7 Simple Ways to Get Free Gift Cards

Trading in your unwanted electronics, cashing in rewards and waiting for promotions are some of the options.
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Written by Lauren Schwahn
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Edited by Courtney Neidel
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Gift cards can be a special treat. They allow us to make purchases without feeling like we’re parting with “real” money.

What’s even more enticing: Free gift cards are relatively easy to come by — if you know where to look. Check out these seven ways to get free gift cards.

1. Trade in your stuff

Do you have a voice speaker, video game console or cell phone you don’t want anymore? Many retailers — including Target, Walmart and Amazon — allow you to trade in electronics for gift cards.

Here’s how Target’s trade-in program works: Get an appraisal of your item's worth on the company's website, ship it and receive a Target gift card in return. You can also exchange qualifying gift cards from other merchants, such as Macy’s, for Target gift cards at participating stores. Take a look around the house and see what you can scrounge up.

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2. Take online surveys

You can receive gift cards from survey sites such as Swagbucks and Toluna. Usually, you’ll answer questions, watch videos or complete other online tasks in exchange for points, which you can redeem for partner gift cards or other rewards. It may take a while to accumulate enough points, so decide whether or not the prize is worth the effort.

3. Redeem credit card points

Your everyday spending habits can generate free gift cards, too. Alongside cash back and travel expenses, many credit card issuers offer gift cards as a redemption option for rewards points. Brush up on your card details to see what’s available.

4. Use a cash-back site or app

If your credit card doesn’t provide gift card rewards, cash-back sites and apps can help fill the gap.

Through the app Ibotta, you can earn cash back on purchases made at select grocery stores and retailers and receive gift cards as payment. Honey — a browser extension that automatically applies discount codes when you shop online — works in a similar way. It offers shopping rewards to those who join its Honey Gold rewards program. Members can redeem rewards for gift cards to retailers like Walmart and Amazon.

Sometimes, you’ll score freebies as a sign-up bonus. As of this writing, shoppers who join Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, and meet certain purchase requirements can get a $10 Walmart gift card as a bonus.

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5. Claim freebie deals

Retailers will occasionally throw in a free gift card when you buy a certain item, especially around major sale holidays. On Black Friday 2018, shoppers could get a $300 Walmart gift card with a qualifying purchase of the iPhone XS, XS Max or XR.

Retailers will occasionally throw in a free gift card when you buy a certain item, especially around major sale holidays.

Before you shop, check retailer websites and weekly ads for promotions on the items you already plan to buy. For example, Target’s current promotions page often includes gift card deals.

6. Refer a friend

Recommending products and services you enjoy is another tactic worth exploring. If you refer a friend to a Sam’s Club membership, you’ll get a $10 e-gift card when he or she joins. Keep an eye out for similar deals elsewhere. Get a list going and you can really rack up gift cards.

7. Enter giveaways and sweepstakes

Raffles and contests often pop up on social media or at stores and workplaces. For example, customers who wrote a product review during the 2019 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale were eligible to win a $1,000 Nordstrom gift card.

Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll win, but it’s usually easy to enter. You may be asked to leave feedback or simply provide your email address. Be careful to give your information only to trusted vendors.