My Experience Begrudgingly Ordering Simon Visa Gift Cards Online
I caved. I bought Visa gift cards from Simon Mall online. A bit over two months ago, I described why buying Visa gift cards (VGC’s) via online ordering didn’t move the needle for me. However, a few things have changed since then. Here’s why I decided to order from Simon online and my experience with the process.
First, since I shared my Simon online views, Gift Card Mall gutted portal rewards, including with my favorite portal, Rakuten Membership Rewards. Long story short, GCM customers went from earning portal rewards on up to 60k monthly spend down to a 2k monthly spend limit. Yikes! The primary reason I loved GCM was because I could bring my VGC costs down to 0.055%. Simon Online couldn’t get anywhere close to that cheap. Regardless, GCM dumped me, and I planned to crawl back to my local Simon outlet.
But wait! I discovered my local Simon outlet had reopened, but was not back to the normal of selling VGC’s. Many hobbyists were and are in the same situation. I touched base with management at my local outlet. They were cordial as always, but they couldn’t even estimate when they would be bringing back the in-person VGC purchasing capability. At this point, I recognized I couldn’t wait it out. I needed to give Simon online a try.
My Simon Online Ordering Experience
I had previously rolled my eyes at the seemingly bureaucratic process for registering, ordering, and activating VGC’s with Simon online. Once I came around to giving Simon online a try, I was admittedly refreshed by the not-overly-painful and actually-quick registration process. Once I submitted the necessary info, I got email responses from Simon noting my registration completion on the same day.
The ordering experience was fairly seamless. While I didn’t previously care about customizing cards, I did enjoy the option to do so now that I was in the middle of it. After completing registration earlier in the day, I submitted my first order that afternoon.
I was pleasantly surprised at the consistent, informative email updates from Simon throughout the order fulfillment process. Simon provided order receipt, completion, and shipment emails in a streamlined format. Shipping speed was pretty quick. I received the VGC’s four business days after the order.
The Elephant in the Room – Cost!
Simon has released several online promos since launch, but I haven’t avidly kept up with them. For what it’s worth, I used the 20% off activation fees and free shipping offer this time. I had no choice but to absorb the full processing fee of $10.
I made a small first order to experience the process. Hence, I accepted a bit of elevated cost on this order. All in, my VGC cost was 0.441%, not much higher than the 0.395% cost I previously paid Simon in-person. While the Simon online cost was much closer than I expected to the in-person cost, it was still almost 0.4% more than my previous GCM cost. Of course, I can drive these rates down a bit further with higher Simon online order amounts. Regardless, whether I buy Simon VGC’s online or in person, I recognize the substantially higher VGC cost is the new normal, at least for now.
My Simon Strategy Moving Forward
Simon was a relatively small part of my acquisition strategy during the GCM heyday, but I will be more active with them in the near term. Regardless, I’m not planning on Simon becoming my primary acquisition method. Grocery stores continues to be my main go-to there. I more than make up for high VGC fees at grocery stores due to permanent outsized earning rates in certain credit cards’ grocery categories. It’s a bit more work than Simon, but that’s what the hobby is calling for these days, at least for me.
But how active will I be with Simon online? It really comes down to two considerations:
- Simon Online Promos: My long-term use of Simon online primarily hinges on the availability of ongoing promos. More specifically, the promo terms will or will not drive my spend there. When my local Simon outlet opens for VGC purchases, the online option would need to provide clearly lower costs than in-person purchases.
- Simon Outlet Availability: When bulk VGC purchasing is back available at my local outlet, I plan to move more spend there. I particularly value the ability to split payment across several cards during in-person Simon purchases. For my situation, this capability trumps similar costs for online/in-person purchases.
Ordering Simon Visa Gift Cards Online – Conclusion
I previously wasn’t interested in ordering VGC’s via Simon online, but the capability is useful and the process painless. Long term viability of Simon online is still TBD for me, but I appreciate the capability regardless. Have you ordered VGC’s with Simon online? What do you like or dislike about the process?