American Express Gift Chain: Free Gifts Each Time You Spend $25+ on AmEx

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

American Express really wants you to use your AmEx for shopping this season! They have thought up another creative promotion called the Gift Chain where if you register your AmEx first, then every time you spend $25 or more at a participating online store between November 28 and December 21, 2011, you’ll be eligible for a surprise gift worth between $2 and $500 each time (up to 10 gifts max). Thanks to reader Michelle for the tip. Update: Another reader tip is to buy gift cards of $25 from a participating store such as, and repeat as needed. Make sure you can use the gift cards at some point later, perhaps for a single larger item.

Here are the eligible retailers:

American Eagle Outfitters
Bed Bath & Beyond
Blue Nile
Neiman Marcus
Pottery Barn
Rue La La

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

User Generated Content Disclosure: Comments and/or responses are not provided or commissioned by any advertiser. Comments and/or responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser. It is not any advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I started doing this Monday and it worked out pretty good for me. You can get 10 “gifts” and there’s not a limit of one per retailer. If you want an easy way to do it I just bought a bunch of $25 gift cards from WalMart and that qualified me. I got about half $2-$10 statement credits, a free membership to shoprunner, a $25 ToysRUs gift card, and a couple $2 DunkinDonuts gift cards (pretty worthless to me since they aren’t common where I live).

  2. Mary,

    within how much time you see the gifts? I just ordered one walmart gc and would like to know what I get and then proceed for more GC


  3. I got 8 of them within 30 minutes of ordering and the other 2 came 2 days later — ordered Monday and it came this morning.

  4. damn..i got shoprunner..which i was not interested

  5. Mary or JR – did amex e-mail you when you won something?

  6. yeah..i received an email immed. i placed an order that i got shoprunner free for a year

  7. Will shipping cost count as well?

  8. @Jim – It would appear so, I don’t see anything that says shipping doesn’t count. I don’t think AmEx can tell what part is shipping and what part isn’t anyway. Here’s the rest of the fine print from my confirmation e-mail:

    Congratulations! You’ve registered your Card. Now that you are a part
    of The Gift Chain, you can receive a surprise gift when you spend $25 or
    more at participating online stores with your registered American
    Express ® Card (up to 10 gifts, while supplies last) between 11/28/11
    and 12/21/11. That’s it. It’s that easy.

    Gifts range from statement credits, to ShopRunner memberships, to gift
    cards from some popular retailers, some of which you can share with
    Facebook friends.

    Must be a Cardmember prior to 11/27/11 to participate. See below to find out how to receive gifts without purchase. Limit 10 gifts per Cardmember
    while supplies last. Gifts vary based on selected retailer.
    Participation subject to Official Rules (hyperlinked)*.

    GIFT. Promotion starts 11/28/11, ends 12/21/11 or while supplies of
    gifts last, whichever is sooner. Registration is required regardless of
    method of participation. Open to legal residents of the 50 US & DC, 18
    and older, who were American Express Personal Cardmembers prior to
    11/27/11. Open to the first 250,000 registrations received. Registration
    is required, regardless of method of entry. Void where prohibited..Gift
    values range from $2.00 – $500 and vary depending on retailer selected
    (whether entering via purchase or non-purchase method). Individuals
    entering via non-purchase method will be required to select a
    participating retailer. Limit 10 gifts per person/registered Card for
    the entire Promotion. For instructions on how to enter without
    purchase, gift details for each participating retailer and odds of
    receiving specific gifts, see the Official Rules at . Sponsor: American
    Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

  9. Mary- the two that came later, is one of them Toy rus giftcard? I have one that hasnt come since an hour ago… so i m curious.

  10. If you read the fine print, you can also get the gifts by mailing in a letter. It’s a bit of a pain to hand write out ten envelopes and ten entries, but in theory you’ll get all 10 “gifts” that way for only the cost of ten stamps. Good if you don’t want to buy anything from any of the participating merchants…

  11. jaybirdhgr says

    Saw this on some other websites but only decided to sign up after reading Mary’s post. Basically did the same thing she did (10 Walmart $25 GCs) and ended up w/9 “gifts” on 10 purchases. 1 shoprunner (not really sure what that is yet), 250 bonus MR points (2x), and $5 statement credits (6x). Easy as pie. Nothing earth shattering, but free $ is free $. BTW, all of the reply emails came w/in minutes of placing the order.

    One suggestion for others, if you’re going to take advantage of this you might look first at the other retailers since the gifts are store specific. Since my gifts for buying at Walmart were not outstanding, my guess is that Walmart has already been hit pretty hard.

