Gift cards are almost as good as cash, but they are more than just a way to buy a present for that awkward friend or loved one.
Gift cards can actually allow you to use less cash and make safe online transactions.
While it is possible to buy gift cards from many retailers, there are a number of ways to get free gift cards.
How to Get Free Gift Cards
This is the most flexible online rewards program, and Swagbucks has a high Trustpilot score and some great user reviews. You earn points (they call them Swagbucks) by completing tasks, including playing games, watching videos, taking surveys, reviewing samples, surfing the internet, and shopping through Swagbucks retail partners.
Swagbucks allows you to get gift cards starting at $3 in your favorite stores, free Google play credits, or you can exchange your points for PayPal cash.
Swagbucks also periodically offers gift cards on sale, so you can enjoy up to 20 percent discount on selected cards.
With just a little bit of effort in your spare time (and it can even be fun), you can consistently earn points that get converted into your choice of gift cards.
To date, Swagbucks has given out almost $350,000,000 and hands out 7,000 gift cards each day. The points you will receive will depend on the task, but you can quickly accumulate a decent balance. There are also introductory offers and bonuses to get you started. Each point is worth approximately a penny, so you’ll need 500 points for a $5 gift card.
If you enjoy playing games, you can have fun and get free gift cards with Mistplay. After downloading the Mistplay app (Android) and choosing a game, you can start to earn credit towards your gift card.
The selection of games on Mistplay have different periods of play ranging from a minute to five minutes. There are achievement requirements that you need to accomplish to get units, and once you complete them, Mistplay will send you a notification and ask you questions about the play experience. You will be rewarded for this feedback, as game developers will use your opinions for their market research, tweaking the app where necessary before it is launched officially.
Games on Mistplay can offer 20 to 200 points, with the value determined by the playtime and any milestones or achievements that you reach. Once you accumulate points, they can be redeemed for gift cards for many popular retailers at a rate of 1500 points equalling $5.
Mistplay also has a referral program where you will earn 50 points for each referral through your unique affiliate code. Once your referral point balance reaches 200, Mistplay will award you an additional 100 point bonus.
Ibotta allows you to earn cashback at most grocery stores (as well as other retailers) that can be redeemed for free gift cards. You will need to scan your receipts after you finish your shopping, but you can also enjoy in-app offers in preferred stores for further offers and deals. Ibotta allows you to get cashback on both generic and name brands, and when you shop online through the app.
Ibotta offers new users a $10 introductory bonus when you redeem your first order (plus another $10 in signup bonuses), and the amount of cashback does vary. Ibotta continually offers new special offers and deals, so you can browse the deals before you go shopping. Just add the coupons to your basket inside the Ibotta app and add these items to your grocery list.
Ibotta also operates a referral program, where you’ll receive $5 when your referred friends redeem a qualifying offer. You can refer an unlimited number of friends, so you can enjoy some serious cashback and lots of free gift cards just by helping your friends save money on their groceries.
4. My Points ($10 signup bonus)
Since the mid-1990s, MyPoints has been rewarding users with free gift cards. It’s very similar to Swagbucks in terms of the different ways that you can earn rewards (and in fact, MyPoints and Swagbucks are owned by the same parent company). You start accumulating points by completing tasks such as reading emails, completing surveys, playing games, and watching videos.
However, MyPoints also awards points for shopping online with over 2,000 partner retailers. The points total depends on the items you purchase, but you can also earn points with Groupon and when you purchase vouchers. The MyPoints app also allows printing coupons to use at local stores, so you can save money and accumulate more points.
Once you reach the minimum redemption balance of 480 points or $3, you can redeem the balance for a variety of gift cards.
There is also an attractive referral program awarding 10 percent of your friend’s qualifying points with unlimited referral invitations, so you may find that your balance quickly increases, and you can start getting lots of free gift cards.
As the name suggests, Survey Junkie allows you to earn gift cards by taking online surveys. Survey Junkie is a well-regarded market research company that has been around for almost a decade with 4 million members to date.
Unlike Swagbucks and MyPoints, Survey Junkie focuses exclusively on surveys. If you want to make money from online surveys (or gift cards), Survey Junkie is one of the best options.
After the simple sign up process, you can start taking surveys and accumulating points. There are lots of surveys that can are tailored to your demographics. Most of the surveys will provide 20 to 200 points each depending on the detail of the survey and how long it takes, but there are some surveys that are worth more. Once you complete a survey, the points instantly appear in your balance, and unlike many other platforms, the points won’t expire. This means that even if you only take surveys periodically, you can still earn free gift cards.
Survey Junkie has an extremely low payout threshold, as you can cash out with just 1,000 points or $10.
6. Rakuten ($10 signup bonus)
This is a great platform to get free gift cards and cash just by shopping. You can get cashback on practically every online purchase. New users can even choose a $10 cashback Rakuten bonus or a $10 Walmart gift card when you first sign up after you make your first $25 purchase.
Rakuten allows you to earn free gift cards with over 2,000 online retailers and some physical stores. All you need to do is shop through the app as normal, and Rakuten will automatically add points to your balance, with up to 40 percent cashback on your purchases.
The platform is easy to operate. Once you’ve signed up and logged in, you just need to find the stores where you want to shop using the search bar or the alphabetical list. When you find the store, you just click on the link, and you’ll be taken to the store website, where you can start to shop.
You won’t notice any difference to your shopping experience, but since you’re using the Rakuten portal, you’ll get cashback on your qualifying purchases. Rakuten keeps track of all your cash back, and you can redeem your points each quarter, providing your balance is over $5.