Looking for some great gift card hacks?
Aren’t we all!
After all, we all like money related hacks that can save and earn us more money.
Nowadays, gift cards don’t just make good presents for friends and family.
You can use them to save money on everything from flights, to meals out at restaurants to groceries.
And, in this post, we cover:
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- Ways you can get free gift cards – yes really. We tell you how to get gift cards without having to buy them!
- How to get the most out of a gift card
- Ways you can use gift cards at places you don’t shop at or dine with!
- How to use the remaining balance on a gift card.
- How to get discounts on gift cards.
Unfortunately, you can’t load a gift card without paying. And no, there is no gift card hack to add unlimited funds but we’ll show you a few ways to get as close to that as possible!
So whether you’re looking to use up a small remaining balance on a gift card, or a way to get gift cards at a huge discount, we’ve got you covered below.
What will I learn?
1. Buy discounted gift cards from resale sites
One of the best places to go if you’re looking to buy gift cards for less than face value is gift card resale sites.
On these sites, people sell gift cards that they don’t want (more on how you can do that below!) at a discount.
So you can get a gift card worth $100 for $80, for example.
This is so great because, it means that while you will have only paid $80 for the gift card, you’ll have $100 to spend on that gift card!
Here are some awesome gift card resale sites:
- Cardpool: Save up to 35%
- Raise: Get discounts from more than 4,000 stores.
- GiftCards.com: Save up to 35%
- GiftCardGranny: Save up to 50%
- CardCash: Save up to 35%
You can buy physical and electronic gift cards on these sites. If you are going to get a physical card, go with one of the gift card discount sites where the shipping is free, like Cardpool, for example.
2. Look for gift cards with the biggest discount, not the highest value
Resale sites are great, but you’ll get more out of them if you buy gift cards that have the highest discount, rather than the highest monetary value.
It might be tempting to jump at that $100 gift that’s on sale for 5% off.
But, if you could get a $50 gift card for 10% off, then you’ve doubled the percentage you save.
A lot of resale sites allow you to filter gift cards by the highest discount.
Of course, you might find that the card with the highest value also offers the biggest discount. But that’s not always the case.
So do make sure that you use the search filters on these resale sites and you’ll ensure you get the best deal.
3. Exchange your gift card for a Target gift card
Sometimes, you have a gift card for a store or brand that you never actually purchase from.
You can exchange an unwanted gift card for a Target gift card with the Target Trade-In Program.
Check out the Target Trade-In Program.
Since most of us shop at Target, a gift card for this store can be far more useful than one for another store or brand.
What’s great about this program is that it accepts a huge range of gift cards.
Here are a few examples of the gift cards you can trade-in at Target:
- Barnes & Noble
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Cheesecake Factory
- Crate & Barrel
- Office Depot
- Office Max
- Ralph Lauren
- Ray Ban
- Taco Bell
- Urban Decay
If you shop at Target a lot, this is also a great way to save money at Target.
It’s important to note that you won’t get the full amount back for your gift card, but it’s better than having a gift card that you won’t use!
4. Get gift cards at a huge discount in January
The best time to buy gift cards is in January when there’s a huge supply of gift cards posted on resale sites after Christmas.
Since supply outweighs demand at this time, you’ll find better deals on these sites.
This means that you can get some heavily discounted gift cards. So stock up on gift cards in January and you could save yourself so much money throughout the rest of the year.
5. Look for gift cards you can use at a few different places
Can’t find a good deal on the gift card you want?
A good trick to use is to purchase a gift card from a partner store.
A lot of companies have multiple brands and allow customers to use gift cards for one of their brands at their other ones.
Here are some examples of gift cards that can be used at multiple stores:
- Olive Garden gift cards can also be used at any restaurant owned by Darden Restaurants, like LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, and Eddie V’s.
- Gap gift cards can also be used at Athleta, Banana Republic, and Old Navy.
