By: Revanche

The Stockpiling of Gift Cards

May 14, 2007

I’m a points rewards packrat. I maximize points earnings, and then I hoard them, planning and obsessing about the various rewards or gift cards that I can redeem them for. Like frequent flier miles, the consensus is that you should not do this. You earn ’em, and burn ’em because you don’t know when the program’s going to change and the earned points/miles aren’t worth anything to you until you redeem. Duh.

I never listen, of course. It always seems like a good idea to hold out for a higher redemption level, because what if I want to redeem for something like airline tickets instead of gift cards, and what if I want to buy from another store? Except 1) I’m already well over the threshold for the best redemption value you can get: there isn’t a better discount for, say, a $200 gift card instead of $100. The difference between $10, $25, $50 and $100 gift cards can be substantial, but $100 for 10k points is the best deal you’re going to get.

2) The only airline tickets I’m going to need for the forseeable future are to go see BoyDucky which costs between $110-$150, which is not worth the equivalent $250 in gift cards. If I were to be flying cross-country, the 25k points for a ticket would be a far greater value but I have no vacation plans of any sort for at least through the end of this year.

And 3) Well, it’s not like there aren’t a limited number of stores to redeem cards for anyway! I may as well start somewhere and redeem some money for each store I’m likely to frequent.

Much like when I discovered that I’d been uselessly hoarding my Discover rewards for more Double Cash Rewards because the $40 for $20 Borders GCs were now $25 Gift Cards for $20 of rewards, I lost out on the premium Citi Redemption because of my nearly pathological need to hoard points. *Tsk* It was to my intense chagrin that I found that the $100 gift cards I’ve been saving Thank You points for were no longer available at the 10k point redemption level. Instead, they’re only available at $50 for 6k points. But of course. I paid 5k more Thank You points than I expected, to get only $250 worth of gift cards, instead of $300.

In the spirit of reformation, I went ahead and ordered the $100 gift card for BoyDucky’s birthday even though that’s not for another 6 months, and I’m going to figure out what to redeem the last 20k points for, before the $100 for 10k goes away entirely. And I’ll redeem my MyPoints for a gift card as well, since I’m well over the minimum needed for a $25 gift card. Target gift card, anyone?

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