How to use up those random gift card balances ($3.62, anyone?)

This has been a great week for Amazon deals! Hopefully many of you were able to lock in the incredible deal for $25 off a $75 purchase from Amazon/Amex a couple of days ago. This deal is now closed, so congrats if you got in! If you didn’t make it, I am confident that Amex has more deals waiting in the wings…they always do.

The foolproof way (which I definitely need ;))to work the Amazon/Amex deal is to buy $75 Amazon gift cards, load them onto your account, and make purchases as needed. This way, the funds will never expire, and you won’t have to figure out how to make each purchase total exactly $75. I spent a few minutes this morning buying Amazon e-mail gift cards because it is an almost instant way to handle this: you can get the cash into your account and also get an email confirmation from Amex right away!

However, this got me to thinking (sometimes a good thing). As long as I was loading up my Amazon account, I realized that I could also use this as an opportunity to drain some of my random Visa and Amex gift cards. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that have like $3.62 on them. I’ve got a bunch floating around the corners of my life: in the cupholder of my car, the bottom of my purse, and the windowsill in the kitchen. I gathered them all up and sat back down at my computer, then this is what I did.

It was super easy.

1. Head to Amazon and click on the Amazon Gift Card – E-mail page.

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 2.16.52 PM

2. Enter the amount that is on your random Visa or Amex card

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 2.19.18 PM

3. Make your purchase. Make sure to enter your random gift card number on the payment screen (don’t accidentally pay with a saved credit card, for example).

You will instantly get an email from Amazon that you have received a gift card. In the body of the email, there will be a cute photo like this one (or whatever awesome design you chose), along with a link that reads “Redeem Now.”

amazon gift card

4. Click on the “Redeem Now” link and you will arrive at a screen that looks like this:

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 2.30.26 PM

5. When you click “Apply to Your Account,” you will get immediate confirmation:
Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 2.30.40 PMThat’s it! My random gift cards are gone and my life is a little less cluttered. (So glad I don’t have to look at the Visa card in my cupholder anymore!)

Anyone else have tips for draining random balances?

(Note that I do get a referral credit if you use one of the links above. I really appreciate and thank you for your support!)


  1. I use up most of my mini-balances at Target. You don’t need to know how much is remaining on the card – just swipe it and the register will use up the balance and ask for a second form of payment on the balance.

  2. MidTierStatus says:

    You can do this at grocery stores too

  3. I think you left out the step to add the random visa or amex gift card as a payment option so it drains from that gift card.

  4. I’ll second the Target suggestion, they’re pretty good with small gift card balances.

  5. Points Pixie says:

    MidTier Status, Heather, and Nick – thanks for adding to the discussion!

  6. Jennifer C. says:

    I also use them to make payments on my wireless phone account.

  7. just bought a bunch of stuff and target gift cards this weekend with random visa debit cards i had. So easy, I think I used 10 cards in one transaction.

  8. Great idea on the random visa cards at Amazon. Always looking for ways to use those last few dollars.

    I keep a folder in my file cabinet “gift certificates” where I store all my random cards. Every now & then I’ll get it out and ooh and ahh over what I want to buy/do. i.e. I have some Disney Dollars from who knows how long ago. Also have some Toys R Us dollars which look to be from 1996-1997. (are they still around??). The best one of course is my Villagio Spa certificate from 2002. I actually did try to use it once, and instead they billed my credit card, leaving the credit on my certificate! Unfortunately I didn’t realize until it was too late.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Rebecca – great description. You should have an afternoon where you sit down and go on a gift certificate spending spree!

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