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How to boost your Amex spend by using PayPal for online purchases

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If you tried to buy some British Airways First Class crockery in the sale this week (which is still running – BA has now restocked), you will have noticed that Whatabuy, the sale site, does not take American Express.

Here is the checkout page:

Use Amex with Paypal

You will that there is no American Express logo.  However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot use an Amex card.

Go back a stage on Whatabuy and you see this:

Use Amex with Paypal

Whatabuy accepts PayPal.

And PayPal DOES let you use American Express.

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 American Express card as you do not need to remember your card details when paying.

Next time you pay a retailer who does not accept Amex but does take PayPal, click through to PayPal instead.

There are no extra fees for using PayPal with retailers.

Note that 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, as with Whatabuy, it will work just fine.

The only thing worth noting is that you lose some of your consumer protection if the retailer goes bust if you pay with PayPal. This is because you do not have a direct contract with the retailer.  PayPal does have its own reimbursement scheme called PayPal Buyer Protection which may cover you but it is not legally enshrined.

Get £10 for opening a free PayPal account

PayPal is currently offering you £10 if you open a PayPal account.

You need referring, so drop us an email at hello at  We will send you 1p by PayPal to the email address you supply.

To claim your 1p, you need to follow the link in the email you will receive to open a PayPal account.

When you make your first PayPal payment of £5 or more before the year-end, you will receive £10 in your PayPal account.  Whichever member of the HfP team ends up referring you will also get £10, although it is capped at £50 so we’re not getting rich here!  The offer ends on 31st December.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 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

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (61)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Baji Nahid says:

    I buy from a lot of obscure retailers that dont take Amex, so paying with Amex/Paypal is really a god send. (Looking at you tefal).

    • TGLoyalty says:

      While Tefal might not cause an issue buyer beware there is next to no protection with buying via PayPal

  • Mouse says:

    My experience of PayPal Buyer Protection was not good. Many emails and phone calls over two months to get my money back from a supplier who failed to send my order. Would recommend only using PayPal when you know and trust the supplier.

    • BuildTheWall says:

      Agreed. PayPal most often side with the retailer and ignore the arguments from customers.

      • meta says:

        During pandemic they are even worse. It’s hard to reach a human to deal with. A few years back they were fair, but since they introduced bots to deal with disputes it’s been a nightmare. I try to avoid it now. There is no S75 protection either.

      • Lady London says:

        +1 they have a really bad rep for that. But to be fair to them it seems to be more due to poor training, absence of suitable procedure, and English comprehesion skills than actually wanting not to be helpful.

    • Bigmaggot says:

      Agreed, avoid PayPal please at all costs! Any issues you will get burnt!

    • Craig says:

      +1, dreadful when it goes wrong.

    • Jon says:

      Not my experience with PayPal. Their resolution times are long, but then if you have been through a dispute with Amex, they will tell you it can take weeks too (about a month last time I did it). As for siding with the retailer, the onus is on the retailer to prove that goods were delivered. If a retailer goes radio silent then it will take a long time as PayPal have long timeouts in their dispute resolution process. So I think Amex manage it better and have a lovely call centre who are super-friendly, whereas PayPal prefer automation.

      • KBuffett says:

        The issue is that there isn’t a signature requirement due to Covid, so the buyer is more than likely to fail to win any dispute.

      • meta says:

        @Jon the issue is that retailers can provide any fake tracking number for any item and dispute is closed in retailer’s favour. I had it happened to me back in Spring. Never using Paypal again.

        You can pay on Ebay directly with the card, no need for Paypal. And elsewhere half of retailers who say that they don’t take an Amex, actually do. Just put in the first three Amex security numbers in CVV and it will usually pass.

    • Jonathan says:

      The sooner eBay get rid of them the better. I sometimes sell stuff there, and they must charge about 10x times the amount it costs them to process a transaction. That plus you’ll get charged if the customer wants to cancel their purchase when they’ve already paid you !

      • KBuffett says:

        Don’t eBay own PayPal (or vice versa)?

        • BSI1978 says:

          Not any longer, spun out a while back so technically separate entities albeit would imagine there’s a degree of common ownership.

        • Jonathan says:

          That ended in 2014. They announced in January 2018 that PayPal wasn’t going to be the main preferred choice for payments

          When it happens is a different matter, and it could’ve been eBay US, not eBay UK, which are technically different websites, a bit similar to Amazon US and Amazon UK being in nearly the exact same position, those are just examples, it applies to all countries both companies operate in

          • The real John says:

            Many UK ebay business sellers have already been forced onto Adyen, it’s not necessarily better for all sellers and adyen don’t accept payments in several categories that are popular on ebay so not sure how they will deal with that.

            If you pay on ebay with your CC directly it may already be going through adyen rather than paypal

  • Andrew Lockhart says:

    I think you need to be careful here. I seem to remember that if you pay for things via PayPal you don’t get the usual credit card protections if a retailer goes bankrupt and doesn’t deliver the service you paid for.

  • James says:

    Slow news day? Lol

  • Jimbo says:

    It’s same old tat restocked. No chance to buy FIRST tea service in full.

