How to buy a car with an American Express card
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A common question that comes up in our comments section is whether you can buy a new or used car with a credit card, primarily American Express.
After all, it would be wrong to turn down a large chunk of miles and points as part of the biggest single purchase you are ever likely to make.
In reality, it is very tricky. This is partly due to the card fees that garages must pay, partly because of the large profits to be made if you take their own financing packages, and partly because many garages are wary of you making a Section 75 chargeback if there is a problem with the car.
It’s not impossible, however, especially with the larger quoted dealerships. The best advice to give is to only ask the question after you have negotiated a price, so the card fee isn’t secretly added to their ‘best price’.
Even if you cannot pay the whole sum on a credit card, see if you can pay the deposit. As well as earning a few miles, it gives you Section 75 protection in case of a problem with the car. Section 75 kicks in even if only part of your payment is by credit card.
Curve Card can help if debit cards are accepted
If your dealer will accept debit cards but not credit cards, take a look at Curve Card.
Our core article on Curve Card is here. In simple terms, you receive a debit card which recharges your purchases to another Visa or Mastercard credit card. This allows you to earn points on the underlying card.
If you take dealer financing, can you settle by credit card?
You may find that you can get a better price from a dealer by agreeing to their financing package.
If you can immediately pay off the financing package with cash or a personal loan, it may be worth doing for the discount.
If you intend to keep the financing deal, some packages allow you to make your monthly repayment by credit card.
Things are changing with Amex …..
Cazoo and Cinch are currently making big strides in the ‘online only’ used car market. You can’t fail to have seen their advertising. Cazoo is about to float in the US with a proposed valuation of $7 billion – not bad going for a business that is only two years old and has sold very few cars so far.
Both Cazoo and Cinch accept American Express. They don’t keep this a secret – it is in their terms and conditions. Cazoo’s payment rules are here. Visa and Mastercard are obviously accepted too.
The only restriction is that Cazoo does not accept ‘business’ credit cards, presumably because the fees on these are far higher. It also insists that the card is in the name on the person who will be registered as the owner.
Cazoo has an Amex cashback deal too
Whilst it is a bit late in the day to mentiont this, Cazoo currently has an American Express cashback offer running.
Until 2nd May (ie tomorrow!), you can get £250 cashback on a transaction of £1,000+.
If you are targetted, you will see the deal on the ‘Offers’ section of your online American Express statement or app.
For clarity, I know very little about buying cars and I know even less about Cazoo and Cinch. I’m certainly not recommending them based on any personal experience.
However, if you are in the market for a car and are thinking about trying one of these two new online-only players, being able to use your American Express card is an added bonus.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – March 2023 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express 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 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.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 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 & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel 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:
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review