- Walmart gift cards can also be used at Sam’s Club
- You can also use Pottery Barn gift cards at Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma and Mark and Graham.
- Abercrombie & Fitch gift cards can also be used at Abercombie kids.
- Crew gift cards can also be used at J.Crew Factory, J.Crew Mercantile, and crewcuts.
- Bonefish Grill gift cards can be used at any Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. restaurants, like Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.
- Kroger owns lots of different brands. You can use Kroger gift cards at places, like Barclay Jewelers, Baker’s, City Market, Copps, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Fred Meyer, Fred Meyer Jewelers, Fresh Eats, Fry’s Food and Drug, Gerbes, Jay C, King Soopers, Littman Jewelers, Mariano’s, Metro Market, Owen’s, Pay Less Supermarkets, Pick ‘n Save, QFC, Ralphs, Smith’s Food and Drug and Turkey Hill Experience.
- Kmart gift cards can also be used at Sears stores and website.
So if you have a gift card for Old Navy, you could use it at Gap and vice versa. If you had a gift card for LongHorn Steakhouse, you could use it at the Olive Garden and vice versa.
This is such a useful trick because it gives you more gift card options and therefore more discounts to choose from. For example, if you want a gift card for Gap, and can only find deals of 5% off, but you can see an Old Navy gift card for 25% off, then you could buy that card, and still use it at Gap and get that great saving!
A lot of stores and restaurants have partner locations, so do check to see if a place you want a gift card for has one.
A good way to check is to do a Google search for “where can I use [insert brand name] gift card.”
Then go on the brand’s official site, if it appears, to check.
6. Get cash for your gift card directly from the retailer
Do you have a gift card with a small remaining balance?
It can be annoying to use, right?
You’ll be glad to know that there is a way to use it up.
You can actually get the balance back in cash!
Some states have laws that require retailers to cash out balances on the gift cards they issue.
The card’s balance will need to be under a certain amount before it becomes redeemable for cash.
And this amount varies depending on which state you live in – here are some examples:
- California: Less than $10
- Rhode Island : Less than $1
- Connecticut: Less than $3
- Maine: Less than $5
- Oregon: Less than $5
Not every state requires retailers to cash out their balances though, so do check with yours to see if you can get the money from your gift card.
You can still ask at the store, even if your state doesn’t have a gift card law, because they might redeem the money for you anyway.
7. Use your pre-paid gift card to get an Amazon gift card
Do you have a remaining balance on a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or another general purpose gift card?
Handily, enough, you can use this balance to buy an Amazon gift card.
If you only have a small balance left, then this is such an easy way to use it up.
Amazon lets you purchase small gift card balances (you’ll need to have at least $1 though).
All you need to do is use the prepaid card to purchase an Amazon gift card. You can apply the Amazon gift card to your Amazon purchase and pay the remainder of the balance with a regular credit or debit card.
8. Store your gift cards on your phone so you don’t lose them!
Ever lost a gift card?
It sucks, doesn’t it?
Don’t worry though. With this simple trick, you won’t have to worry about losing your gift card again!
Store your gift cards on Gyft.
It’s an app for buying and redeeming gift cards, but you can also store them on there as well!
Here’s where to get the app:
If you store your gift card digitally, you no longer have to worry about losing it.
Another tip to try if you’re not one for using apps is to simply take a photo of the back of the gift card.
You’ll then have the number to use, even if you lose the gift card, so you can still redeem it.
9. Use this tip and never pay full price again for anything that you buy!
Don’t forget that discount gift cards are also available for restaurants, flights, hotels and more!
Anywhere you spend money you can usually find a discounted gift card for it!
This is such an easy way to save money at restaurants in particular.
Let’s say that you plan to dine at the Olive Garden. You find a $100 gift card, which has 35% off. You pay just $75 for the gift card, but you have $100 to spend at the Olive Garden restaurant.
This is one of the best ways to save money when you eat out.
Likewise, some movie theaters, airlines and hotels have gift cards. Purchase these at a discount, and you’ll never have to pay full price again for anything that you buy!
