Regular readers will know that I have a lot of enthusiasm for American Express (Amex) cards and offers! As a cardmember, if you organise your spending well, and take advantage of the perks, they can carry massive benefits, especially for travel (read my posts here about how to get 20,000 points, and what to do with them!). The latest interesting Amex offer is called Shop Small.

So What is Shop Small?

Starting today (1st Dec 2018), the annual American Express ‘Shop Small’ offer goes live. The launch coincides with Small Business Saturday, a grass roots campaign to encourage people to shop local. Shop Small is an impressive promotion: between 1st & 16th December cardmembers receive a £5 credit for any transactions over £10 with small businesses who accept Amex and are registered for the offer. This offer is valid once per business, but can be used with multiple different businesses. All you need to do is save the offer to the American Express card you want to use and check the – very useful – map to find eligible businesses in your area. The £5 credit will then be applied automatically against any valid transactions. You’ll also earn reward points on these transactions and if you happen to currently be working towards a spend bonus, then the total rewards and credit on a £10 spend would look very generous.

Note: If you have multiple Amex cards (like me!) I believe you should be able to use the offer once on each individual card with the same business.

On top of all of this, you get the benefit of knowing that, by using this card offer, you’re also supporting your local economy. According to American Express, there is no extra cost to businesses who opt in. The £5 credit is covered directly by Amex. So for registered small businesses, they are effectively able to attract customers with up to a 50% discount, without having to reduce their actual prices.

Shop Small Businesses – North Street, Bristol

Because I really like the Shop Small offer, I decided to look at which of my local businesses were registered. I’m based in Bristol, and not too far from me is North Street, Bedminster, a vibrant high street, full of independent shops, bars and cafes. At this time of year it has a great feel, with late night festive shopping dates and a fantastic winter lantern parade (8th Dec). It also hosts some impressive pieces of street art. If you visit Bristol, then it’s worth straying south of the centre to pay a visit!

Unsurprisingly, looking at the Amex map, this area is also the Shop Small ‘hub’ of South Bristol! In total 15 businesses on North Street are actively running the offer, covering a wide range of services and products from bars to beauty lounges. I found two who were happy to tell me a bit more about themselves, their businesses, their toys and their pizzas!

Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade:

Shop Small Amex

Meet the Shop Small Businesses:

Toyville

Perfect for children’s Christmas gifts, ‘Toyville’ is an independent family run toy shop. You can check out their range at https://toyvilleshop.co.uk – and if you really like anything, you can actually shop online for delivery, and pay with your Amex card! Believe it or not, they also offer a ‘Toyalty’ points scheme (I wonder if you can exchange Amex points for those!!).

Amex Shop Small

Who are you, and what do you do?

We are Lindsay and Joel and we run Toyville toy shop on North Street in Bedminster, Bristol.

How long have you been running your business?
We’ve been running Toyville for just over two years.

What should we be buying from you this December?
Marble runs! Hubelino (Duplo compatible) marble runs and the new Gravitrax sets from Ravensburger are on a lot of wish lists this Christmas.

Is this the first time you’ve been part of the Amex shop small promotion?
This is the second time.

Do you think the promotion will make a difference to where people spend money?
Yes, I think if people are aware of the promotion they will definitely make use of it, especially if they needed to buy gifts anyway. £5 off a £10 spend is a really attractive offer.

And…What’s on your Christmas list?!
From Toyville, I’d love the game Kokoro or the Chameleon. I’ve also got my eye on an amazing 3000 piece antique world map jigsaw puzzle. From other local shops on North Street I’d love chocolates from Zara’s chocolates or I’d be happy with any of the jewellery or plant pots from Mon Pote.

Amex Shop Small

Pizza Workshop

Highly rated and stylish local pizza restaurant Pizza Workshop create authentic, sour dough pizzas. Sadly you can’t order these for delivery across the UK – If you’re local then takeaway and home delivery is also available though!

Who are you, and what do you do?

Catharine, owner and manager of the Pizza Workshop restaurants (we have two, also one on Whiteladies Road in Clifton, Bristol)

How long have you been running your business?

2 years

What should we be buying from you this December?

A Christmas Bocca at lunchtime (turkey, brie and cranberry) made from our freshly baked sourdough bread.

Is this the first time you’ve been part of the Amex shop small promotion?

No, we have done this before.

Do you think the promotion will make a difference to where people spend money?

Not obviously – but I hope to be proved wrong!

And…What’s on your Christmas list?!

A second referendum and a vote to remain in the EU, so that we can continue to employ people from all over Europe – and enjoy their custom too. Am I allowed to say that?!!

Amex Shop Small
Amex Shop Small

A big thank you to Toyville and Pizza Workshop for talking to us! They’re both now at the top of my Shop Small Christmas shopping list…

Take the Time to Check out your Local ‘Shop Small’ Businesses

If you’re an Amex cardmember, take the time to check out the map and get to know more of your local businesses. Maybe you’ll find some great local places, just like these, to redeem your offer.

If you’re not an Amex cardmember then you’re probably missing out! Hop back to our homepage, read about how to make the most of the bonuses, perks and travel hacks and don’t forget to use our referral link for an enhanced bonus if you want to try one of the cards.

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