Top 20 Best Value Gift Cards

A new option for meeting minimum credit card spend! 

On Friday, I reported that one can save money almost anywhere by buying discounted gift cards prior to making purchases.  In that post I mentioned that the folks at GiftCardGranny.com had supplied me data for a future post.  Well, this is that post…

I asked GiftCardGranny.com to use their database to find the gift cards that retain their value the best.  These are the cards with the smallest difference between the best discount purchase price and the best resale price.  For example, if one could buy JC Penney gift cards for 80% of their value and then resell them for 77% of their value, that would be attractive because the buyer only risks losing 3% if they find they’re unable to use the gift cards.

The Data

GiftCardGranny.com aggregates gift card buy and sell prices from ABC Gift Cards, Cardpool, GiftCards.com, PlasticJungle, CouponTrade, GiftCardBin, and eBay.  For my request, GiftCardGranny.com poured over 6 months of data to find the cards with the smallest difference between the average discounted purchase price and the maximum sell price.  eBay data includes both “Buy It Now” and auction prices, but GiftCardGranny.com trims the outliers from the auction prices in order to prevent the auctions from unduly skewing the results.  I further filtered the results to remove merchants with fewer than 20 gift cards represented in the dataset.

The Results

Incredibly, we discovered that the average discounted purchase price in some cases was lower than the best available resale price.  In other words, it is sometimes possible to make money by buying and selling discount gift cards!  For example, at the time of my writing this, there are a few Boston Market gift cards available for 30% off their face value.  At the same time, GiftCards.com is offering 72% of face value to buy Boston Market gift cards from you.  So, you can actually make 2% profit by buying and selling these cards. 

So, without further ado, here is the top 20 best value gift cards:

  1. 24 Hour Fitness
  2. BoJangles’
  3. Dave and Busters
  4. Frontier Airlines
  5. Fuddruckers
  6. Pei Wei
  7. Speedway Motors
  8. PGA Superstore
  9. Piperlime
  10. Boston Market
  11. Athleta
  12. Abercrombie & Fitch
  13. TGI Friday’s
  14. Albertsons
  15. Dell
  16. Cabela’s
  17. Gulf Oil
  18. Exxon
  19. Walmart
  20. Target

Note that not all of these gift cards are always available at a good price (or at all).  You can use GiftCardGranny.com to find the current best discount purchase price and the current best resale price for these cards.  If the card you want is not available, sign up for email alerts to be notified when it is.

Why Bother?

Obviously, if you shop at any of these merchants, it may be worthwhile to keep an eye out for these discounted gift cards.  Another option is to try to make some money by buying and selling gift cards, but really you’re not going to get rich doing this.  The real value, in my opinion, is for those of you struggling to meet minimum credit card spend in order to qualify for big signup bonuses.  If you spend a couple of hours each week looking for cards that you can buy and sell for little or no loss, you may be able to meet minimum spend requirements without stretching your budget.  Please note, though, that there are risks involved: individual buyers and sellers may try to swindle you; cards can get lost in the mail; clerical errors could mean that you do not get your gift cards or get paid properly; etc.

Extra Cash

In some cases, when buying and selling gift cards, it is possible to get 1% to 3.5% cash back in the process!  Here are some of the best deals I’ve found.  Please let me know if you come across others:

  • Through ShopAtHome, the following offers are available:
    • CardPool.com offers .8% cash back for buying gift cards, and 1.6% cash back for selling gift cards!
    • GiftCertificates.com offers 3% cash back for buying merchant gift cards.
    • GiftCards.com offers 3.5% cash back for buying merchant gift cards.
  • Through FatWallet, you can get 1% cash back for purchases made at PlasticJungle
  • Through eBay, you always get 2% back in the form of eBay bucks.

Note: If you would like to signup for ShopAtHome, please consider using this signup link.  You and I will both receive $5 towards our accounts.  When asked for the email address for the friend who referred you, enter:

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Comments

  1. There probably aren’t many gift cards that are going to be slam dunk better than just sending funds to your spouse or partner via Amazon payments, right?

    • Gary: That’s definitely true, but Amazon limits you to $1000 per month. Since people often sign up for multiple credit cards at once, Amazon Payments is not always enough to cover you.

  2. Is giftcardgranny taking an average of real sales? Nordstrom for Plastic Jungle on GCG is listed at 87% but when I go to the plastic jungle site, it says up to 91.35%. Obviously up to does not mean you will actually get it. This changes how I plan to play the avios deal. Thoughts?

    • Fewtreezy: PlasticJungle will pay a bit more if you’re willing to accept Amazon.com credit instead of cash. 87% is the amount you can get in cash. You can find PlasticJungle’s cash rate sheet here. As to the Avios deal, I assume you are talking about the 36X available right now for first time purchases at Nordstrom’s through BA’s portal. I’m pretty sure that deal explicitly excludes gift card purchases. If your thought is that you can buy discount Nordstrom’s gift cards and then use them for this promotion, that is probably true, but be careful because it can sometimes take quite a while to get the gift cards when you purchase them.

      ErinPW: I’ve heard similar horror stories before, but I haven’t had that problem yet.

      Scottrick: Yep, I thought about naming this post “Gift Card Arbitrage”.

    • David: You will get 5% back at OfficeMax (not 10%). When you purchase a visa gift card there is also a fee. If you buy a $200 Visa gift card, you will save approximately 1.7% once the fee is accounted for. A neat idea would be to buy Visa gift cards this way and then use them to buy and sell discount merchant gift cards.

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