world,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer at American Express. “The implications that COVID-19 is having on our small businesses is staggering and we knew that we needed to step up to help as they navigate through reopening.”

In order to take advantage of these new credits, customers in the US who have an American Express consumer, business, Serve or Bluebird card will need to enroll in the offer by logging into their American Express account and adding the “Shop Small” offer in the “Amex Offers” section of the site, or on the “Offers” tab in the Amex mobile app.

Once enrolled, customers can use their card at any small business that accepts American Express cards to earn the credit. To find eligible small businesses, card members can utilize the Shop Small Map or the Online Directory on the Amex website — look for businesses marked as “Shop Small.”

Use the Amex "Shop Small" map tool to find eligible businesses where you can use your credits.
Use the Amex "Shop Small" map tool to find eligible businesses where you can use your credits. PHOTO: American Express

The map displays qualifying small businesses with a physical business location, while the online directory lists qualifying small businesses that accept online transactions.

Card members must enroll in the offer by July 26 and before making a small business purchase in order to be eligible for the credits. Any small business purchases must post to your Amex account by Sept. 20 to be eligible.

American Express corporate cards, along with other Amex prepaid cards and cards issued outside the United States, are not eligible for this offer. Similiar to other Amex Offers, these small business credits are limited to one card per card member, so after you enroll an eligible card, you won’t be able to enroll a second if you have more than one American Express card.

The issuer says it will commit more than $200 million across multiple international markets to its new small business initiative, along with launching a marketing campaign with a spot that features small business owners and their stores, and narration from American Express Global Brand Ambassador Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.”

“We know from past experience and over 10 years of supporting small businesses through Small Business Saturday, that card member offers work to drive consumer spend directly into small businesses,” said Rutledge. “With this offer, we intend to encourage American Express card members around the globe to Shop Small in their neighborhoods and support the small businesses they love.”

Get a $5 reward for every $10 you spend at eligible small businesses with your American Express card.
Get a $5 reward for every $10 you spend at eligible small businesses with your American Express card. PHOTO: iStock

The new small business credits come on top of several additional limited-time benefits that the issuer added to a number of its cards in May, including monthly credits for US wireless services on The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express through the remainder of 2020. The issuer also added limited-time bonus categories to many of its Hilton and Marriott hotel credit cards, as well as its Delta Air Lines credit cards.

If you don’t currently have an American Express card, you can still apply for one and be eligible for these new small business credits, so long as you enroll in the offer before the July 26 deadline. Visit ShopSmall.com online for complete eligibility details.

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Check out CNN Underscored’s guide to the best credit cards of 2020.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication. While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.