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Amazon gift cards are account- and/or country-specific

July 7, 2021

I had an interesting situation today that I wasn’t aware of and no doubt many others aren’t either. So here’s some info for future reference in case you ever give an Amazon gift card to someone in another country that also has a local Amazon site, though I’m not sure it would’ve helped me as I have the same credentials for both the Australian and US sites. NOTE: The terms listed in the gift card email clearly state that “Your gift card balance can’t be transferred to other accounts”, so that isn’t a way to get around this situation either.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook, and a couple of the comments I got from those who’ve been in a similar situation:

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The things you learn the hard way. I recently helped someone in another country and they sent me an Amazon gift card as thanks. Nice! I applied it to my account (I only have ONE account with ONE set of login credentials, an account I set up in the mid-90s and that I rarely use). Today, I had a couple of things to order from the US via Amazon, and thought I’d apply the gift card to the order, but its details were nowhere to be found under my account info. I still had the original email for the gift card so tried to reapply the gift card but it said it had already been redeemed. What?

I emailed Amazon to see what was going on, and they said the gift card didn’t apply to amazon .com.au orders, only to amazon .com. NOTHING in the info email that came with the gift card told me this, and when I applied it to my account I used the only login details I have for Amazon and wasn’t given the option to apply it to .com or com.au purchases. I assumed Amazon is Amazon, but apparently not! Had I known this earlier, I’d have ordered those items from the .com site, not the .com.au site.

Who knows when I’ll get to use that gift card — as I said I rarely order from Amazon, and even more rarely from the US site. And in the process of doing all this, I discovered that my Prime membership only applies to orders from the .com.au site. So if I order something from the US site that I can’t get from the Australian site (the Australian site has a limited range), I can’t get free shipping via Prime. <grrr>

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Some of the comments:

Another Australian: Yup, it sucks, I’ve ended up with .com and .com.au accounts.

Me: Well, it seems I have two accounts too, but the same credentials!

Aussie: I think I have the same login but different passwords. So confusing!

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American: I think when I was gifting Amazon cards for India, I did so on the Amazon.com.in site. For about a year after, I’d occasionally default not that site. I think the same thing happened in 2019 when I gifted someone who worked for me in the UK. I went to the UK site. But I did it because I knew about the different sites.

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Another American: I give folks on my team Amazon cards and have to go through .ca and .uk

Me: Never thought about it from the donee’s end! That sucks too — do you have to have separate accounts/logins for each country? or can you specify that at the time you give the card?

Response: Same credentials, I just have to go through the different interfaces. The authentication is the same, the billing is different, though, so I have to manage credit card data for each interface.

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Seems a ‘global’ company like Amazon isn’t really global at all!

Update: I thought I’d be able to use the gift card on the US site to buy ebooks, but nope! They’ve blocked that avenue off as well—I get this message if I click on a Kindle edition: ‘Kindle titles are available for AU customers on Amazon .com.au.’ If I click on a printed edition, I get a price plus the exorbitant shipping charge, which is often more than the book!! I’ll look into seeing if I can re-gift the card to a US friend, but I don’t think that will be an option. If I can’t do that, then Amazon has the money paid to it, I can’t buy anything with it, and they rake in yet more $$$$s!!!! It’s possible the donor could request a refund, but I won’t go down that path yet.

Also, on the US site, they have this at the bottom of the page on gift cards: “Amazon .com Gift Cards can only be used to purchase eligible goods and services on Amazon .com and certain related sites as provided in the Amazon .com Gift Card Terms and Conditions. To purchase a gift card for Amazon’s website in another country, please visit: Amazon .ca, Amazon .cn, Amazon .fr, Amazon .de, Amazon .in, Amazon .it, Amazon .jp, Amazon. uk, or Amazon .es.” [I’ve added spaces in the URLs so they don’t become clickable links]

But the gift card page for the Australian site doesn’t have ANY of this info at all. Note: The Australian site is NOT listed above.

One comment

  1. […] the issues with an Amazon gift card earlier this week, I thought I’d try to buy a book for one of my nephews. The link from the […]



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