Who doesn’t love free money? When you get a gift card, it feels like free money you can spend on whatever you want. You can treat yourself to a massage, grab lunch, or even shop at your favorite store when you have the right gift card in hand.
You may get some gift cards for your birthday or another holiday, but that leaves you out of luck for the rest of the year. But what if there was a way to get free or discounted gift cards to your favorite retailers?You can get gift cards for free or at a discount if you are willing to take surveys, refer friends, and/or use an app to earn points towards gift cards.
Table Of Contents
- How To Get Free Gift Cards Online
- How To Use Free Gift Card Apps
- How To Find Discounted Gift Cards
- The Bottom Line
How To Get Free Gift Cards Online
There are many ways to get free gift cards, but some of them require going through a shopping portal or earning cash back. If you don’t want to spend money, it’s more difficult to get free gift cards, but it’s not impossible.
These ideas won't work for everyone as where you live will impact your ability to get free gift cards. For example, surveys may only be available to U.S. residents.
Here are the best ways to get free gift cards without completing offers.
Take Surveys To Earn Free Gift Cards
If you’re willing to spend some of your free time letting companies learn more about you, consider taking paid online surveys. Fill out your full profile when you sign up so you get surveys that fit you best.
Make sure you do a bit of research before you sign up. You’ll want to ensure that the company is vetted to handle your information securely and payout your earnings on time.
Here are a few options to get you started.
Survey Junkie generates some earnings for taking actions online–in this case, surveys. Since the platform is focused solely on surveys, it can be easier to navigate than others who offer multiple ways to earn.
As you browse the surveys available to you based on your profile, you’ll be able to see the estimated time to take each one and how much you will earn. You need at least 1,000 points to redeem your rewards.
On average, users say they earn about $10-$15 per hour taking surveys and can cash out in the form of Amazon gift cards.
One of the great things about Swagbucks is all the different ways you can earn points (or Swagbucks). One way to earn is by doing the Swagbucks daily poll, taking the daily survey and filling out the other surveys available under your profile.
Daily polls are worth 1 Swagbuck and change every day. The survey of the day varies and can be worth from a few Swagbucks to a few hundred Swagbucks. The higher the payout, the longer it takes to complete.
You can convert your Swagbucks to gift cards once you reach 450 in your account. That’s the minimum payout threshold and will net you a $5 gift card.
MyPoints is another platform that offers a variety of ways to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. Besides taking surveys, you can watch videos, play games, read emails and shop through their online portal.
You can earn up to 300 points per completed survey, depending on the length. When you first create an account with MyPoints, you can claim a $10 gift card as a sign-up bonus.
To get the gift card, you will need to make a purchase of $20 or more using the MyPoints online shopping portal and you will get 1,750 points, which is worth $10.
You will need at least 480 points to cash out your earnings, which will snag you a $3 gift card. Redemption values vary across retailers so look around to get an idea of how much you need to earn to get gift cards to your favorite places.
Refer Friends To Services You Love
Is there a service that you love such as Airbnb or Lyft? Check to see if they have a referral program, which will allow you to earn credits, which you can apply toward your next purchase. You will get a unique tracking code that you can send to friends and family.
When someone signs up for the service using the code you provided, you will get a referral bonus. Most times your friends will also get a discount or bonus for signing up using your link, which is a win-win for both parties.
This also works with credit card bonuses. If there is a travel reward card you enjoy and recommend to friends, send them a referral link. You will often get extra points or miles for making the referral, which you can use for free travel.
How To Use Free Gift Cards Apps
Want more ways to get free gift cards? We’ve got you covered. There are many apps that promise to help you earn free gift cards. Here is a list of our favorite options and how to use them to maximize your earnings.
You can score a $5 bonus with InboxDollars just for signing up. From there, you can earn more by taking surveys that earn you about $1-$5 (sometimes up to $15-$20). Each one takes between 5 – 25 minutes.
Which surveys are available to you depend on your demographic profile. You can cash out your earnings for free gift cards once you hit the minimum payout of $30. If you’d rather have cash than a free gift card, you can opt to get paid via PayPal or a check in the mail.
Swagbucks offers another easy way to earn free gift cards by watching videos, taking surveys, and doing other random activities in your spare time. You will earn points that you can cash in for gift cards after you reach a certain threshold.
Racking up points with Swagbucks can help you snag free gift cards to Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and other major retailers. With some basic interactions using the platform, you can expect to rack up about seven to ten Swagbucks a day.
The app makes it easier to earn extra Swagbucks while standing in line or waiting at the doctor’s office. After you accumulate around 450 points, you can cash them in for a $5 gift card.
In searching reviews of Swagbucks, many have reported being able to rack up $300-$600 in gift cards a year by watching videos and taking surveys when they have downtime.
Ibotta is the modern-day answer to coupon clipping. It’s a much easier way to get discounts on what you already buy without having to remember to bring your coupon binder.
The Ibotta app offers cash back when you scan your receipt for certain retailers such as grocery stores, Walmart, Target, and more.
Before each shopping trip, browse the app for cash back offers and select the ones you want. Complete the associated task such as reading a fact, watching a quick video, answering a poll, etc.
