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Don't Ruin the Surprise. Send Sneaky Gifts With This Amazon Shopping Tip

Kick the guesswork out of gifting by learning how to send presents without the recipient's address.

A gift card on a phone screen
We'll tell you how to send gifts on Amazon without knowing your family or friends' mailing address. 
Amazon

You've found the perfect gift for someone but you don't know the correct address to send it to. You don't want to text them to ask for their address because that would give away the surprise -- but if you don't ask then you're left with a great gift and no address to mail it to. Unfortunately, while the internet can solve most problems, a correct address can be harder to find. But if you're shopping on Amazon, all hope is not lost. There's an Amazon shopping feature that makes it possible to send a stealthy gift with just the recipient's phone number or email address. 

shopping tips logo

We love this idea, especially as Amazon begins to ramp up their sales following their second Prime Day event ahead of Black Friday.

Here's how to send gifts to friends who may have moved and whose address you don't have on file. Just note, however, you need to be a Prime member and there are a couple other caveats. (Here's how to sign up for a Prime membership if you don't have one.) If you're already a member, there are plenty of perks you probably aren't using, like free Grubhub Plus food delivery for a year.

Is there a catch to sending Amazon gifts without an address?

Yes, here are the puzzle pieces needed to make this convenient shopping hack work. You must:

  • Be an Amazon Prime member.
  • Have the recipient's email address or mobile phone number.
  • Use the mobile app to send the gift without a specific shipping address. (The new shopping feature won't work with Amazon.com, only the mobile app.)
  • Ship and receive the gift to the continental US -- sorry, Hawaii and Alaska.

Important note: Not every gift is eligible. For example, we couldn't send the baby clothes we picked out for our colleague's newborn this way, but we were able to select a pair of $36 Amazon over-ear headphones (not currently available) to send to a recipient without a physical address on hand.

How does the Amazon Prime gift option work?

Screen showing recipient selection

This is what it looks like in your mobile Amazon app to select sending a gift to a recipient using just their email address or phone number.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

We'll share more details in the step-by-step below, but in general, as the gift-giver you just have to send a gift receipt and select the new delivery option. The recipient will then be notified to accept the gift by providing their address. If they decide to not accept the gift, they can exchange it for an Amazon gift card. Amazon says it won't tell the person who picked out the gift if the recipient chooses a gift card instead. 

How to send a gift on Amazon without knowing the recipient's address

If you just picked out a gift for your family member or friend on Amazon, here's how you can send it to them through text or email:

1. Add the gift to your cart using Amazon's mobile app.

2. Tap Add a gift receipt for easy returns and then tap Proceed to checkout.

3. Once at checkout, select the option to Let the recipient provide their address and tap Continue.

4. Enter the recipient's phone number or email address. This is where you can also add a custom message sent alongside your gift. You can also select gift wrapping at this stage. (Note that this typically costs another $5 for an Amazon gift bag.)

5. Place your order by clicking Continue. The recipient will then be notified and asked to accept the gift.

How to accept an Amazon gift 

Gift notification screen

You can unwrap your Amazon gifts virtually. 

Amazon

If you have been sent a gift through Amazon, here's how to accept it (or get a gift card instead):

1. Click on the text or email notification from Amazon and tap View and accept your gift.

2. Tap on your present to unwrap it and watch an animation of your gift being revealed.

3. Once you've virtually unwrapped your gift, you can choose to Accept and provide an address or Exchange for an Amazon gift card.

4. If you choose to accept the gift, you will be prompted to provide your delivery address. After you enter your address, tap Deliver to this address and then Accept the gift

5. Amazon will then ship your gift to you with free Prime shipping. 

For more, check out how to use Amazon subscribe and save to buy your favorite products at a discount. Plus, you can bypass shipping fees with this shopping tip