Is amex more hassle than it's worth?

So I’ve just got an Amex card (Turning into you lot :joy:).

Car parking permit app I use doesn’t accept it. Just got an error message when I tried to use it with Google play subscriptions so going to go direct now. Google pay didn’t work at McDonald’s, had to tap the card.

Just checked and my car insurance company doesn’t accept it.

I’m curious to see if my barbers accept it next time I’m there but not very hopeful.

Do people use this as their main card?

I had this with Apple Pay in a car park recently.

Acceptance is an issue, so I’ll reassess when my 5% cashback ends.

Yeah if it continues like this it’s going to put me off using it.

I’m going to Germany soon so I presume no where takes it and the card I have has fees for using it abroad so probably won’t be using it there at all. I suppose I can book the hotel with it, maybe… :joy:

You’ll get to learn the places which are and are not likely to accept it.

Petrol stations almost always accept it.

All the major supermarkets (including Lidl, Aldi and Iceland/The Food Warehouse) accept it but discount retailers mostly don’t. For some reason Poundland accept it in some branches but not others. Some of the smaller Co-op societies don’t accept it but The Co-op Group and Central England Co-operative do.

Most chain fast food restaurants and pubs accept it, but acceptance in fast food and independents is very patchy. No KFCs or Taco Bell support it, hardly any SubWay or BK franchisees accept it (but some do), franchised Costa and Starbucks stores vary - in the latter I always use my Starbucks card (which can be topped up with Amex). McDonalds accept it but Apple/Google/Samsung Pay doesn’t work for some reason.

Most parking places don’t accept it but NCP do. Railway companies tend to accept it. TfL accepts it but most other bus companies tend not to (my local company does via their app but not in person).

Quite frequently you’ll find places online don’t accept it directly but do accept PayPal, which usually offers a route to using it.

If you only want one credit card in your wallet then clearly Amex shouldn’t be it, it’d be silly to pass on the additional rewards otherwise though.

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Mid-Counties Co-Op also accept it.

Weird that you (and @Ryan) have found acceptance patchy with McDonalds, Burger King, Costa and Starbucks. I’ve always been able to use Apple Pay with it.

Even weirder that I’d actually struggle to name places that don’t take it anymore, since Barclaycard rolled out pretty wide acceptance of it above merchants heads AFAIK (my old workplace now has it despite my old boss explicitly refusing to sign-up while the fees were higher).

Obviously I wouldn’t say acceptance is as ubiquitous as MasterCard nor Visa, but it’s very solid these days (across both Cheltenham, Swindon, London and Bristol) from my experience. But I also live in a fairly developed town, so YMMV.

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For most day to day transactions I don’t experience acceptance issues.

But acceptance is definitely still an issue. Here are a few places in couldn’t use my Amex recently for large transactions:

  • A local tiles retailer
  • Payment for a boiler repair - local gas engineers
  • Car dealership - service department
  • Council tax
  • Car insurance
  • Home insurance
  • Box.co.uk

If you want an Amex you have to be prepared to have at least one other credit card.

The PayPal workaround is sometimes helpful, but not when you want to retain section 75 protection.

Only use mine for in app offers now. Highly unlikely to hit the minimum spend to qualify for them to actually pay me any accrued transactional cashback

In this case, why not get the basic Amex rewards or Amex Avios card? There is no minimum spend for earning points and both can be converted to Nectar in a way that yields equivalent of 0.8% cashback.

As a non-Amex account holder, you’ll forgive me but I’m struggling to see the attraction. Is it genuinely a no-brainer or is it that only in high-use cases?

It really looks like a mission with relatively little reward for the average user.

The minefield which is the acceptance picture is off-putting enough.

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For me, it’s only the introductory offer of £120 cashback. I’m undecided on whether I’ll bother with for the 0.5% after that, given the minor acceptance issues.

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Even though I mentioned some acceptance issues above, it’s still my preferred credit card for GBP transactions. Compared to other cashback/rewards credit cards, I prefer the Amex app and feel more confident in their customer support.

But I’ve been using Barclaycard Avios for all my card transactions recently to meet the threshold spend for new user bonus. I may switch back to Amex for day to day and use Barclaycard as my backup, but as yet undecided. The thing that makes me reluctant to switch back to Amex for day to day is not acceptance issues. It’s that it’s not compatible with Airtime Rewards.

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And this. I think I’d get more cashback overall at 0.5% with AmEx, and I’m not sure I’d particularly want to juggle two cards just to get a few percentage points more at a small number of retailers. I suspect that Airtime Rewards will be limited to my £20pa spend at Greggs. :man_shrugging:

Cheat, like I and many do, by buying gift cards for planned supermarket spent at Asda, morrisons, and sainsbury, though they just reduced to 2% from 4% which has upset many.

Edit: Tesco have been removed atm

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Not really a minefield tbh, just stops it being your only credit card. There’s no indignity in offering an Amex card only to find the retailer doesn’t accept it. Two thirds of my spending goes on Amex. Of the remaining third that doesn’t, a good amount of that is because I choose to put it on a different card (supermarkets + Costco).

I’ve made over £2000 in Amex sign up bonuses, and I average just over 1% in cashback/equiv. rewards (sinking gently, sadly) across the 7 years I’ve had one in my wallet. The former is gameplaying, and the potential to maximise it has been cut down by them tightening up on eligibility (from 6 months without that specific reward type to 2 years without any Amex, in most cases). The latter is just day to usage.

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You will find some places won’t even accept non-German cards (or cards at all), so Amex - unless you are staying in a high end hotel - will probably be a waste of time.

I forget what I did last time I was in Germany but I was in Cologne so maybe I could use a card in most places as it’s full of tourists :thinking:

I’ll probably have to just give in and use cash. Definitely will not try to use an amex card but a high end hotel might help with the minimum spend :joy:

All the mainstream Amex cards issued in the UK are very poor choices abroad regardless of acceptance, so it’s sort of a non-issue.

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If it’s a hotel or a touristy restaurant, then you’ll have no problems. Still had card(s) refused last year. They just take fright at non-German cards. Should be interesting on my next visit as I now have a German account to see what excuses they come up with to refuse it

In Berlin I never had my Revolut Mastercard rejected - but I did have to pay in cash at a couple of convenience stores.

Yeah, if my Amex was giving me more cashback than my barclaycard I’d definitely not pay much attention to Airtime Rewards (this was the situation until recently). But currently I get essentially same base reward value from both amex and barclaycard. So in this situation, doing my day to day spending on barclaycard to benefit from occasional additional cashback via airtime rewards becomes appealing.

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