Amazon gift cards have become one of the most popular gift choices for any occasion. But if you‘ve received one, you may still have questions about how exactly they work and what you can use them for. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll walk through everything you need to know about using Amazon gift cards in 2023.
Overview: How Amazon Gift Cards Work
Amazon gift cards allow you to make purchases on Amazon.com up to the value of the card. They come in set denominations and do not expire once added to your Amazon account.
There are two main types of Amazon gift cards:
Physical gift cards – These are plastic gift cards with a claim code on the back that can be purchased in stores or mailed to recipients. They come in denominations of $15, $25, $50, and $100.
Digital eGift cards – These are gift cards delivered via email that include a claim code. They can be customized with various designs and sent immediately or scheduled for future delivery.
To use an Amazon gift card, you‘ll need to enter the claim code at amazon.com/redeem to add the value to your account. The balance will remain in your account until used and does not expire.
Now let‘s look at the step-by-step process for redeeming and using Amazon gift cards.
How to Redeem an Amazon Gift Card
Redeeming an Amazon gift card is simple:
Log in to your Amazon account
Click on "Gift Cards" at the top of the screen
Select "Redeem a Gift Card"
Enter the gift card claim code (from the back of a physical card or gift card email)
Click "Apply to Your Balance"
Once redeemed, you can use the gift card balance immediately or keep it in your account to use later. The funds will remain there until spent.
Do Amazon Gift Card Balances Expire?
One of the best things about Amazon gift cards is that the balance never expires once added to your account.
Most Amazon gift cards are valid for up to 10 years before being redeemed. But there is no expiration on the funds after you add the gift card to your account.
The gift card balance will remain in your account until used, even if that‘s years later. So don‘t feel rushed to use an Amazon gift card right away.
Are There Fees for Purchasing Amazon Gift Cards?
There are no fees for buying Amazon gift cards. They can be purchased in set denominations of $15, $25, $50, and $100. You pay only the face value of the gift card.
Both physical and digital Amazon gift cards are available for the same denominations and same price. Digital eGift cards allow you to customize the design.
Amazon Gift Card Validity Periods
The validity period of an Amazon gift card varies by country:
- United States – 10 years from purchase/issue date
- Canada – 10 years
- United Kingdom – 10 years
- India – 1 year
- Most other countries – 10 years
These validity periods refer to how long the gift cards can be redeemed before expiration. Again, once added to your Amazon account, the balance never expires.
Check the Amazon Gift Card Terms and Conditions for details on expiration rules based on where the card was purchased.
Do Amazon Gift Cards Need Activation?
Yes, Amazon gift cards do need to be activated before use by entering the claim code at amazon.com/redeem. This allows Amazon to verify the balance and add it to your account.
Both physical and digital gift cards require this activation step before you can spend the funds. Be sure to keep the gift card code safe until ready to activate and use.
What Can You Buy With an Amazon Gift Card?
Amazon gift cards can be used to purchase nearly anything on Amazon.com, including:
- Millions of products sold directly by Amazon
- Items sold by third-party sellers
- Digital downloads like Kindle books, MP3s, and videos
- Amazon Prime membership subscriptions
- Amazon Fresh grocery delivery
- Electronics, books, toys, apparel, and more
The only main exceptions are that Amazon gift cards cannot be used to buy other gift cards or pay for Kindle Unlimited subscriptions.
So almost anything you‘d buy on Amazon, physical or digital, can be purchased with gift card value.
Can Amazon Gift Cards Be Used at Other Stores?
No, Amazon gift cards can only be redeemed on Amazon.com and services like Amazon Fresh. They cannot be used to make purchases at other online or retail stores.
You also cannot convert unused Amazon gift card balances into cash. The funds need to be spent on Amazon purchases.
Transferring Amazon Gift Card Balances
Once an Amazon gift card has been redeemed to your account, the balance cannot be transferred to someone else.
If you want to gift your Amazon gift card to another person before using it, you‘ll need to forward the claim code directly to them. This allows them to redeem the card to their own account.
So be sure you are ready to use the gift card yourself before entering the claim code. The balance can only be spent from the account that redeems the card.
Getting Cash Back for an Amazon Gift Card
There is no way to get cash back for an unused Amazon gift card or its balance. Amazon does not allow gift cards to be returned or exchanged for cash.
If you don‘t want to use an Amazon gift card yourself, you have a couple options:
- Re-gift the physical card or gift card claim code to someone else
- Sell your unused gift card balance to a third party gift card exchange service, likely at a discounted rate
But Amazon itself will not exchange gift card amounts for cash. The funds must be spent on Amazon purchases.
Troubleshooting When Gift Card Codes Aren‘t Working
If you‘re having trouble redeeming a gift card due to an unreadable code or other issue, contact Amazon Customer Service for help.
You will need to provide:
- Gift card number
- Associated order number
- Names of purchaser and recipient
- Email or shipping address used
Calling the customer service line is usually the quickest way to get assistance validating your gift card.
Why Won‘t My Amazon Gift Card Work?
If your Amazon gift card won‘t work, here are some possible reasons:
- The gift card has expired – check the valid thru date
- You‘re purchasing an excluded product like another gift card
- There‘s an account issue preventing redemption – contact customer service
- The gift card balance has already been fully spent
- There‘s a technical error – try redeeming again later
Contact Amazon Customer Service if you continue having trouble using your gift card for troubleshooting help.
The Bottom Line
While Amazon gift cards may seem straightforward, there are some nuances to how they work and what you can buy with them. The key things to remember are:
- Amazon gift cards don‘t expire once added to your account
- There are no fees to purchase gift cards
- Cards must be activated by redeeming the claim code
- Balances cannot be transferred or cashed out
- Almost any item on Amazon.com can be purchased
Knowing these gift card rules and policies can help you avoid any issues redeeming and spending your Amazon gift card.