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STARTS TODAY: Get £5 back on a £10 purchase via American Express ‘Shop Small’ 2019

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Shop Small is back for 2019.  If you have an American Express credit or charge card, you can make big savings on your Christmas shopping from today until 22nd December with ‘Shop Small’.

What is American Express Shop Small?

American Express is the major UK sponsor of a scheme called ‘Shop Small’, designed to encourage you to shop in local independent stores instead of major chains.

Starting today and running until 22nd December, you will receive £5 cashback on the first 10 transactions you make for £10 or more at a participating ‘Shop Small’ business.

American Express Amex Shop Small

There are very few rules apart from the fact that you can only get one £5 cashback per shop per card. You can, of course, register multiple American Express cards if you have more than one.

For 2019, cashback is capped at £50 per card.  It is not clear if supplementary cards are treated separately and have their own cap.

How does Shop Small work?

It is a simple process:

You MUST register your credit or charge card before making a ‘Shop Small’ purchase:

You can register British Airways, Harrods, Costco, Starwood, Gold, Platinum, Platinum Cashback, Amex Rewards, Vitality and Green American Express cards by going to the American Express website, logging in and looking under ‘My Offers’ on the statement page.

Note that Corporate and pre-paid Amex cards do not qualify.

You can register supplementary cards (an additional card held by your partner on the same account) as long as it has a different card number to your main card and has its own separate Amex log-in.

You must find a participating ‘Shop Small’ small shop:

The main Shop Small website is here which contains a link to an interactive map where you can find participating shops in your area.  You will also often see a Shop Small sticker in a shop window.

Beware that this map, in previous years, has not been accurate. Often in a good way (some shops not featured give the credit) and often in a bad way (shops on the map are closed or don’t even accept Amex).  Your best option is to use your Amex whenever you can during the Shop Small period and see what hits.

It is worth noting that it is not just sellers of ‘things’ who are taking part. You will find cafes and even the occasional pub taking part.

You must make a qualifying purchase of £10 or more:

You can make one purchase per registered card per shop that is taking part in ‘Shop Small’.

You should receive an email or phone notification soon after making your purchase, although you shouldn’t panic if you don’t.

A £5 credit for every £10 purchase will be added onto your credit card statement within a few days.

Note that American Express has closed down card accounts before (including some HfP readers) when they believe that ‘Shop Small’ has been abused.  ‘Abuse’ includes asking a retailer to break down a transaction into chunks of £10 and paying each £10 with a different registered American Express card.

For clarity …. this promotion is fully funded by American Express as part of its campaign to encourage more small shops to accept the card.  It is not funded by the shop so you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking part.

You can find out more on the American Express website here.

PS.  If you missed it, take a look at our recent article on the top 10 reasons to get the free (in year 1) American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – March 2023 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (110)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Matt says:

    Worth noting that last year I used two retailers in Greenwich Market with the shop small sticker in the window who weren’t taking part at all.
    Always check the AmEx shop small map carefully!

    • mark2 says:

      In my experience, the map is even less accurate!

      • Matt says:

        The map has always been a crock.
        Even asking the retailer if they accept Amex is sometimes a waste of time too!
        If you see an iZettle terminal etc – game on 😀

    • Shoestring says:

      non-triggering of offer/ bad map should trigger claim on Chat & £5 credit in your a/c – if you can be bothered, I guess

      • Lady London says:

        Take a photo of the frontage of the shop concerned with the sticker though as evidence?

  • Scottydogg says:

    Ive used mine twice thinking it started last saturday ! Doh

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Lol, same here. Used it 3 weeks ago!

      • Jack says:

        Same here – I messaged Amex about it as slightly misleading adding the offer but it not actually starting until 2 weeks later but they weren’t having any of it. Then again, I guess I should have read the T+Cs in a bit more detail

  • Mark Bates says:

    Interesting looking in my area that the local Ibis styles (which I would never use as it is around a mile from where I live!) is apparently available for ‘shop small’ a quick check for ‘Ibis’ also shows some other localish Ibis properties on the promo!

    • mark2 says:

      I have tried three browsers but am unable to see map.
      But when I saw it a few days ago, it listed all Amex merchants with the blue disc against those participating in ShopSmall.

      • Polly says:

        Ok, the ones with the tiny blue dot, tho not listed, are they supposed to be in shop small too? Have checked a few in our town, but not sure whether to risk them or not. Just checking, as maps can be misleading…

        • Shoestring says:

          yes – they’re just on a different page and the tiny blue dot turns into a big blue locator when you turn onto the right page, can also help to expand the map

        • Rooster says:

          The whole map system is awful, half the places don’t show up unless you actually type in the name of the retailer, so its the best way to check a specific one is taking part as it will show up if it is!

      • Polly says:

        Got some emails, but not others, so keeping a copy for claims. Last year had to get quite a lot of fivers credited, so worth it, actually.

  • George K says:

    It has been months since I received an email confirmation that an offer has been triggered. It started getting spotty earlier in the year I think, and I even queried it with amex. I think they have stopped doing these altogether now, unless shop small is an exception

    • Shoestring says:

      I got 2 instant email success confirmations in the last few days

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The Morrison’s offer is the only one I got. Got quite annoying tbh lol

        • RussellH says:

          I got an e-mail for the Morrisons offer this time last week, but for all the earlier ones this year, nothing!
          Did get the rebate, though.

