We use table rate shipping and sell physical gift cards that we mail. We don't want to ever charge standard shipping for a gift card; have been able to set up gift card as free shipping to accomplish this, however if you add other items in the cart, the value of the card is used in the table rate, resulting in over charge. In addition want purchaser to be able to opt in for express shipping for a set amount when they buy only a gift card or again with other merchandise, just don't want value of gift card to be included. Happy to buy an extension if there is one that can met our needs.
I'm pretty sure that there's a way to create a shopping cart rule that allows free shipping for specific items (such as gift cards).