10. Turn your receipts into gift cards
Did you know that your receipts could get you some free gift cards?
With the apps below, you can get money from your receipts:
You can then redeem this cash for gift cards for lots of different retailers.
This means that you get gift cards for free!
11. Sell unwanted gift cards for cash
Have gift cards that you don’t want?
A lot of us do.
Well-meaning friends and relatives sometimes buy us gift cards for places that we don’t’ really buy things from.
If this is the case, then you might want to consider selling your unwanted gift cards.
Remember those rebate sites we mentioned above?
They’re not just great for finding discounted gift cards. You can also sell your unwanted gift cards on there.
You won’t get the full value of your gift card, as these are resale sites where people are looking for discounted gift cards. But, you get money that you can spend anywhere, which is better than being stuck with a gift card that you’ll never use.
Here are some great places to sell unwanted gift cards:
It’s so easy to sell on these sites, and you’ll get cash that you can spend anywhere!
12. Use prepaid gift cards wherever PayPal is accepted
If you have a general purpose gift card, like one from Visa or American Express, consider adding it to your PayPal account.
Since PayPal is a widely accepted payment method now, doing this can make it easier to spend your gift card, especially when it has a small remaining balance.
You can add Visa, American Express, MasterCard or Discover gift cards to your PayPal account. You can then use your gift card just as you would with any other debit or credit card.
Just make sure that the balance on your prepaid card is enough to cover the purchase total.
13. Take surveys for free gift cards
You can get free gift cards just for taking surveys.
These survey sites will give you points or cash that you can redeem on a gift card for places like:
- Best Buy
- Xbox Store
Here are a few survey sites where you can earn free gift cards:
- Point Club
- Univox Community
- Google Opinion Rewards
- Ipsos i-Say
- Valued Opinions
- Global Test Market
- Opinion Outpost
- Survey Junkie
- Branded Surveys
- Darwin’s Data
- Survey Time
This is a great way to get yourself some free cash to spend, because you can easily fit these surveys in whenever you get some spare time.
For an even bigger list of legitimate paid survey sites that actually pay you, read this.
14. Get free gift cards from rewards sites
You can get free gift cards for playing games, shopping online, and plenty of other easy tasks, on rewards websites.
Here are a few rewards sites where you can get free gift cards for doing easy tasks:
- Gift Hunter Club
- Coins Rewarder
These rewards sites, which are also known as get paid to (GPT) sites, give you points for doing easy tasks.
You can then redeem your points for gift cards to places, like:
- Best Buy
- American Airlines
- Office Depot
- Forever 21
- Olive Garden
- Red Lobster
- Verizon Wireless
And those are just a few examples of the gift cards you can get on rewards sites.
15. Buy discounted gift cards at Costco
Resale sites are great for getting gift cards at a discount, but they aren’t your only option.
You can also get discounted physical gift cards at Costco.
There, you’ll find great deals on gift cards for restaurants and retailers.
If you’re already a Costco member, then it’s definitely worth checking out the gift cards.
16. Shop through cashback sites and get free gift cards
Another way you can get gift cards for free is to shop through cashback websites.
On cashback sites, you shop at a store as you normally would, but you get cashback when you spend money.
Here are some good cashback sites to check out:
- Rakuten (Formerly Ebates)
- Mr. Rebates
Stores pay cashback sites, like Rakuten and Mr. Rebates, a commission for sending customers, like you, their way, and the cashback site shares this commission with you in the form of a rebate.
Each site has its own cashback rate. You could get as little as 1% cashback or as much as 70% or more!
What’s great about these sites is that you can redeem your cashback on a multitude of gift cards for places, like Amazon, Starbucks, and Walmart.
This is another great way to get gift cards for free!
After all, if you’re shopping online anyway, you may as well do it through a cashback website.
17. Get free gift cards from Microsoft
This is a tip that I’ve used to get free gift cards.
