I received a $50 gift card to Macy's a few years back as a holiday gift and since I don't shop at Macy's regularly I didn't have a chance to use the card for about a year and a half. When I got to the register the cashier swiped the card and informed me that the card had expired.
It turned out that I only had a year to use it. I didn't read the fine print on the back of the card. So I'm out $50 bucks and my aunt gave Mr. Macy a very nice holiday gift.
If you receive a gift card as an engagement, shower or wedding gift make sure to read the fine print on the back of the card to see if the card is good for a limited time.
When I returned a number of shower gifts to Crate & Barrel I received a few hundred dollars in store credits and I made sure that the credit wouldn't expire. About five years later I took the credits to the store and was able to use the credits on items for our new home.
I would have freaked out if I had "lost" $800 to Crate & Barrel.