In which I (almost didn't) save Small Business Saturday

Whenever anyone approaches me about getting involved in travel hacking for the first time, I tell them the same thing: it's a game that takes patience, good organization, and above all attention to detail.

That doesn't mean I'm perfect though, and I almost blew it this weekend! As everyone with one or more American Express cards no doubt knows, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is "small business Saturday," a promotion in which American Express participates by giving (this year) $10 statement credits for purchases made at certain local merchants, as long as the purchase is at least $10. This is a great promotion, even though it's not as generous as in years past, when the statement credits were $25. I have 3 American Express cards: a Delta Business Platinum; no-fee Hilton HHonors; and 2% cash back Fidelity Investment Rewards card, and I was looking forward to buying some gift cards, or at least visiting at a local restaurant or bar and having the pleasure of American Express paying for it.

I spend Thanksgiving with a friend's family in Indiana, and imagine my chagrin when I discovered that I had left all three of my American Express cards at home.

I immediately started thinking about how to salvage the situation, but American Express requires that the purchases be made in-person. Sure enough, a gift card purchase made online at a local coffee shop didn't generate the "Thank you for Shopping Small" e-mail that indicates you've successfully triggered the promotional credit.

Well, I got back to New England at 11:15 pm, and got back home at 11:40 pm. Naturally, I grabbed my American Express cards and sprinted down to my local burger shack. By the time I got ahold of a manager who could sell me gift cards, I was down to the wire. But 3 gift cards later (11:57, 11:58, 11:59), I check my inbox and in a few seconds had received the 3 confirmation e-mails.

Small Business Saturday was saved. Did you get to take advantage of SBS?