  12. Zee, I’m wondering the same thing. I recieved two within minutes, but the Toys R us has yet to arrive.

  13. I purchased 4 Walmart $25 giftcards.

    1st Purchase – Shoprunner membership
    2nd Purchase – 250 reward points
    3rd Purchase – $2.00 statement credit
    4th Purchase – $2.00 statement credit

    I stopped after the 4th purchase when I began to wonder if I would be able to keep track of all these individual purchases or if they would be lost or stolen through the mail. I sent the remaining 6 requests through the mail using 6 postage stamps. I hope they do not run out of prizes before they are processed!

  14. 1 $25.00 Walmart card = Shoprunner membership
    1 $25.00 Walmart card =$2.00 statement credit
    1 $25.00 REI card =$5.00 statement credit
    1 $25.00 nike card = still waiting (husband’s card)
    1 $27.90 vente-privee = $5.00 statement credit & $20.00 credit for initial purchase
    1 $39.90 Ruelala = $20.00 Amex gift card
    1 $29.90 Toys R Us = $25.00 Amex gift card plus 3 to share with facebook friends 😉

    Thanks, Amex!

  15. Seems like everyone gets Shoprunner membership on the first purchase from, that’s what I got as well.

  16. Did any one register for this promotion after making the online purchases (on or after 11/28) and still received the gifts? I have a couple of such purchases but registered only today.

  17. @Praveen – I don’t think that will work for you, just because AmEx seems to be monitoring these purchases in real-time after you register you card. They let you know what your gift is literally 2 minutes after you get your purchase confirmation. You could buy the things a second time and return your initial purchases, perhaps.

  18. Bought a video game as a gift from GameStop for $49.99 + tax and received a $20 gift card.

    Bought a $25 gift card from Walmart, first purchase, got the ShopRunner membership which is basically like Amazon Prime, free 2 day shipping for their network of stores (funny thing is I’ve heard of them when they first started due to a job offer as a developer there.)

    Looking to purchase from Nike with the ShopRunner membership and will post the results from that.

  19. 1 $25.00 Walmart gift card = Shoprunner membership
    1 $25.00 Walmart gift card =$2.00 statement credit
    1 $25.00 American Eagle gift card =$2.00 Dunkin Donuts gift card
    1 $25.00 American Eagle gift card = $20.00 Amex gift card


  20. Thanks for posting that. I don’t shop at any of those stores that often, but I signed my card up so if I end up buying any Christmas presents there I can take advantage of it.

  21. So far, so good! 4x REI cards, 2x BB&B = $30 in statement credit (1x $15, 3x $5) + $5 Godiva card + 1 year ShopRunner. Debating on whether I should guarantee another $100 of spending at REI…

    As always, thanks for the heads up, Jonathan!

  22. Took the plunge and bought 4 more $25 gift cards and hit the jackpot. Another $30 in statement credits and $100 in Amex giftcards!

  23. Weird. Registered and tried it at both toysrus and Two giftcards…no messages from amex. Tried to re-register card and it told me the card was already registered.

  24. I did pretty well on this promo…Up to $217 with one gift still outstanding and not counting ShopRunner as having any value.

    Most gifts came within 20 minutes, although one of the Toys R Us ones took 13 hours.

    Details of my haul in this post:

  25. very happy with this promotion:

    1) $20 back on your purchase via statement credit on your account
    2) $20 back on your purchase via statement credit on your account.
    3) $4.50 statement credit. Statement credits will be issued by January 8, 2012
    4) Shareable $10 American Express Gift Cards. 1 for you and 3 to share with friends on Facebook.
    5) $5 statement credit. Statement credits will be issued by January 8, 2012
    6) 4 – $5 Starbucks Gift Cards ** 4 gift cards!, so it’s 20!*
    7) $2 Dunkin Donuts Gift Cards. 1 for you and 3 to share with friends on Facebook.
    8) $20 American Express Gift Car
    9) Shareable $25 American Express Gift Cards. 1 for you and 3 to share with friends on Facebook.
    10) Shareable $10 American Express Gift Cards. 1 for you and 3 to share with friends on Facebook.

  26. Do we have to sync our card to facebook to get the statement credits and such? Would our prizes be less if we didn’t link it to facebook?

