Given that the miles and points earned on Amex cards are generally far higher than those earned on MasterCard and Visa transactions, it is always frustrating to visit an online retailer to find that American Express is not accepted.
In many cases, though, the same retailers will accept PayPal as a method of payment. And PayPal DOES let you use Amex.
You do not even need a PayPal account to pay with PayPal – you can click on the ‘Pay with PayPal’ link and enter your card details directly. That said, it makes sense to open an account and link your Amex card as you do not need to remember your card details when paying.
Next time you pay a retailer who do not accept Amex but do take PayPal, click through to PayPal instead.
If you have a PayPal account, remember that PayPal will, by default, take payment from your bank current account if it is linked. You need to click the link during the payment process to switch to your Amex card.
There are usually no extra fees for using PayPal with retailers. Some retailers manage to block PayPal from showing the American Express option if they do not accept Amex themselves, so this is not always a solution. In the majority of cases it will work just fine.
The only thing worth noting is that you may lose some of your protection if the retailer goes bust if you pay with PayPal. PayPal does have its own reimbursement scheme called PayPal Buyer Protection which may cover you but it is not legally enshrined. That said, if you use an Amex charge card, that is not covered by the compensation legislation either albeit that Amex does voluntarily make good any losses.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2020 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my November 2020 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.