American Express Gift Chain = Awesome!

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A few days ago I saw some tweets about the American Express Gift Chain.  I was crazy busy at that moment, so I didn’t dig too deeply into the promo at the time.  However, yesterday I got a minute to do some research and I found out the American Express Gift Chain = awesome!  I guess this promo was just overshadowed for a while by Small Business Saturday, but it is very much worth checking out if you have an Amex card.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Register your American Express card.  Unless you are making over 10 purchases at the eligible retailers, I don’t really see a huge need to register every single Amex you can find in your sock drawer, but do keep in mind you can only get 10 “gifts” per card.
  2. Then, use that card to spend $25 or more at a participating online store between November 28 and December 21, 2011, and you could get a surprise gift.  Eligible retailers include: J. Crew, Pottery Barn, Toys R Us, Walmart, YoYo, Dell, REI, American Eagle Outfitters, Zappos, Blue Nile, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Nike Store, Game Stop, and more…  Yes, you can still go through a shopping portal, and yes you can buy gift certificates to meet the $25 spending requirement.  You get the idea…… 😉
  3. After you make your purchase of at least $25 with an eligible retailer, you may receive a gift from Amex!  I am a little bit confused on whether every purchase gets a gift until the gifts are gone, or whether it is a bit random.  I did two Walmart purchases yesterday and both received gifts.  The first received a year of ShopRunner free, and that email came within minutes of the purchase.  The second purchase received a $5 Amex statement credit if I make another minimum $5 purchase at Walmart between now and February 29, 2012.  That email came about 18 hours after the purchase was made.  I plan to make a few more purchases at eligible retailers, so we will see what I get!

It’s that simple.  Register, spend $25 on something you needed anyway at one of the eligible retailers, and get a prize.  Some examples of available gifts are: $10 Walmart gift card, $500 American Express gift cards for you and three of your Facebook friends (psst, I’ll be your friend!), $300 Dell gift card, $25 Toys R Us gift card, statement credits, and Membership Reward points.

Are you already a part of the gift chain?  I learned through Twitter that chiefmbh bought $225 in Walmart gift cards and received statement credits and more gift cards.  Way to go!  (If you want to have fun with me on Twitter you can follow me @Mommy_Points)  What did you get from the gift chain?

This promo is just further proof that it pays to have a diversified credit card collection.  That way you don’t miss out on any of these card specific promos!  If you don’t already have an Amex, I have several good Amex cards listed in my Top 5 Family Credit Card deals.  In this case, you had to to have had your Amex card by 11/27 to take advantage of this promo, but at least you will be ready for next time!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. Well, I bought four items off for four different cards (mine and family members) and got the ShopRunner membership…all four times! Yikes. It would’ve been good to get something else for a change!

    Still, great promotion. I’m going to spend the $ anyway, just wish I got better ‘gifts’.

    • @steven, I wouldn’t want 3 Shoprunner memberships either! According to this thread, some retailers don’t give out Shoprunner. Pottery Barn, Nike, and REI, are three examples. If you need anything from those stores at least you won’t get a 4th Shoprunner!

  2. My 2 Walmart purchases generated Shoprunner gifts, but my 2 REI purchases netted me a $5 statement credit and a $20 Amex gift card. Sorry Walmart, moving on.

  3. Read the terms and conditions – very interesting!

    1) Different retailers are loaded with different rewards, and some don’t have many Shoprunner rewards.

    2) There is a free entry option…well, the cost of a stamp and envelope I guess. You select the retailer you want to ‘buy’ from (no purchase necessary).

    Combine these two and…..

    • @Jason, I am having trouble finding time getting Little C’s birthday invites in the mail, but for those who have time to get this in the mail you are absolutely on to something. 😉

  4. O, and to totally throw the game off, there are ‘rollover’ prizes if someone has already claimed the prize allotted to the current time slot :/ Of course, you have over a 50% chance of getting the Shoprunner membership in this case.

  5. Darnit… I too saw the Amex gift chain announcements but was too busy to look into it. Haven’t registered yet, but already bought Christmas gifts for walmart and gamestop!

  6. I registered 3 cards and purchased 3 separate Walmart $25 gift cards, which ship for free. On the first purchase I got a $10 Walmart gift card in return. The other two I got Shoprunner, so I stopped trying at that point. Still worth the effort for the $10 gift card, since you don’t lose any money by getting a gift card and having it shipped for free.

  7. Thanks for the shoutout! I just totaled my haul from buying $750 in walmart gift cards and awesome is the word!
    I received $570 worth of amex credits/gift cards, walmart gift cards (not including $200 for facebook friends), 3 shoprunners, $4 dunkin donuts and 2 that have not posted yet! Of course YMMV, my wifes card only yielded $55 in credits, 750 MR points and a shoprunner for 10 purchases.

  8. FYI for other commenters – there is a limit of *10* per card registered and a limit of 1 shoprunner per card. I’m guessing most people will get shoprunner as the first, then they can’t get it again.