In just over a year, I’ve gotten about $50 worth of gift cards from Microsoft Rewards, just for searching the internet, like I usually would!
The only difference is that I use Bing, rather than Google, and I’m rewarded with points for doing so.
Microsoft Rewards is a program that anyone can join, and as a member, you get points when you search online, and complete other daily tasks, like quizzes.
It’s such a fun way to get free gift cards.
Once you have enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards to a variety of different retailers. I’ve gotten gift cards for the Xbox store, but there are also gift cards available for the Microsoft store, Starbucks and plenty of other places.
- Join Microsoft Rewards here.
It’s so easy to get gift cards with the program because all you need to do is use the internet, like you usually do, but search with Bing instead of your regular search engine.
The quizzes are pretty fun and easy too and offer lots of bonus points.
Sometimes Microsoft even has deals on where you can get a gift card for fewer points!
18. Use coupons and gift cards to save even more
Here’s a really easy way to save even more money with gift cards.
Use discounted gift cards, or the free ones you get from sites like Swagbucks and Microsoft rewards, alongside coupons!
In some cases, combining gift cards with coupons can double your savings.
Let’s say that you are buying something that costs $100. You have a $100 gift card, which you only paid $85 for. You’ve already saved 25%. Then you get a coupon for 25% off. Use the coupon and the gift card together, and you’ll save 50%, which means you’ve doubled your savings!
Here are some good platforms for finding coupons:
- Brad’s Deals
- The Krazy Coupon Lady
- Coupon Mom
- Coupon Cabin
- The Coupons App
- Rakuten (Formerly Ebates)
- Coupon Sherpa
- Grocery Coupon Network
Please note that not all stores allow you to use coupons and gift cards on the same purchase. Many stores do allow you to though.
Just check the store’s coupon policy or gift card policy or ask an employee to see whether you can combine coupons and gift cards on the same purchase.
19. Trade in your old stuff for Amazon gift cards
You can trade in your unwanted stuff for Amazon gift cards with the Amazon Trade-In program.
We all have stuff that we no longer use that just takes up space in our home. Whether it’s your old phone, a collection of books you don’t read or a video game you never play, you could get yourself some free Amazon gift cards from trading in your old stuff.
When you trade in your stuff, Amazon will give you a gift card in return.
Since Amazon has so many different items and is such a great place to shop at all around, it’s always great to have gift cards for the site.
Check out the Amazon Trade-In program here.
Pro Tip: Check out Amazon’s coupon section to save even more money. You can combine a coupon with your Amazon gift card.
20. Sign up for rewards programs for free gift cards and more deals
There’s a really easy trick for getting free gift cards that everyone should be using.
If you’re not using this tip, you’re missing out, and it’s a really simple one:
Sign up for store rewards programs and loyalty cards!
It doesn’t cost you anything, it’s easy to do, and it gives you so many freebies, discounts and other great deals and benefits.
Most rewards programs/loyalty cards give you points each time that you shop.
When you earn enough points, you can redeem them for free stuff, usually in the form of a gift card/store credit.
Here are some rewards programs and loyalty cards that offer free gift cards/store credit to customers:
- Target REDcard
- Sears Shop your Way
- Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards
- C. Penney Rewards
- Nordstrom Rewards
- SaksFirst Store Card
- Walgreens Balance Rewards
- CVS ExtraCare
- DICK’s Sporting Goods
- My Best Buy Program
- Sephora Beauty Insider
- Disney Movie Rewards
- Prime Reload
- Subway MyWay Rewards
- Applebee’s MVN Points
- Papa John’s Papa Rewards
- Domino’s Piece of the Pie Rewards
Check to see if your favorite brand has a rewards program you could sign up for. Many stores and restaurants do. Many hotels do as well. This is such a good way to get free money to spend in the form of a gift card/store credit.
Also, rewards programs are great for getting coupons, discounts and other deals. Many even give you free stuff on your birthday.
