How to Buy Gift Cards for Less

Forget about paying full price for gift cards. Here are several ways to get the gift cards you want for less than they're worth.

Buy from Gift Card Discounters

Erin Huffstetler

Websites like Gift Card Granny and buy unwanted gift cards from consumers and sell them at a discount – sometimes for as much as 30% off! And when they accumulate too many cards for a particular store, they run a sale! Take a minute to set up alerts for your favorite stores, so you'll be among the first to know when they get new cards in stock, or decide to run a sale. Cards go fast, so you have to be quick.

Looking for a way to save on an online order that you plan to place today? Purchase an e-gift card (or e-code), and you'll be able to use it right away. Pretty sweet.

Shop the Daily Deal Websites

50% Off
50% Off. alubalish/E+/Getty Images

Need a gift card for a local business? Check the daily deal websites. They have an ever-changing inventory of local gift vouchers that you can usually buy for half their face value. You'll find deals for area restaurants, clothing stores, performances, trips and more. Here are a few daily deal sites that are worth checking out:

Get Your Gift Cards from a Warehouse Store

Women Shopping in a Warehouse Store
Women Shopping in a Warehouse Store. Spencer Platt /Staff/Getty Images News

Both Costco and Sam's Club sell gift cards for less than their face value (usually about 15-20% less). Use your membership to get cheap cards for iTunes, Google Play, Regal Cinemas, Starbuck's, Dunkin Donuts, AMC Theatres and other popular brands. You can even order them online, if you don't have time to run to the store.

Buy in Bulk

Gift Cards
Gift Cards. alexsl/E+/Getty Images

Check the gift card displays at grocery stores and drug stores for bulk packs of cards. These often sell for less than the total value of the cards – a great deal if you plan to give the same gift to multiple people, or if you can get cards to a store that you shop at frequently.

Want to save even more? Many grocery stores offer promotions where you can earn cash back, fuel points or some other type of reward for buying certain cards. Examples: "Spend $50 on gift cards, get $5 back", or "Buy qualifying gift cards, and earn 4x the fuel points on your purchase". If you already know you're going to spend money at a particular store or restaurant, this can be an easy way to bump up your savings.

Take Advantage of Holiday Bonuses

Bonus. MrPliskin/E+/Getty Images

Lots of restaurants, and an increasing number of stores, offer gift card promotions around the holidays. Buy a $25 gift card, and they'll throw in a $5 gift card. Buy a $50 gift card, and they'll throw in a $10 card. Start paying attention to radio advertisements and in-store signage around the middle of November, and you're sure to find plenty of deals to take advantage of, maybe even some that you'll want to buy for yourself.

  • List of Holiday Gift Card Bonuses

Tip: You can sometimes find these gift card promotions around Mother's Day and Father's Day, too. 

Cash in Rewards Points

Man Using Credit Card
Man Using Credit Card. Maskot/Getty Images

Most rewards credit cards allow you to cash in your points for gift cards. Log in to your account to see what's currently available in the rewards catalog. If you're lucky, you may even find that the card you want is on sale.

Don't see the gift card you're after? Then, use your credit card to buy a discounted gift card from one of the other places mentioned in this article. It's an easy way to get an additional 3-6% back on your purchase.

Tip: If you have a credit card that gives you extra rewards when you shop at certain types of businesses -- i.e. grocery stores, pharmacies or gas stations -- make your gift card purchases there, so you capture the extra savings.

For even more savings, log into all of the other rewards programs that you participate in to see what you can cash your points in for. Many rewards programs -- hotel, Swagbucks, MyPoints -- offer discounted rewards on a rotating basis. If the gift card you want happens to be one of the ones they're currently offering at a discount, you're in business!