of gift cards,
PHOTOS: FRANCE FREEMAN
WE’RE ALL FAMILIAR with the concept of gift
cards. You can find them everywhere and for just
about any item or event. But just because everybody’s
selling them doesn’t mean they’re all the same.
Examining Costco’s broad program of gift cards,
tickets and certificates, for example, the differences
become immediately clear.
For instance, most retailers sell gift cards at face
value. Costco offers a wide range of fabulous gift cards,
certificates and tickets—always at a savings and rarely
with activation or maintenance fees.
Pat Volchok gives a
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Scattered throughout warehouses and on
Costco.com, each of these treasures speaks of
gift-giving excellence. Selections with savings
ranging from 5 to 50 percent are at their greatest abundance now through December 24,
but remember that sellouts can occur rapidly.
(Last year, Costco’s $10,000 Super Bowl packages sold out in one hour.)
And to those leery of buying any kind of
voucher from companies that might not be
around, I want to say how impressed I am
with Costco: Every gift card, certificate and
ticket is given a thorough background check
by seasoned buyers to ensure quality suppliers
and products, and bona fide savings. Unlike
many retailers, Costco also stands behind all
gift cards, certificates and tickets.
Adding to the excitement, as with all
Costco “treasure hunts,” the card, certificate
and ticket offerings can be moving targets, with
new offerings and last-minute deals, as well as
offerings unique to a region or warehouse. So,
be ever so vigilant—it pays to poke around.
(Starred programs are also eligible for the 2%
Executive Member rebate program.)
Ticket Program*. Themed and seasonal
events for this program include movies, live
theater, sports events and major theme and
water parks such as Disneyland California
and Universal Florida. The aim is to offer programs that are located within a short driving
distance from participating warehouses.
(There are some exceptions; for instance,
Disneyland tickets can be purchased in many
warehouse locations in the Northwest.)
For example, San Franciscans were recently