For my birthday this year, I asked my parents whether they could gift me some of my dad’s frequent flier miles. He travels a lot, so I figured he probably has a bunch, and I’d been hoping to take a trip to Los Angeles that I couldn’t afford on my own.
As it turns out, gifting miles involves a pretty wack surcharge (a processing fee of $30, plus a “tax recovery charge” of 7.5 percent, according to USAir’s website), so instead, they gave me the staggeringly generous gift of four $100 American Express gift cards. It was so nice of them, and I am so appreciative of the gesture (thank you, parents!). But I have also found these cards to be kind of an albatross!
I know this might sound obnoxious, and I should make clear that I am by no means so flush that receiving this money didn’t feel like a huge deal—it’s just that the AmEx gift card, as a vehicle for gifting $400, is quite possibly the worst option. It’s like getting a brand-new puppy in a very complicated cage, with a bunch of unnecessary locks you have to deal with before finally getting to your puppy. Are you super-excited about the puppy? Absolutely! Do you grow to resent the cage? Yes, you do!