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Amex Shop Small Is Back Again: Up to $50 in Statement Credits

Just as shops, restaurants, and bars are opening up across Canada again, the American Express Shop Small promotion is back for another round, after proving very popular during its first few rounds in October 2018, March 2019, and July 2019.

(There was also a targeted round in November 2019, which took the form of Amex Offers that showed up for select cardholders, but not everyone, which made it much less exciting.) 

From June 24 to September 13, 2020, American Express cardholders may register their card and then earn a $5 statement credit upon spending $10 with a participating Shop Small merchant, up to 10 times in total. That’s up to $50 in statement credits that you can earn for every Canadian-issued Amex card that you hold – Membership Rewards cards, Bonvoy, Air Miles, etc. are all fair game. 

With many of us holding several Amex cards at any given moment, and even some of us playing the game in two- or three-player mode (or even more), I imagine this promotion will continue to prove very popular among the community.

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How It Works

This time, American Express are doing things a little differently from before. Instead of restricting the Shop Small event to four major cities across Canada and limiting it to a certain number of registrations, the promotion is now nationwide and available to all Canadian cardholders – no matter which product you hold – with no limit on registrations.

This is great news for those of you who live outside of Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, or Toronto, although I suppose it’s not so great news for those who happened to move around frequently between these four cities during past promotions. 

To enroll in Shop Small, you can simply head to your Amex Offers section on your online dashboard, and you should see the offer available to register.

On the off-chance that you don’t see the Shop Small offer under your Amex Offers, visit the Shop Small promotion page and scroll down to “Click here to register”, which will bring up the enrollment page where you can manually register.

Enter your first and last name, your card number, and your email address, then press the Enroll button.

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If you see a “Thanks for registering!” message, that means your card has successfully been enrolled.

Once you’ve registered, you can take advantage of the “Spend $10, Get $5” offer up to 10 times at any participating Shop Small retailer in Canada, for a total of up to $50 in statement credits. 

As before, you can use the Amex Shop Small Map to look up the participating retailers by filtering for “Shop Small Map”.

Since the promotion is nationwide this time around, you should have no problem finding many participating retailers in your local area, no matter where in Canada you live.

The promotion is intended to reward you for shopping 10 separate times at 10 different Shop Small retailers. To that end, the terms state:

“To be eligible for a $5 (CAD) statement credit up to 10 times, a qualifying purchase of at least $10 (CAD) in a single transaction, after taxes, must be charged to your registered Card at up to 10 different participating locations in Canada, during the offer period and subsequently posted to your account. A qualifying purchase of at least $10 (CAD) in a single transaction that is made directly at a different participating business or different location of the same participating business will qualify for one $5 (CAD) statement credit up to a total maximum of $50 (CAD) in statement credits per registered Card during the offer period. One or more purchases made directly at the same business location will only be eligible to qualify for one $5 (CAD) statement credit.

Similar terms had been included in past Shop Small promotions, and while they weren’t always strictly enforced, they did seem to be strictly enforced during the last round in July 2019. Therefore, you’ll most likely need to shop with 10 separate Shop Small merchants to get the full $50 in statement credits.

However, if you or your household members hold multiple American Express cards and have registered all of them, you could always split up a larger transaction into multiple $10 payments on separate cards, thus triggering one of the 10 $5 credits for each card used. If you happen to overburden your cashier or waiter during the process of splitting up a large bill, remember to leave a generous tip (perhaps using yet another American Express card of yours)!

Another thing to note about this round of the Shop Small promotion is that you’re no longer able to offset the full amount of your purchase in the form of statement credits. Indeed, instead of “Spend $5 Get $5” as before, it’s now “Spend $10 Get $5”, so you do need to spend some of your own money out-of-pocket in order to unlock the full $50 in statement credits.

For those of you who are interested in the offer but would like to avoid being tempted into overspending on stuff you wouldn’t normally buy, consider simply picking up some $10 gift cards from Shop Small stores, coffee shops, or restaurants that you know you’ll frequent anyway. 

You’ll be able to claim a $5 statement credit for every $10 gift card you purchase, and then you can take your time spending those gift cards in the future even after the promotion ends on September 13. 

Finally, it’s interesting to note the following terms on this promotion:

“Due to this unprecedented period of disruption, please note that the Merchants listed on the American Express Maps may change and your ability to redeem Amex Offers may be affected at this time due to changes in some Merchants’ operations, such as reduced hours or suspension of in-person shopping, dining or services. American Express Maps is updated from time to time and may not be 100% accurate. While we hope to provide you with this offer on the terms set out here, given the unpredictable nature of the current situation, we may need, and we reserve the right, to change or cancel this offer at any time.

It’s an understandable exit-clause to include in light of the circumstances, and I imagine American Express might only call upon these terms if – knock on wood – a second round of lockdown were to hit the Shop Small businesses, or otherwise if the promotion ended up being far more popular than expected in some way, shape, or form.

Conclusion

American Express is spoiling us real good with special offers these days, between the $680 in credits on the Amex Business Platinum, the $250 in credits on the Amex Platinum, and now the $50 in Shop Small credits on any American Express card you hold.

Many cardholders had come away with huge windfalls in the form of free food & drinks over the past few rounds of the promotion, so I imagine that it’ll be even more popular now that the amount of statement credits has been doubled and the offer has been extended nationwide.

Go forth and register all the Amex cards in your household, and then get spending!