21. Buy gift cards at a discount at Groupon
Like we said above, gift card resale platforms, like Raise and Cardpool, aren’t the only places you can get great deals on gift cards.
Groupon is another great platform for deals.
On there, you can sometimes find gift cards that are heavily discounted.
Check out gift cards on Groupon here.
Discounted gift cards aren’t always available though. But it’s another good platform to check before you make a purchase, as you could save yourself a lot of money!
22. Earn $5 when you refer a friend to Raise
You can get $5 for free when you refer a friend to Raise.
That’s basically a free $5 gift card!
Check out the Raise referral program here.
23. Get instant cashback when you buy gift cards at RetailMeNot
RetailMeNot is a great site for finding deals on gift cards. You can save so much money with the platform.
When you buy gift cards at RetailMeNot, you’ll get instant cashback.
Here are some of the gift card deals available at the time of writing:
- Lowe’s: Up to 6% Instant Cash Back
- Macy’s: Up to 8% Instant Cash Back
- Walmart: Up to 1% Instant Cash Back
- Home Depot: Up to 2% Instant Cash Back
- Sears: Up to 6% Instant Cash Back
You can check out the gift cards on offer from RetailMeNot here.
It’s definitely a good place to check for gift cards.
24. Get great deals on gift cards at LivingSocial
Like Groupon does, LivingSocial sometimes has good deals available on gift cards too.
Check out the gift cards on offer at LivingSocial here.
25. Find great gift card deals on Slickdeals
Slickdeals gives you great deals on gift cards.
There are lots of different deals available, such as ones that get you 10% to 20% off gift cards for restaurants, home improvement stores and more. Another type of deal available on the platform is a free gift card with purchase. One store that you often find this deal for is Target.
Check out the gift card deals available on Slickdeals here.
26. Use Drop and get free gift cards to your favorite brands
Drop is an awesome program that allows you to earn rewards from your favorite brands.
With Drop (review), you link your debit and credit cards.
Then, you use your credit and debit cards to make purchases, as you normally would.
But, because they’re linked to Drop, you automatically earn points on your purchases.
You can earn points on everything from your purchases at the grocery store to rides from Uber.
You can redeem your points for gift cards to wherever you want.
Drop is such a great platform because you get points whenever you use your cards, which makes getting free gift cards so easy!
You can sign up to Drop here.
27. Use a cashback credit card to get free gift cards
A lot of credit cards give you rewards that you can redeem for gift cards.
These rewards could be cashback, points, or bonuses when you spend a certain amount of money.
Once you’ve earned enough rewards, you can redeem them for gift cards.
Here are a few credit cards that let you earn free gift cards:
- VentureOne Rewards from Capital One
- Savor Rewards from Capital One
- American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card
- American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
- PNC Points Visa Credit Card
Using a rewards credit card is a good way to earn yourself some free gift cards. Because you’re already spending the money, you’re getting free gift cards with no extra effort!
Of course, you should only use a credit card if you know that you can pay the balance before you are charged interest.
28. Look out for free gift cards with Gift Card Granny’s Secret Deals
On the Gift Card Granny website, there’s a section just for Secret Deals.
In this section, you can find some great deals on gift cards.
Here are some examples of the gift card deals available on Gift Card Granny at the time of writing:
- List of Target purchases that will give you FREE gift cards!
- Only $70 for $100 in Cold Stone Creamery Gift Cards.
- Trade in a tablet, phone or video games for Walmart gift card.
- Only $80 for $100 in Baja Fresh Gift Cards.
- Only $80 for $100 in Build A Bear Gift Cards.
Check out the Gift Card Granny Secret Gift Card Deals here.
29. Join The Granny Rewards Program and get gift cards without paying
Gift Card Granny has a rewards program that you can sign up to.
It’s called The Granny Rewards Program, and with it, you can earn free gift cards for a variety of things like:
- Creating a Gift Card Granny account.
- Signing up for the site’s newsletter.