  27. Yeah giving up on it. Bummer. Doesn’t seem to work for my SPG Amex.

    Flipside, Amex sent me an offer of $25 credit for every $50 we spend at a local upscale restaurant group. This can be done 8 times in December. That sounds good, right…well my wife and i each have a card (Passport Unlimited) that gets us a free entree at that restaurant group when one is purchased. So we take out another couple, have a really good $150 meal, but really only spend $100, split it with the other couple at $25 for each of couple ($50 amex credit). Win, win, win.

  28. Even more ridiculous…just got an email offer for this from amex on a different amex card (one I use about 1 time per year).

  29. I registered my card and bought a $25 giftcard on Bed Bath & last night. Still haven’t received any E-mail from Amex…

    I checked the website and the number of gifts for each store is kind limited. I wonder if the supply has run out…

  30. @Eric – I don’t think the supply has run out. Did you elect for in-store pickup by chance? I don’t know if that counts as a online purchase.

    For anyone with issues, you can use Twitter @askamex or secure online message system you get when logged into the AmEx credit card website.

  31. Diane, did you receive anything from the mail-in requests yet? I am wondering how long the processing time is!

  32. As of 12/8 I have not received any communication regarding my mail-in requests.

  33. Same here. I suppose they process slowly. They have likely had mine in their possession for (only?) 2-3 days now.

  34. The six mail-in entries processed. All of them were Walmart requests, and all of them were $2 statement credits. 3 processed on 12/9 and the last 3 processed on12/12. In hindsight, I think I would have requested to go with another retailer/retailers as most readers above scored better wins. Let me know how you do Mike!

  35. I sent in 10 entries (via mail) – opted for zappos on all of them. I’ll let y’all know what the results are when I get them.

  36. It’s a bit of a lottery, because when a pool for a store runs out, you are stuck with the booby prizes. Walmart ran out early; that’s why you got bad prizes. For those of us sending via snail mail, it’s kind of like guess the store that won’t run out. Walmart obviously was a bad guess as it ran out over a week before anybody else.

    My strategy was to avoid stores with shoprunner for three reasons. 1. I thought they might “randomly” give them many times to people mailing in. 2. I didn’t want them. 3. I thought the stores that were using them might have considered them “fillers”, and were more worried about running out of real prizes.

    I did 30 via snail mail, sent between 11-12 days ago. The first finally came back yesterday…$5 from Nike. Hoping for a lot of action today and tomorrow.

  37. Now have 28 out of 30. I totaled about $180-13 postage. Not great, but at least most of my prizes were statement credits. At least my store didn’t run out of prizes. I think they are either giving worse prizes to those that go through snail mail, or they are giving worse prizes to people that enter later, because I did the math and I don’t feel my prizes were within the margin of error of where they should statistically have been given Nike’s pool (which is relatively small… I alone ate up nearly 1% of it).

    Nevertheless I’m still going to send in 10 more tomorrow with a different strategy of picking stores.

  38. I thought there was a limit of 10? Is it a limit of 10 per registered amex card then?

  39. Doh, I didn’t realize it was 10 per card. Is it too late to send it in by mail? Says it ends tomorrow 12/21. If I mail it in and it’s post-marked 12/21, will it make their cut off? (or do they have to receive the entries by 12/21)? Does anyone know for sure?

  40. From the rules:
    Requests must be postmarked by December 21, 2011 and received by December 28, 2011.

  41. Thanks. I sent in more mail-ins yesterday. Didn’t realize the limit was 10 per card. Doh!! I hope things haven’t run out and I get something decent.

    Man, I got 2 ShopRunners from the 1st batch I sent in (same credit card). I thought they only gave out 1 ShopRunner per credit card? Meh.

  42. I sent them in the 13th, got the emails for 9 of the 10 today – my haul (all from the Zappos pool):
    -$10 statement credit
    -Shareable $10 American Express Gift Cards. 1 for you and 3 to share with friends on Facebook.
    -$10 statement credit.
    -$2.25 statement credit.
    -Shareable $10 American Express Gift Cards. 1 for you and 3 to share with friends on Facebook.
    -$20 back on your purchase via statement credit on your account.
    -Shareable $10 American Express Gift Cards. 1 for you and 3 to share with friends on Facebook.
    -$20 back on your purchase via statement credit on your account.
    -$2 Dunkin Donuts Gift Cards. 1 for you and 3 to share with friends on Facebook.

    So, $62.25 in statement credit, $30 amex gift cards (plus $90 worth to share), $2 DD gift card (plus $6 worth to share). And maybe one more coming… Not too bad for $4.40 in postage and 20 minutes worth of writing the entries.

Speak Your Mind