In the coming weeks, I am going to be updating and rerunning many of our credit card reviews.
With one eye on that, I wanted to explain a useful trick that allows you to earn miles and points when you pay with PayPal.
Many of those cards offer significant sign-up bonuses provided you meet a minimum spend requirement within the first 90 days of holding the card.
- The British Airways American Express Premium Plus card (reviewed here) offers 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months.
- The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card (reviewed here) offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points – worth 20,000 Avios or Virgin miles – when you spend £2,000 in the first 3 months.
- The American Express Platinum Card (reviewed here) offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points – worth 30,000 Avios or Virgin miles – when you spend £2,000 in the first 3 months.
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (reviewed here) offers 10,000 Starwood (SPG) points -worth 10,000 Avios or Virgin miles – when you spend £1,000 in the first 3 months.
To earn those bonuses swiftly, you’ll want to channel as much of your spending through your new card as possible.
Now, although American Express cards are more widely accepted than they used to be, that isn’t always the case. Promotions such as the excellent Shop Small offer that ran in December undoubtedly do their best to aid smaller shops who do accept Amex. Nevertheless, it’s not unusual to come across companies or retailers that don’t offer an option to pay with Amex.
If you are working towards a sign-up bonus, it can be incredibly frustrating when you have a big payment to make only to realise that the retailer in question doesn’t accept Amex.
How to pay with your American Express card even when the retailer DOESN’T accept Amex
There is often a useful workaround. That same retailer may list PayPal as one of their accepted payment methods and PayPal accepts Amex.
After ensuring you have your Amex card added to your PayPal wallet, you can use it to pay for your goods/services through PayPal.
A good example of this is H&M:
Here is their list of accepted payments methods.
As you can see, card payments are limited to Visa and MasterCard products. However, I put through a dummy order to test this out. When I reached the payment page, the following options were available:
I clicked on the PayPal option and after logging in I was able to select my Amex card to pay with no issues.
Do I need a PayPal account to use this trick?
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 log in to PayPal or to ‘pay with a credit or debit card’.
This option will allow you to input your Amex card details and pay, without having to create a PayPal account.
Does it always work?
You will find some retailers who will take the extra ‘precaution’ of ensuring that the American Express option isn’t blocked even via PayPal. In my experience, this isn’t usually the case and in most instances, this trick will be effective.
Anything else to be aware of?
However, using your credit card to pay via PayPal does raise an important issue worth being aware of, namely; ‘Section 75 protection’. When making a direct payment using a credit card, that protection makes the credit card company jointly liable with the retailer for any breach of contract or misrepresentation. It isn’t 100% clear how going via a 3rd party such as PayPal might affect this protection.
PayPal does though have its own buyer protection scheme in place which does at least ensure you are not without protection.
This also isn’t relevant if you are attempting to pay with an Amex charge card. That’s because Section 75 protection doesn’t extend to charge cards such as the Amex Gold or Platinum cards. (Incidentally, Amex will usually voluntarily try and ensure you are not left out-of-pocket even when paying on a charge card).
This is a useful trick to be aware of and one that I do use on a semi-regular basis. It’s also worth checking with your utility companies or local council to see whether they accept PayPal payments. While many of these companies/councils won’t accept American Express cards, they do offer an option to pay with PayPal.
Being able to use your Amex to pay your council tax, for example, should definitely help you to earn your next 2-4-1 companion voucher that bit quicker!