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Marketers: Think beyond Amazon gift cards for rewards and incentives

By Kate Monica|4 min read|Updated Feb 8, 2024

A digital Amazon gift card.

“Take a demo and receive a $50 gift card.”

It’s likely you either have this offer sitting in your inbox right now, or you’re enticing prospects with this promotion yourself. 

Amazon gift cards are one of the most popular incentives for companies to offer right now. Our recent study found that 64% of surveyed companies send Amazon gift cards in exchange for people’s time and attention. 

While they’re the most common reward for companies to give, they’re not everyone’s favorite to receive

Last year, we conducted an experiment to determine which incentives and rewards recipients actually want. We found the vast majority want the gift of choice

A money transfer, Visa prepaid card, and gift card of the recipient’s choice were each ranked as more valuable than Amazon gift cards by surveyed recipients. 

There are plenty of benefits to sending rewards and incentives through Amazon. They’re cheap, because there are no added fees if a business buys direct from Amazon. Recipients have a wide range of items to choose from given how expansive the Amazon marketplace is. 

But there are even simpler (and more enticing) incentives your business can offer without any added fees. 

If you’re looking to solicit more responses to your current promotional offers, it might be time to think beyond Amazon.

Research shows: More options are always better

Amazon boasts a stunningly diverse inventory of about 12 million items across each of its categories and services. 

However, this wide-ranging catalog does have certain gaps. 

Amazon isn’t a great fit for recipients who would rather use the $50 reward to offset the cost of their weekly grocery trip, put the money toward bills, get some guilt-free takeout, or use the money at a physical store so they can try on their clothes before they buy.

This is just a smattering of the hundreds of instances where an Amazon gift card wouldn’t be quite what a customer or prospect is looking for. Plus, not everyone wants to shop at Amazon. 

Our research confirms people prefer choices. In October 2023, we partnered with The Decision Lab to conduct conjoint analysis on over 3,000 data points in an effort to figure out which incentives recipients prefer. 

We found the most valuable incentives, in descending order, are as follows:

  • Money transfer: The most valuable incentive is a cash transfer. This can be sent as either a PayPal transfer, a Venmo payout, or an ACH transfer (direct deposit). 

  • Visa prepaid card: The second-most valuable incentive is a Visa prepaid card (either digital or physical). Since they’re accepted by the vast majority of retailers (including Amazon), recipients see them as the closest to cash. They’re great for buying new shoes on Amazon, a pair of hand-crafted earrings on Etsy, or groceries. 

  • Gift card of the recipients’ choice: This option is considered only slightly less valuable than a Visa prepaid card. Recipients don’t mind being restricted to only one retailer, as long as they can choose which one. 

  • Amazon gift card: While Amazon offers a remarkably broad selection of products, the preceding options are even more tailored to recipients’ varied preferences. 

  • Mailed check: Recipients value this option the least, and for good reason. Checks arrive by (and occasionally get lost in) snail mail, and cashing them adds another extra step. They’re not fast or convenient, even if they are flexible.

Recipients’ preferences vary, so they want whichever incentive gives them the most freedom. Offering additional options is a great way for your company to stand out. 

Using a platform like Tremendous to send rewards and incentives ensures customers and prospects can choose whichever incentive they prefer, whether that’s a Venmo payout, a Doordash gift card, or a charitable donation. They can, of course, also choose to redeem their incentive as an Amazon gift card. That’s the beauty of it: it’d be totally up to them.   

Expand your promotion internationally 

Relying solely on Amazon gift cards across borders is a recipe for a major headache.

If you’re buying Amazon gift cards in bulk to use as part of a promotional offer, beware: Amazon has different websites for each country where they operate. If you purchase an order of Amazon gift cards from the US site, your Canadian customers can’t redeem them on

If you want to extend your promotional offer to include Amazon gift cards for Canadian prospects, you’d need to separately log into the Canadian Amazon site and place another order there. Since you can only buy them in Canadian dollars, you’d have to calculate how much to buy based on the exchange rate, and pay a conversion fee if your credit card charges one.

