Amex Shop Small Promotion: Get Your Free Coffee!

Quick Friday update for you: there’s some very juicy low-hanging fruit from Amex to be grabbed.

The Amex Shop Small offers are back for another round, allowing those of you who live in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, or Montreal to get a $5 credit whenever you spend $5 at participating small businesses, up to five times. 

That’s a total of $25 in statement credits that you can earn for every Amex card that you have, and any type of Canadian-issued Amex card – be it Membership Rewards cards, Cobalt, Bonvoy, etc. – is fair game.

I know many of you have multiple Amex cards within your household, especially if playing in two-player mode or more, so you can really come out of this promotion with a very significant gain.

Indeed, the last time we had the Shop Small promotion back in October and November of last year, I came away with $300 in Second Cup gift cards, which I’ve been trying to use up ever since. I mean, flights and hotels are a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s the small victories that count, you know? 


How It Works

You must enroll your Amex card(s) in the promotion before making the $5 purchases. First, click on one of the below links depending on which city you live in:

There’s a limit to how many cardmembers can enroll for each city – the promotion is limited to 3,000 Calgarians, 3,000 Montrealers, 7,000 Vancouverites, and 7,000 Torontonians. I’d therefore encourage you to register as soon as possible.

If you live in another Canadian city, but plan on visiting one of these four places before April 30, then you can register for that city’s promotion and rack up your $5 charges when you’re in town.

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

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

You can use the Amex Shop Small Map to look up the participating retailers. While there’s a very wide range of stores you can shop at, I find that the best way to take advantage of this promotion is by buying coffee shop gift cards. 

Even though the Shop Small campaign is targeting small businesses, there are a few fairly large coffee chains, like Second Cup, Aroma Espresso Bar (Toronto), or Blenz Coffee (Vancouver), that are eligible for the promotion as well. 

Look out for the “Spend $5, Get $5” symbol next to the location’s name and address to verify that it’s eligible for the promotion.

 
 

You can easily buy a series of $5 gift cards at these locations in order to claim the $5 credit, and then take your time to use them up over the coming weeks and months, instead of having to worry about redeeming all your $5 credits by the promotion’s end-date of April 30. 

Note that the terms and conditions do state:

A qualifying purchase of $5 or more in a single transaction that is made at a different participating business or different location of the same participating business will qualify for one $5 statement credit up to a maximum of $25 in statement credits per registered card during the offer period. One or more purchases made at the same business location will qualify for one $5 statement credit.
— American Express

However, based on my experience during the last promotion, these terms don’t appear to be consistently enforced. And of course, even if multiple $5 purchases at one location does indeed only result in one $5 statement credit, there are so many Second Cup locations for you to load up your gift cards. 

The terms also mention that “the Statement Credit may take up to 90 days from April 30, 2019 to be credited to the account”, but in my experience the credit only took 1-2 business days to post.


Conclusion

One of the key tenets of chasing credit card deals is that you should always grab the low-hanging fruit, and these Shop Small events are some of the most compelling promotions offered by Amex Canada. I only took advantage of it during the latter stages last year (which is why I didn’t have the chance to write about it), and I’m happy to see that it’s back for another round. 

With this promotion, you can earn a total of $25 in statement credits for every Amex card you have, and for me, the best way to take advantage is to buy gift cards at your favourite boutique coffee chain and fund your matcha latte habit over time. I myself banked $300 in free coffee last year, and I’m looking forward to another few hundred bucks’ worth of liquid happiness this time around.