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, 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.
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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, 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 MyPoint 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 cashback, and you can redeem your points each quarter, providing your balance is over $5.
This is another cash back app that allows you to earn up to 100 percent cash back at selected stores. Unlike many cashback programs, your reward rates with Honey are not transparent, unfortunately. You will only find out if any of your purchases are eligible for cashback after you complete your purchase. This means that you can’t strategically shop to get free gift cards with Honey, but you can enjoy a nice surprise after you’ve made a purchase.
8. Inbox Dollars ($5 sign up bonus)
If you want to earn free gift cards for online tasks that you already do, then InboxDollars should appeal to you. The platform pays you for small tasks that you can complete in just a minute or two. To date, InboxDollars has paid out more than $50 million in cash or gift cards.
You can get paid for taking surveys, searching the internet, playing online video games, shopping online, or downloading coupons. InboxDollars will also give you a $5 introductory bonus for all new users. Unfortunately, you do need to accumulate $30 before you can cash out for a free gift card, but if you actively use the site, that’s not a problem.
Many users consider InboxDollars to be the most versatile and convenient way to quickly make money online. The company is legitimate, reliably paying out for every day online and mobile activities. Unlike many platforms, InboxDollars does not pay in points, so you can quickly see a dollar value of how much you’ve earned. Although it can be a little disconcerting when you see that you’re only earning $0.25, but these small amounts can quickly add up.
Drop is an easy to use, intuitive app that allows you to earn free gift cards for your regular spending. The app pits merchants against each other to provide you the best offers.
After downloading the app and connecting a card, you will need to choose five brands. There are lots to choose from, but you should think strategically as you cannot change them later. You should choose brands that you frequently used without a need to change your spending habits.
You can also choose some bonus offers for additional savings. Then you just need to shop using your linked card, and the points will automatically be added to your Drop account.
Once you’ve reached 5,000 points, you can exchange them for free gift cards at a rate of one point is a cent. You can exchange your points in 5,000 point multiples, so you can receive $5 gift cards each time.
10. Fetch Rewards
Fetch Rewards is partnered with over 250 popular brands, allowing you to earn points when you shop. So, you can start earning toward free gift cards with your regular shopping.
After downloading the app, you can scroll through for new offers, but you’ll earn points by scanning your receipts. You’ll earn base points when you purchase items from listed brands according to how much the item costs. However, there are also bonus points if the item price is higher than the target price.
This means that you can quickly accumulate additional points towards your gift cards. You can also earn 2,000 points for every friend or family member you refer that successfully starts using the app.
MobileXpression is a free app that offers rewards according to your mobile internet use. Once you sign up and install the app, there is nothing else you need to do except occasionally open the app to claim your points and rewards. This is an ideal way to earn points without needing to log into apps or complete surveys. Mobile Xpression works on both Android and iOS, and you will receive weekly rewards with a choice of gift card options (you can earn about $50 per year per device).
Although the main way to earn is through the data collection completed by MobileXpression, there are surveys occasionally that offer cash, and each week there is a prize draw with iPads, digital cameras, cash, and other prizes on offer.
PrizeRebel awards points for completing surveys and watching videos. There are also paid and free offers that also award points. So, even if you spend money on a paid offer, the points you receive will offset the purchase price.
PrizeRebel also has an attractive referral program. Unlike many referral programs that just offer a one-off point total for referring friends or family members, you will earn 20 percent of all the points your friends earn. So, when your friends reach 100 points, you get 20.
The amount of credit you earn will depend on the completed tasks. Some activities pay more, but Prize Rebel displays how many points you can earn and how long the task should take before you begin. This allows you to focus on higher paying tasks to maximize your earnings.
One point is worth one cent, and you can even receive 10 points just for completing your profile, so you can quickly accumulate free gift cards.
13. UpVoice ($5 signup bonus)
UpVoice is a relatively new site that rewards you for visiting specific websites that you probably already visit anyway. The company is owned by a market research company, so they are looking for user input to help gather information.
You can earn points by web browsing through the Google Chrome extension on participating sites. You will also receive points for completing surveys. UpVoice claims that you can earn $75 in your first year, but the amount you make will depend on your activity. If you’re on the internet every day, you could potentially redeem a free gift card twice a month. There is also a $5 joining bonus and occasional bonuses when you reach particular levels.
