Many restaurants and retailers offer temporary promotions to encourage customers to purchase gift cards or gift certificates. These promotions usually include some sort of bonus with your purchase—a free meal, extra money on the card, or a special discount, for example. Whenever I spot these deals in a store or restaurant I like, I take advantage of them. I recently got an email from Tsuki, one of my favorite sushi restaurants here in Chicago, offering a complimentary $25 gift certificate with the purchase of a $100 gift certificate. Since I know I’ll eat $125 worth of food at Tsuki sooner or later, a deal like this is basically free money.
Of course, I could actually give one of the certificates to someone as a gift. The great thing about this strategy is that the person you’re giving the card to will ever know you didn’t pay full price for it. And really, is there anything quite as satisfying as giving gifts that seem to cost more than they actually did?
Deals like this are more popular during the holidays, so keep your eyes open. I recently snapped up a free $5 gift certificate with a $25 gift card purchase (or maybe it was $20) at Qdoba. That’s like getting six burritos for the price of five. When you consider that I’m also getting every 11th burrito free thanks to the points I rack up on my Qdoba card AND the fact that I get a free drink for flashing my 4-year old student I.D., I’m practically being paid to eat there.
UPDATE: I just found out today (Dec. 11th) that Chili’s is offering a $5 bonus gift card for every $25 in gift cards you buy. You have to use the bonus card(s) during a one-month window at the start of 2008, which sucks. However, it’s a great deal if you know you’ll use it.