    • Polly says:

      Bought a set of F tea cups and saucers late last night. And more flutes.

      • Alex Sm says:

        OMG, it’s dirt cheap! Will make great Christmas stockings fillers. Going to shop at once! Paying with PayPal of course!

  • Julian says:

    Some retailers who offer payment by Paypal have ticked a box that tells Paypal not to offer Paypal as a payment option.

    Unless things have changed the last time I checked British Airways flights website was one of the quite small number of retailers who accept payment by Paypal where Paypal won’t let you select payment by Amex but will let you select Visa or Mastercard.
    On the other hand strangely BA does offer Amex as an option to pay them directly. So can only presume accepting Amex via Paypal costs BA more given the clearly close relationship between BA and Amex over the two credit cards they offer with them.

    I have come across several other firms selling online that take Paypal where the Amex option was not offered but British Airways is the only really major one that is firmly lodged in my brain……..

    • Julian says:

      Sorry I meant the retailers have ticked a box telling Paypal not to offer Amex as a payment option as this option with Paypal clearly does exist, I can only assume because Amex costs the retailer more to take than Visa or Mastercard even if the extra is not very much.

      Clearly Amex don’t charge some very big firms that much more than Visa or Mastercard if they negotiate or Lidl and Aldi would not now be accepting it but some firms like B&Q, B&M Stores and Saga Motor Insurance have such an ingrained prejudice against Amex from the past that they don’t even seem prepared to even try renegotiating with them.

      I believe Amex is also known for being quite a tardy settler of payments due to merchants compared to Visa or Mastercard and can keep them waiting for many weeks or months. Several small retailers who don’t take Amex any more but once did have mentioned this as their experience of Amex to me.

      • RussellH says:

        Unless things have changed significantly, the normal time for Visa/MCard payments to appear in my bank a/c was two days; for Amex it was three days. Not really significant.

        The difference is in how the card fees are handled. Visa/MCard credit you with the full value of the transaction, then you get a bill for all the card fees at the end of the month. Amex deduct the card fee from each transaction before paying you.

  • Keiths says:

    Niave question here.
    If I pay a sole trader for a service, by Amex via paypal, are there any charges for either me or the sole trader?
    If I pay them £10k will they receive £10k?

    • Alex says:

      If they send you an invoice then it’ll cost them money, 2.9% I think, but won’t cost you anything. This will also give you PayPal protection.

      If you send the money as family and friend, you get no protection and I don’t think you can use amex, must be a bank transfer. Although I’m not 100% sure on that last bit.

      • DANi says:

        Believe it or not, you can use an amex to pay a friend…I pay rent directly and pay as a friend, billing it to my amex.

        Paypal take the hit…

      • Polly says:

        Yes same w my daughter, plenty of options to use amex already.

    • Rob says:

      If you mark it as ‘paying friends and family’, no. If you mark it as ‘paying for a product or service’ then yes. You only get Paypal protection on the latter though.

  • Claire says:

    I think my husband will love the 6 x first class tea cups and saucers I got for £5 as he is a flying nut. Christmas sorted 😉 the champagne flutes will work out well as he can pretend he has just boarded a flight and the starter plates are going to be great with prawn cocktail on Christmas day – very happy customer (assuming they arrive ofcourse ….)

    • Andrew says:

      The champagne “flutes” are the micro ones they use in Club which hold a mouthful for champagne – good for parties I guess as your bottles last longer! How did you get tea cups and saucers for £5? The saucers are £5 and the cups are £25?

      • Alex Sm says:

        It’s still very cheap! Now I understand why a lovely lady in Club World so easily gave me a cup last year. It’s £1.20, cheaper than IKEA

      • Claire says:

        OMG you are right, what an idiot I am – hubby here are 6 useless saucers for Christmas but they are BA first class lol In the photos it showed the teacup too so I made a stupid assumption. Thanks for letting me know. I flew Club Sep 2018 and was happy with the champagne flute, would that have been the same one?

        • Andrew says:

          Yes you’ll need to order the set of teacups to accompany the saucers. And I think they may have changed the Club World glasses now to a more normal size now, but the ones for sale are certainly the ones they use in Club Europe and World Traveller Plus.

      • Polly says:

        They separated the cups from the saucers during the night l think. Definitely sold together when l ordered just before midnight. Checked my order after reading Claire’s info, and l have the full set , 6 of each..well, Hope l have.

        • Claire says:

          1 x 380@EC2012@A+ – William Edwards First Tea Cup Saucer (Set of 6)

          Thats how it shows on the invoice. I thought it was cups & saucers at the time but i’m not sure now .. Polly did you pay £5 for the set?

        • Andrew says:

          I ordered within an hour of the sale going live – saucers separate from tea cups. Nothing has changed since then – they are separate items and you need to buy 6 or each if you want a set. The saucers are incredibly cheap compared to the side plates which are the same size. But really – 6 bone china cups and saucers for £5?!

          • Claire says:

            Rob has said they had made errors ie dinner plates for £5 – I thought it was like that .. also are these items used or brand new?

          • Andrew says:

            The dinner plates were the only error. And yes everything is brand new, in factory packaging.

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