What to Look for in a Gift Card

One of the best ways to give someone something they will really use is to give a gift card. This allows them to purchase exactly what they want, when they want it. However, not all gift cards work the same way. Some have expiration dates, rules to abide by, and hidden fees. A gift card is a great idea for a holiday, anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion—if you know what to look for. When shopping, keep your eyes open for these characteristics.

1. No Expiration Date

Not everyone will use a gift card right away. Some gift cards have expiration dates of six months or a year, limiting someone's time to use them. An expired gift card is of no use to anyone; you spent the money on the card, and the recipient can’t redeem its worth. When shopping for gift cards, be clear that there is no expiration date associated with the card. If you must have a card with an expiration date, make sure that the expiration is clearly marked on the card so that the recipient doesn't miss out on using it within the given time frame.

2. No Blackout Travel Dates

If you are looking for an extra special gift, consider a travel or bed and breakfast gift card.  BedandBreakfast.com’s Getaway Gift Card™ provides the recipient with a stay in a charming bed and breakfast of their choice.  Travelers can choose from a long list of participating inns and locations. They also have the freedom to travel when they want, as these gift cards have no blackout travel dates. They allow the recipient to book their travel at any time, just as if they are booking using cash or a credit card.

3. No Fees

The best gift cards have no fees, so be sure to read the fine print. Some gift cards decline in value, such as $5 for every six months that the card isn’t used. Other cards have a fee when they are issued, usually called a convenience fee or service charge. Don’t be fooled by these types of cards.  There are many gift cards available that have absolutely zero fees attached with them.

4. Free Shipping

When ordering your gift card, either online or via the phone, keep in mind the shipping cost. Some cards charge a fee for shipping, while others offer free shipping to the delivery address of your choice. You may also want to consider gift cards that are sent free via email. Why waste your money on shipping when there are companies who will ship the gift card for free?

5. Free Extras

If you’re looking for a way to make a gift card particularly special, look for free extras and customizations. For example, The BedandBreakfast.com Getaway Gift Card™ offers free customization with your own photo. This is a great way to personalize the gift card and surprise someone special with a gift card that they will be excited to use. Other fun extras to keep your eye out for include free gift wrapping, free greeting card inclusion, and special themed messages.

Tip: Provide Suggestions

When giving a gift card, one way to add a personal touch is to help the recipient think about how he or she can spend it. For example, with a bed and breakfast gift card, you can provide suggestions on special destinations, bed and breakfasts, annual events, festivals, or other appealing options. This shows an extra dose of thoughtfulness that the recipient will truly appreciate.

Gift Card