The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) says that Small Business Saturday is “a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.” This means showing small businesses financial support, either by utilizing their paid services or shopping for items (including holiday gifts) in their stores.

Fortunately, consumers can get something in return for their spending on Small Business Saturday, which falls on Nov. 25, 2023. While this shopping holiday intends to promote spending at small establishments, savvy shoppers can seize the opportunity to score a boost in credit card rewards.

If you have a holiday shopping list to check off and want to spend money close to home, you should plan to take advantage. According to a Bankrate survey, 61% of holiday shoppers intend to primarily shop on Small Business Saturday this year.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Founded in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday is part of the Amex “Shop Small” movement. American Express notes that Shop Small began with the creation of Small Business Saturday. However, it has grown into a movement that helps keep communities vibrant and thriving through supporting small businesses all year round.

To help the movement progress, American Express lists participating small businesses on its website, which you can search based on your location or the business name. While Small Business Saturday participants will vary depending on where you live, you can usually choose among family-owned restaurants, small shops, local museums, breweries and more.

According to the 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey commissioned by American Express, consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday spent approximately $17.9 billion that year.

Best credit cards for shopping on Small Business Saturday 2023

To make the most out of Small Business Saturday 2023, you can shop at small boutique stores in your area, dine at locally-owned eateries and seek out other small businesses online. While you can pay for your purchases with an Amex credit card, note that you can earn credit card rewards and support small businesses if you pay with cards from other issuers, too.

Here are some of the best credit cards for shopping on Small Business Saturday 2023:

  • If you live near a locally-owned grocer, you might consider doing your Small Business Saturday shopping a bit early as you prepare your pantry for Thanksgiving.

    The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an ideal grocery store companion. To start, new cardmembers receive a $250 statement credit after they spend $3,000 in purchases on their new card within the first 6 months.

    Cardmembers also earn 6 percent cash back on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1 percent back), 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services, 3 percent back on transit and U.S. gas station purchases and 1 percent back on everything else. An introductory annual fee of $0 applies for the first year, then it adjusts to $95 annually. Lastly, rewards can only be redeemed for statement credits.
  • If you’re doing holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday and plan to pay for those purchases over a few months, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is worth considering. You won’t pay an annual fee, and you’ll get an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 19.99 percent to 29.99 percent.

    The card starts you off with a $200 welcome offer after you make $500 worth of purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account. You also earn a flat 1.5 percent cash back for each dollar you spend, as well as 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
  • Do you plan on patronizing your favorite local restaurants on Small Business Saturday? You should definitely bring the American Express® Gold Card if so. This card starts you off with 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $6,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening.

    Cardholders also earn 4X American Express Membership Rewards points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 4X points for Uber Eats purchases and 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel plus 1X points on all other purchases.

    A $250 annual fee applies, but you’ll get perks like up to $120 in dining credits (up to $10 per month as a statement credit) for eligible purchases at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory and more. You’ll also receive up to $120 in Uber Cash (up to $10 per month). Simply add your Gold card to your Uber account and each month you’ll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. (terms apply).
  • Finally, if you want to do most of your Small Business Saturday shopping online and from home, consider the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

    This card lets you earn 3 percent cash back on category purchases of choice (including online shopping, gas, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement), 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 of combined 3 and 2 percent category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent) and 1 percent on all other purchases. You can also earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 on new purchases within 90 days of account opening.

    The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards doesn’t charge an annual fee, and new cardholders get a 0 percent intro APR for purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of opening the account that lasts for 15 billing cycles. After the intro APR ends, a variable rate of 18.24 percent to 28.24 percent applies.

How to maximize your credit card rewards on Small Business Saturday

If you want to help local businesses and boost your rewards haul in the process, there are plenty of steps you can take. Consider these tips to maximize credit card rewards on Small Business Saturday and beyond.

Start spending toward a new welcome bonus offer

If you’re reading this early enough, you may still have time to sign up for a new rewards credit card that has a bonus offer worth $200 or more. Signing up now could help you maximize the rewards you earn on Small Business Saturday, as well as on all your holiday shopping through the end of the year.

Take the time to compare rewards credit cards based on their welcome offers, including their respective minimum spending requirements. To get the most out of these offers, you should make sure you can meet a minimum spending requirement with regular, organic spending and bills.

Utilize bonus rewards categories when you can

If you have several different rewards or cash back credit cards, you should make sure you’re using the right card for each small business purchase. If you have a rewards credit card that offers bonus rewards on dining, for example, then using it for a lunch out at your favorite family-owned restaurant is a smart move.

Maybe there’s a small, family-run grocery store or deli in your area. In that case, you would want to use a card that earns boosted cash back at U.S. supermarkets, such as the Amex Gold Card or Blue Cash Preferred.

Online purchases also count

Remember that online shopping also counts toward Small Business Saturday (although you may be limited in terms of small businesses with e-commerce platforms). Either way, you can use your rewards credit cards to order takeout on a small business restaurant website or to order items for pickup or delivery from your favorite small retailer.

The bottom line

Small Business Saturday is a shopping event that intends to bolster sales and engagement with small businesses instead of the big box stores. When you choose to “shop small” on Nov. 25 this year, you get the chance to spend money in your local community where it will count the most. Fortunately, you can help small retailers and eateries while enriching yourself with the right rewards credit card.