Gift Certificates - Great Deal or Ripoff?


Jan 2nd, 2010, 11:57 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1
Gift Certificates - Great Deal or Ripoff?

Happy New Year Everyone,

My wife and I are coming to Chicago in a few weeks and aside from the bitter cold, it is my first time, so I am excited.

My wife usually does all the planning. But this time, she did something I am not too sure about... She bought some Chicago "Gift Certificate bundle" from the travel agent.

In a nutshell, it is a book of twenty (20) gift certificates all worth $25 each... so the "total value" is $500. The travel agent sold it to my wife for $150, telling her what a "steal" it was.

My wife obviously thought it was a deal and bought it much to my chagrin. The certificates are for restaurants, shops, attractions, etc. in Chicago

Anyway... did my wife get a deal or get ripped off? Are these just glorified coupons with strings attached? Or are we truly getting $500 worth (cash value) of gift certificates?

They seem legit, and I trust our travel agent (somewhat)... but I want to make sure before we go to Chicago. If anyone has purchased anything similar and can share some insight, I would really appreciate it!

Thanks a million!

fudgebrowneyes is offline  
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 05:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,681
I truly doubt you're getting $500 worth (cash value) gift certificates. It sounds like 20 different places you'd need to patronize.

I don't know about the Chicago bundle, you've purchased but it sounds similar to the ubiquitous Entertainment books that local groups sell as a fund raiser. Those coupons are often buy one - get one free deals, or $10 off your bill of $50, etc. A good deal if you actually want to patronize the store or restaurant, but a waste if you don't.

For the sake of marital bliss I recommend you make an adventure out of it and try to get as close to $150 out of it as you can, even if that means you need to spend some to save some. Otherwise just keep your trap shut or nobody will get any.
J62 is offline  
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 265
Is there a website that shows the gift card bundle in more detail? Is there small print? Sometimes with these deals you can only use during dinner, only use Mon-Thurs, etc.

Agreed, since she already bought it, go ahead and try to use it. I would definitely not go to places just because you have the coupon though.

Perhaps you can try to sell the rest of the pack on Craigslist and recoup some of your money.

Either way, have a wonderful trip!
Gina817 is offline  
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