Shopkick allows you to earn points when you “check in” at particular locations. However, you can also earn “kicks” by walking into participating stores, scanning items, scanning receipts after purchases, linking your card to the app, watching in app videos, visiting online stores, and referring friends.
It takes 250 kicks to accumulate enough for $1 in gift cards, and while some cards can be redeemed for only 500 kicks, most will require 1,250 for a $5 gift card. The easiest way to quickly accumulate points is to open the app before you enter a participating store to check if there are items to scan to earn kicks.
While earning more than one $5 gift card may be challenging; if you like shopping, you can quickly accumulate kicks and start earning free gift cards.
15. Amazon Trade-In
The Amazon Trade-In program allows you to earn free gift cards in exchange for eligible items, including electronics, books, video games, and Amazon devices. Amazon has designed the process to be convenient and easy with immediate offers and free shipping.
It can take ten days for your trade-in items to arrive, and they will then be processed and appraised. You will then be able to see the status of your trade-in on your account. When your trade-in has been paid, it will be visible in your gift card balance.
Your items need to match the version in the search results and be honest about the condition, but this can be a great way to transform your unwanted eligible items into Amazon gift cards.
Amazon will even browse your purchase history to highlight any potential qualified items, and if Amazon does reject your item, it will be shipped back to you free of charge.
Like the Amazon program, you can exchange your unwanted items for Walmart gift cards. All you need to do is find your device on the platform among lots of devices and gadgets. Walmart requires answers to a few questions to determine the item’s condition. You can then print a prepaid shipping label and send it to Walmart. Once the item is received and checked, you will receive a Walmart eGift card.
17. Target Trade-In
If your granny always sends you a gift card for a store that you would never use or you use an app that rewards you with gift cards you can’t use, you may be interested in the Target Trade-In program; trading in the gift cards for Target gift cards.
Target also operates a trade in program that is similar to Walmart’s. You just look up your product according to the category, make, and model. After answering some simple questions, you will need to pack the item and ship it using a prepaid label. Providing the device is, as you stated, Target will initiate payment with a free gift card.
18. Redeem Credit Card Points
While it is not a good idea to run up a huge credit card bill just to get some free gift cards, you can make choices about your credit cards to your advantage. There are many credit card companies that have rewards programs that allow you to earn free gift cards. You just need to use your card and receive automatic cashback. To find the best cards, please see our list of the best cashback credit cards and the best travel rewards credit cards.
You should choose the card that offers the most points for where you typically spend money to maximize your points. However, you will need to be disciplined. So, if you use your credit card for grocery shopping, be sure to have the money to pay the bill in full in your bank account to avoid interest charges. If you start to accumulate a balance on the card, it is a sign that you’re not using the card to your advantage, and the free gift cards are not worth the interest charges.
→ Related reading: 11 Ways to Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards and Cashback
19. Ask For Gift Cards
Whether it is your birthday, Christmas or some other special occasion, if you find that you end up with gifts you don’t want or need, then why not ask for gift cards from your family members or friends? Before you start thinking that this seems impersonal, it can actually provide an easy solution for those who struggle to find the perfect gift for you. Just be sure to tell your loved ones where you like to spend money so you don’t end up with gift cards that you won’t use.
If you do have family members or friends that think a gift card is not a “real” gift, you could tell them that you would love anything from a certain store or that you’ve been saving up for something specific. This way they will feel better about giving you a gift card from your favorite store.
20. Brand Loyalty Programs
Many companies appreciate that gift cards make an excellent marketing tool that encourages new and existing customers. These businesses understand that gift cards provide an increase in sales, and most people typically spend more than the gift card. So, it is worth looking around at the loyalty programs of your favorite brands to see if you can score some free gift cards.
→ Related reading: 10 Easy Ways to Get Free Starbucks Gift Cards
Free gift cards can be as valuable as cash, allowing you to spend money in your favorite stores. As we’ve discovered, there are lots of ways to earn free gift cards from answering surveys, playing games, watching videos, and shopping online.
Many of these programs are designed to fit around your other commitments while others provide a decent side gig. With a little investigation, you can find something that you would enjoy doing and be rewarded with free gift cards without changing your typical routine. So, why not explore some of these platforms, so you can discover ways to earn free gift cards today.
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