- Activating the chrome extension or app.
- Making a purchase.
- Submitting a Secret Deal.
- Writing a review.
With the program, you’ll earn cashback that you can redeem for free gift cards to a wide range of retailers, such as Amazon, Kohl’s, and Target.
Sign up to The Granny Rewards Program here.
30. Refer a friend to Cardpool and get $5
When you refer a friend to Cardpool, you’ll get $5!
At the top of the Cardpool website, click where it says, “Refer a Friend, Get $5,” and you’ll be able to refer friends by email, Facebook, Twitter, Messenger and WhatsApp.
This is such an easy way to get a $5 gift card for free!
31. Get free gift cards for downloading apps with AppBounty
There are a lot of apps that give you free gift cards. But one of the best ones is AppBounty.
Just for trying new apps, AppBounty will give you free gift cards!
AppBounty is an app that pays you when you download other apps.
You don’t even need to keep these apps on your phone for long to get these rewards either.
Download new apps, and you’ll get rewards that you can redeem for gift cards for places like, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.
For more details and tips read our AppBounty review.
32. Sign up for Shopkick and earn free gift cards while shopping
Shopkick is a shopping rewards app that you can use to earn free gift cards while shopping at your favorite stores.
You can sign up for Shopkick here.
You can earn reward points in-store and online.
Points can be earned for a variety of things, like:
- Walking into partner stores.
- Scanning the barcodes of select products.
- Making purchases with a linked card.
- Making online purchases.
Then you can redeem your reward points for gift cards for places, like:
- Barnes & Noble
- Papa John’s
- Old Navy
- Best Buy
Overall, this is such an easy way to get free gift cards.
33. Trade-in your old electronics for free Best Buy gift cards
You can get free Best Buy gift cards with the Best Buy Trade-In Program.
With this program, you can bring in your old electronics, and trade them for Best Buy gift cards.
If you enjoy shopping at Best Buy and have some unwanted electronics, then you should definitely check out the program.
You can learn more about the Best Buy Trade-In program here.
The program isn’t available at all locations. Visit the page we linked to above to see whether it’s available where you are.
34. Get a $10 Walmart gift card just for joining Rakuten (Formerly Ebates)
We mentioned Rakuten briefly above, as it’s a good site for rebates and coupons.
But, that’s not all it has to offer.
You can get a $10 Walmart gift card, just for signing up to Rakuten!
Sign up to Rakuten here and get your free gift card.
35. Stack gift cards to save even more money
Some retailers let you combine multiple gift cards and use them on one purchase. This is such a great way to get big ticket items at a discount.
Buy a few discounted gift cards, or get them from survey sites, rewards sites, and the other methods we mentioned above. Then, combine them on one transaction and you’ll save a ton of money. You could end up paying 100% of your purchase total with gift cards.
Now, some retailers have limits on how many gift cards you can use on one purchase. So you’ll need to check with the place you’re shopping with.
36. Amazon gift card hack
Maybe you don’t shop at Amazon or maybe you’d rather have a gift card from another store or just get cash instead of an Amazon gift card.
The good news is that you can trade and even sell your Amazon gift cards.
Read this post to learn how to trade Amazon gift card for cash.
37. Cash in your coin for gift cards
Have a lot of coins but don’t want to pay fees to convert them into bills?
If you don’t mind exchanging them for gift cards, you can use Coinstar to instantly trade your coins for e-gift cards from major online stores.
All you have to do is go Coinstar.com and find a kiosk near you. Then take your coins to the kiosk and cash them in for an e-gift card. The best part is that you get to keep every penny of it. There are no fees at all when you choose to cash in your coins for gift cards.
As you can see, there are so many gift card hacks you can use whether you’re looking for free gift cards, want some great discounts and deals, have a gift card you don’t want, or are just looking for a way to use up a small gift card balance.
Give our gift card tips and tricks a go, and let us know in the comments section below if you have any gift card hacks that we haven’t mentioned.
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