How to Activate Sam's Club Gift Cards Purchased Online (2024)

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How to Activate Sam's Club Gift Cards Purchased Online (1)

Monday Morning Miles Talk is a regular series that has some smaller, more quirky ideas to kick off the work week. These are essentially random ideas that I wanted to share with you. Here are the previous 4 entries.

If you would like to read even more of the other articles in the series you can clickHERE.

How to Activate Sam’s Club Gift Cards Purchased Online

Let me start this off by saying that Sam’s Club may have the worst set up possible for gift cards purchased online. Sam’s Club also has some of the least empowered front line employees in their customer service call centers. I was unable to speak to the gift card department at any point when I ran into issues. I was promised a call back numerous times and that never happened.

Getting back to why I needed to call them in the first place. I had ordered multiple $60 gift cards online with the recent Amex Offer for Sam’s Club. I was pretty excited about this offer and wrote about ways to maximize it in a previous MMMT article. While it was not as good as the Amex Offer in 2016 it would still be a pretty profitable one!

My plan was to purchase Sam’s Club gift cards at 50% off and then resell them for over 90% in value. Clearing an easy 40% in profit! That was the plan at least.

How to Activate Sam's Club Gift Cards Purchased Online (2)

Sam’s Club Gift Cards Come Deactivated!

The big difference from Sam’s Club online and EVERY OTHER RETAILER is that they decide to send their gift cards deactivated (Walmart does this occasionally too but they are essentially the same company). Sounds ludicrous right? I am sure it is for security reasons. What makes it even more asinine is that the activation email they send for gift cards has the same subject line as their shipment announcements. So you just assume is was a double sent email or a junk email and don’t open it.

When you get the activation emails you are supposed to click the link which will activate the card. Then within 30 minutes the cards should be ready to go….should be! The funny thing is you get these emails shortly after they ship the cards, but before you actually have them in hand. Exactly how is that any different than sending them activated? You tell me…because I don’t get it.

So I originally tried to use the cards, unaware of the activation issue even though I should have been, and they were of course not working. I went to check online and they showed no balance. Remembering then that they needed to be activated I clicked all of the emails and waited. After about an hour I checked the balances again and only 2 of the 6 cards had been activated.

How to Activate Sam's Club Gift Cards Purchased Online (3)

Activation in Store?

My assumption on why only 2 of the 6 gift cards were properly activated is because I checked the balance on them before clicking the activation links. I didn’t check all of the cards and I think it may be a security measure that locks up the cards if their balance is checked before activation.

I would recommend keeping the cards with their paperwork (if you have separate order numbers) until you can verify their balance.

Before calling in I decided to go to a Sam’s Club store to see if they could help. I had read online that people had received cash refunds for similar issues in the past so I thought that would be a double win! I would get the spend on my card and an increased profit since I would get 100% back instead of 90%!

It didn’t work out that way. They said there was nothing they could do at the store level. They couldn’t even contact the gift card department on my behalf.

One good thing did come from it. They were able to tell me which order numbers had been activated. Since I didn’t keep the paperwork that was shipped with the cards that helped out immensely. Make sure you keep your paperwork until you verify the card’s balances!

How to Activate Sam's Club Gift Cards Purchased Online (4)

Calling Online Customer Service

The next step was to give the online department a call. I called 1-888-746-7726 and hit extension 3 then 5 then 8. I ended up calling on 6 separate occasions and getting a similar response each time. We will alert the gift card department of the problem.

I asked if there was a contact number for the gift card department and they said no. On the 5th call the agent said she would “code red” my issue since it had been ongoing for a month. That got some movement. I finally got an email saying my gift card (not cards) were activated. And of course only 1 of the 4 had been activated.

I called back the 6th time and asked for a supervisor. That didn’t go anywhere so I told the agent I needed a “code red” on the other 3 order numbers too. She complied and within 24 hours I received another email saying the rest had been activated. Bingo – CODE RED is key to getting this situation resolved. How very “A Few Good Men” of Sam’s Club there!


After all of this would I order Sam’s Club gift cards the next time around? I am not sure, I may wait until a 3rd party gift card goes on sale and go that route instead.

If I do end up ordering Sam’s Club gift cards again online I will be sure to look out for, and click, the activation emails after placing my order. Then I will wait an hour or two before checking the balances. And if that doesn’t work I will initiate a code red with the customer service representative early on in the process.

Anyone else have issues too?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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How to Activate Sam's Club Gift Cards Purchased Online (2024)
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