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December 7, 2009

AMEX Gift Cards: No Monthly Fees… but

Filed under: Finance,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 7:09 am

amexgiftcard1

American Express had good news for shoppers a few months ago when it announced that it was no longer going to charge monthly maintenance fees or dormancy fees on gift cards that previously were imposed after one year.  That truly was a bold and welcome move, considering other gift card issuers continue to charge as much as $2.95 a month after a year, thus depleting the card’s value.

What American Express didn’t say so loudly, is that it will continue to charge other rather high fees associated with buying the card.

*MOUSE PRINT:

amexgiftcard2

There is a purchase fee of $3.95, and a shipping fee of $5.95. Considering the card could have been sent for a mere 44 cents first class, the nearly six dollar shipping fee is exorbitant. On their least expensive $25 gift card, it costs you nearly $10 in fees to buy it, thus in essence reducing the value of the card by 40%.

In the holiday spirit, however, AMEX is making a special offer via email:

Our NEW American Express Gift Cards for the holidays make great gifts this season. As a special offer to you, they are FEE-FREE through 1/31/10. Don’t delay! Order online by December 22 11am EST to ensure your Gift Cards are delivered before December 25.

American Express Gift Cards are 100% Gift, 0% fees:
• No fees after purchase
• No customer service fees
• No lost value

While you will save the $3.95 purchase fee when entering the coupon code EMDECCM, it appears the $5.95 shipping fee still applies.

Ho, ho, ho.

• • •

13 Comments

  1. Why anyone would buy and American Express gift card is beyond me and their credit cards are a joke.

    Comment by Peter — December 7, 2009 @ 8:30 am
  2. To avoid the shipping fees, you can purchase them in many local stores such as supermarkets, drug stores and stationaries. The purchase fee is still there but it is comparable to MasterCard and Visa gift cards from what I’ve seen.

    Comment by Lola — December 7, 2009 @ 10:58 am
  3. We had to get an AMX card when Northwest and Delta merged since our worldperks visa no longer earned points. We did end up getting enough bonus points for a free ticket on delta, however I never carry just the AMX card because so many places don’t accept it. That alone is a good reason not to give one as a gift card.

    Comment by myra — December 7, 2009 @ 11:35 am
  4. Rather than buy a card why not just give cash? Cash is accepted everywhere and doesn’t expire. Also it is not discounted by purchase fees and shipping charges. As a child I always appreciated cash and still do. It is just as personal as a card and can be used in small increments. You don’t have to use all of it at once.

    Comment by John P. — December 7, 2009 @ 4:16 pm
  5. John P. is right – sending cash, or a check, is the right way to go. No fees, no expiration, accepted everywhere. When did we start thinking that gift cards were the only option?

    Comment by Alan — December 8, 2009 @ 12:08 am
  6. Actually, cash or a check is sometimes NOT an option. I have relatives who I will not give cash to because they will blow it on things they shouldnt (specially if the money is meant for their kids), so I opt to give them gift cards to certain stores and restaurants.

    Comment by Peter — December 8, 2009 @ 7:59 am
  7. We use gift cards for stocking stuffers and all I do is go to the super market and pick them up. Always check on charges. AMEX and the other credit card ones are a joke.

    Comment by bogofree — December 8, 2009 @ 8:57 am
  8. OK, this is why some people love gift cards instead of cash. For me personally if I get a gift card I can’t wait to go out and shop and I love shopping. If I get cash it gets put in my purse and after a fewe days it gets spent but just not as fun. I know it is all in my head but marketing people understand that. They study us…in fact there are black helicopters over my house right now wanting to know what website I go to. Going to facebook next to work on my farm in farmville guys.

    Comment by myra — December 8, 2009 @ 1:24 pm
  9. why would anyone buy gift cards? we all know all the terms and conditions that are hidden beyond this ridiculous offer touting fees up front. be like seinfeld, give real cash. people will truly appreciate that in this recession. i never understood the point of a gift card. it’s just a big headache, both to buy and use.

    Comment by scir91_from_YouTube — December 9, 2009 @ 1:48 am
  10. Give gift cards instead of cash because gift cards are personal and cash is not…Wait, that’s not true, but somehow the marketing has succeeded in making people think this.

    My family watched other people in the family lose hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards when the establishment was sold to a new owner that refused to honor them. Yet, they still request and buy gift cards, even the people that lost out!

    Comment by Marc K — December 11, 2009 @ 2:07 pm
  11. Hi,
    I believe we cant offer cash to all.As there are some relatives and friends to whom giving cash shows some different meaning.I think these cards can have more effect than cash.It looks rich.

    Comment by bluetooth freisprecheinrichtung — December 12, 2009 @ 6:58 am
  12. AMEX is actually accepted most places but still it’s a bummer that small business gets a harder hit from them. There point system is good if you know how to use it but even then there are ways to throw this away. The above gift card is worthless and surely a Target card or something like that would be much more useful. Actually since so much stuff is available on Amazon this is the best way to go and is what I use for gift card giving…

    Comment by Paul — January 7, 2010 @ 12:01 am
  13. I give gift cards – instead of cash – and also use them for many of my own purchases because they are a “painless” fundraiser for my grandkids’ school. The school’s “scrip” program is able to buy them at a discount and sell them to us at face value. I can give (or spend) the full face value of the card while also giving a percentage to the school. (Yes I do realize that I could be using cards that pay “cash back” amounts at the end of the year, then donate that to the school, but this is an easy, automatic way for me to donate and the school benefits year-round, not just once a year. There are cards available for a multitude of places, as well as a visa gift card that can be used nearly anywhere. The percentage of discount that the school gets varies from company to company (anywhere from 1.5 to 15%).

    Comment by Minnie — January 9, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

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