California Civil Code Section 1749.5
1749.5. (a) On or after January 1, 1997, it is unlawful for any
person or entity to sell a gift certificate to a purchaser containing
an expiration date. Any gift certificate sold after that date shall
be redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement
with a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder.
(b) A gift certificate sold without an expiration date is valid
until redeemed or replaced.
(c) This section shall not apply to any of the following gift
certificates issued on or after January 1, 1998, provided the
expiration date appears in capital letters in at least 10-point font
on the front of the gift certificate:
(1) Gift certificates that are distributed by the issuer to a
consumer pursuant to an awards, loyalty, or promotional program
without any money or other thing of value being given in exchange for
the gift certificate by the consumer.
(2) Gift certificates that are sold below face value at a volume
discount to employers or to nonprofit and charitable organizations
for fundraising purposes if the expiration date on those gift
certificates is not more than 30 days after the date of sale.
(3) Gift certificates that are issued for a food product.