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The Five Best Gift Cards

Best retailer card: Costco Wholesale (COST - Get Report)

Denominations: $25-$1,000

Purchase fee: No

Monthly fees or expiration date: No

Macy's (M - Get Report) and Gap (GPS) may let you use their cards at more locations, and Best Buy and Sears (SHLD - Get Report) will let you use theirs online, but Costco's Cash Card gives consumers two things the others don't: bulk products and gas.

No matter how much the Fed would like folks to believe we're out of the recession and that last year's record gas prices were an aberration, there's still heavy emphasis on frugality this holiday season. While you have to become a Costco member to reap the benefits once your card is exhausted, a breadth of products including groceries, electronics, books, furniture, gas and even funeral items gives their card more value and variety than their competitors'.

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