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deals on gift certificates

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Are there any deals out there on buying gift certificates early for the holidays? I know that a few restaurants offered them last year.

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  1. www.Restaurant.com is giving a huge discount off their already discounted PRINTABLE local Dining certificates:

    60% off Code: HARVEST (Exp 11/13) - $25 certificates for $4

    Print them out and use them right away or email a gift. Some requirements are listed on certain certificates. Also use this coupon to save 60% off Dinner of the Month Club purchases.

    25 Replies
    1. re: okra

      60% isn't the best deal, it will sometimes go up to 80% off.

      1. re: Luther

        This is 60% off 'The Discounted' certificate.

        I think that if you do the math, you'll see that a $25 gift certificate that costs you $4 is an 84% discount.

        1. re: okra

          I know how that whole thing works, thanks. I think it's at 70% off right now.

      2. re: okra

        Not much to choose from though. Of all the local listings, only OM and Bistro 5 have any serious chow.

        1. re: BobB

          Their listings occasionally have some good stuff; I've gotten certificates for Gari and Da Vinci in the past. BUT, most of them aren't good for Friday or saturday nights, which doesn't make them great choices as gifts.

        2. re: okra

          I've used restaurant.com to get $25 gift certificates for Kingston Station, 33, 75 Chestnut, Azure and 5 North Square for $2. (I also got one for Sage, but they since have pulled out.) Yes, they're subject to several limitations, but you still get $25 off for $2!

          Discounted gift certificates also are often available at Costco. I've seen McCormick & Schmick's in the past, and recently saw Starbuck's. The discount typically is 20%.

          1. re: Blumie

            I agree, they're a great deal, but, IMHO, you can't give someone a gift certificate they can't use on a weekend night as a gift!!!

            1. re: Blumie

              I notice on Harvest's web page the notice: Effective immediately, Harvest will no longer accept Dine Gift or Dine-On-Me certificates. The Dine Gift company has stopped honoring their own gift certificates, and therefore we can no longer accept them." Perhaps restaurant.com is a different outfit, but I'd still be careful.

              1. re: silver queen

                They're totally unrelated, why would you even say that?

                1. re: galleygirl

                  Agreed- I have used restaurant.com, and when they offer me the certificates for 3 bucks, i buy them and save them - have never had a problem. Try to use them to try new places. I would not be afraid to recommend them- but for personal use only, as there can be restrictions. I have one for the Vernon restaurant, but cannot get the lobster specials when using the coupon, for example.

                2. re: silver queen

                  Should we not shop at Best Buy because Circuit City went out of business?

                  Sure, anytime you engage in business that requires you to outlay cash before the products or services are delivered entails some risk. (Anyone want the $200 gift certificate from R Place in Wellesley that I was given years ago?) But at least in the case of restaurant.com, where I am paying $2 for a $25 gift certificate, it's a fairly low risk proposition.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    Sorry, these companies offering restaurant gift certificates are new to me. And okra specifically mentioned a certificate for Harvest. It sounds too good to be true. But it guess it is. my bad.

                    1. re: silver queen

                      The "HARVEST" that okra mentioned is the code to type into the restaurant.com site to get the discount on checking out, it doesn't reference the actual restaurant named Harvest in Cambridge; that's just a coincidence...

                      1. re: galleygirl

                        Yes, thanks for making it perfectly clear.

                3. re: Blumie

                  Do you still have the one for Sage? Do you know if they will still accept it even though they pulled out?

                  I got one several months ago, was gonna use it during Restaurant week (didn't say you can't use it for RW, plus we WERE getting 2 entrees), but the manager refused to take them. Then we were gonna go a few weeks ago on a Saturday, but then realize they don't accept the GC for Sat nights either! We ended up going to Trattoria Toscana. I think Sage is losing our business due to these restrictions.

                  Long story short, I still have a GC for Sage and wonder if I can still use it? I guess if not, I can ask for a refund from restaurant.com.

                  That happened to me once, at Via Matta. I had bought a GC from restaurant.com just 3 weeks before our dine, and within that time period, Via Matta pulled out from the program and refused to honor our GC.

                  Having said that, I was successful in using some at Kingston Station and Atasca.

                  1. re: y2000k

                    I guess I was lucky. We bought GCs from restaurants.com to Gari and da Vinci, both early on, and used them when they already weren't up on the site anymore. Just the fact that they're not selling anymore doesn't mean they shouldn't honor what's been purchased; it says on the coupon they're good for a year, or whatever....

                    1. re: galleygirl

                      Massachusetts state law does not allow businesses to put expiration dates on real gift certificates (i.e., when you pay $50 for a $50 certificate). I don't know if that would apply to discount certificates like these though.

                      1. re: BobB

                        The law is seven years for gift certificates to expire.

                        1. re: T.Clark

                          You're right, I had read somewhere that they could not expire but just checked the actual statute, which says that they must be valid for at least seven years, but that if there is no expiration date clearly stated then they are valid forever. Thanks for the correction.