It’s even more confusing in Europe. gift cards are viable in several, seemingly random European countries, while cards are only usable for the French site. (Plus, you’ll have to navigate those sites in German and French.) Furthermore, Amazon is not the most popular online retailer in several countries where it operates.

Spending extra time logging into and out of different websites and accounts can be a pain, but failing to offer a marketing promotion anywhere outside the US can also needlessly hamper sales.

Don’t limit your marketing promotions to only certain countries or regions, or risk frustrated participants who can’t or don’t want to use an Amazon card. Instead, consider using a tool that allows you to send rewards to any prospect or customer no matter where they’re based. 

With an incentives and rewards platform, you can send a little something to anyone, just about anywhere. You don’t even need to know where they are. All you need is an email address.

Offer a better recipient experience

Whether you’re offering customers and prospects an incentive to take a demo, show up to your event, or refer a friend, the specific reward is only one small part of the individual’s experience with your brand. 

The message or email you send to get their attention also influences how they perceive your brand. Your marketing team probably spent a fair amount of time tweaking the language and fine-tuning the subject line before firing off that email or LinkedIn message. 

In the same vein, it’s important to give some consideration to the recipient’s redemption experience

After they take the demo or get home from the conference, do they have an easy time redeeming their reward? Do they run into issues, and have to deal with a frustrating customer service queue? Every step of the redemption process will reflect back on your brand. 

If you opt to order Amazon gift cards directly you’ll have to send customers and prospects who have trouble using their cards to the behemoth’s labyrinthine support process.

Recipients in the US will have to contact Amazon’s customer service number, and will first be forwarded to an automated bot. It’ll take a few different prompts to finally get in touch with a human. 

They’ll also have to have a cell phone connected to their Amazon account, since they’ll need to enter a verification code or click a texted link to troubleshoot any issues with their card. 

The online chat option also requires that recipients jump through a few hoops before speaking with a real person. Before having the option to talk with a representative, the online chatbot will direct recipients to skim through Amazon’s various help center pages. 

Getting stuck in this loop can be defeating for customers and prospects. While most will likely have no issue redeeming their card, the ones who do hit a snag may start to associate your brand with an afternoon spent chasing down a live human, only to get endlessly rerouted to automated helpers. 

Conversely, if you use a rewards platform like Tremendous to issue marketing incentives, your customers and prospects will benefit from our stellar customer service. (Though they probably won’t have to, since fewer than 2% of recipients end up contacting our team.)

Our recipients’ customer satisfaction score is fourteen percentage points above the fintech industry average. Plus, we resolve issues for recipients same day on average. 

It’s a smoother, faster, and more human customer service experience. And your customers and prospects will notice. 


There’s no doubt that lots of people appreciate Amazon gift cards as an incentive to take a meeting, buy a product, or refer a friend.

But there are thousands of different ways people may want to spend an incentive or reward. It’s unrealistic to try to account for them all and choose the right incentive yourself. 

Letting customers and prospects pick their own incentive with a platform like Tremendous is much more scalable, and much more appealing for recipients. 

With Tremendous, you can also offer recipients Amazon gift cards for free. It’s one of the 2,000 redemption options we offer across 200 countries. 

If you’re having a hard time getting customers and prospects to respond to your outbound LinkedIn messages, show up to your event, or offer up their email at your booth, it might be time to make Amazon just one of the many options you give recipients. 

With an incentives and rewards platform like Tremendous, you can instantly send incentives and rewards that recipients can redeem however they want, wherever they are. And if they run into a problem when redeeming their reward, you can trust they’ll have a smooth experience with our customer service team. 

Ready to take your marketing incentives to the next level? Sign up and send your first incentive in minutes. Or, chat with our team

Published February 8, 2024

Updated February 8, 2024

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