Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thank You, American Express

Some people get a new game and just start playing. "Forget the rules!" they think, "I'll figure it out as I go along! I will take the fun immediately!" (Not sure about the correct grammer here. They are all thinking I, so I am keeping it singular.)

Some people get a new game and read all the instructions and won't let anyone play at all until they are done.

Some people do a mix of these things.

I don't have any hard and fast rule to these things, but I do have a soft spot for games I can win, especially free ones. So last month, when American Express announced their Gift Chain, I made it a point to go to their Facebook page. I wasn't actually all that excited about it. Well, I was, until I read the details. First, you have to register your American Express card. Second, you have to use that card to make an *online* purchase of *at least $25* at one of seventeen stores. If you did that, you would automatically win a gift. Automatically win. While those words were intriguing, that seemed like a lot of running around for a gift that could end up being a $2 statement credit. Not worth my time. As I was exiting the page, though, I noticed some legalese that most all legit contests have: NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO PARTICIPATE OR RECEIVE A GIFT.

Wait.

How can no purchase be necessary if you need to spend at least $25? Well, I'm glad I took the ten or fifteen minutes to look into that because I ended up spending $4.40 on postage to send my entries in by mail and with the ten (maximum) gifts I received, I got statement credits totaling $72 plus a free year membership to ShopRunner, which I might not use, but was still free.

Thanks, AmEx (and cosponsors) for my free money. Finally, something to unqualifiedly enjoy about the holiday season (Christmas).

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