Gift of College cards at Barnes & Noble, but not a deal

It has been reported in other places today that Gift of College gift cards are currently available in some Barnes & Noble stores. While that might sound like exciting news on the surface, Barnes & Noble only intends to carry the $200 denominations, which are not a good deal in most scenarios.

Unfortunately, you won’t find these cards on the shelves at Barnes & Noble as they will only be selling cards in denominations up to $200.

A reader made us aware of this update on the Gift of College site early last month (H/T: Reader Seth). We then reached out to our Gift of College representative, who told us that the cards are currently only in Barnes & Noble “flagship” stores (46 stores at the moment). She further told us that Barnes & Noble would only be carrying these cards in a denomination up to $200. That’s not very exciting because the $200 cards carry the same $5.95 activation fee as the cards that can be loaded with up to $500.

On a $500 card, the fee represents a cost of about 1.2% — a figure that can easily be outpaced by rewards cards that earn anywhere from 2-3% back (or potentially more depending on how you use the rewards).

On the other hand, a $5.95 fee on the $200 cards represents a fee of about 3%, which would only make these cards interesting if you were buying them with a strong category bonus, which makes them unattractive unless you hold the Barnes & Noble credit card.

Still, if you’re looking to meet a minimum spending requirement on a card with a large welcome bonus and you’re also looking to save for college, the cost might be worth it, though you can probably find lower-cost means of spending.

Our Gift of College rep assured us that the moment there was an announcement to make that would interest our readership, they would reach out. That’s not to suggest that such an announcement is forthcoming — just that if they do make headway on getting those $500 cards back in stores, they will let us know.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Jeff
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Jeff

The Million-Dollar-Question then becomes whether or not B&N will allow you to purchase these using B&N Gift Cards as the funding source. Does anybody know?

Robert from Milenomics
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Robert from Milenomics

B&N GC T&Cs say “We reserve the right to prohibit the purchase of Gift Cards with other Gift Cards.”
So they’re saying there’s a chance?

Larry
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Larry

YMMV, but the register wasn’t hard-coded against buying GoC with BN GCs. I did multiple separate transactions with “Happy” cards and one cashier let me use the BN GC, which went through. A subsequent cashier checked with someone over her headset and they said no so she wouldn’t try it. I don’t mind since my child goes to a college with a BN college bookstore, so I’ll be spending lots there on books and apparel frequently.

Steven
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Steven

That was my same question because Staples sells B&N gift cards for no fee and 5x with an Ink Cash. That is an even better deal than buying a $500 GoC card.

Greg The Frequent Miler
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Or, even better, buy B&N gift cards for 10 to 11% off (use GiftCardWiki to find the best rates)

Kate
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Kate

Any thoughts about whether these are safe for meeting minimum spend on Amex cards?

jrseattle
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jrseattle

Where do I find a list of Barnes & Nobles “flagship” stores?

Krish
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Krish

Where are they available? I checked near by stores .. none of them are aware of it

kelly
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kelly

Here is the list of stores: https://imgur.com/a/PXLqA3T

Larry
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Larry

Thanks for posting the list, I found the $200 GoC cards at the store near me. They had other 3rd party GCs, including $500 VGCs.

The manager checked me out, so I asked why their store had these and she thought it was a trial based on high volume BN GC sales in the area.