Odd quirks emerging with the PayPal / American Express cashback deal
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A few weeks ago, American Express launched a new cashback deal with PayPal which is well worth a look.
This is an offer which triggers when you pay for anything, on any website (in theory £ payments only), via PayPal.
With the offer available across supplementary cards too, the sums add up. Looking at my wife and I, we have a potential of £340 cashback available between us.
Our £340 of potential cashback is made up of:
- My Platinum: Spend £70, get £15 back (valid three times)
- My Marriott Bonvoy Amex: Spend £70, get £15 back (valid three times)
- My Business Platinum: Spend £300, get £60 back (valid once)
- My British Airways Premium Plus: Spend £100, get £20 back (valid once)
- My wife’s Gold: Spend £100, get £20 back (valid once)
- My wife’s British Airways Premium Plus: Spend £70, get £15 back (valid three times)
- My wife’s supplementary Platinum: Spend £70, get £15 back (valid three times)
- My wife’s supplementary Business Gold: Spend £300, get £60 back (valid once)
All PayPal offers end on 31st October.
If you haven’t already registered for the offer then it seems that you are too late and that all versions have now hit their registration cap.
There is an issue with cumulative spending
As the offer has now been running for over a month, we have got a lot of first hand experience of how it works. I have personally been able to maximise the cashback on four of the eight cards above, and I am working on the rest.
There is, however, a problem with how cumulative spending is treated. If you are taking part in this offer, it is important to understand how it works.
The T&C do not discuss cumulative spending so, irrespective of what is written below, I don’t think you have any grounds for complaining to American Express.
This is what is happening:
Cumulative spending DOES count when you can only trigger the bonus once
If you have a card with either of the following offers:
- spend £100 and get £20 cashback, once only
- spend £300 and get £60 cashback, once only
…. then cumulative spend DOES count. I can personally verify this for both of the offers above.
Cumulative spend does NOT count when you can earn the bonus multiple times
If you have a card with the following offer:
- spend £70 and get £15 cashback, up to three times
…. then cumulative spend does NOT count. You need to spend over £70 in a single transaction to trigger the cashback. I have proven this myself.
I can see the rationale here
To be fair to American Express, I can see the logic for not allowing cumulative spend to count for the ‘spend £70, get £15 cashback’ variant.
Whilst it wouldn’t be difficult to set up from an IT perspective, it would have allowed you to – for example – get £45 back on a single £210 transaction, which isn’t what PayPal wants to encourage.
What this means, if you taking part in this offer, is:
- transactions of less than £70 should be pushed towards American Express cards with the £100 or £300 spend offers. You are ‘wasting’ the transaction by putting it on an Amex card which only has the ‘spend £70, get £15 cashback’ offer because this version doesn’t pay out on cumulative spend.
- if you have larger transactions of £70+, you need to decide whether to trigger one of your ‘spend £70, get £15 cashback’ offers OR credit it to another card where you are working towards your £100 or £300 target
Yesterday, for example, I had a £99 online purchase which qualified for PayPal.
Whilst I still have a ‘spend £300’ offer to trigger on another card, I decided that it was better to put this £99 charge on my Platinum card and trigger one of the ‘spend £70, get £15 cashback’ offers. I am confident that I can still get the £300 offer triggered before the end of October via smaller bits of cumulative spend.
Don’t ask the Amex call centre about this offer
If you want to know more about this offer, including interesting ways of generating PayPal spend, have a look at this dedicated thread in our forum.
Don’t call the Amex call centre which – looking at the forum comments – doesn’t have much of a clue about what is going on. For a start, it seems oddly keen to tell people that ‘only certain PayPal merchants count’ which is nonsense.
One way of generating PayPal spend is via their gift card store. PayPal sells gift cards for various retailers – see here.
I did some test transactions in July and they worked – the cashback was triggered. These were done with Uber gift cards, which can be used across rideshare and Uber Eats.
If you have Netflix, you can buy a Netflix gift card and credit it to your account – your monthly direct debit is automatically suspended until the value of the gift card is used up.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 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.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ card is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points. Apply here.
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
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 points bonus (to 13th June) 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 bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.