questionswhat is your advice for online gift card sites…

vote-for8vote-against
vote-for6vote-against

I have used restaurant.com before and they offer some truly fantastic deals when they have their 80%-90% off sales. But read the full description of the certificate before purchase. Yes, some say that a gratuity will be included in the check, this is done because of the people that only tip on the bill after the coupon (example - bill is $50 and the coupon brings it down to $15 and some people will only tip on the $15).

vote-for4vote-against

@theoneill555: Agreed. I've used them multiple times without incident.

@mellielou: As @theoneill555 said, the specifics vary by restaurant. But the only way your friend would have been surprised is if she didn't read the description first. And it's not tons of fine print.... We're talking about a couple of sentences under the "Add to cart" button.

I will add that I, personally, would not give these as gifts. They're not really gift certificates, they're coupons.

Oh, and if a restaurant closes or stops accepting restaurant.com certificates before you redeem yours, they'll trade it for another restaurant.

vote-for4vote-against

They can be worth using, but you do have to go prepared.

Yes, in most cases 18% gratuity will be added on, and that's based off the original (pre-certificate) amount. And yes, there is a minimum purchased based off the certificate value (ie $10 ones usually require $15 or $20, $25 ones might require $35 or more).

I also suggest not to buy them unless they're $3 or cheaper; they go on sale for $2 or $3 quite regularly, so there's not much reason to ever pay more for them.

When you do the math then, its usually still a savings. Lets say you spend $3 for a $25 certificate and have to spend $40. You spend (40-25)+3+(40)*0.18 = about $25 plus tax for $40 worth of food. You're not saving $22 dollars, but you are still saving $15.

Also, like @anotherhiggins said, I would not necessarily give these as gifts to someone that does not already use them. Maybe if it was a restaurant you know for a fact they liked, but not out of the blue.

vote-for2vote-against

Thanks everyone!! That breakdown helped, and to view them more like coupon vs a straight-up gift card is good to know. I'll have to wait for the better deals on them before I jump.