Doctor of Credit is one of my favorite resources for news about promotions (although they post so much stuff the website is almost unusable; I prefer their Twitter and RSS feeds). However, one consequence of the sheer breadth of their coverage is they aren’t specialists, which sometimes gets them tripped up when similar promotions come along from different merchants. I think that’s what happened this week when they wrote about the current Visa gift card promotion at Giant, Stop & Shop, and Martin’s store locations.
As a button on the post, William Charles wrote, “Will probably only work on a $100 fixed value card.”
The promotion: $10 off your next $10 grocery purchase when you buy $100 in Visa gift cards
This promotion may seem similar to last month’s promotion for $15 off $15 in groceries, but is actually superior in three key ways:
the promotion is automatically triggered when you use your Giant card during a Visa gift card purchase. There’s no need to create multiple accounts, add digital coupons to each account, and keep track of multiple alternate ID’s.
the promotion produces a coupon to use on a future shopping trip, so you don’t have to ring up your gift card and groceries together. That means you don’t have to check out with a cashier, who may be unfamiliar with the procedure for selling gift cards, and in any case requires summoning a supervisor and holding up shoppers behind you.
the coupon can be used at self-checkout stations, which gives you breathing room to troubleshoot any problems you have using the coupon, like unadvertised discounts that might bring your grocery total below $10.
Of course, the drawback is that the discount is just $10 off $10 in groceries, rather than $15 off $15. Whether the increased simplicity outweighs the lower value is an exercise left to the reader.
The confusion: some promotions require fixed-value Visa gift cards, intentionally or not
There are two ways to get confused about what gift cards are eligible for which promotions. First, promotions may explicitly target fixed-value cards. For example, Safeway gift card promotions frequently specify that the promotion applies exclusively to $100 MasterCard gift cards. Second, promotions may not explicitly require fixed-value gift cards, but a store’s own policies mean they’re the only cards eligible. For example, during a lucrative promotion a few years back, a Office Depot stores sold both fixed-value and variable Visa gift cards, but only fixed-value cards could be purchased with credit cards. That wasn’t a restriction in the promotion (and indeed, some folks realized the promotion was worth doing even if you had to pay in cash for variable loads), but it was a restriction that applied to the promotion.
In the case of the current Giant promotion, the coupon is triggered by the purchase of $100 in Visa gift cards, not the purchase of $100 Visa gift cards; variable Visa gift cards work fine, and most (if not all) store locations will sell variable cards by credit card.
I don’t mean to give the DoC team a hard time for the mistake; like I said, I think they’re one of the most valuable resources in the community. I just want to make sure folks who were surprised or confused after reading their post know that this promotion is indeed available to those who find it more lucrative and convenient to purchase and liquidate variable value Visa gift cards rather than fixed-value ones at grocery stores.