      • George K says:

        Wow – how’s that for inconsistency. I went back to check my last email and that was in May. I wonder why that is

    • Anon says:

      Harrods offer is one that never gives email confirmation in my experience, most others do.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Just had 2 of Saturday. Gift cards ready for when the sale hits the website (18 Avios / £ atm too)

        • eli says:

          I’ve received email confirmation for Harrrods.
          Don’t forget 12 avios per £1 at BA avios store

          Ignore the small print and buy a Harrods gift card using the BA store and end up spending £70 for a £100 voucher with 1270 avios in the bag

          sell the voucher on eBay if all you want is the points like me

          • Harry says:

            Just to confirm, when you refer to Harrods offer, are you saying Harrods is on shop small map or is it a separate Harrods offer?

  • stevenhp1987 says:

    I use Small Shop as a way of checking out new restaurants.

    Double it up with a Taste Card or a similar offer and you’re quids in!

    Several new restaurants that are new that are on the Small Shop map near me (Southampton) this year! My local hairdressers is on it too (I do need a haircut!).

    • RussellH says:

      There are at least four restaurants in our nearby small town; three we know and like, the fourth we have just not managed yet, but comes very well recommended by people I know and trust.

    • Polly says:

      Good idea doubling up…hasn’t thought of that. Meerkats would work too, am sure…

  • Benilyn says:

    OT: I think I’m undergoing identify fraud maybe. Recommendation for daily credit monitoring? I want to know if new accounts / credit being opened under my name, if that’s possible?

    • Charlieface says:

      Credit Karma gives a new report every 7 days for free, based on TransUnion (ex-Callcredit)

    • Andrew says:

      The Experian one is good, albeit relatively expensive.

      Everyone, who has an unencumbered property, should register for the Land Registry’s free service:-

      You can also register properties you don’t own for alerts. Eg an eldery parent.

  • The_real_a says:

    I have 4 hours to kill between London City Airport and King’s Cross. Any recommendations to make best use of shop small? A decent bite to eat would be nice…

    • Lumma says:

      Pizza Union has 4 sites in East London. The most expensive pizza plus a bottle of peroni is £10.50. Great pizzas too

    • kk says:

      You can top up your Oyster card at Bridge Express, 30 seconds away from the DLR exit at Shadwell on your way.

      • the_real_a says:

        I’m not in London enough these days to warrant an Oyster, but i see they have a paypoint 🙂

      • Ale88 says:

        How often can I top up there? Is it once a day or once only per shop? Or there is no limit to the same shop?

  • Liz says:

    We managed 25 transactions today and got all 25 emails.

    • Shoestring says:

      way to go! 🙂

      I was tempted to break my wee booz-ember beer-break and persuade my wife to go with me to Fowey for a tidy little pub crawl in a charming place – but not just yet…

    • Harry T says:

      What did you buy, Liz?!

      • Liz says:

        Did our usual trawl round all the shops in St ANdrews and Cupar. Bought vouchers in the booze shop 2 at a time, loads of stir fry in 2 different butchers, 2 small bottles of whisky, cheese vouchers, xmas and birthday cards. The same booze shop and butchers are in both towns but listed separately so bought vouchers and stir fry in both. Added in odd bottles of beer to vary up the prices so not showing as £10 vouchers. Also 3 amazing handbags in a lovely wee boutique – bought one last year and got 3 different coloured ones again this year! Panettone cake in the lovely wee Italian deli. Also lunch in our usual wee cafe. Lots more still to do but we are shopped out for today.

        • Polly says:

          Wow, what a haul, well done..getting round to some here too..vineking near by so will stock up there, and Cook, of course. Great for gifts, cards etc, lots of little boutique type shops round here.

        • Harry T says:

          @Liz – sounds brilliant! Are you splitting the purchases onto different cards in chunks often pounds, or not taking the risk?

          • Harry T says:

            Of ten*

          • Liz says:

            Not asked the shops to split the bill. Paid for stuff on different cards. Highest transaction today was £16. Most of them were around £12.

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      That is true dedication! Not a great choice up here, but will manage to save a few fivers.

      • Liz says:

        So many lovely shops in St Andrews. Could really buy loads more but have stopped buying stuff for the house now that we are retired – keeping our money for travel. We have a very small family so not lots of small gifts to buy either. I also don’t buy jewellery but there are so many lovely gift shops with beautiful jewellery. Tempting but only buy stuff we can really use, eat or drink!

        • kk says:

          How many cards?

        • Lady London says:

          Erm…. Three (3) handbags ?

          • Liz says:

            Yup 3! All the same – only £15 but looks like and feels like leather – i’ve used my blue one all year and it looks like new! Fab wee buy with £5 back! Had my colours done 2 yrs ago and now try and buy everything in my Spring colour range – bought red, beige and a beautiful turquoise – that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!!!

        • Andrew says:

          Do Janeta’s take it?

          I’d be there every day if I lived in St Andrews. Irn Bru Sorbet and Rum ‘n Raisen on a double Nougat.


    • Andy says:

      Except that the total reward you can get back is capped at £50 this year.

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