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One of my favourite deals is back for 2019! Get £5 back when you spend £10 at small shops during the American Express Shop Small event.

Every year, American Express runs a Shop Small offer giving £5 cashback for every £10 spent at small businesses. You can get money back from shops, restaurants and even places like hairdressers, galleries and dentists in the form of a statement credit.

One change this year is that there’s a £50 limit to each card, and as usual you can only use the offer once per participating retailer. Even so I think it’s a cracking way to save money and support small shops.

Last year I nabbed credit for posh chocs at fancy Soho shop Paul Young Fine Chocolates, bought cheese and spices from Borough Market, picked up a nice bottle of wine and some beers from two local off licences, cut the price of some drinks at a couple of pubs, and ate for less at three or four restaurants. And since Becky has a card too, she did the same. And if we had more time, we’d have eaten and drunk out much more!

In 2019 it’s starting a week later than usual. It’ll run for two weeks from Saturday December 7th until Sunday December 22nd.

Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of the offer.

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How to make the most of the scheme

Add the offer to your card

The offer isn’t automatically applied to your account. You need to “add” the offer to your card to take advantage. This can be found in the offer section of your online account or app, and it’ll be there from 31st October 2019.

Throughout the year you’ll also see other decent offers. I’ve gained £20 back from a Eurostar trip, £5 back from Amazon and £10 back from a £50 Gap spend – and there are plenty more. I reckon I easily make another £50 each year, sometimes much more.

Add it to your partner’s card

If you’ve got an additional card on your account for your partner, then make sure they also add the offer to their card. This means you can both take advantage of the promotion. And if you have more than one Amex, make sure you add it to that too.

Think beyond your normal shopping

It’s easy to always buy things at the same big shops, or visit the same places. Well this is your chance to try new stores and businesses. Plus if you can limit your spend to close to £10, or just over, you’ll be saving near to 50% on every purchase.

Some of the businesses I’ll be looking out for:

  • Off-licences – great for stocking up on wine and beer
  • Corner shops – again, good for booze, but also food and random household things
  • Cafes and restaurants – plenty of places to get a cheaper lunch or meals out
  • Bars and pubs – don’t forget to about hotel bars
  • Small boutiques –  a good opportunity to find small Christmas gifts and stocking fillers
  • Museums and galleries – even if you don’t want to see an exhibition, check out the shop or cafe
  • Services like dentists, dry cleaning or picture framing

Last year Becky and I ate out at three or four restaurants (and split the bill so we each got our £5 back), picked up spices, meat and cheese at various stalls in Borough Market, stocked up on beer and wine at a few off-licences and enjoyed a posh hot chocolate and brownie at a Soho chocolatier.

Stack your savings

I love a good deal stack, where you use multiple promotions at once. So when you’re using Shop Small, look for other offers. A really good one is the set menu at participating restaurants. 

How to find out what shops are taking part in Shop Small

There’s an easy to use postcode tool which shows you all the businesses taking part near you.

It helps to zoom in and refresh the map as it won’t display every shop if you’re looking at a large area. You can also filter by shop, entertainment, eating and drinking, travel and “services”.

> Search for local small businesses taking part in Shop Small

How to get an Amex credit card for Shop Small

If you don’t already have one, an American Express cashback credit card is a great way to earn a little back from your spending. It could take up to two weeks for your card to arrive, though it’s usually much quicker. Even so don’t delay if you want to use it during Shop Small.

(A quick aside, if you don’t feel confident you’ll be able to pay off your spend every month, then don’t even apply! The interest charges will far outweigh the benefits you get).

There are a few decent cashback options, which I’ve written about in full in a separate article. But in brief:

I think the best is the Amex Platinum Cashback Credit Card. This gives:

  • 5% for the first three months (up to £125)
  • 1% cashback on every pound spent after that
  • Increases to 1.25% if you spend more than £10,001
  • There is a £25 annual fee

An alternative is the Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card:

  • 5% for the first three months (up to £100)
  • 0.5% cashback on every pound spent after that
  • Increases to 1% if you spend more than £5,001
  • No annual fee

You can also get a Nectar Amex Credit Card

  • 20,000 Nectar points if you spend £2,000 in first three months (worth £100)
  • Two Nectar points (worth 1%) on every pound spent after that
  • Up to four Nectar points at Nectar partners
  • There is a £25 annual fee (zero in the first year)

Check if you’re eligible before applying as a rejection could hurt your credit score. Each of these cards allows you to do this before you apply.

Get bonus cashback when you apply for a card via Quidco or TopCashback

Quidco currently offers £20 cashback if you apply for the Platinum Cashback card via them.

If you’ve not already signed up to cashback site Quidco you can get another £17 for joining up via a link that’s exclusive to my newsletter subscribers. You’ll need to spend £10 at any other shop first, then apply for the card’s cashback as the Amex application won’t count towards this £10 spend as you’re not spending anything to get the credit card.

> Sign up to my newsletter and you’ll get an exclusive offer at Quidco to get a £17 bonus when you spend £10, then apply for an Amex Platinum Cashback card and get £25 cashback

If you’d rather apply for the Nectar Amex, you can get £30 cashback from TopCashback. Again, if you’ve not signed up to them, there’s a new member bonus. You’ll need to spend £10 at any shop and you’ll get a £10 bonus.

> Sign up to TopCashback to get a £10 bonus when you spend £10 at any shop, then search for Amex Nectar and get £30 cashback

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