Best Buy to Offer Blu-ray Gift Card

In another attempt to strike a decisive blow against HD DVD, Blu-ray has come together with Best Buy on a promotion to provide gift cards to those purchasing Blu-ray Disc movies.

According to the technology Web site, the retail chain will offer $10 gift cards to the store with the purchase of two Blu-ray Discs, and $25 gift cards for those purchasing three. The offer covers all movies on Blu-ray, including Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Ratatouille


Best Buy Offers Gift Cards to HD DVD Buyers

Best Buy is offering $50 gift cards to U.S. customers who bought an HD DVD player.

Sure, the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD might be over, but the walking wounded are still among us: early adopters who chose the losing format. In a move to soften the blow—and shore up customer loyalty—electronics retailer Best Buy is offering $50 gift cards to customers who purchased an HD DVD player or HD DVD "attachment" (meaning, the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive) from a U.S. retail location before February 23, 2008. Even better, customers will get a $50 gift card for each eligible HD DVD item they purchased, so folks who bought multiple players are eligible for multiple gift cards. All told, Best Buy plans to give out more than $10 million in gift cards under the program.

"At Best Buy, we understood and shared our customers' frustrations as they were being asked to choose one format or the other," said Best Buy president and COO Brian J. Dunn, in a statement. "Now that the format war is over, we hope these gift cards will reassure our customers that we will help them make a smooth transition into the right technology for their needs."

Items eligible for the $50 gift card include Toshiba's HD-A1, HD-A2, HD-A20, HD-XA2, HD-A3, HD-A30, and HD-A35 HD DVD players, as well as Microsoft's HD DVD player accessory for the Xbox 360.

Best Buy says most customers won't have to do anything to receive their gift cards: Best Buy is proactively mailing them out to all customers they can identify as having purchased a qualifying product; customers should receive their cards by May 1. Other customers can call Best Buy with proof of purchase through a credit card or a receipt to obtain their gift card.

"The beauty of this offer is that it doesn't require our customers to give up their HD-DVD player," said best Buy chief marketing officer Barry Judge. But in case HD DVD owners do want to get rid of their HD DVD hardware can visit Best Buy's online Trade In Center to get an estimate on the value of their HD DVD players and movies; if they like the number Best Buy gives them, they can print a shipping label and send the goods to Best Buy and receive an additional gift card as payment for the trade-in. The trade-in service is open to any HD DVD owner, regardless of whether they purchased the system through Best Buy.


Cool Holiday Gift Cards

Retailers are creating ever-more flashy designs to entice shoppers.

In Pictures: 10 Fun Holiday Gift Cards Which is more appealing: an image of Santa bopping around to an iPhone or a reindeer with gadgets hanging off its antlers?

That's the type of dilemma Best Buy (nyse: BBY - news - people ) faces each year. "You wouldn't give the same greeting card over and over," says Anne Platt, Best Buy's senior director of marketing for gift cards.

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Yahoo! BuzzBest Buy doesn't want people to give the same gift card every year, either. Like many major retail chains, it is releasing unusual designs to encourage shoppers to open their wallets. This holiday season, the Minneapolis-based consumer electronics giant is offering more than 50 types of gift cards, including one made from recycled plastic and one that doubles as a set of speakers for an MP3 player.

In Pictures: 10 Fun Holiday Gift Cards

Millions of people are expected to purchase gift cards for the holidays, despite the recession. A survey by the National Retail Federation found that 53.5% of U.S. consumers plan to buy gift cards, with shoppers spending an average of $147.33 on them. The economy, however, will dent sales to some degree. The federation also predicts that total gift card sales will fall nearly 6% to $24.9 billion year-over-year, in part because people will choose to hunt out in-store bargains instead.

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BATS Real-Time Market Data by XigniteRetailers say they are remaining optimistic and point out the steps they've taken to make their cards appealing. Best Buy, which has offered gift cards for 13 years, introduced Spanish-language cards this fall, including some for QuinceaƱera celebrations and a "three kings" or "tres reyes" holiday design.

Best Buy also launched a card made out of recycled plastic with the motto, "Spoil yourself. Spare the earth," for environmentally conscious customers. Starting this season, Best Buy will also collect redeemed gift cards for recycling.

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Another Best Buy design is meant to please the ear as well as the eye. The card comes with a built-in speaker and a jack for headphones. "It's like an extra gift," Platt says.

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In past years, Best Buy has sold cards shaped like metal slap bracelets and ones that played video. As long as the design can carry a bar code, Best Buy will consider it, Platt says.

