Where to Find Gift Card Freebies This Holiday Season

Photo (cc) by Fifth World Art

Although 25 percent of us still have unused gift cards from last year, 62 percent of us plan to give a gift card as a holiday gift this year, according to a recent Consumer Reports poll.

Maybe that’s why so many restaurants are willing to make their gift cards more appetizing by offering to give you a free gift card in exchange for buying one.

Whatever their reason, you may as well take advantage of the freebie offers if you’re among the 62 percent who plan to give a gift card – or even if you’re not. Paying $100 for a $125 gift card is like getting a 20 percent discount, whether you pass the cards on to loved ones or keep them for yourself.

Below is a list of more than 20 regional and national chains that are giving away free gift cards or meals if you buy a certain amount of gift cards. If you plan to purchase them in person, just call your local restaurant first to make sure their location is participating. If you purchase them online, make sure you see the freebie before you enter your credit card info.

Restaurants

Benihana

  • If you buy: $50 in gift cards
  • You also get: $10 bonus card that’s valid Jan. 2 through March 31
  • Offer available: In restaurants and online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Boston Market

  • If you buy: $25 gift card
  • You also get: $5 bonus card that’s valid through Jan. 31
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: While bonus card supplies last

California Pizza Kitchen

  • If you buy: $100 in gift cards
  • You also get: $20 bonus card that’s valid Jan. 3 through March 6
  • Offer available: In restaurants and online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 24

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

  • If you buy: $100 in gift cards
  • You also get: $20 bonus card that’s valid Jan. 1 through Feb. 10
  • Offer available: In restaurants and online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Champps Americana

  • If you buy: $50 gift card
  • You also get: $15 extra points card
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: Not specified

Cheesecake Factory

  • If you buy: $25 if gift cards or e-gift cards
  • You also get: Slice of Joy Card, redeemable for a free piece of cheesecake at a future visit between Dec. 26 and March 31
  • Offer available: In-restaurant availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 25

Cici’s Pizza

  • If you buy: $20 in gift cards
  • You also get: A card for a free meal that’s valid in January
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: Not specified

Fuddruckers

  • If you buy: $25 gift card
  • You also get: $5 bonus card that’s is valid Jan. 1 through Feb. 29
  • Offer available: In-restaurant availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Hardee’s

  • If you buy: $20 gift card
  • You also get: Quarter-pound Little Thickburger
  • Offer available: In-restaurant availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Hooters

  • If you buy: $25 gift card (or $50 gift card)
  • You also get: $5 bonus card (or $10 bonus card) that’s valid Jan. 2 through Feb. 29
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: Not specified

Houlihan’s

  • If you buy: $50 in gift cards
  • You also get: $10 dining certificate that’s valid Jan. 1 through Feb. 29
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: Not specified

IHOP Restaurant

  • If you buy: $25 gift card
  • You also get: $5 off your next visit
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: Jan. 31

Joe’s Crab Shack

  • If you buy: $25 in gift cards
  • You also get: $5 bonus card that’s valid Jan. 1 through Feb. 12
  • Offer available: In restaurants and online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Long John Silver’s

  • If you buy: $20-plus in gift cards
  • You also get: Free piece of whitefish fillet
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: Not specified

Macaroni Grill

  • If you buy: $25 in gift cards
  • You also get: $5 bonus card that’s valid Jan. 2 through Feb. 29
  • Offer available: In-restaurant availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Jan. 1

Maggiano’s Little Italy

  • If you buy: $100 in e-gift cards
  • You also get: $20 e-bonus card that’s valid Jan. 1 through Feb. 29 and a free subscription to Wine & Food magazine
  • Offer available: Online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Outback Steakhouse

  • If you buy: $100 in gift cards
  • You also get: $20 bonus card that’s valid Jan. 1 through Feb. 10
  • Offer available: In restaurants and online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

RA Sushi Bar Restaurant

  • If you buy: $50 in gift cards
  • You also get: $10 promotional card that’s valid Jan. 2 through March 31
  • Offer available: In-restaurant availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Ruby Tuesday

  • If you buy: $50 in gift cards
  • You also get: $15 bonus coupon
  • Offer available: In-restaurant availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill

  • If you buy: $50 in gift cards
  • You also get: $10 bonus card
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: Dec. 24

Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q

  • If you buy: $50 gift card
  • You also get: $10 in bonus cards
  • Offer available: In-restaurant availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Not specified

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes

  • If you buy: $50 in gift cards
  • You also get: Meal pass for the gift recipient
  • Offer available: In-restaurant availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Dec. 31

Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill

  • If you buy: $100 in gift cards
  • You also get: $25 bonus card that’s valid Jan. 15 through March 15
  • Offer available: Not specified
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3

Taco Bell

  • If you buy: $20 gift card
  • You also get: Chicken flatbread sandwich combo
  • Offer available: In restaurants
  • Offer ends: Dec. 25

Dessert and smoothie places

Rita’s Ice Custard

  • If you buy: $10 in gift cards
  • You also get: Regular-size Italian ice, frozen custard, Gelati, Blendini, or Misto
  • Offer available: In-store availability not specified; online
  • Offer ends: Not specified

Jamba Juice

  • If you buy: $25-plus gift card
  • You also get: 16-ounce smoothie, or a coupon for a free 16-ounce smoothie that’s valid through Jan. 10
  • Offer available: Not specified
  • Offer ends: Jan. 3

Smoothie King

  • If you buy: $25 gift card
  • You also get: Smoothie
  • Offer available: In stores
  • Offer ends: Unknown

Karla Bowsher runs our Deals page, writes “Today’s Deals” posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and covers consumer and retail issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at [email protected].

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Watch This: Organize Your Home With Dollar Tree Products
Watch This: Organize Your Home With Dollar Tree Products

Here’s how to organize every corner of your home using only items from a dollar store.

My Favorite Amazon Purchases From 22 Years of Shopping There
My Favorite Amazon Purchases From 22 Years of Shopping There

Yes, I’ve been shopping on Amazon since the 1990s. These are among my most beloved buys.

8 Products That Make It Easier to Get Fit
8 Products That Make It Easier to Get Fit

Amazon reviewers give high marks to these tools that can help you get in shape without a gym.

12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks
12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks

You may be eligible for more retirement income than you realize.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC has unveiled a schedule that likely will determine who gets the next doses.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

The 4 Best Things to Buy in January — and 4 to Avoid
The 4 Best Things to Buy in January — and 4 to Avoid

As a new year dawns, deals abound for some types of products. In other cases, it pays to wait.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.