Everything you need to know about American Express gift cards

Do you know where to buy the lowest fee American Express gift cards? What about activation or checking your balance?

Wouldn’t you like to know the cheapest place to purchase AMEX cards and have all your questions answered?

Luckily for you, I’m going to show you the best places to get AMEX gift cards and answer all your questions before you even receive the card.

Everything You Need to Know about American Express Gift Cards

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Where can you buy American Express gift cards?

You can find AMEX gift card at just about any retail store location or online retailers website. Usually, they are located at the check stands or near the greeting card section.

  • Albertsons
  • CVS pharmacy
  • Family Dollar
  • Fred’s
  • Kroger
  • Office Depot
  • Publix
  • Rite Aid
  • Safeway
  • Sam’s Club
  • Staples
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Walgreens
  • Winn Dixie

Please note there is a $3.95 per card purchase fee if purchased through AMEX online. Fees will vary from retailer to retailer. Business and Personal gift cards are available in amounts of $25 through $3,000.

Note: Currently, you cannot purchase an AMEX gift card on Amazon. However, you may purchase a Visa and Mastercard gift card.

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Where can I purchase an AMEX gift card at the lowest fee?

We did some price comparing on AMEX gift cards. Here is what we found.

Store $25 gift card fee $50 gift card fee $100 gift card fee $200 gift card fee Shipping fee Where to buy
AMEX $3.95 $3.95 $3.95 $3.95 $5.95 AMEX Online
Target $4.00 $5.00 $6.00 N/A Free Standard Shipping Target Online
Walmart $3.44 $3.94 $5.44 $6.88 Free shipping on orders over $35 Walmart Online
Walgreens $? $? $? $? Purchase in store In store

Note: Gift card fees are subject to change depending on individual retailer policies. Always check with the individual retailer before purchasing.

From my research, Walmart is the best location for purchasing an American Express gift card because it has the lowest fee and free shipping on orders over $35.

Surprisingly, most retailers don’t advertise AMEX gift card sales online. You may be able to find a lower price at a retailer in store, but Walmart is hard to beat.

Promo Codes

If shopping through AMEX online, you will be prompted for a PROMO code during checkout.

American Express promo code on checkout

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to pay $9.90 in additional shipping and purchasing fees for a $100 gift card. That’s almost 10% in fees! Luckily, a variety of promo codes can help remove shipping and purchasing fees.

Always check with sites like Retailmenot and Giving Assistant for updated codes. PROMO codes are not guaranteed to work, but try them and see which work.

$3.95 off of Purchase fees

  • PHONE402
  • PHONE401
  • PHONE502

How do you activate and check a balance on an American Express gift card?

Most American Express gift cards will come ready to use. In some cases, gift cards may require activation and instructions should have been provided.

You may need to register your gift card to make online purchases.

It is recommended that you record the following in case your card is ever stolen.

  • Gift Card number
  • 4-Digit Card ID number
  • 3-Digit Security Code number (on the back)
  • Customer Service phone number

AMEX gift card number locations

It is also recommended you sign the back of your gift card.

Online activation and balance checking

Personally, I think online activation is the easiest route. The American Express balance checking page also doubles for card activation.

Visit the American Express Balance page to sign in and activate your card. The website should prompt you to enter in your 15-Digit Card Number, Expiration Date, and 4-Digit Card ID.

Check your balance and activate your AMEX gift card

Once you sign in your card has been activated.

Phone Activation

You can call the phone number on the back of the card to activate your AMEX gift card. Otherwise, call customer service at 1-833-205-8622 or 1-877-297-4438.

You should have the card in hand to provide the card number, valid thru date, Card ID, security number, and your home address.

How to use your American Express gift card

Once your gift card is activated, it can be used like any other debit or credit card. When making a purchase online, use your personal address and zip code.

You may find some restrictions if you use your gift card for hotel purchases, subscriptions, car rentals, or foreign transactions. You may not use your AMEX gift card at ATMs.

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Where are American Express gift cards accepted?

You may use your AMEX gift card anywhere American Express is accepted. Stores that accept American Express include:

  • Amazon
  • American Eagle
  • Ann Taylor
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bloomingdales
  • CVS pharmacy
  • Disney World
  • Dollar Store
  • eHarmony
  • Fandango
  • Forever 21
  • Game Stop
  • Groupon
  • H&R Block
  • Home Depot
  • Hulu
  • JC Penney
  • Kmart
  • Kohls
  • Lowes
  • Lyft
  • Macys
  • Microsoft
  • Mobil
  • Moneygram
  • Netflix
  • Newegg
  • Nordstrom
  • Overstock
  • Payless Shoes
  • PayPal
  • Pier 1
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Safeway
  • Sears
  • Shopify
  • T-Mobile
  • Target
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Verizon
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Western Union
  • Whole Foods

American Express is widely accepted. Luckily, Finder.com put together a list of over 250 stores and retailers that accept AMEX.

Reloading your AmEx gift card

Unfortunately, you are not able to add money to an American Express gift card. Cards are purchased in set amounts and cannot be reloaded. However, you can add money to an AMEX prepaid debit card.

Customer service contact information

You can contact American Express at the following for gift card related questions. American Express also has a Frequently Asked Questions page to answer all of your gift card related questions.


American Express Gift Card

Customer Care

PO Box 826

Fortson, GA 31808

You should also consult American Express’s gift card Terms and Conditions.

Does your American Express gift card expire?

No. The funds on your AMEX gift card do not expire. You will be able to use your gift card until you no longer have funds available or if the current date exceeds the “Valid Thru” date. Contact American Express at the number on the back of the card if you’ve exceeded the “Valid-Thru” date to receive a replacement card.

What if the card is declined?

Try the following should your AMEX gift card be declined for any reason.

  1. Have the cashier run the card again. Remind the cashier of the available balance and be prepared with a second form of payment.
  2. Check your gift card’s balance.
  3. Check the “Valid Thru” date on the card for expiration. Contact American Express for a replacement.
  4. Contact American Express at 1-833-205-8622 for further troubleshooting.
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How can I exchange my American Express gift card for cash?

There are a few options to get cash for your AMEX gift card.

  1. Sell your gift card on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. The east
  2. Purchase items and resell on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. This is more work, but you could make a profit buying discounted items and reselling for full price.
  3. Purchase a money order at Walmart.

Summary: American Express Gift Cards

Here is everything you need to know about your American Express gift card.

  • You can purchase AMEX cards at most retailers. However, Walmart seems to be the retailer with the lowest purchase fee.
  • You shouldn’t have to activate your AMEX card, but you can call the number on the back of the card to do so. Online  and phone activation are also possibilities.
  • To check your AMEX gift card balance, check American Express Balance page.
  • Unfortunately, you cannot add funds to your AMEX gift card.
  • You can use AMEX gift cards anywhere American Express is accepted.

Do you have any other questions? If so, let me know in the comments below!

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.