Target (nyse: TGT - news - people ) follows a similar strategy. Since 2004, it has offered a line of flashy cards it calls "WOW! Cards." The point, says spokesman Eric Hausman, is to build in an "extra element of surprise," such as sounds, lights, music or interaction. This year, there are seven WOW! cards, including one styled like a jukebox that plays songs and one that is actually a tin with M&M's inside. Some double as games, such as an igloo-shaped one that is actually a maze with a ball and a "magic box" that is also a flip puzzle.

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Visit The Digg ChannelTarget's standout WOW! card packs a 1.2 megapixel digital camera capable of taking 50 photos. Recipients can print the pictures for free at Target stores. The catch: Buyers must load at least $50 on the card.

It's the first year Minneapolis-based Target has done a camera card, though it has created MP3 player cards and music-playing keyboard cards in the past. Hausman says Target typically stocks 20 new cards and 20 previously existing cards, with a larger selection of new cards during the holidays. Holiday designs are retired each year.

Best Buy also has a policy of redesigning holiday cards each year. Platt heads a team dedicated to tracking gift card trends and translating them into unique designs. New designs are tested with focus groups and tweaked before manufacturing. "We view them as trend products," she says. "We want them to feel new and fresh."

Ken Hawkins, director of the site, says he has spotted scratch-and-sniff gift cards in the past. He also sees a trend toward e-gift cards or virtual gift cards, which boil the card down to a bar code--no plastic necessary. "It's the best thing for last-minute shoppers," he says. "Retailers that haven't already moved in that direction will."

Some consumers may be wary of purchasing gift cards due to the shaky economy. Hawkins recommends that consumers choose retailers carefully, consider buying bank-backed gift cards or just encourage recipients to use the cards right away.

Shoppers should also be aware of a gift card's limitations before purchasing them. Some cards have expiration dates or hidden fees.

Another Hawkins tip: Some retailers, such as restaurant chains, offer purchasers small incentives like $5 coupons for buying gift cards. Why not reward yourself?


Best Buy Rewarded By HD DVD Gift Card

Washington, D.C. (June 18, 2008) -- Best Buy says its decision to give a $50 gift card to HD DVD owners has paid off because the owners decided to spend even more money in the store.

Best Buy last March offered a a $50 gift card to customers who purchased an HD DVD player from any Best Buy store.

The gift card promotion cost the company roughly $10 million. But the offer was designed to comfort HD DVD enthusiasts who were disappointed over picking the wrong format in the high-def war. (Toshiba pulled the plug on HD DVD in March, ceding victory to rival Blu-ray.).

Mike Vitelli, Best Buy's senior vice president for consumer electronics, said yesterday that the HD DVD owners expressed their thanks by increasing their in-store spending and allowing the store to recoup its investment.

"Our customers actually surprised us by spending 50 percent more than we normally get when they redeem a gift card, including an average basket significantly higher than norm, and all of that dramatically reducing the cost of offering the gift card," Vitelli said yesterday in a conference call with financial analysts.

Vitelli said HD DVD owners were feeling underappreciated after investing in the failed high-def format.

"We interpreted this behavior (increased spending) as the customers’ way of saying, hey thanks, Best Buy, for not leaving me hanging and valuing my relationship with you. And we expect that these customers will be more loyal than ever and likely telling others of their experience," Vitelli told the analysts.

The Best Buy executive said company research had indicated that HD DVD owners were early adopters who represented "some of our very best customers."

"Customers who are early adopters often make decisions like this knowing the inherent risks (but) ultimately we felt (the gift card) was the right thing to do...The story had a happy ending," Vitelli said.


Best Buy Offers Gift Card to HD DVD Owners

While browsing the internet this morning I happened to go to Upon loading the page I was greeted by a nice message regarding current HD DVD player owners. According to their site, Best Buy will offer a $50 gift card automatically to all people who purchased an HD DVD player from Best Buy before February 23, 2008

Best Buy's offer of a complimentary $50 gift card for each HD DVD player purchased is extended to customers who bought any of the following HD DVD products in Best Buy retail stores or online at by 11:59 p.m. CST on February 22, 2008:

* Toshiba HD DVD player models:
HD-A1, HD-A2, HD-A20, HD-XA2, HD-A3, HD-A30, HD-A35
* Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD player accessory model 9Z5-00013

Offer excludes HD DVD-equipped computers and laptops, and so-called "dual-format" or "universal" high-definition disc player models designed to play both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD media.


