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IT’S BACK! Save up to £50 with American Express Shop Small UK for Christmas 2020

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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.

American Express Amex Shop Small

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? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 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.

British Airways American Express card

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

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

Nectar American Express

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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 card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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 card

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.

Comments (220)

  • Vit says:

    Just saved the offer to all registered 💳

    • Julian says:

      Not in my 77 Available Offers or in my 5 offers Saved To Card. Now used the Preferred Rewards Gold card for a few days over 6 months and spent over the £3,000 required (in 6 months) to generate the 22,000 bonus Avios Membership Rewards.

      Despite Rob’s confident assurance that it was easy to generate the maximum number of £5 bonuses last time round in early COVID I found that I never got to The Plough in Coldharbour and I only got one £5 reward inadvertently for using a hairdresser’s in Dorking that turned out to be part of the promotion…….

      • Rob says:

        It ran for 2 months didn’t it? You didn’t visit 10 small places that took Amex in all that time?

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Rob We only visited two small shop as well, no point in buying for buying sake
          Mind spent around £1000 at the two shops (5 cards with offer on)
          Main one was a local jewelers in Bognor Regis (£990 approx)
          Partner wanted some second hand Jewelry all negotiated down as well (and split over 5 cards) other £10 spend my haircut after 3 months lockdown lol)
          would we have spent £990 on Jewelry maybe not but partner enjoyed it I’ve learnt her to negotiate she’s still nervous about doing it but gold snake bracelet £240 down to £190, pearl necklace and bracelet set down from £160 to £100 she started to love the negotiating (me i always negotiate always have second nature to me lol if they wont negotiate i walk, I’m not even Scottish lol

          • WaynedP says:

            “I’ve learnt her …” Are you German/Dutch/Afrikaans speaking originally Chris ?

          • Anna says:

            No, Lancashire! As in “that’ll learn you”, which we all heard from our elders 🤣.

          • WaynedP says:

            Never knew that, thanks.
            Still getting my head around my Scouse wife’s dialect gems, but that’s a completely new one for me.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            lol stick it to him Anna lol some people like to throw insults about lol
            Spelling, grammar ect maybe it’s how they were brought up blame their parents lol
            WaynedP what differance does it make as long as you understand whats being said ?
            (yes i spelt difference incorrectly just for your benefit lol pms lol lol)

      • Polly says:

        We bought loads of x £30 gift vouchers for restaurants in summer promo, (using x 3 cards for each) and only used the last one this evening…probably got x 50 on 10 cards, so did really well. Restaurants no problem playing along. It was fun combining it with EOTHO And many of our local places extended it. So started buying some again today…keep us going next few months. These chosen few unlikely to close, we hope.

  • The_real_a says:

    There are a few retailers new to the map who I know have sumup machines – a few are even named “sumup retailer name”

  • Anna says:

    Loads of restaurants and pubs showing on the map – unfortunately they are all closed!!

  • MattB says:

    Seems to be quite a few places I’ve used historically not on the map this year, but as you say it was never massively accurate anyway. With the pubs closed round here I may not be able to make much use this time although did well in the summer offer so can’t complain.

  • Yuff says:

    Is there anywhere to find out whether you have a bonus offer fir business platinum supplementary card?
    I can add a card but it doesn’t mention any bonus

  • Bigmaggot says:

    Not on either of my Amex cards, I maxed out the cashback in the summer if that makes a difference!

  • Billy says:

    Although it doesn’t include online purchases I’ve had success one or two times with the £5 tracking from some small online retailers. Things like butchers and spice online stores.

  • meta says:

    Nothing here on any of the cards in our household. Proves that Amex blocks access to offers for us.

    • Maciek says:


    • Ja says:

      + me

      • Ja says:

        I just messaged them and they have added it. Only took about 5 mins

        • Kathy says:

          Ja- you say you messaged AMEX and got the offer. How did you do this- to where do you message? Thanks in anticipation. Like obviously many of us, I am not getting any of the worthwhile offers!

    • Rum says:

      Yep same here. No new offers other than the existing rubbish ones. Not had a new offer since 27th October and now shop small it’s goodbye Amex from me

    • Sigma421 says:

      Will be keeping an eye on this. Haven’t had any offers for about 6 weeks. Amex claim all is well but obviously if I miss this universal offer there’s a problem.

      • MKB says:

        Same here. On all my partner’s cards, but not on any of mine. He’s been getting all the offers recently and me very few.

        • Aaron says:

          Seems to be a common theme here, I have one offer on my free MR card since September and my wife currently has 64 offers, and we have similar spending patterns! Anyone spoke to Amex regarding this? I called Amex regarding this couple weeks ago but still don’t even get this supposedly universal Shop Small offer.

    • Tyra says:

      3 cards no offers. Tried logging in online to check as well and it’s the same. I spend a lot on the cards and have had no issues in the past with offers @Rob do you have any insight about what’s going on with the offers? Amex may lose it’s ‘non-targeted’ customers if it doesn’t fix the problem

    • APPL says:

      Same here. 3 cards(Plat, BA, Marriott) and no new offers since end of October.

    • Lou says:

      Nothing on my card either. Time to cancel it finally I guess!

    • Symon says:

      In the same boat. Is Amex losing interest in us existing customers?

    • ee says:

      Same here nothing on all 3 cards – including shop small – for many weeks. Presumably they will manually add Shop Small though?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I’ve got it but my wife has it on none of her cards. She has it on supplementary cards from my account. My supplementary cards from her account don’t have it. Given the volume of response I think it would be good if HFP could investigate rather than us all having to contact customer services.

      • Holam says:

        agree – rob, please push amex on this. It’s become a total joke, especially conflicting messages coming from support agents. It shouldn’t be this difficult to get it right.

    • Rjn21 says:

      3 primary, 6 secondary cards in our household. None of them have “shop small” or “spend x get y avios”. Odd. We’ve always used shop small in the past to some extent.

    • Rhys says:

      I haven’t had offers since October either. Very odd.

      • Alex M says:

        “Very odd” said amex cs rep last week when i complained about no offers whatsoever since early November. He also promised to investigate. Of course I haven’t heard back from them…