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November 15, 2007


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I received a couple of gift cards for restaurants that I just don't eat at last year and sold them on the gift-card reselling sites, so I turned $40.00 in useless money to a seafood place to $32.00 in cash, not a bad deal at all.

Speaking of the Chase Freedom Visa, I just got my first full-month bill today. First off, I checked the categories to make sure everything was being coded correctly to the 15 bonus categories, and it looks like it is - I was only off $0.68 in my calculations.

Secondly, I computed what the charges would have earned me on my previous #1 credit card - the Citibank Platinum Dividend. I earned $34.82 this month on just over $2,300 in charges on the Chase card - my top 3 categories were Gas, Groceries and Quick-service restaurants (exactly what I thought when I upgraded the card). On the Citibank card only gas & groceries are considered "bonus" categories.

Refiguring this month's bill under Citibank's rules, I would have earned only $27.35, or $7.47 less than with Chase. That's 27% more earned with the Chase card.

Can you tell us which shops are offering an extra bonus on their gift cards?

Amanda D - it depends on what credit card you use to purchase them. For example, the Chase Freedom Visa offers 3% back at groceries stores, among others, so purchasing a gift card there would yield you 3% instead of the normal 1% earned everywhere else.

I think Amanda means stores that might give you an extra 10% on top of the value of a gift card.

Hard to say, keep your eyes open. But I suspect if they do make that offer, the fine print will say they won't let you use it in conjunction with other coupons or offers. (And 10%-20% off coupons aren't particularly hard to find at many retailers nowadays.)

Many retailers are also offering innovative gift card packaging with their gift cards. The right packaging can turn a boring gift card into a personalized gift (boxes, tins, etc). Seastone manufactures this packaging, and you will see it this holiday season at retailers like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Staples, and others.

I miss Meijer. They haven't dared to cross the city lines here and come into Chicago.

Can someone explain what benefit the store has in encouraging people to use their gift cards quicker? They already have your money, so why would they want you to take their merchandise any quicker that they have to? Wouldn't it be in the best interest of the store to have you not use your gift cards at all, or at least delay your purchase as long as possible?

Juanny --

I think it's because people come back and spend the amount on the card and even more (probably much more) and the retailer gets the sales into this fiscal year (which helps out their overall business results.)

Juanny - FMF is correct. When someone buys a gift card, that is recorded as a liability on the store's balance sheet...not a sale. Yes, they have the cash, but they also have the $25 gift card outstanding that will eventually be turned into a sale when the recipient purchases something.

Not to mention they get rid of inventory quicker, which is another good thing.

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