Oct 212010
 

Giftcards2b Here's a great deal with no apparent catch.  You surely know all about 'stored value' gift cards – they are becoming increasingly popular as Christmas (and birthday and pretty much any other occasion) gift items; you can even cash in points from various loyalty programs to get the cards.

An increasing number of businesses sell them – it is a good deal as far as they are concerned, because not everyone redeems the full value of the cards – many get lost or just put in a drawer and forgotten about, and even if they are fully redeemed, the business has had the use of your money between when they sold you the card and if/when you redeem it.  In addition, if you have a gift card for (eg) Barnes & Noble and need to buy a book, you're more likely to shop at B&N than at (eg) Borders, and maybe you'll end up spending more at the store than just the amount on the gift card.

For retailers, there's absolutely no downside to these cards and a huge amount of upside (which is why they are becoming so ubiquitous).

The flipside is that sometimes when we given these cards they aren't always of great use to us.  Maybe it is for a store we don't like or which isn't in our convenient vicinity.  Okay, so another good thing about these gift cards is they are ideal for, ahem, re-gifting, and sending on to other people on some future occasion.  Gift cards have become the modern 'safe' gift to give to anyone/everyone when you don't really know what specific thing to buy, due to uncertainty about what a person wants/likes and/or already has.

Here now is a wonderful new website – Cardpool – with a concept that is both simple and compelling.  They have set up a buy/sell service – they'll buy gift cards from you that you don't want, and they'll also sell you gift cards that you might want.

Of course, you get less than face value when selling gift cards you don't want, but if the alternative is to do nothing at all with the card, something is sure better than nothing.

However, the real magic and the compelling nature of this website is that they will sell you the cards you do want at a discounted price.

Discounts range from as little as 3% (Target) or 4% (Best Buy) up to as much as 30% (1-800-Flowers), depending on where the card can be used.  Now you might think that a 5% or thereabouts discount is no big deal, but if it is something that you spend money on regularly, surely you may as well take advantage of even a small 5% discount (and most cards give much more than a 5% discount).

There are no costs to buy the cards – you pay by credit card and shipping to you, via first class mail, is free.

Some typical discounts include 30% off 1-800-Flowers; 25% off Talbots; 20% off AMC Theatres, Ann Taylor, Brookstone, Cinemark, and Regal Entertainment; 12% off Borders and Kohls;  10% off American Airlines, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Outback Steakhouse, Petco, Radio Shack, and  Victoria's Secret; and  6% off iTunes, Lowes, Office Depot, and Starbucks.

There are cards from many other companies also available, check on Cardpool's website for a current list of what they have.  Cardpool has a varying inventory of gift cards so it pays to either check back regularly or to add your name to waiting lists for the cards you're most likely to use.

All the cards they sell have no expiration and no fees.  In other words, you're getting the closest thing to cash that exists.

Even better, when you buy a card, charge it to a credit card on which you get frequent flier miles, so you're both getting frequent flier miles and also a discount.

Now for one other reason to buy cards from Cardpool.  They have offered to contribute to The Travel Insider for every person who places an order with them through this link.  So you're not only saving money yourself, you're also helping The Travel Insider too.

But of course buy only the cards you are sure you can use, or of course as gifts to pass on to others.

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