American Express brings in the Global Shop Small Campaign to India

By | September 14, 2020

American Express India recently came up with a new offer named Shop Small to select cardholders that comes with the ability to save upto Rs.1500. Here’s everything you need to know about the offer,

Shop small by American Express

What is Shop Small Campaign?

American Express runs the Shop Small campaign globally every year in select countries to help small businesses grow and at the same time reward the American Express cardholders. 

That’s of-course part of the story!

In reality though, its a clever marketing campaign to acquire customers and merchants through a single offer. That’s truly a well designed marketing plan and am happy that it works for them.

For 2020, AmEx has pledged $200 million to the Shop Small campaign globally to help small merchants and customers connect during tough times.

That’s very generous of Amex and definitely deserves an appreciation. Now let’s see what they have done for india and then compare with other countries.

Shop Small Offer Details – India

american express shop small india
  • Offer: Spend Rs.1500 or more and get Rs.300 cashback per txn
  • Max cap: upto 5 times, which is Rs.300*5 = Rs.1500 max cashback
  • Offer Validity: 4 September 2020 to 30 November 2020.
  • Fulfilment: Usually within 5 business days.
  • Offer Source

Its a decent offer for sure as saving 20% upto Rs.1500 with small merchants is quite generous at-least on entry-level cards.

But there are 2 problems!

First, the offer is limited to few cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and some of the surrounding areas and so only those card accounts registered in these cities are targeted for the offer.

I don’t know what made them to make this not so wonderful decision.

Second, its nowhere close to the global campaign by any metric. Here’s the comparison for you to check:

Global Campaign Comparison

Amex Shop Small Offer US

This year Amex rolled out the Shop Small campaign for various countries bit early due to Covid-19 and here’s how it looks when compared to Indian offer:

  1. UK Offer: Spend £10 or more to get £5 back upto 10 times (£50 Value = INR 4800)
  2. USA Offer: Spend $10 or more and get $5 back upto 10 times ($50 Value = INR 3600)
  3. Australia Offer: Spend $10 or more and get $5 back upto 10 times ($50 Value = ~INR 2600)
  4. Canada Offer: Spend $10 or more and get $5 back upto 10 times ($50 Value = ~INR 2800)
  5. India Offer: Spend Rs.1500 ($20) or more and get Rs.300 ($4) back upto 5 times ($20 Value = INR 1500)

Yes, the developed countries could be giving more business and so better offer, but I believe India is equally growing and giving good business to them, yet we’re valued low!!!

And not to mention, our Indian Platinum Charge carries higher annual fee than the US variant (550$ = 41,000 INR) and overall we get less value back than the low priced US variant. (generally, ignoring covid offers).

So we’re forced for high fee, low value return and low value offers. Hmm, this doesn’t seem to move in right direction.


I don’t know why Amex came up with such a small Shop Small offer for India and that too for limited locations. And they didn’t care to treat premium cardholders any better.

Maybe Amex (global) allotted less funds to Amex (India) for the campaign, or maybe Amex India felt it doesn’t make sense to burn more than this on Indians. 

Whatsoever the fact maybe, it’s totally unfair to run such a small offer restricted to very few locations.

Generally Amex doesn’t disappoint us, but their latest excessive usage of AI (like the previous spend based promo had 16 variants!) and these low value offers definitely gives a bad impression on the brand.

Let’s hope they make up for this with their upcoming 2020 Diwali Offer!

What’s your thoughts on the Shop Small campaign sent out for India? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Author: Siddharth

Helping Indians to choose right credit cards, pick right offers and enjoy luxury vacations for less. Day & night exploring the spiritual reality of our human existence.

29 thoughts on “American Express brings in the Global Shop Small Campaign to India

  1. Prashanth M

    This is a complete dud, even for me in Bengaluru. One need to go shop hunting that accepts Amex. Amex has a long way to go to catch up for offline shopping. I tried in 5 different stores in last 3 months – all of them said they don’t accept Amex. Been using MRCC for last 7 months now and all my usage is online.

    1. Arjun Sharma

      ya, amex is not a dependable card. you need to have one more card (other than amex) in your wallet at all times. because around 75% of local offline stores don’t accept amex

      1. Prashanth M

        That’s the list of merchants as per Amex. But in reality, the merchants do not favor Amex because of the higher merchant commission.

  2. deolbhavesh

    why do you only post amex news on your blog, Sid? I’m bored of amex. want diversity!

    1. FrequentFlyer15

      In these trying times, Amex is the only one who sees its customers as assets while everyone else, except HDFC, see as a liability. Axis, ICICI and a couple others reduced people credit limits whereas HDFC doubled mine. Amex has been adding new options for redemption and doing alot of stuff for their customers.

      1. Rohit

        I am worried with HDFC bank. The way they are giving pre approved loans based on cards if people stop paying as per stats then bank would collapse like it happened to Leman brothers during in USA. I know probability is rare but if some crazy wave 2 hits or something then we never know .

