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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.

Good American Express cashback deal with PayPal launched

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.

American Express PayPal offer

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? – October 2022 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 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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 Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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:

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

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 and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (58)

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

  • CarpalTravel says:

    Something to report, as it happened to me, if you trigger the bonus(es) you are entitled too and yet the offer continues to show in the Amex active offers list (i.e. it doesn’t move into the “recently redeemed” list) don’t expect it to work again on future payments. It won’t.

  • Tomgold says:

    I’m still waiting for my £15 from a transaction on 5 September with KIWI Travel

  • AndyC says:

    Did an Apple gift card purchase via the Startselect website. Rejected, on failing security check, and refunded, yet AMEX was still credited with the advertised £15 amount.

  • apbj says:

    A long way of saying the original article was wrong.

  • mark2 says:

    So far, I have paid eBay, Microsoft, BT, PayPal cards and Wishcard. All have received the statement credit fairly or very quickly except the last.
    This is a shame because Wishcard offers a much wider range of cards than Paypal cards/Access All including John Lewis and Morrison’s, so I am stuck with the Sainsbury’s route.
    And I have to decide whether to re-use the three slots by 31 Oct.

    • Mark M says:

      Ditto re Wishcard. No £20 in sight. I chased Amex via Live Chat, and the guy waffled for a bit (as Rob says, they don’t know much about it), ‘raised a ticket’ and said ask again in 2 weeks! I won’t hold my breath, but at least I now know I can spend a cumulative £100 on that card…
      BTW, Wishcard worded fine with Amazon but no cashback. Sadly, I think it is the only route to Amazon credit – is that true?

  • Jordan D says:

    Kwik Fit for the MOT & Service and See Tickets for some gig tickets both accepted PayPal, as did Uber. 3x£70 spend there. Win.

  • Col says:

    For those with a Shell garage (and if it is appropriatepy prices) you can set up Shell Pay at the petrol station and have your payment method as PayPal and your Amex as preferred card!

    I got my £70.03 payment counted and £15 cashback 🙂 good way to get some ‘free fuel’ in the current climate!

  • Richard says:

    I tried to use this offer via PayPal over a month ago and I have not received any credit. Amex told me I was not eligible unless it appeared in the Offers section of my Amex account, which it did not. Bit disappointed.

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

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