Earning free gift cards can be as simple as using a particular search engine, credit card or online shopping source. If you’re going to be using these things anyway, why not get yourself some freebies?
Not that you need a credit card or an online shopping habit to get free gift cards. We’ve come up with a dozen tactics to bring free gift cards to your mailbox or your inbox.
If you’re on a tight budget or working toward a financial goal, these free gift cards can give your budget a boost. Use them to pay for things you need — or want.
The money you don’t have to spend on those things can go into your retirement account, beef up your emergency fund or maybe let you do more charitable giving. Here’s how to find free gift cards.
1. Use a cash-back portal
TopCashback, Swagbucks Shop and Honey Gold are great examples of portals that give you the chance earn “cash” back on purchases, which you can receive in the form of gift cards (or in some cases, actual money back). For the super-simple details, see “3 Websites That Pay You for Shopping.”
Other cash-back portals, such as Rakuten, give you actual cash back on purchases. And if you spend that cash back on gift cards, you’re effectively getting them for free.
2. Use a rewards credit card
Many rewards credit cards give you points or cash back for using them. Some rewards cards let you trade in points for free gift cards. And, of course, you can use that “cash back” to buy gift cards, making the gift cards free to you.
Not all rewards cards are created equal, so don’t just apply for the first one you see. Instead, visit the Money Talks News Solutions Center and search for a great card.
3. Trade in your clutter
Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart are among the retailers that will give you gift cards for stuff you no longer want or need.
Learn how to get rid of unused items in “10 Stores That Will Pay You for Your Clutter.”
4. Transfer a prescription
Drugstores want your business. Some of them award gift cards for transferring an existing prescription to their pharmacies. This may include those inside supermarkets; I’ve earned free gift cards with Safeway and Fred Meyer prescription transfers.
These deals aren’t constant, but they do show up from time to time. If you take maintenance meds, do an internet search for “transfer prescription get free gift card” from time to time.
5. Recycle your old car batteries
Here’s the fun part: You don’t even need to have purchased the battery there in the first place. So don’t throw that old car battery into the trash. Trade it in.
6. Shop wisely at Target
Target regularly offers some variation on this promotion: “Spend $20 on [specific brand or retail category] and get a $5 Target gift card!”
You can look for these deals in the weekly ad. Or you can find them on the retailer’s website under the “Special Offers and Promotions” section.
7. Buy P&G brands at Costco in the fall
Every fall, Costco offers a great promotion: Buy $100 worth of certain Procter & Gamble products, and you’ll get a $25 Costco gift card for free.
Even better: You generally can do this twice for a grand total of $50 worth of Costco shopping power.
8. Buy the right gift cards during the holidays
Some people love getting gift cards for special occasions because it lets them purchase exactly what they want. That’s why I love giving them.
During the holidays, my gifts can get a little better: Some restaurants and retailers offer a bonus card for free when you buy a gift card during May and June (the graduation and Mother’s/Father’s Day season) or from late November to the end of December.
9. Take pictures of your receipts
Some apps give you cash or points, which can be redeemed for gift cards, for uploading photos of receipts with your phone. Here’s the skinny on a few examples:
- Ibotta awards cash rebates for purchases from numerous retailers, movie theaters and restaurants.
- Coupons.com’s app offers cash back on specific items.
- Fetch Rewards gives points for snapping a picture of your receipt. You get extra points for purchasing products from brands that partner with Fetch Rewards.
10. Answer surveys
Then, there are sites that specialize in surveys. Read the FAQs sections first to find out if the rewards are worth your time.
11. Earn rewards when buying gift cards
When you buy new gift cards from Raise, you earn rewards that the site calls “Raise Cash,” which you can redeem on future gift card purchases. If you save up enough Raise Cash before redeeming it, you’re effectively getting those future gift cards for free.
Meanwhile, Ibotta offers actual cash back on gift cards you buy through Ibotta, with the cash-back rate as high as 10% and the cash made available to you as soon as instantaneously.
Various other cash-back portals offer similar opportunities too.
12. Refer your friends
Many cash-back sites and rewards apps give you points for sending new customers their way. Sometimes they’ll offer a higher-than-usual reward, such as 3,000 points per referral instead of 1,000 points. Watch for these offers!
And then refer your friends, your relatives and your co-workers. If getting free gift cards works for you, why wouldn’t it work for everyone else?