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Mall of America Changing Gift Card Purchases
28 Aug. 2019
Mall of America Changing Gift Card Purchases

The Basics

It’s only a local play, but Mall of America has long sold gift cards to customers.  They sell up to $1,000 in gift cards per day to individual customers at any of the (4) customer service booths inside the mall.  The maximum dollar amount is $500, each with a $2 fee.  The cards are vanilla branded too, which makes them less easy to liquidate for most people.  A maximum purchase then is 2 x $500 plus $4 in fees, and a drivers license must be furnished with each purchase.  It’s been a great way to meet spending promotions/challenges from banks and also nice for meeting minimum spend.  If done correctly, the cost per point has been very attractive vs. the rewards earned.

mall of America

Some small signs to signal changes to customers have been posted at service desks in the Mall like the one pictured above.  Translated, the sign says “MS’ers not welcome here anymore”.

Change

Mall of America did have a corporate buying program, and was great while it lasted, but that ended around 1.5 years ago.  Now all that remains is the personal program at $1k per day.  Unfortunately, the mall is changing that program too.  As of September 9, 2019, according to internal staff intel, gift cards will be coded to only work inside stores inside the Mall of America.  I’m not sure how the Mall is able to code the cards to do this, as it seems logistically and technically problematic, but apparently it will be done.  There are also reports of the fees increasing (likely to $4.50 per $500 card) to be more “competitive” with other malls.  Today (8/29/19) a mall employee told me that the $1k daily purchase limit for cards will likely be waived, with essentially no limit going forward and no ID logged in at the time of sale.  However, the cards purchase price will likely be 2x+ more expensive going on Sept. 9 going forward and also only be able to be used in the stores inside the Mall of America. The Mall’s website also notes changes to the gift card usage:

End Times

Mall of America has become quite popular with people trying to earn points and miles, and that popularity, along with the demise of the corporate program has led the Mall to try and curb sales to non-mall shoppers.  It’s not clear if MoA vanilla cards will be able to work outside the Mall of America yet.  The cards actually still work at the post office too, so that angle will be interesting to test (more for fun than a play that is cost efficient).  If fees do increase, and cards can only be liquidated inside at Mall stores, that will essentially end gift card sales to almost all points runners.

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