Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Trying to buy some trainers for my son from the Decathlon website on Friday, I was reminded of an interesting trick which you can use at retailers which do not take American Express.

This assumes that you are keen to push up your Amex spend to hit a bonus or voucher target.

Here is the payment page of the Decathlon website:

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

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

Look elsewhere on the payment page and you will see the the Paypal logo.

PayPal DOES let you use American Express.

This is what comes up – it opens my Paypal account, which has a BA Amex card linked to it, and I can use it:

Using Paypal where Amex is not accepted

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 in the future.

There are no extra fees for using PayPal with retailers.

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

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 Decathlon, 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.

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

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 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.

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

Comments (61)

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

  • Phil says:

    And remember. If you need to pay a friend then send it to them via PayPal, nominating your Amex as the payment source…

    • athruna says:

      This is how I used to pay my rent – an easy 1200 points a month at no cost to me.

      • James says:

        Does Amex not treat that like a cash advance?

        • Rob says:

          Any Paypal payment you make marked as ‘friends and family’ goes through as a purchase with no fees to either party.

          Abuse it and they come down on you like a ton of bricks and you’ll wish you’d never heard of them, which is why no-one ever recommends it.

  • Dom says:

    I believe that S75 doesn’t relate to Amex either as it isn’t counted as a credit card but a charge card. It may just be Visa and MasterCard. Worth double checking however.

    • Harrier25 says:

      The Amex credit cards are covered by s75 protection but not the charge cards.

  • gordon says:

    Now that energy prices have sky rocketed why not top up your utility account with Amex. I am with energy company bulb and have done that a few times now….

  • Sami Ullah says:

    My paypal accaunt

  • Tony W says:

    Not sure if it is coincidence or not but following a big purchase via PayPal, I ended up with my account being restricted.. it took months to get the restriction removed as my first attempt was unsuccessful due to not knowing what the goal posts were. After many calls and a 3 month wait, I finally got the restriction removed.
    If Amex do apply a credit limit on you, they require an account to have held a minimum of £19500 for 3 months which they don’t tell you.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.