I, eventualy thought "uh-oh, I wonder if these expire" and contacted Amazon ... and, yes indeed, they go tits-up 18 months after you redeem them. With this looming as a threat, I did start to "nickle and dime" the amount down with a book here, a CD there. However (as those who bother to read my book reviews well know), I am quite fond of grabbing stuff from the Amazon new/used vendors, so frequently I was paying 1¢ for the book and $3.49 for the shipping, meaning that I was only slowly chipping away the balance, with 14 assorted purchases over the past year.
Unfortunately, by my figuring, the one from my Brother did expire (on 3/26/06) with about $13.00 left on it ... needless to say, this pissed me off, so I've been hell-bent to not let the same thing happen with the one from my Father-in-law (which goes pffft on 6/20). Now, I've made 5 purchases (all via the new/used vendors) over the past couple of days via surfing through Amazon's personalized "recommendation" list (plus one reference book I needed to brush up on my wine knowledge for the bartending gig), but I've got about $35 left, and am fresh out of ideas.
I would prefer to not get "current stuff", because, hey, it's at retail, but if anybody had some suggestions of books or CDs that you really think I should check out ... I'd appreciate hearing about 'em! Thanks!