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? – June 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge 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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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 Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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 card

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 (3% on business travel for four months) 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.

  • martin says:

    Although I have used this route many times and still do .
    It can be a real uphill battle to get your money back if paypal decide to reject your claim based on there own preset terms..
    The key one I’ve encountered is that if Hermes throw a parcel over your fence or even leave on your door step..
    Then paypal will decide on the sellers favour as the tracking shows as delivered..
    The only way you’ll be your money back is to use dirty tactics..

  • Erico1875 says:

    You can load £1000 on to Monzo (MasterCard) every 180 days using Amex/Paypoint via COOP etc.
    This is my preferred method for non Amex retailers

    • SammyJ says:

      Does this incur extra fees as a cash advance? Wasn’t aware you could still load cash in to Monzo since it became a bank rather than prepay, I’ll definitely need to look in to this!

  • gordon says:

    I mentioned this in the forum a couple of weeks ago when I spoke to my Amex business agent and they suggested this option. But as rob mentioned back then in the forum and in this article the retailer can block an Amex payment through PayPal.

  • Colin says:

    Tut tut Rob, you missed the opportunity to point out that there is a new Barclaycard which would avoid this problem 🙂

    • Ls says:


    • Qrfan says:

      Yep and I only had to scroll past 4 dedicated Barclaycard articles to get to this one, so easily missed!

      • Ls says:

        I am so glad I am not the only one feeling a little over-BC’d.

        • Colin says:

          To be fair, it’s a good deal for us and I assume Rob so can’t blame him. was all tongue in cheek

        • Ian M says:


      • Rob says:

        We’re done after today 🙂

        We won’t mention it for at least a fortnight, promise!

        • Billy says:

          We still need the article on the MasterCard world elite rewards programme. Very keen to see what that’s about.

          • LS says:

            Agreed! Even if the answer is the Barclaycard offers none of these benefits!

          • Polly says:

            Yes, the biggest one being do they offer lounge entry..that would be an even bigger game changer.. feel that’s the biggest obstacle for us atm, as our WE fee free time may end in July.
            Saw a lady turned away from PRG lounge Wednesday, claiming she had entry on her card. Lounge dragon said, no you don’t. As no logo on it. I guested her in, total stranger… but people had guested me in at Galleries before, so felt for her.

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    PayPal almost always sides with the retailer.
    Simple, they get money from retailers, not a surprise.

    • WendyJ says:

      In my experience I have raised disputes on 3 or 4 occasions as a buyer and always been upheld and refunded. I think it’s probably equal. If you talk to sellers they believe PP always finds in favour if the buyer. Buyers believe they predominantly find in favour if the sellers.

      At the end of the day only use it for amounts you’re willing to risk.

  • Ls says:

    I think, especially if you use PayPal without logging in, section 75 still applies. This is because money goes straight to the retailer without any other option of crediting your account, for example. It is akin to clicking on eg Worldpay and using them. The FOS released guidance on this.

    • Ls says:

      (Which is why your comment saying log in is poorly placed)

    • JDB says:

      The case to which I think you are referring is only when PayPal is acting as the payments processor (when Amex will usually be taken anyway) not when you use PayPal by clicking on/selecting the logo. There is increasing acceptance of Amex from small suppliers as many of the new integrated payments processors charge the same flat fee for all cards, so for the retailer Amex has the same cost as a debit card and no longer requires a separate merchant agreement with Amex.

      • LS says:

        No – this case had the option of paying ‘directly’ by card (which in reality used a third party (not PayPal) for this ‘direct’ patment). Very few merchants will process their credit cards in house. The fact a third party is used (eg worldpay, sage etc), does not break S75 protection

    • Alan says:

      That doesn’t sound correct to be – any definitive evidence?

  • Maurits Kalff says:

    I have paid for a huge (£19000) medical bill with PayPal, and it worked.

  • Mikeact says:

    Struggling to see the problem…without actually buying anything…going on their homepage…at the bottom shows PayPal Klarna as well M’card and Visa.

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.