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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)

  • Mikeact says:

    @the_real etc “Up here in the North”.
    Where might that be then ?

  • mark2 says:

    The important (but impossible to answer) question is whether the £15 will also apply in December (if that happens).

    • Polly says:

      Reckoning it will. They probably can’t sustain such generosity.

  • steven says:

    i’ve become a bit more wary of this shop small offer. last time we tried to use it, the place claimed not to accept amex despite being listed on the shopsmall map and other amex information etc. we tried to make a claim after and amex just told us where to go. for that reason, i’m going to give this promotion a wide berth

    • Dominic says:

      No reason why they should pretend to not take Amex; the restaurants still get the standard amount.

      • Tom says:

        I’ve shopped at place which did take AMEX, but did not register to be part of the small shop scheme, so I didn’t get my cash back! I’ve also had Steven’s experience where I’ve eaten at a restaurant where the map said they took AMEX, but come payment time, “Visa only”. Both times AMEX said tough

        • NFH says:

          Merchants don’t have to register to be part of Shop Small. They are included automatically by Amex.

          If you eat at a restaurant that displays the Amex logo and it then refuses to accept Amex, then it is breaching an implied contractual term formed by Section 50 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If you then have to pay by another means, you can insist on a price reduction of £5 per payment pursuant to Sections 54(3)&56 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If the merchant doesn’t agree, then deduct £5 per payment and leave your name and address with the restaraunt, in which case it remains a civil dispute.

          • Mark M says:

            Losing £5 for no Shop Small is hardly the end of the world.
            BUT – planning to buy a high-value item, or meal, to meet an Amex spend target, and having Amex refused? That could end up with 50k MR points gone…

  • Char Char says:

    Well 5 is about the limit of the places where this will actually work and that I don’t mind going to, I won’t be visiting any new places because of this offer.

  • Christopher says:

    Just come on and realised we’ve missed the referral bonus, but hey ho. I am about to apply for the personal Gold card – my partner currently holds one, and i hold a Gold business.

    Can i refer myself from business to personal, or should we do it through my partner’s account?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Check all your cards and see if any has a boosted referral bonus.

      I wouldn’t self refer.

  • Polly says:

    We will continue to use SS. Disappointed it’s 15/5 tho. But we are still using all the restaurant vouchers we bought in Dec. Kept us going from January supporting our local restaurants turned takeaways every week. Will definitely stock up on a few of our favourites tho, just to support them.
    Also at local newsagents, will stock up on stamps again.
    Small gift shops are useful for gifts like candles.
    But now we do ask if they accept Amex, before we shop, after being surprised by some who deny they do.
    Even our dentist, and dog kennels take all the cards as credit now. They are happy to play along. No problem using all our supps too.
    Meal splitting, we make sure to each offer a card. So yes, it does work, but obviously not as lucrative.

  • Mark M says:

    I assume SS will work via GooglePay on smartphone, if you pay in the shop? There are plety of places that SAY they don’t take Amex, but GooglePay > Amex works fine. (They can’t say no if they don’t know what card you are using.)

    • Char Char says:

      No reason why not as the apps basically just pass your card number to the terminal

    • Justin says:

      I’ve successfully triggered the SS offer in the last year in a similar manner. However, this was via ApplePay opposed to GPay and was out of convenience rather than the store refusing AmEx.

  • Chris says:

    Time to come clean. Before limits came in I bought £3,700 of Oyster cards in one 2-week period as well as £1,000+ in restaurant vouchers (Michelin starred ones to splurge my ‘ill-gotten’ gains).

    • Polly says:

      We certainly cleaned up last August combining EOTHO with shop small. Probably ate out 3-4 times a week. It was such a treat. A one off tho!

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