                    2. re: y2000k

                      According to an email I received from restaurant.com, Sage no longer will accept it, and I can exchange it for another restaurant.com certificate. Seems bogus to me, but certainly not worth fighting given my $2 investment in the certificate.

                      1. re: Blumie

                        Well, that's too bad for Sage, as they certainly have lost me as a customer.

                        But I was successful in getting my $25 credit back from the Via Matta fiasco. I don't think they will refund you, but they'll put a $25 credit on your account. All I did was send them an email and it was all it took.

                        Of course, the challenge is always finding another worthwhile restaurant and fitting all the restrictions...

                        1. re: Blumie

                          Yes, I got this email too. Seems fair enough, given their revenue model (I believe restaurant.com only pays the restaurant when the G.C. are used.). Since you paid restaurant.com and not Sage, I think you're out of luck for using it at Sage.

                          I believe you can get a refund, at least I was able to with the email they sent me. I'd contact them if I were you, email at info@restaurant.com, or by phone by calling 800/979-8985.

                          But if you got it as a gift, the person who bought it could have paid as little as $2 for it so it's barely worth getting a refund- I don't know if they allow exchanges.

                          1. re: Blumie

                            Just an update. I sent an email yesterday (after reading your reply) to restaurant.com to request a refund for my Sage $25 GC. Today, I got a reply and a $25 credit has been put back onto my account.

                      2. re: okra

                        The code SURPRISE will currently get you $25 certificates for $2 and $50 certificcates for $4. Unfortunately I'm not wowed by the options and restrictions, so don't think I'll be able to take advantage.

                        1. re: italyinmind

                          I have a sneaking suspicion that Restaurant.com certificates are a dark secret for many of us. I was lucky enough to use them many times at Gari and still enjoy using them at Kingston Station for the wonderful Steak Frites. I have never had a problem using the certificates and they have great customer service (but an extremely slow website).

                      3. This is all I could find so far:

                        Morton’s
                        Fleming’s
                        Ruth’s Chris
                        Not Your Average Joe’s

                        Morton’s The Steakhouse

                        For every $500 in Morton's Gift Cards purchased, receive a $100 bonus Gift Card!
                        Terms and Conditions
                        • Offer available November 1 - December 31, 2008
                        • Bonus Gift Cards are valid only January 2 through March 31, 2009
                        • Gift Cards cannot be purchased and redeemed on the same day
                        http://www.mortons.com/

                        Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

                        For every $100 in Gift Cards you purchase ($200 minimum purchase required) between November 1 and December 31, 2008, you’ll receive a card worth $20, redeemable any time between January 1 and February 10, 2009.
                        https://shop.flemingssteakhouse.com/

                        Ruth’s Chris Steak House

                        Beginning November 1, 2008, you'll receive 10% back in bonus cards for Gift Card purchases totaling $250 or more.* We are also pleased to announce a complimentary shipping option via first class mail for orders shipped within the United States.
                        * Offer available online and at participating locations from November 1-December 31, 2008. Bonus Gift Cards are valid January 1-March 31, 2009. Bonus Cards cannot be redeemed on the same day of purchase. Not valid on prior purchases. To receive bonus Gift Cards, all $250 must be purchased in a single transaction.
                        http://www.ruthschris.com/GiftCard

                        Not Your Average Joe’s

                        (Remember, for every Not Your Average Joe's gift card order of $50, you'll get a $10 gift card free.)*
                        *Your $10 gift card from Joe is valid from the day of purchase but be sure to use it by March 31, 2009 when it expires. And remember, even though Joe hates restrictions the government loves them including the one prohibiting the use of this card for alcoholic beverages.
                        http://www.notyouraveragejoes.com/gif...

                        1. If heading to NH, http://www.goodeatsnh.com/index.html has some nice deals and NO restrictions at all. I like the selections for Merrimack and Lakes Region.

                          1. Another one!

                            Maggiano's Little Italy

                            For every $100 of Maggiano's gift cards you purchase, you will receive $20 to use towards your next visit (valid January-February with $50 purchase). http://www.maggianos.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: content

                              But then you have to eat at Maggiano's!

                            2. Dine Gift and Dine-on-Me gift certificates are no longer honored by their guarantors, so that is why restaurants are no longer accepting them. Unlike gift certificates purchased directly at the restaurant, these online programs do not pay the restaurants until they redeem the certificates. And with the crash of the credit market, these websites have already spent your money before it goes to the restaurant. Stop buying them. If the companies go Chapter 11, you have no recourse.

                              1. A repeat from last year!

                                Skipjack's (in person only)

                                On December 5th, Skipjack's gift cards will be sold at 20% less face value. Each day there after the discount goes down 1%. December 20th is the last day of this promotion with cards being discounted at 5%. On December 21st, cards will be sold at full price.
                                Sorry, no phone or on-line orders!
                                You can visit any of our four locations from December 5th to December 20th to receive this special promotion.