Twice in one year? It must be Christmas.
After American Express launched an out-of-season ‘Shop Small UK’ promotion over the summer we weren’t sure if it would return in time for Christmas.
The good news is that Amex is bringing it back for two weeks, which should hopefully let you save on some Christmas shopping.
What is American Express Shop Small UK?
‘Shop Small’ is designed to encourage you to shop in local independent stores instead of major chains. It normally appears in the run-up to Christmas, but this year Amex also ran it over the Summer and we weren’t 100% sure it would be back for Christmas.
(‘Shop Small UK’ is, of course, also a way for American Express to persuade more small shops to sign up to accept American Express cards.)
Starting from Saturday 5th December and running until 20th December, you will receive £5 cashback on the first 10 transactions you make for £10 or more at participating ‘Shop Small’ businesses.
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.
As in 2019, cashback is capped at £50 per card. Supplementary cards are treated separately and have their own cap, so you could technically get more than £50 cashback.
How does Shop Small UK work?
It is a simple process:
You MUST register your credit or charge card before making a ‘Shop Small’ purchase:
‘Shop Small’ should appear as a card offer online or in the app from today. Look under the ‘Offers’ tab on the American Express website for each card you have.
(If you do not have the offer on your card, reach out to Amex customer services who will add it manually for you.)
You can register by going to the American Express website, logging in and looking under ‘My Offers’ on the statement page.
Corporate American Express cards do not quality, but the small business cards usually do.
You can also register a supplementary card (an additional card held by your partner or friend 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, although these are unlikely to be open due to the current lockdown restrictions.
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’.
Supplementary cards can get credit at the same shop as a card where the main cardholder has already made a purchase. You can also get credit for different American Express cards at the same shop.
For example …. Rob and his wife have British Airways, Platinum, supplementary Platinum, Business Platinum and Gold Amex cards between them. He can earn 5 x £5 cashback payments at the same store over the promotional period, as long as he uses a different registered card each time.
You should receive an email or phone notification soon after making your purchase, although you shouldn’t panic if you don’t – the system is not foolproof.
A £5 credit for every £10 purchase will be added onto your credit card account within a few days of the original charge hitting your statement.
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. This is easy for Amex to spot when transactions are processed within a few seconds of each other.
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.
Registration should be available now, but remember that ‘Shop Small’ doesn’t start until Saturday. If you cannot see it in your card offers, reach out to Amex customer services who can add it manually for you.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – April 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our April 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.