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Should You Choose CME with a Gift Card or Take the Discount?

When deciding on a CME activity, consider that some companies offer free gift cards or equivalent discounts as incentives. Which is better?

Updated: November 15, 2023
By Jordan P. Roberts, PA-C
business person compares discount charts and graphs by hand in front of laptop

CME with gift cards have been gaining popularity over the last several years.
Should you choose a free gift card or skip the bundle and just choose a discount of the same amount? In my experience, most of you reading this are probably gravitating towards the gift card. But if you

The answer depends on your institutional policies, your CME allowance, and your individual preferences. In today’s post, we’ll help you decide which may be a better fit for you this year.

Reasons to Choose CME with a Gift Card

Reasons to Choose the Discount Instead

Difference between CME with Gift Card Offers and Discounts

Is there a difference between these two choices? The short answer is not really. Most CME companies that offer CME with gift card bundles also give you the option to purchase the same program at the effective rate; i.e. the price you would pay minus the gift card.

There are several reasons to consider each option. And when factoring in multi-year CME plans, you start to see some pretty cool, somewhat more subtle, perks.

If you are the kind of person who likes to plan a little too far in advance, then you’ll do even better with a long-term CME product. I tend to plan how I will spend my CME money not only this year, but also next year, and sometimes even the following year.

These types of CME subscriptions do a good job of freeing up next year’s stipend for use on more unconventional CME activities.

CME Cost Breakdown & Advantages

Three Year Access - Oakstone CME with Amazon Gift Card

A good illustration of this concept is CMEinfo Insider from Oakstone. The best option, in my opinion, is the three-year membership. This used to cost $5,449, but now is available at a 50% discount for just $2,249.

Here’s a more detailed cost breakdown that we did for this and a few other similar offers.

And for us long-term planners, CMEinfo Insider frees up next year or two of CME allowance, while making sure you can earn enough CME credits each year. This can make traveling to those interesting, but smaller and less CME credit-dense conferences, much more viable.

Three Year Access - GibLib CME with Gift Card

GibLib is another popular option for this kind of arrangement. You’ll get access to every specialty they cover (which is a lot) for up to three years, and can select a gift card option of up to $3,000.

You can also choose 1 year or 2 years of access to the CME for $1990 ($1,000 gift card) or $3,480 ($1,500 gift card), respectively.

Alternatively, you can purchase a 1-year CME plan for $990.  

Two Year Access - BoardVitals CME with Gift Card

Board Vitals CME Pro Plus is another popular option for this kind of arrangement. You’ll get access to your specialty of choice for up to two years, and can select a gift card option of up to $3,500.

You can also choose 6-month or 12-month access to the CME program for $599 or $999, respectively, each without a gift card.

A great feature BoardVitals offers is the ability to set your own budget and price you want to pay for CME Pro Plus. It’s a great option to spend the rest of your CME money before it expires when you find you have leftover funds as we approach their expiration.

One of the best parts of this deal is that you can get a discount from us and still get a gift card with your CME. Use the promo code Modern10 at checkout for 10% off your purchase.

One Year Access - MDCalc CME with Gift Card

MDCalc is one of the better options for a one year CME plan. The top plan costs $5,450 and comes with a $3,200 gift card. It also offers unlimited CME credits (well, as many as you could possibly want in a year).

MDCalc’s CME with gift card bundle also has a feature that allows you to set your own budget. Simply enter the amount you want to spend and get a custom CME plan and gift card value.

The non gift card options are slightly different from the first two mentioned above. First, the gift card packages do not auto renew (which is true for all of those mentioned here), while the standard plans do automatically renew each year. Standard plans also offer fewer CME credits than their gift card bearing counterparts.

See the difference in MDCalc CME plans here.


Of course, there are many more CME with gift card offers out there, which we have thoroughly documented for your convenience.

However, to answer the question of getting your CME with a gift card or equivalent discount; they are both good choices. If your institution does not offer reimbursement for the entire CME + gift card package, then there’s really no difference between the two. You could keep it simple and just take the discount, or buy yourself a prepaid card to spend on whatever you want.

If you just want the CME credits or don’t have a CME allowance, then a discount is probably your best bet. Those who want to experience multiple forms of CME over the next one to three years would likely benefit most from choosing the gift card option.

Next, check out our full list of CME with gift card offers here.

Subscribe to Modern MedEd

First Published: June 23, 2022

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