Where is your American Express card accepted?

Oct 4, 2019

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There is a misconception in the UK that American Express is not widely accepted. In the past, this may have been a little closer to the truth — but not anymore.

Amex acceptance is one of the most common questions I get when talking about earning rewards through cards. With Amex offering the broadest range and most lucrative products, using an Amex card becomes a necessity for points and miles collectors. And, of course, that would create a problem if you couldn’t easily use one.

Why was this the case?

Historically, American Express charged retailers higher rates when customers paid using Amex-issued cards. However, with the introduction of the European Union’s 0.3% cap on interchange fees, which applies to some Amex cards, and moves like Amex’s Shop Small programme and the increasing desire of businesses to open themselves up to spending from all customers, more and more places accept Amex.

Who accepts Amex?

Here are some of the key places where you can (almost) always use an Amex. Note that these are the places where you are most are likely spend the majority of your money:

  • Supermarkets (even Lidl and Aldi)
  • Petrol stations
  • The Post Office
  • Uber
  • Major high street retailers
  • Most restaurant chains, all but the smallest independents
  • Travel (London Underground, national trains, flights, hotels).
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Subscriptions (like Netflix and Spotify)
  • Almost everywhere else online (most places online accept Amex, and often when they don’t, use an Amex linked to a Paypal account where possible)

If fact, only the smallest corner shop-type retailers hold out against Amex. But these days, it’s rare that even these guys won’t take your card. I was surprised on a recent visit to Leeds that even the Mr Whippy van in Roundhay Park accepted Amex.

Bottom line

American Express is not difficult to use, so let your fears melt away. Just be prepared for some of those corner shop purchases, which may not take it. But there’s no need for acceptance to stand between you and earning points.

Featured image by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy

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