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CONFIRMED: American Express Shop Small to return in June

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American Express has confirmed that it is bringing back its ‘Shop Small’ promotion in June. Regular readers will know that we had this news as an exclusive story last month.

‘Shop Small’ is an established Amex offer which incentivises you to shop at small independent retailers. In turn, of course, it encourages small independent retailers to accept American Express in order to participate.

It typically runs in November but American Express has been running more restrictive versions in Summer in recent years.

It will return for Summer 2021, but with a tweak. Look at the logo:

American Express Shop Small Summer 2021

The Winter version of ‘Shop Small’ gives you £5 back for every £10 purchase you make at a participating independent retailer.

You are limited to one £5 payment per retailer per American Express card you register and for Christmas 2020 there was a £50 cap per card.

As you can see above, the Summer 2021 version of ‘Shop Small’ will give you £5 back on a £15 transaction.

How will Shop Small Summer 2021 work?

  • The promotion is now confirmed to run from 5th to 25th June
  • You must register in advance via the ‘Offers’ section of the American Express app or website. Each card, and each supplementary card, must be registered separately. Registration opens on Monday 17th May.
  • You will be restricted to £25 cashback per American Express card you register
  • The standard rule of one payment per retailer per card will remain

Now is a good time to add a supplementary card

One thing worth remembering about Shop Small is that you can register supplementary cards separately. This allows you to earn cashback at the same store on both your main card and your supplementary cards.

Do note, however, that American Express takes a dim view of people who ‘abuse’ Shop Small. It has closed down accounts of HfP readers in the past. ‘Abuse’ would include splitting a large transaction into chunks of £15, using a different card each time.

If you had been thinking about adding a supplementary card to your American Express account, you may want to make sure it is in place by 5th June.

American Express Shop Small Summer 2021

Special bonuses are currently available for adding supplementary cards

Remember that American Express is currently offering special bonuses if you add a supplementary card to your Marriott Bonvoy, American Express Rewards, Harrods or Nectar American Express card. There are usually no incentives for adding supplementary cards on these products.

Until 31st July, you will receive:

These are valuable incentives, given that the supplementary card is free:

  • 3,000 Marriott Bonvoy points are worth £15 using HfP valuations
  • 3,000 Nectar points are worth 1,875 Avios, which are worth £18.75 using HfP valuations (or use them for £15 of Sainsbury’s shopping)
  • 2,000 Membership Rewards points are worth 2,000 Avios (£20 on our valuations) if you choose to use them for that
  • 1,000 Harrods Rewards points are worth £10

This HfP article has more details about the special Amex supplementary card bonuses.


Don’t forget to register for Shop Small Summer 2021 from next Monday.

For clarity, American Express funds 100% of the cashback. Your local shops are not paying to participate.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update

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

Amex 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

Comments (117)

  • AJA says:

    I know the small in the title refers to the retailer but I also look at it as spending a small amount in the store to get the rebate especially as Amex frown on splitting larger bills to pay on various cards. Unfortunately £15 does not count as a small amount.

    I am pleased they are bringing the promotion back but I doubt I will get much use from it for all the reasons others have identified.

    This is post pandemic inflation and while I feel sorry for businesses that suffered over the last 18 months I do feel a bit aggrieved I am paying more for everything to compensate them for their prior losses.

  • Sally B says:

    I find that Amex quite often do not accept the supplementary card holders use at a relevant retailer and refuse the Shop Small “bonus”.

    • mark2 says:

      Did you save the offer on the supplementary cards? I have never had this problem and consistently use the supps and get the money every time.

      • Justin says:

        I’ve too have also never had this problem. It’s worked fine for all my supplementary card holders.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        +1. Never had a problem with supplementary cards

      • Steve says:

        What Mark2 says. For supplementary cars spend to count the supplementary cars holder needs to opt into the promotion on their own cars account. The main account holder opting in does not opt in the supplementary.

    • KBuffett says:

      They don’t accept gaming.

      • mark2 says:

        What is the definition of gaming please?

        • Genghis says:

          Whatever Amex want it to mean

        • Lord Doncaster says:

          Going to 48 newsagents in one day to do £10 Oyster top ups.

          And then trying to get TfL to refund the Oyster Cards.

          No wonder Amex threw some people out

  • Doug M says:

    I thought the point of things like this is to change behaviour. This shouldn’t change behaviour because it’s very unreliable, and in my experience dependant on the machine/type of payment. It’s not unusual to have a payment fail in a smaller place, followed by oh it’s Amex, and another machine appears that then works for the payment. But I can almost be certain that in then won’t track in shop small. If I get it great, but know way do I do anything different as a result of this offer.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      When you mean ‘change behaviour’, the once in a year you wait for shop small to spend £10?

      • AJA says:

        I think “change behaviour” in this context means get the consumer to change their behaviour of shopping in the usual places and get them to shop in smaller retailers that (a) consumers weren’t aware accepted Amex and (b) benefit the retailer by getting them new customers. Amex plainly think it’s worth offering £5 off a minimum spend of £15 to get people to do this.

