With major holidays on the horizon and birthdays and other gift-giving celebrations happening year-round, it’s always a good idea to be working toward free gift cards. There are all kinds of ways to earn free gift cards, especially online and through apps, Here are a few of my favorites:
I’ve written about Swagbucks before, and that’s because I love them. Swagbucks is a multi-faceted program that awards you with “SB” (like points) that you can collect and trade in for gift cards and even cash payouts. The primary way to earn SB is by using their search engine. It’s a lot like Google, but when you’re searching, you’ll randomly be awarded SB. They make it even easier for you with their toolbar, which you can set up to be accessible in any internet window on your computer — you just type your search term in the little box at the top and up pop your results!
Earning these SB can be pretty effortless, but with just a tiny bit of focus and planning, you can really rack them up. Another great way to earn SB is by referring your friends. Every friend who signs up gets you a bonus, and then you’re rewarded with a small percentage of the total number of points your friends earn. if you get the right people going, you’ll be racking up points constantly!
That’s not all, though. Swagbucks offers a daily poll and tasks you can do for SB, and they’ll randomly post free codes on their blog and social media (and you can get alerts when a free code is posted!). There are also ways to earn SB through your online shopping, the same way cash-back shopping sites like Ebates work except with this one, you’re accumulating points that you can trade for gift cards instead of getting a check in the mail.
When it’s time to redeem your SB, you can opt for gift cards to specific stores, to online retailers like Amazon, or even cash payouts via check or PayPal. Get a $5 bonus when you sign up.
2. Amazon Trade-Ins
If you’ve got extra stuff lying around, pop over to Amazon and see if any of it qualifies for the Amazon Trade-In program. You send Amazon your stuff, and they give you free gift cards! The program works best for books, electronics, DVDs, and video games. Gather up what you’d like to trade in, and start searching for those items. Look for the box on the far left that says “sell yours for a Gift Card” and see the max amount Amazon will give you for the item. Once you’ve got all your goods to mail in, print the label that Amazon provides and mail it in.
There are some things to consider with Amazon’s Trade-In program. You may be able to get more money for your items elsewhere, so know what your lower limits are. Amazon does cover shipping, which should factor into your calculations. And the convenience of packing everything up and sending it in one fell swoop is significant, too. Just be aware of what you’re getting yourself into and decide if it’s right for you.
What started as a fun grocery coupon app has turned into much more! Ibotta now offers ways for you to shop at popular online retailers in addition to grocery stores, and you can earn cold, hard cash rebates for doing so. Once you’ve met the minimum thresholds (usually $25), you can “cash out” your rebates to your PayPal or Venmo accounts, or buy gift cards to popular stores like Amazon, iTunes, Best Buy, Starbucks, Sephora, Cabelas, and more.
One of the great things about Ibotta is their referral program. If you can get a few friends of yours to sign up using your link, you’ll not only get a bonus when they register and start using the app, but you’ll all be on a “team.” The more your team shops, the more team bonuses you’ll get. It’s quite literally free money! Get a $10 bonus when you sign up.
4. Credit Card Rebates
Take a look at your credit card’s website. Most credit cards now offer gift cards and rebates from popular retailers like Walmart, Kohls, Target, Best Buy, Sephora, Home Depot, and more. You can shop using the links on your credit card site to get more bang for your buck, or buy gift cards to the merchants at a reduced cost. Use these gift cards to do your holiday shopping, or give them as gifts. The best part is, some credit card programs let you use them with your “points,” so they don’t end up costing you a cent!
Discover is a great example. I earn cash back on my purchases. I can then request a check or purchase gift cards. I can even use my cash back to pay for my Amazon purchases as soon as it becomes available. There's a little button in my checkout that asks me if I want to use my Discover cash back. That comes in handy! If you sign up for a new Discover card and make a purchase within three months, you will get a $50 cashback bonus if you use my referral link.
5. Test Drives
This isn’t a way to rack up a huge amount of free gift cards, but it’s a nice way to spend an hour or two. As a marketing promotion, many car dealerships will offer free gift cards in exchange for a test drive. Keep an eye out for promotions going on in your area, and next time you have a free hour, check out some of the latest cars! You’ll come away with a gift card, and maybe even have some fun in the process.
These are my favorite ways to earn free gift cards, but what are some of yours?