How to turn gift cards into cash

Filed under: spending, savings, giving, The Dough Roller, shopping, retail
This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

Did you ever receive a gift card for a store where you never shop? Or have you ever had a gift card for a store that filed for bankruptcy? When a retailer files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, gift cardholders get in line with every other unsecured creditor.

What does that mean? It means you can kiss the value of your gift card goodbye. One solution is to run out and spend the gift card if you hear the retailer is in financial turmoil. But there is another solution.

Buy and sell gift cards

There is an active secondary market for gift cards. And one place to buy, sell or trade gift cards is called Plastic Jungle. Registration, which is free, is required to buy, sell or trade gift cards. You can save money -- and lots of it -- by buying gift cards, but let's first look at generating cash from selling cards.

Sell gift cards. There are two options for selling a gift card on Plastic Jungle. First, you can sell the card directly to PJ for what they call "QuikCash." PJ's QuikCash page has a nifty tool that will tell you how much it will pay for your card. A $50 AMC Theatres gift card, for example, will net you $32.50. A $50 Best Buy card gets you $35. From what I can tell, the highest paying gift cards sold through PJ's QuikCash pay out at 70% of the face value of the card.

Second, you can put your card up for sale to third parties on PJ's site. You set your own price, and can accept cash or trade. You can also enable a feature to allow bidders to make a counteroffer.

Buy discounted gift cards. You can also buy gift cards at Plastic Jungle, and at a great discount. I noticed, for example, that Home Depot gift cards are selling at an 8% discount off the card's face value. So why would one ever shop at Home Depot without one of these discounted cards? I guess to avoid the hassle of buying the card online. But if you plan ahead, you can save a lot of money by buying these cards and using them at the retailers you shop at regularly. Now, that's smart money management at its best.

Trade gift cards. If you have a gift card for a store where you don't shop, another option is to trade the card. A trade can avoid the loss of 30% or more when you sell the card, and you can nab a gift card for a store where you enjoy shopping. Plastic Jungle has a section for trading gift cards. When card owners list their cards for sale, they can also list gift cards they would consider for a trade.

All in all, Plastic Jungle looks like a great online tool to manage your money. I expect to start buying discounted cards for those retailers where we shop every month. If you've used Plastic Jungle, please let us know what you think.


Best Buy Stands Behind Customers By Awarding More Than $10 Million in Gift Cards to HD DVD Purchasers

With Blu-ray declaring victory over HD-DVD in the high definition movie format war, Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer, is giving $50 gift cards to customers who purchased an HD-DVD player or HD-DVD attachment from its U.S. stores before February 23, 2008. Customers will get a gift card for each player or HD-DVD attachment that they purchased. Through this program, Best Buy will distribute more than $10 million in gift cards to customers across the country.

“The DVD format war has divided our customers in a way we haven’t seen since Betamax took on VHS more than 20 years ago,” said Brian J. Dunn, president and chief operating officer for Best Buy. “At Best Buy, we understood and shared our customers’ frustrations as they were being asked to choose one format or the other. Now that the format war is over, we hope these gift cards will reassure our customers that we will help them make a smooth transition into the right technology for their needs.”

Most Best Buy customers won’t have to do anything to receive their gift card. As a demonstration of its commitment to its customers, Best Buy will proactively mail cards to all customers that the company can identify as having purchased an HD-DVD player. Members of the Best Buy Reward Zone program, customers who purchased Performance Service Plans (PSPs) or who made their purchase on should look for their gift cards in the mail by May 1. Other customers who may not be easily identified can call (888) BEST BUY to receive their gift cards with proof of purchase through a credit card or their Best Buy receipt.

“The beauty of this offer is that it doesn’t require our customers to give up their HD-DVD player,” said Barry Judge, chief marketing officer for Best Buy. “We know that many people who purchased these players have HD-DVD movies that they would like to continue to watch. We’re telling our customers they can keep their players to play these movies as well as their older DVDs and use the $50 to treat themselves to anything else in our stores.”

HD-DVD players can actually deliver greatly enhanced video performance with standard DVDs by upconverting the video resolution. Beginning on March 21, customers who do want to get rid of their HD-DVD players can visit Best Buy’s Online Trade-In Center. Visitors to the site will receive instant estimates of the value of their HD-DVD players and movies. Those who agree with the estimates can then ship their goods to the Trade-In Center free of charge by downloading a prepaid shipping label and will receive an additional gift card as payment for their trade-in. This service is open to HD-DVD owners regardless of where they bought their player.