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

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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.


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

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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

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Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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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

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British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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Comments (61)

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

  • Axel Heyst says:

    Why did Rob choose Decathlon as an example, is this not one of the last European companies still trading in Russia with spurious excuses?

    • Rob says:

      Because we bought some shoes from them on Friday ….

    • marcw says:

      Do you want to know how many European companies keep trading in Saudi Arabia or – ehem – another invading countries?

      • Jeff77 says:

        Good point. We wouldn’t be trading with America either if we refused to trade with war mongerers

    • ChrisC says:

      Russian activities were suspended last week.

    • Alesio says:

      Surely rob buying a pair of trainers is a drop in the ocean compared to the millions link to our chancellors wife. Need to exert the same energy to our govt who set the rules but don’t abide by them.

  • Andy S says:

    Be aware if you use PayPal you will not be able to claim under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

    • Jonathan says:

      Rob has already made clear above that legal rights when using payment processing like PayPal is heavily reduced, if or when problems occur

    • LS says:

      Incorrect. There is a distinction between PayPal as an ‘online wallet’ and as an online ‘payment processor’. If paypal are not being used as a ‘wallet’ and merely a ‘payment processor’, this IS covered under S75.

  • pauldb says:

    Free returns with Paypal (costs refunded) can be a useful benefit to game against the S75 loss.

    ebay is another option in the same vain. You can buy pretty much anything there (with amex), including from many retailers own ebay-“store”.

    • Ladyshopper says:

      I really like the free returns with Paypal. Up to 12 a year, and covers up to £15 a time. I had to return a hoover recently that developed a fault. Had to pay postage to send it back (which I was less than impressed with), but luckily I’d paid via paypal so got the costs back.

  • JohnTh says:

    Can often use this for council tax payments too.

    • Polly says:

      I wish, our council resolutely refuses to accept any credit card.. so curve works just fine. Calls it being Fair…

    • ADS says:

      I just tried it for my London borough, but sadly they don’t take Paypal

      But thank for the Council Tax payment reminder!

  • Kevin C says:

    I used Visa Click To Pay on a site last week and was surprised to see that also allows you to use Amex.

  • MH says:

    It’s always worth trying to pay with Amex even if the business website says they don’t take it. I purchase from a retailer for work (each order is £500+) and although they don’t accept Amex in store and the website says they don’t accept Amex, if you try paying with Amex on the website it does actually go through.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Yup, I always enter my Amex details first, even if they only display Visa/MC logos.

      More often than not it doesn’t go through but every now and then it does.

    • Polly says:

      That’s worth a try, will try that next time myself. Was often tempted, but didn’t bother…

    • john says:

      Yeah that sometimes works. Often they just don’t put the logo on. I’ve found a parking app (that a station used) that allowed you to store an Amex card on their system but then seemingly didn’t actually accept amex! It was a bit bonkers.

  • MooneyM20R says:

    Interesting. Do you get Section 75 protection when using something like a Curve card linked to a credit card?

    • points_worrier says:

      No. This is more than just a necessary ‘payment processor’, but a voluntary additional payment third (?fourth)-party. You will not get S75.

    • Rob says:

      No, but Curve has Mastercard’s voluntary refund service. This has no legal basis though and if Mastercard refuse your claim you’re stuck.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    I thought you would have got the trainers from JD Sports when you were going through Gatwick

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