Just how widely are American Express cards accepted?

American Express Platinum Charge

Planning to take advantage of an American Express new cardmember offer? Want to know where you can use your card? This guide gives an overview of the many places that you can use your new card.

Where is American Express accepted?

It is true that Visa and Mastercard are accepted at more merchants both in New Zealand and overseas, however, American Express has been expanding its footprint. In 2017-18, thousands of new locations were added.

The following list of merchants that accept Amex cards is by no means exhaustive—a more extensive list is here.

Remember that there are also thousands of small businesses that accept American Express.

Big purchases

  • Airlines: Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Air New Zealand, Expedia
  • Accommodation: Airbnb, Marriott, Hilton, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, IHG
  • Car hire: Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Europcar
  • General travel: Happy Travels
  • Transport: SkyBus
  • Educational institutions: Kindo, University of Auckland
  • Household goods: Freedom, Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming, JB Hi-Fi
  • Electronics: Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Kogan

Broken iphone screen

Buy your phone outright or pay a mobile phone plan with an eligible American Express card and insurance will cover you if the screen breaks

Medium purchases

  • Supermarkets: Countdown, Countdown Online, Farro Fresh, FreshChoice, New World, Nosh, PAK’nSAVE and SuperValue
  • Bottle shops: Bottle-O, Fine Wine Delivery Co, Glengarry, Super Liquor
  • Department stores: Farmers, Smith & Caughey’s, David Jones, The Warehouse
  • Clothes retailers: Adairs, Ben Sherman, Country Road, Cue, Dotti, Just Jeans, Macpac
  • Utilities: Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Powershop
  • Fuel: BP, Caltex, GAS (Gasoline Alley Services), Gull, Mobil, Shell and Z Fuel
  • Entertainment: Hoyts, Event Cinemas
  • Subscription services: Netflix, Spotify
  • Communications: Vodafone, Spark, 2Degrees, Skinny Mobile
  • Public Transport: Auckland Transport
  • Payment platforms: Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay


Apple Pay

Small purchases

  • Food & drink: McDonald’s, Ben & Jerrys, Habitual Fix, Burger Burger, Coffee Club, Mad Mex, St Pierre’s Sushi, Robert Harris, Hell Pizza
  • Miscellaneous: Uber, Pravda Café, Smiggle, Zanzibar

How do I maximise points earn?

A wise strategy is to choose an American Express card with a large sign-up bonus, use that card where you can, and pair it with a Visa or Mastercard to use where Amex is not accepted.

Due to restrictive bonus points eligibility rules for American Express-issued cards, you should choose the first one you hold carefully so you can earn a big sign-up bonus. Then you could always add on another American Express-issued card like the Platinum Edge, which is great for buying groceries and fuel.

The American Express Platinum Edge will earn you 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at supermarkets

Summing up

Question: Just how widely are American Express cards accepted?

Answer: Probably more than you originally thought!

Now that American Express cards can be used for a large chunk of your expenditure on groceries, regular bills, travel, entertainment and clothes, you shouldn’t have too much trouble meeting minimum spend requirements and/or maximising your ongoing points-earning potential.


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Just how widely are American Express cards accepted? was last modified: November 13th, 2019 by Daniel Kinnoch