I may not have a crystal ball, but I still feel pretty confident making the following prediction:
You are going to give or receive at least one gift card this holiday season.
And I want you to be prepared.
Which gift cards are the most sought after? Which are the best discounted gift cards?
Thanks to a recent CardHub study, we’ve got answers to all your gift card questions. Keep reading for the 411.
The Most Popular Gift Cards
Shopping for a coworker or great aunt you don’t know too well?
A gift card is usually a safe bet — and if they’re like the people surveyed by CardHub, they’ll be extra stoked to receive credit at these stores…
Gifts Cards That are Frequently Discounted
Want to save money on gift card purchases — either to give as gifts, or to use while holiday shopping?
Buy discount gift cards online: You could save 20% or more on the card’s value.
Using CardHub’s data on the average sale price of used gift cards over the past year, we determined the best bargains.
Here are our top picks, followed by their average discount:
- H&M (26% off)
- Fandango (20% off)
- Dunkin Donuts (19% off)
- Olive Garden (19% off)
- Red Lobster (19% off)
- Forever 21 (18% off)
- iTunes (18% off)
- Victoria’s Secret (16.5% off)
- Ticketmaster (15% off)
- Sephora (15% off)
If someone on your list loves one of those stores or restaurants, grab a discounted gift card from a site like Raise — you could save a bundle!
CardHub also shared several smart gift card tips. Here are our favorites:
Beware of Fees on General Purpose Gift Cards
Cards from Visa and American Express are popular — because they can be used for anything — but keep in mind they charge “purchase fees.”
So, you might pay $55 to buy a card worth $50 (a fee you’d avoid by buying a branded gift card).
Exchange Old Gift Cards
Have a beat-up gift card from Home Depot you’ll never use, but your cousin will love?
Ask the store to exchange the old gift card for this year’s design. Your cousin will never know the difference.
Buy Them With Rewards
Another smart way to buy gift cards — use credit card rewards.
“In many cases, you can garner more value from this type of redemption strategy than redeeming for cash,” CardHub explains.
“For example, under Citibank’s rewards program, you need 10,000 ThankYou points to get $50 in cash back, whereas you only need 5,000 points (50% fewer) for a $50 gift card.”
Whether you’re giving or receiving gift cards this holiday season, we found this info helpful — we hope you do, too!
Your Turn: Will you be purchasing one of these gift cards?
Disclosure: We appreciate you letting us include affiliate links in this post. It helps keep the beer fridge stocked in the Penny Hoarder break room.
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.