To reach the minimum spend on new credit cards, I have regularly purchased gift cards from stores I frequent often. I prefer to buy gift cards for supermarkets and Walmart gift cards to use at Sam’s Club. For other purchases I usually prefer credit cards because of all of the extra protection they provide. In addition I do not like using gift cards to pay for hotels, car rentals and gasoline because of the hold put on the funds on the cards. Also I find it annoying when there is only a small balance left on a gift card.
My thoughts about gift cards began to change when I received my Ink Bold MasterCard. After my first purchase I earned 25,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points. Then I will earn another 25,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months in addition to the points earned for purchases. These points are valuable because they are transferable to a number of hotel and airlines programs at a 1:1 ratio including British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, Southwest and United Airlines. Here is the link for the Ink Bold Business MasterCard.
By using the Ink Bold card to charge phone, internet, cable and purchases at office supply stores, 5 points are earned for each dollar spent. Office Depot sells prepaid Vanilla Visa cards for $4.95. In addition they sell Vanilla reload cards which I mistakenly thought were used to reload the Vanilla prepaid Visa cards. But the Vanilla reload cards are used to reload the prepaid American Express cards and some other types of prepaid cards.
I called the Vanilla Reload Network and explained that I had purchased reload cards, but had no cards to put the reloads on to. The representative was very helpful. She told me I needed to send a letter by fax or email with copies of the front and back of both of the reload cards and my receipt from Office Depot. In addition she suggested that I contact their office about two hours after sending this information to them to confirm receipt of my fax. This I did and I expect to be receiving a check for a full refund including the $3.95 fee for each card by mail. It was explained to me that this refund process takes 3-4 weeks.
This mistake did take some time to resolve, but I will have earned more than 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points. Being rewarded in points is certainly a new way for me to learn from my mistakes. Hopefully I will be receiving a check for the full amount in the time period promised.
What do you like and dislike about gift cards?