Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Discounted Gift Cards Make Good Cents (with Caveats)

From Tulsa World. Just stay off Ebay and Craig's List for them--chances are good they'/re likely stolen, and YOU could be arrested for receiving stolen property!

"OPGC: Other people's gift cards are discounted on sites such as and PJ customers search for cards by store brands, amounts remaining and discount percentages, typically in the 10 percent to 15 percent range. Card-swapping sites offer guarantees these cards are legitimate. When PJ sells a card that doesn't work it replaces it with one that does or credits customer accounts for the amount paid. PJ card balances are sometimes in odd amounts (less than face values) and this is awkward for card recipients so their issuers sell them at a discount rather than reload them for face amounts and the new owners stretch their holiday budgets.

Eat: The National Retail Federation says restaurant gift cards are very popular, second only to department stores. Save big on these by visiting, etc., for cards offered at below face value. Browse by location, cuisine and average entree price. Choices vary from mom-and-pops to major chains, discount levels and purchase prices (up to 50 percent off face). Be sure to read the fine print as minimum purchases may be required, gratuities must be added in and the cards might be for food only (no drinks).

Caveat emptor: Bid for discounted gift cards at auction
sites like but practice due diligence to ensure you get true deals. Avoid scams or misunderstandings by asking sellers for cards' expiration dates, penalties or restrictions. Some are good for in-store use only, but not online. Be cautious you're not buying misrepresented face values. Ask if there are any other service fees and evaluate the sellers' reputations. Check their previous feedback before bidding on their gift cards. This is work but verify everything about individual sellers - the secondary market is littered with landmines.

Clubs: If you're a warehouse clubber - Sam's Club, Costco – you're able to buy discounted cards at the store or the website. Costco's website featured a combo of $100 restaurant gift cards for $79.99. The clubs offer deals for eating establishments and other companies that are not their direct competitors, says Bankrate.

Tweetie Face: Deal-seekers pass on the latest offerings by social media: Twitter and Facebook. You don't even have to have a "friend" to get the good news. A search for "discount gift cards" on Twitter yields results from users who share information on such. While possible to find deals this way, you're more likely to get "the business." Stick to reputable sources you know and trust as Tweet deals often fly south with the seed money.

Brick & Mortar: Stores are good discount gift card sources. Check with favorite retailers often, as many feature promotions with reduced prices for gift card buyers around the holidays. Stores offer $20 gift cards with purchase of featured products. Restaurants offer $5 gift cards with the purchase of $20 meal gift cards. These aren't limited to just retailers. Service providers, such as spas and hair salons, also regularly offer deals."

I belong to Sam's Club, and have not seen any discounted cards there. As for Costco, they must be looking in places I am not--the only discounted cards I found were discounted for the amount of the sales tax.


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