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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)

  • Phil says:

    Shop Small works well for me. In Edinburgh there must be 8-9 bottle-shops which sell great beer that participate. Having access to 5 Amex cards, I go round all of them sequentially buying ~£10.00 of beer in each over the fortnight. Normally I would buy the same beer online @ £2.00 per bottle, via Shop Small it equates to ~£1.50 a bottle. Not a huge saving, but it serves the purpose of diverting spend to small local retailers and saves me a bit money.

    • d4ve says:

      Also Edinburgh and similar: Vino (2 I visit)/Villeneuve/Margiotta (3 I visit). Which am I missing?

      • EwanG says:

        Other drinks places:
        Valvona and Crolla has worked for me the past few years (not showing on the map this time around, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work this time either)
        Drinkmonger and Oddbins at Bruntsfield (both show on map)

        • d4ve says:

          Thx, yes I have used Valvona in the past but noted it was not on the list this time. It worked in July though. Might give it a go.

          • Stu N says:

            Raeburn in Stockbridge and Cork and Cask in Marchmont work as well IIRC.

            Drinkmonger take Amex but it doesn’t trigger Shop Small. They are part of the larger Royal Mile Whisky group which maybe explains it.

            Mellis cheese shops also participate, they sell a small but good range of wine – the Gran Cedro red and white are great and the story is good too.

        • axel says:

          Henderson Wines on Comiston road, Morningside as well if you are at margiotta

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Not got the offer on any of my cards, i know i can ring up and they can apply it however this leads me to believe there may be a bigger issue at bay with me not having received any offers for 2 months now. Taking the mick a bit to be fair

    • DodgyDCF says:

      Completely agree, theres clearly an issue going on here with the offers. I’ve not any new offers since October.

  • dan says:

    Spoke over chat via app.. Platinum charge and BAPP have just added manually..checked and am registered.

    • MJ says:

      Did the same through my browser. Took the agent a few minutes to manually apply it

  • Mark M says:

    On each of our five cards I get a big pop-up “It’s Back! Click to Register here”. Which I did.
    But the Shop Small offer only shows on our Amax Plat cards…

    • Symon says:

      I have something similar. I get the pop-up on logging in but the offer isn’t listed for my cards. All rather odd.

    • Mark M says:

      I asked them to change it via chat – which they happily did, but it took 30 mins by the time the supp card was done too!

  • Justin says:

    Mine showed up early this afternoon on both the Platinum a d Gold card.

  • mark2 says:

    I have just had a long conversation with someone at Brighton. The reason that some of my supplementary cards get no offers is the marketing options that have been set (by default). He claimed to have fixed it; it is not possible for the card holder to change it once the card has been registered, but if you ring up they can do it.
    I shall see what happens.

    • meta says:

      The agent just said that to fob you off. My settings have been set to Yes since I got the card. It has nothing to do with marketing preferences.

    • Julian says:

      This is the usual telephone customer service blatant lie.

      All the marketing options can be set in your online account and all of them are set in mine to receive all types of offers and promotion.

      Despite that in practice there are still problems with getting emails about the offers and/or activating offers from the click to activate button in offer pop up boxes when you log in to your account.

      I also had an email offering a credit limit increase that I was suppose to click on a link to activate but that didn’t work either.

      Some of you may remember that there also used to be an issue with contactless on Lloyds Amex cards not working on certain kinds of card readers that showed a Contactless sign. Since I have had an Amex Gold Preferred Rewards card I have not had that problem with Contactless.

      So in a nutshell Amex’s IT development could be a lot better than it currently seems to be for a product clearly aimed at the better off and more demanding part of the cards marketplace.

  • Connor says:

    For those of you that are missing offers, I received this after complaining to Amex about having no offers for about 6 months.

    “I am sorry you are unable to see Amex Offers in your Account. I can confirm American Express regularly reviews each Account and targets specific Accounts with specific Offers. These are then processed through various internal systems, generating a list of eligible Card Members. If you do not meet our system criteria, you will not receive the Offer, this will include our Refer a Friend scheme. Following an account review, automated suppressions can be added to an account for up to six months which will prevent Offers from being received.”

    • BuildTheWall says:

      That might be right for other targeted offers, but shop small is usually not targeted.

    • meta says:

      That is then open to abuse from Amex. I would ask them what criteria they used to single your account and supress the offers and tell them you’ll take it up with ombudsman.

      • BuildTheWall says:

        You must be joking? Sure there are many who think they are ‘entitled’ to offers!

        • meta says:

          No, I don’t think anyone is entitled to offers which are targeted.

          Here we have a different situation! People are clearly not receiving offers that are not targeted and open to everyone. Amex is then telling customers that they are supressing such offers on the account without giving out any reason. This is unfair treatment and this is not allowed.

          • Lady London says:

            Hey @Meta what happened on your Italy claim? did you refuse them more time ?

      • KBuffett says:

        I don’t understand why people give ‘advice’ to others when they clearly don’t know what they are advising.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Still missing 2 of my shop smalls from the summer one. Complained twice already, might raise a formal complaint if they don’t fix it by Monday