Did you get gift cards this holiday season? About six in ten of us did, according to a survey done last fall by Consumer Reports. How many of us use them promptly, however? (Guilty! I have about three or four of them in my wallet right now.)
The Retail Gift Card Association estimates that nearly $50 billion in gift cards were purchased this holiday season, and they are urging consumers to redeem them during “Gift Card Weekend” (this weekend, January 4-6, 2013). Participating retailers are throwing in some extra incentives to get you to do so. 17 popular restaurants, movie and retail chains are offering discounts and freebies for shoppers cashing in gift cards.
Why hurry up to unload your gift cards? Well, some cards have inactivity fees, although laws do prohibit how much a card issuer can charge. Or the retailer could close and you’ll be left with a worthless little piece of plastic. The biggest reason is that you simply might forget about them or lose them. All good reasons; the goodies from “Gift Card Weekend” just sweeten the pot, in some cases, quite literally…a free dessert at Chili’s Bar & Grill or $1 movie candy at AMC and a sugar lip polish from Sephora.