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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)

  • peter says:

    Got a take away today with contactless and email was sent instantly – so huge improvement here. Also found a way how to get around some of these sellers who likely would refuse Amex if they saw it, showed them a Visa in my left hand – then tapped in with a right hand Amex, worked just fine 🙂

    • Polly says:

      Very smart,,our local Chinese lady screamed, we no take Amex, but the daughter said they did, then she screamed at her. Hilarious. Had to use mc then Amex refunded me. That was in the July promo. Needless to say, not going back there…

      • JPa says:

        Using apple pay/google pay is also a good way to avoid getting caught, or just hide it under you palm as you use it…. Some cards are also less Amexey that others.

  • Fred says:

    Hello all! I remember few years back we had a map showing with off licences store would do the top up with amex and so you get £10 top up with £5 back.. do anyone know where I can find that map please?

    thanks

    • Andrew C says:

      Do you mean the oyster one – shopsmallcrawl.com? The website doesn’t work at the moment…

      • Fred says:

        it might be thanks.. although if it doesn’t work 🙁

        luckily yesterday I have found a place myself – in Angel if anyone needs to know it – Thumbs Up, 38 Essex Road. It doesn’t even charge a fee 🙂

  • Paul f says:

    This is what I got from Amex who manually added the offer but it’s not very good that I had to chat with them to do it…
    Some Amex Offers are targeted to specific customers. This means that only a certain population of card members are eligible to participate. By targeting our offers, American Express can ensure that card members are promoted offers that are relevant.

  • eligold says:

    the response i just received on AMEX chat:
    Thank you so much for your patience. I have checked all your account and I’m sorry to say, at this time the offer is not available for your accounts, however, it may be available in future.
    I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to you. Our marketing team reviews the card for the offers based on many internal factors.
    Nonetheless, you can find some other great offers in the Offers section of the Account Hub or on our Mobile App or via American Express Connect: http://americanexpress.com/uk/network/shopping.html.
    Hope this helps.

    • eligold says:

      it’s officially time to despair at AMEX customer service

      • JPa says:

        I have just got them to manually add it to different online accounts with no problems on chat with different people. Instead of asking why the offer is missing just ask them to enrol it for shop small directly.

  • mef13 says:

    Is anyone finding that stores that worked fine for the summer offer aren’t any more? The baker and chippy in my village popped up an email straight away last time. This time, nothing, and they’re not on the map, though they take Amex no problem.

    • JPa says:

      These is always some odd variations with places coming and going from the map. Most places stay forever though.

      • mef13 says:

        Something seems odd. I have three Amex cards, and every single place I visited multiple times in the summer is now off the map… Is the map the same for everyone? Could someone see if Cardigan Castle is on it for them?