        • Doug M says:

          Yes, this. Rather like the Nectar/Avios tie up, I’m not going to buy six lettuces instead of one, but I may buy the lettuce in Sainsbury’s instead of Tesco. Shop Small I assume is to drive me to small local retailers rather than national chains, but the benefit is too unreliably delivered to do that, that was my point.

  • Mike says:

    I used to use shop small as an opportunity to try out small local businesses that I had not used before — spend £10 get £5 back was great for that. At Spend £15 get £5 back I am simply not going to bother !

    • Red Flyer says:


      • N says:


        At £5 off £10 I can try out a whole heap of small retailers near me knowing that if their product or experience or anything else is naff then I can walk out knowing I’ve spent a fiver on something that was a bit rubbish and I can make a mental note not to try it again.

        But at £5 off £15, it’s more of a risk that Amex is asking me to take. I’ll think twice about actively searching new small shops.

        I’ve found all sorts of small retailers through Shop Small, some of which I’m a regular at off the back of solid first experiences in previous years’ SS promos.

        This year I’ll swing by the regular places, but I don’t think I’ll actively seek anywhere new out.

    • Mike says:

      Thank you – I appreciate your thoughts

  • Andy says:

    This is likely a silly question (and one that would be answered on Monday when I try to sign up), but is Shop Small available on business Amex cards?

  • RussellH says:

    A fair chunk of our Shop Small spending is in restaurants, where we split the bill 50/50 between the two of us. I do not think that Amex ever see that as abusing the system, and whether the threshhold is £10 or £15 is irrelevant.
    Of course, whether the restaurants will still be open for this is another matter…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I’ve split many meals / bar bills across multiple cards and not had an issue.

      Going around central London all day spending £10 in 50 locations is the gaming that’ll get you shut down

      • Steve says:

        £25 limit now per card, so need to fill her boots on supplementaries to hit 50 locations!

      • Sandra says:

        Even if I had the inclination to spend all day doing the above I don’t have the time so I’ll continue to visit the one local place I know it works & I use anyway, anywhere else I spend & it credits is a bonus!

      • Nick says:

        Using two cards on two completely separate accounts won’t get you shut down (e.g. splitting a restaurant bill). Using two cards both on your own account will. That’s the difference. Some on here have been known to ask a merchant to split a transaction between 3-4 of their own cards.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Why wouldn’t they? Reopening on Monday for indoors eating/drinking

  • Memesweeper says:

    I’m delighted this is back, even with more limited benefits than before. I realise it might not be as attractive but please use this as an excuse to support local non-essential and hospitality businesses.

    • Red Flyer says:


    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Though am astounded as to the self-entitlement of some people here.
      “I abused this offer 2 years back, so am entitled to get the same offer now” or
      “I spent £10 once a year at a small merchant to benefit from this, but the lower benefit now will force me to not spend that £10”.
      Amex must be trembling in its boots to hear these people!

      • James says:

        +1 very sad indeed. The epitome of self-entitelment and stupidity. Having said that, despite all the whining I’m sure they’ll be dashing round to make use of the offer anyway.

        • Lord Doncaster says:

          The thing is… Most of them aren’t even short of money.

          Tbh why do people take out the Amex Plat if they want to pay the annual fee by installments? Doesn’t that imply they can’t afford to spend £575…

  • the_real_a says:

    I know people are calling others tight are probably from London, but its virtually impossible to spend £15 on lunch up here in the North… I wouldn’t want to spend £15 in delis, butchers or other independents as the amount of produce would just spoil. I got rid of Platinum a couple of years ago as the value didn’t add up, now its becoming increasingly difficult to justify the ongoing Gold fee.

    • Genghis says:

      I’ve never found it possible to justify the Gold fee.

    • Red Flyer says:

      I’m from the North West and manage to pay my monthly paper bill using this whenever it is running and £10 or £15 does not matter – I’m simply getting £5 off a £50 paper bill so what is there to moan about???

      • illuminatus says:

        No one is MOANING about anything, but rather pointing out that the current version is not fit for purpose. In fact, what you are doing – using the same ‘shopping’ at the usual outlet but getting a small discount – is arguably the opposite of what Small Shop was about originally.

        • James says:

          The comments to this are pretty much ONLY people moaning!

      • Lord Doncaster says:

        What’s a paper bill?

        • Mike says:

          A bill you receive for your papers – often from the newsagent

    • mark2 says:

      Have you not got a freezer? Ours (3) are full of deli stuff and meat among other things.

      • the_real_a says:

        That negates using a deli really. Freezing high quality stuff, you might as well then buy fresh from a decent supermarket when you need it.

    • Ken says:

      Must be a different north than I live in. Try some really decent fresh fish for a change. Monkish for 2 close to £15, if short get some potted shrimps (unless in Southport these always sold frozen). Likewise a decent couple of steaks from a butcher or a roasting joint.
      Or a £15 bottle of wine rather than 6.99

      Deli ? 500g of decent cheese is £15

      All this in Liverpool, so we’re not in Cheshire wives territory.

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