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By Brad Tuttle
June 9, 2015
Mosay May—Shutterstock

What with high school and college graduations, weddings, and Father’s Day, spring and early summer are hectic gift giving seasons. Assuming you don’t have the time, creativity, or insight to handpick the perfect present in each of these obligatory gift-giving events, it’s inevitable that you’ll at least consider the gift card route in some instances.

It’s understandable, then, that retailers and restaurants regularly offer special promotions on gift cards at this time of year—and also November-December, the other big gift-giving period. In a typical deal, when you purchase a $50 gift card, it’ll come with a $10 bonus card, which the buyer can also give away or keep for himself as a little reward for being such a strategically generous gift giver.

A new series of gift card promotions from Amazon (thanks for head’s up, dealnews) tweaks the concept mentioned above. Instead of including a bonus card with a purchase, cards for restaurants and retailers bought via Amazon are simply being sold at discounts.

Now through June 22, $50 gift cards at T.G. I. Friday’s, J.C. Penney, PacSun, Steak ‘n Shake, Legal Seafoods, and Jiffy Lube are available for just $40 when purchased via Amazon. A $25 card at Cold Stone Creamery, meanwhile, is selling for $20, while the purchase of a $50 card for Longhorn Steakhouse comes with a $10 credit at Amazon.com.

Note that there are no physical cards included with these “card” promotions; instead they’re all email gift cards. They’re just as valid as any plastic card, of course.

However, the fact that the cards are being discounted in a way that’s tantamount to a flat 20% discount might give you an idea of how big the markups are at these stores and restaurants—and also how likely it is that some electronic gift cards are never actually used.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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