    Also, there is a limit of 1 card registered per person, per the official rules. So each adult in a household can do 1 card with 10 transactions, but not multiple cards.

  9. @Cassia, pretty sure you can have 10 transactions per registered card according to fine print.
    “Limit 10 gifts per person/registered Card for the entire Promotion”

  10. It is sounding like almost everybody gets Shoprunner as the first WM gift. Same here, but then I got 9 credits totalling $50.25 on the remaining 9 gifts. I look at that as a 20% rebate for money that we’re going to spend anyway. (We spend $300-400 on staples at Sam’s every month.) This pormotion is giving me the thrill of gambling, without the risk of loss.

    DW won’t be too happy with all the 25s because she spends 100+ a few times a month at Sams. I’m hoping I can convert some of the 25s to 100s by buying GCs using the GCs.

    If you do MyPoints, they have 8 points/dollar for WM until Dec 3rd-ish. That’s like getting another 4-6% back on the card, depending on how you value those points.

  11. got 3 walmart $25 GCs. 1st was shoprunner. 2nd was $50 for myself and 3 for 3 facebook friends. I did share :). 3rd was $10 credit with min $10 next time at walmart.

    thanks amex

  12. So one Walmart gift card netted a one year ShopRunner, The next Wat-mart restaurant gift netted a one year ShopRunner. Yawn.
    But I had been wanting to buy some gifts at Zappos, so broke the gifts into two different purchases. One netted a $2 Dunkin Donuts (and 3 of those to share on FB?) and one netted a $25 Zappos. So quite happy and if there is a next time, there will be no Walmart purchases.

  13. I purchased 13 $25 gift cards at Toys R us,AE, REI, and gamestop.

    For one purchase at AE, I clicked on the amex incite link to get x4 MR points. Even though, I bought two separate $25 gift certificates at AE. I only got one Amex gift.

    Actually happened again at gamestop (without the x4 MR points).
    In summary, out of 13 separate purchases only 11 gifts. I am not complaining! Free gifts are awesome. Just wanted to see if this happened to anyone else.

    Great blogging! Thanks for everything.

  14. If we’re compiling results, I’ve done 2 x $25 Walmart gift cards. First got shoprunner; second a $2 statement credit. Better than a sharp stick!

  15. Hmm…

    Free Participation: To receive a Gift without making a Qualifying Purchase, during the Promotion Period, hand write your name (exactly as it appears when you registered in the Promotion), complete address, city, state, ZIP code, phone number (including area code), email address and name of the Qualifying Merchant Gift Pool in which you would like to participate (while supplies of Gifts in that Qualifying Merchant Gift Pool last) on a piece of paper and mail it in an envelope to: “AMEX Holiday Gift Chain – Free To Participate Request”, P.O. BOX 4900, Fenton, MO 63099 (“Mail-In Request”). Requests must be postmarked by December 21, 2011 and received by December 28, 2011. Limit one (1) request per outer-postmarked envelope. Upon receipt of your request, a Sponsor representative will “participate” for you in the specified Qualifying Merchant Gift Pool and you will be sent an email which will advise you of the Gift that you are eligible to receive and how to claim it Free Participation requests mechanically reproduced or made in any fashion other than as specified herein are void. Any requests received from a Cardmember who has not registered his/her Card by the time the Free Participation request is received will be deemed null and void. If a request does not include the name of a Qualifying Merchant but is otherwise complete, Sponsor will randomly select a Qualifying Merchant Gift Pool into which request will be entered.

  16. yea maybe the good stuff is loaded towards the front end for the dif retailers? i did it 2 more times and got $2 both times… which while technically is a good deal kinda not worth it for me to carry so much walmart gc balance!

  17. I did and got a $10 statement credit. And I used a coupon code on the purchase and saved some money. Thanks for the info.

  18. This worked out really well for me – Spent around $250 and will get back $90 of it. I registered and on 12/5 and made the 10 max purchases sporadically since mostly buying $25 GCs. Keep participating, there are still good rewards being given.

    My stores: JCrew (3x), Zappos (2x), PB (2x), REI (2x), BBB (1).

    My gifts:
    – $90 in credits (7 x – some required I go back to the same retailer and make another purchase of $5-$25. Note: that additional purchase also came with a gift).
    – 500 MR points (2 x 250 MR gifts)
    – 1 yr. shoprunner (1 x my first purchase as well, similar to many others).

  19. Everyone is buying gift cards it looks like. How about making an actual purchase, then returning it? Some may not like the idea, but if it is given as a gift to someone they may want to return it after christmas anyway.

  20. @Robert – it’s been a week for me after 7 purchases and received nothing yet. You too? I’ve called Amex twice and they have made a note in my record and sent a request to the department handling the promotion but I’m not hopeful for the good gifts at this point. Sort of feel like my purchases fell through the cracks!

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