Once you purchase the items, take a photo of your receipt and upload it to the app to redeem your cash-back offer. You should see the money in your account within 48 hours of scanning your receipt.
Ibotta has a $20 cash out threshold. You can redeem your earnings for free gift cards to major retailers such as Starbucks, Target, iTunes and more. If you prefer cash, you will need a PayPal account.
Fetch is another app that will pay you for scanning your receipts. The great thing about Fetch is that you don’t have to worry about adding offers before you go shopping.
All you have to do is download the app for iOS or Android, shop as usual and scan your receipts afterward. Fetch partners with brands instead of stores so you will earn money for purchasing certain household brand names (for example, Capri Sun or Lays).
When you sign up, enter promo code FETCH3K and they will start you out with 3,000 free points. Another way to earn points is by referring family and friends. You will get a certain number of points every time someone uses your link to sign up and submits their first receipt.
When you reach at least 3,000 points (equal to $3), you can cash out for free gift cards to major retailers such as Best Buy, Banana Republic or Ulta. Some gift cards may have a higher threshold.
First, download the Shopkick app on your smartphone (they have both an iOS and an Android version.) Once you have the app, there are several ways to earn Kicks (Shopkick’s version of points.)
You get Kicks for walking into certain stores such as Walmart or Walgreens. In addition, you can earn Kicks by scanning products from a list in the app. This can be the most tedious part, especially at stores where you’re not familiar with the layout.
You can earn more Kicks for watching in-app videos so try it when you’re in line next time. You can redeem your Kicks for free gift cards to major retailers like Target at a rate of about 250 Kicks per $1.
There is also a cash-out threshold of $20 so keep that in mind since you must wait until you have enough Kicks.
How To Find Discounted Gift Cards
While free gift cards are great, it may take some time to accumulate enough rewards. You can still save money by purchasing discounted gift cards for places where you shop regularly.
Stack the discounted gift cards with other offers such as coupons to save even more money. Here are the best places to find discounted gift cards.
Discounted Gift Cards From Club Stores
Big box stores often offer discounted gift cards for purchase. Club stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s offer all kinds of gift cards at a discount. You can usually pick up discounted gift cards for travel, restaurants, theme parks, and popular merchants.
If you already have a membership, then this can be a great deal. Getting a membership for this purpose alone will cut into your savings.
As of this writing, for Costco, the annual fee is $60 for the “Gold Star” membership level and $120 annually for either of the two executive plans. For a basic membership to Sam’s Club, you’ll be shelling out $45 per year for the basic level, and up to $100+ for the higher tier.
Discounted Gift Cards On eBay
There's no shortage of discounted gift cards on eBay. Play it safe by purchasing from professional sellers with a proven reputation that will guarantee your purchase.
PayPal Digital Gifts and SVM Gift Cards are trustworthy sellers and often list gift cards up to 20% below face value.
Keep An Eye Out For Local Deals
If you want to dine out occasionally, keep an eye out for specials that allow you to purchase a gift card and get an additional bonus card. Kind of like a BOGO deal.
For some of your favorite restaurants, it's likely you would spend the money anyway. Now you are increasing the value of the money spent.
These restaurant deals are most popular around holidays, such as Christmas and Mother's day.
Target will often advertise bonus cards as an incentive to purchase a certain amount of product. For example, buy four products from a particular manufacturer and receive a $5 Target Card.
Our local grocery store chain will often offer gift card deals when you purchase a gift card to a particular restaurant chain at their kiosk. In turn, you’ll get a $5 or $10 gift card to the grocery store.
It might be worth keeping an eye out for gift card bonuses and get more value out of your everyday purchases!
Buy And Sell Discounted Gift Cards, Or Swap
If you find a few unloved gift cards that made it into the junk drawer, it's time for a swap. Whether from an office gift exchange or a well-meant relative, we all have cards we will never use.
Just because the gift card is to a restaurant not quite worth the drive, don't let that money go to waste. If you come across gift cards you no longer want, some websites will buy your unwanted gift cards.
And if you are in the market for discounted gift cards, you can buy and sell your cards on sites like Cardpool, Raise, CardCash, and Gift Card Granny. It might be a good time to swap out some cards you don’t want and snatch up ones you’d like, at a discount.
Just know that some of these gift cards might have had one or two purchases made on them. Additionally, for gift card discount sites, you may only be able to use these cards for online purchases, and not in-store.
Keep this in mind before you pull the trigger on any discounted gift card purchases! As they say, read the fine print.
Related: How To Sell Unwanted Gift Cards
The Bottom Line
Free and discounted gift cards are a great way to reduce your expenses on things you already buy. Just keep in mind that there may be a tradeoff between your time and the benefits you earn.
Some options such as Ibotta and Fetch require a minimum commitment and no extra spending. Others such as buying discounted gift cards can require a bigger upfront commitment for more savings down the road.
There are so many ways to get discounted and free gift cards that one of them will probably work for you. Give a few of the options above a try to see what works best for you and your lifestyle.
Have you gotten discounted or free gift cards before? What was your experience? Share in the comments or on the ChooseFI Facebook page.
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