The Carrabba’s Italian Grill closed in my area, so what can I do with this gift card?

By | April 5th, 2017

Glenn Montigny has $100 worth of gift cards to Carrabba’s Italian Grill, but the only one near him has closed. Can he transfer the balance to a gift card for another restaurant chain?

Question: Last Christmas Eve, I purchased two $50 gift cards for Carrabba’s Italian Grill which were supposed to be usable once each month through May 2017 for $10 each at Carrabba’s restaurants. I used the cards in January, but all the Carrabba’s restaurants near me have since closed.

Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of Carrabba’s, has stated that it will replace the cards with cards that I can use at another of its other restaurants, like Outback Steakhouse. But it will only do so if there is no other Carrabba’s in the state.

There is one, but going there and returning home is a 140-mile round trip. The closest Carrabba’s restaurant to my home now is in Massachusetts, which is an 80-mile round trip for me. Going to either of these restaurants just to use the gift cards would cost more for gasoline than I think the trip would be worth.

I would like to exchange the cards for one that I can use at Outback Steakhouse, which is ten minutes away. I tried calling Bloomin’ Brands’ toll-free number to ask its representatives for help, but a recorded message tells you to leave a message because “all of our support representatives are busy.” Can you help me get new, usable cards? – Glenn Montigny, Vernon, Conn.

Answer: Looks like Scrooge, in the form of corporate policy, came along to ruin your Christmas present. I agree with you that you should not have to drive 140 miles to use a gift card.

Related story:   What should we do about all of these missing gift card cases from Target?

Neither Bloomin’ Brands’ nor Carrabba’s terms and conditions contain any language indicating that your gift cards can be replaced with cards for other Bloomin’ Brands restaurants if there is no other Carrabba’s in Connecticut. And it isn’t clear from your paper trail where you might have gotten this information.

In fact, Bloomin’ Brands’ site indicates that

Gift cards purchased on our sites are:

  • Redeemable at any Bloomin’ Brands location
  • Accepted in all U.S. locations
  • Fee-free
  • No expiration date

You should have been able to reach someone at Bloomin’ Brands’ toll-free number when you called it. But when you couldn’t speak to anyone at that number, you contacted our advocates, who reached out to Bloomin’ Brands on your behalf. (Executive contact information for Bloomin’ Brands is not available on our site as of this writing.)

Fortunately, Bloomin’ Brands confirmed to our advocates that it is not the case that it will only replace your Carrabba’s cards with cards for its other restaurants if there are no other Carrabba’s within the boundaries of your state. It has transferred the balances on your cards to gift cards for Outback Steakhouse. But you need to use your cards quickly, because Bloomin’ Brands is also closing a number of Outback Steakhouses. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a similar situation with Outback.

  • Chris_In_NC

    The gift cards I have received for Outback and Carrabba’s all state that the gift card is good for Outback, Carrabbas, Flemings and Bonefish Grill. Not sure how the OP had a gift card that is restricted to one particular restaurant.

  • finance_tony

    For such a short article, I have so many questions.

    How about just the most important —

    If the site indeed does say “Gift cards purchased on our sites are: Redeemable at any Bloomin’ Brands location”

    they why did Blooomin’ Brands say they “transferred the balances on your cards to gift cards for Outback Steakhouse”? They don’t need to.

  • MarkKelling

    Most restaurant gift cards are useable at any of the company’s brands. Sometimes they list them on the card, or when there are too many options to fit them on there just state something to the effect that you can use them anywhere at any of that brand’s restaurants.

    I guess there could be some of these cards out there that don’t state this, but I would believe they would be fairly old ones. You could just try to use the card at on of the other restaurants. The worst that could happen is they would say no.

  • Michael__K

    Maybe one of the cards was the bonus card from this promotion from last Dec 23rd?

  • finance_tony

    Could be? But the wording of “I purchased two $50 cards…” throws me…

  • LeeAnneClark

    I’ll tell ya, all of these articles on Chris’s site have scared me off EVER having anything to do with gift or rebate cards! Between disappearing balances due to scammy “maintenance fees”, disappearing restaurants, and resold cards that have to be used quickly or their balance might mysteriously disappear…Yeah. No. Methinks I’ll stick with my own cards, thankyewverymuch! And if I want to give cash as a gift to someone, I’ll give them actual greenbacks.

    These cards are a mess!

  • RightNow9435

    “supposed to be usable once each month through May 2017 for $10 each at
    Carrabba’s restaurants”

    That is the part that has me wondering……….a gift card I have to space out over many visits because it can’t be used it full at one time is a gift card that I would not buy, unless it came with a supersized bonus.

  • PsyGuy

    That was nice of them.

  • PsyGuy

    I don’t use gift cards that aren’t Starbucks, iTunes or Amazon.

  • Grandma

    These were BONUS cards, the OP got after buying two $50 gift cards. See the promotion, that Michael quoted.

  • Grandma
    It is supersized bonus: $50 for $50:-)

  • Grandma

    It was a bonus card:
    Many restaurant(chains) has similar Christmas/holiday offers.

  • finance_tony

    Yes, it makes sense like that. But the OP’s original statement says nothing of the sort. “I purchased two $50 gift cards” is nothing close to “I got a whole slug of $10 promotional gift cards”

  • Chris_In_NC

    @disqus_AKFy87BvDH:disqus Thanks for shedding light into the situation. What you posted makes sense. But the original $50 gift card is transferable. In the promotion it makes it VERY CLEAR that the bonus $50 is not a gift card. The story is very misleading. In my opinion, the company was generous in allowing the transfer of the $50 bonus bucks to Outback.

  • The Original Joe S

    Gift Cards! ha ha ha ha ha! Why won’t people ever learn?

  • The Original Joe S

    I have NEVER bought one. I’ve informed my kids not to burden me with them. Give me nothing rather than one of those.

  • The Original Joe S

    It’s the same thing as the dirtbag restaurant we got a gift card for from my kids. Greedy stupid scum. Food was good; I’ll NEVER GO BACK because I won’t deal with SCUMBAGS!

  • Annie M

    Another reason I don’t buy gift cards unless they are Visa. I wonder how many people have ought gift cards for companies that went out of business before they used them and the money was just gone?

  • AAGK

    I would have just gone to the Outback and presented the card as payment. The rules on the site seem clear. I still do not get the concept of purchasing a gift card for yourself.

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