I have written a number of posts in recent weeks about the great rewards that can be earned by taking out various American Express cards. I have looked at the Preferred Rewards Gold Credit card (full review here) and the British Airways cards (my review of the free card can be found here and Premium Plus Card here). 

We have received a number of emails from readers mentioning the minimum spend required to trigger the sign up bonuses on these cards. Although American Express cards are much more widely accepted at UK retailers than they used to be, it is not uncommon to come across smaller shops that don’t offer an option to pay with Amex.

With that in mind I thought I would share here one of the tips I passed along to these readers that can help you use your Amex card to pay when shopping online at a retailer that does not offer an option to pay with American Express


The issue

You are working towards a minimum spend target on a newly acquired Amex card and you have a significant purchase to make. On the bright side, it will move you closer to triggering the lucrative sign-up bonus on your new card. At least that’s the theory. You navigate to the payment page and it turns out that the retailer doesn’t accept Amex.

The solution

However there is often a useful workaround. That same retailer may accept PayPal as a method of payment and PayPal accepts Amex. After ensuring you have your Amex card added to your PayPal profile, you can use it to pay for your goods through PayPal.

Some retailers do not even require you to have a PayPal account to do this. After selecting the ‘pay with PayPal option’ you will see the option to either login to PayPal or to ‘pay with a credit or debit card’.

This option will allow you to input your card details and pay, with your Amex, without even having create a PayPal account.

Some retailers will take the extra ‘precaution’ of ensuring that the American Express option isn’t available through PayPal but in most instances this trick will be effective.

Anything else to be aware of?

However, paying with PayPal does raise an important issue it is worth being aware of, namely ‘Section 75 protection’. When making a payment with a credit card this legislation makes the credit card company jointly liable with the retailer for any breaches of contract or misrepresentation.

This is not relevant if you are attempting to pay with an Amex charge card such as the Gold or Platinum cards as this protection only applies to credit cards although Amex will usually try to ensure you are not left out-of-pocket.

It is not entirely clear if going through a 3rd party such as PayPal would affect this protection. PayPal does though have its own buyer protection scheme in place which does at least ensure you are not without protection.