This time of year is always a busy one for online shopping. If you consider yourself even a half-serious miles and points collector, you’ll be looking to earn the maximum number of miles on all your purchases.

For many, that means paying with an American Express card of some sort, wherever possible. Although Amex acceptance in the UK continues to grow, especially among larger online retailers, that isn’t always the case. It’s certainly not unusual to come across sites that don’t allow you to pay with Amex.

If you’re working towards the minimum spend for a card sign-up bonus, it can be hugely frustrating to find that the vendor doesn’t accept Amex, especially on a substantial purchase.

How to pay with an Amex (and earn miles) even when the retailer DOESN’T accept Amex

However, 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.

H&M accepted card payment methods

As you can see, card payments are limited to Visa or MasterCard. I put through a dummy order to test this out. When I reached the payment page, the following options were available:

H&M payment page

Instead, I clicked on the PayPal option and after logging in I was able to select my Amex card to pay with no issues.

Paying for H&M order with PayPal

Are there any other retailers you know of that accept PayPal but not Amex?

Do I need a PayPal account to use this trick?

Some retailers do not even require you to sign in to 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?

Some retailers take the extra step of blocking American Express cards even via PayPal. In my experience, this isn’t usually the case and in most cases, this method will work just fine.

What about ‘Section 75’ protection?

Using your credit card to pay via PayPal does raise the important issue of ‘Section 75 protection’. When making a direct payment using a credit card, Section 75 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 have its own buyer protection scheme in place which at least ensures you have some sort of protection.

This is also less relevant if you’re attempting to pay with an Amex charge card such as the Amex Platinum card. That’s because Section 75 protection doesn’t extend anyway to charge 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 bear in mind and one that I do use on a semi-regular basis.

It’s always worth a quick check to see whether any of the online retailers that don’t accept Amex, do accept PayPal.  It’s also worth checking your utility companies or local council to see whether they accept PayPal payments. While many of these don’t accept American Express cards, they do offer an option to pay with PayPal.

Have you ever used the ‘PayPal method’?

Header image credit: michelmond /


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.