  3. AM

    It also depends how often they are running campaigns in different countries and they are running many recently in India and also diwali is on the card so maybe not the right time for them to spend huge in India

  4. MAA-traveler

    If we see the kind of cards that Amex has in USA, it would seem we are not that important to them. US version has 5x Points On Flight, Prepaid Hotels Through Amex Travel, $500 In Credits (airline, Uber and Saks) which is always there apart from the other usual perks. I’ve been so tempted by Plat Charge for the last two years but ultimately sense prevailed that it is not a good financial decision (at least beyond the first year) for me. That said I’m happy, at least for now, with my Amex trifecta I hold.

    1. Parul Singh

      why does everyone say that plat charge is only good for first year? what changes in second year? I think all the offers should remain same in second year as well

      1. MAA-traveler

        It is simple. You pay Rs 70,800 and get no MR points or anything other than the hotel status, Lounge access, etc.

        USA Plat Charge: 5x Points On Flight, Prepaid Hotels Through Amex Travel, $500 In Credits (airline, Uber and Saks)
        Singapore Plat Charge: a complimentary night at the St Regis Singapore or W Sentosa (from this year no more W hotel but host of other hotels to choose from), S$800 Travel Credit
        Canada Plat Charge: $200 Annual Travel Credit, 2X Points On travel, 3X on dining

        The above benefits are for renewal also apart from the usual hotel status, FHR, Lounge access, special events, etc. Further the other countries card get better insurance like Travel Insurance, Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan, etc.

        While I’m not complaining but the more I look up, I feel we are not getting a good deal for sure.

      2. Sanchit

        In first year, you are partly compensated by 100-120k MR points, whereas renewal offers from second year are not as attractive

    2. FrequentFlyer15

      The main reason for that is the acceptance. I have spoken to several Amex folks about it and they accept that they don’t gove enough. But then theh say they have tried everything and they cannot reduce the merchant fees. This causes merchants to not accept.

      We Indians have double standards. We say Amex doesn’t give cards in Tier 2 cities and if they start, they will complain merchants in Tier 2 don’t accept Amex. Similarly, having 30+ cards under Amex doesn’t make sense if you can’t spend that much on the card.

      Let me give you a realistic example. Amex told me, spend 2 Lacs in 90 days and we will reverse the fees. I have made about 4 Lacs payments in the 90 days, but only 50k of that was on amex; mainly because the builder doesn’t accept Amex. HDFC got all my business and they are rewarding me with points as well as spend based bonus of 4000.

  5. manoj singh

    Which card is eligible for this offer and who all are eligible.

    I have reward card. Am I eligible. I am salaried person.

    Where can i use my amex card

    1. FrequentFlyer15

      Login to your account from a laptop. Scroll down to offers and see if you are eligible. You will need to save the order to card to be able to use it. Got my cashback in 3 days.

  6. Yash jain

    Does this offer extend to supplimentary card separately? Or is it only for primary?

    1. Shashi

      In USA it is applicable for addon card too .u just need to add the offer in card

  7. Abhi

    Is it on all variants? Seems its only for NCR, Mumbai, Greater Mumbai and Bangalore.

  8. SH

    The recommendations are generic. Amex is already doing all of these since ages. Some of the claims are not true (like crumbling customer support), and the ‘Shop Small’ programme is part of the global program.

    Amex’s has never been in playing the volume game at the transaction level, it has always been targeting high spenders. So even though globally Visa and MC exceed Amex in the number for swipe count, Amex comes out ahead in the terms of spend / swipe, and also spend / customer. Further Amex is closed loop (it acquires the customer, the merchant, and then uses it own network), as opposed to Visa and MC that are open loop. This allows Amex to provide considerable customer insights to the merchant, and also prevent fraud for the customer. This also enables better the dispute settlement – if you ever had to do that.

  9. AbhiKohli

    >> BharatQR has lower acceptance than AmEx
    Lower ??? Say nearly 0. Ever since launch, only at 2 occasions I’ve seen merchant accepting BharatQR. Both were recent, both were carrying PayZapp on QR card (both were obviously not accepting AmEx via BharatQR or swipe) And I make card payments a lot… 1st Option CC, 2nd Paytm (wallet) 3rd UPI….. distant 4th is cash. (This was even before demonetization, perhaps thats why I wasn’t affected at all.)

  10. Vishal Anam

    Your points are recognized with Amex and they have come up with a new offer for Plat users. 50% on every 1000 spent

    Save your eligible Card and spend ₹1,000 or more in one transaction, in-person only at participating Shop Small December businesses by 31/12/2020 to receive ₹500 cashback, up to 3 times. Exclusions & T&Cs apply.

  11. AbhiKohli

    Its back with a bang. 500 off on 1000. (Though only for 3 transactions, so total CB remains 1500 only but at spend of just 3000. 50%. That too HP fuel pumps are also included (was there last time as well. I got 600 CB on my two cards for 1500×2 petrol)
    For 3 card (which most ppl have for AmEx) its 4500 cash back @ 50% (9000 spend)

  12. Rushabh

    Shop small offer is repeated for December and its much more lucrative.
    Cash back of 500 on 1000 spend. 3 times in December.

    Supplementary card can be registered separately. I got it for my amex gold charge and mrcc. Including supplementary its 4500 back on 9000 plus 2000 monthly bonus points for 10 transactions


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