eBay gift cards return to stores! Here’s why that’s awesome.

I know what you’re thinking… that sounds boringWho cares if eBay gift cards can be bought in stores? 

I care!  This is an awesome new development with which we’re only beginning to see the possibilities that are now open.  Read on…

eBay gift cards return to stores

I used to write often about double and triple dip savings or point earning opportunities (and even a perpetual point machine or two) that involved, in part, the use of eBay gift cards.  Then, one day, eBay gift cards disappeared from retail stores and all of those great savings and point earning opportunities disappeared with it.

Now, I’m excited to see that eBay gift cards are back!  While I had heard reports here and there from readers, my first in-person encounter was at Staples.  Here’s what I found at my local Staples store last week:

eBay gift cards

And, eBay confirms it:eBay gift cards

Below are the stores currently listed as available in retail stores.  Up to date information can be found here.

AHOLD IGW RALEYS TIMES
SUPERMARKETS
BASHAS JACKSON FOOD
STORES
ROUNDYS TOWN PUMP
BIMART KINNEY DRUG SAFEWAY TWEC
BOOKS-A-MILLION KROGER SAVE MART WAKEFERN
CIRCLE K KROGER C SHOPKO WAWA
CUMBERLAND
FARMS
KVAT / FOOD CITY STAPLES WEGMANS
HANNAFORD LOWES STATER BROS WEIS MARKET
HASTINGS MURPHY TA PETRO WINN DIXIE
HEB NTR
SUPERAMERICA
THE PANTRY  
HY-VEE PRICE CHOPPER THORTONS  

 

Why this is awesome

Next to bank gift cards (Amex, Visa, MasterCard), eBay gift cards are probably the most flexible gift cards available.  They can be used to buy just about anything you can imagine, including gift cards.  In addition to many individual sellers, GiftCardMall sells a huge variety of gift cards through eBay (found here) and they often run great sales.  For example, they recently offered 15% off Sears’ gift cards (which I reported here).  We’ve also seen 20% off Marriott gift cards and 20% off Staples gift cards in the not so distant past.

Importantly, there are many rewards, discounts, and rebates to be had both when buying and using eBay gift cards.  The end result can be truly amazing deals.

Here are some examples of what can be done…

Buying eBay gift cards

There are three opportunities for buying eBay gift cards that immediately leap to mind:

Amex Sync Offers

American Express often has “Offers for You” and/or “Sync Offers” in which they’ll give you an automatic statement credit for making a purchase at a specific merchant.  For example, we might see “Spend $100, get $20 back at Staples”. Another merchant commonly available for these offers is Lowes.  Did you notice that both Staples and Lowes are on the list above?  This means that it should be possible to get a 20% rebate on eBay gift cards during those promotions.

See also: Maximizing Amex Sync offers. Part 1: sync multiple cards.

Category Bonuses

Many credit cards offer bonus points at grocery stores, book stores, gas stations, office supply stores, etc.  Luckily, many of the stores listed above fit those categories!  Staples is particularly exciting since not only will you get 5 points per dollar if you pay with a Chase Ink card, but if you sign up for Visa Savings Edge, you’ll also get an automatic 1% rebate (as a statement credit).  And, those with a (no longer available) Citi Forward card may be excited to see Books a Million on the list, since that card still earns 5 points per dollar at bookstores!

You can find a list of the best credit cards for each type of store here: Best Category Bonuses.

Store Rewards

Many stores offer their own rewards programs in which you earn points as a percentage of each purchase.  Grocery stores, in particular, tend to offer fuel rewards (points that can be used for gas station discounts).  Even better, they often run promotions for double or quadruple points for the purchase of merchant gift cards.  And, as you’ll see on the list above, many grocery stores now sell eBay gift cards.  Optimize your purchase by buying at a grocery store offering fuel rewards and pay with a credit card that has a great grocery store category bonus.

See also: What is a fuel point worth?

Using eBay gift cards

When using eBay gift cards, you can earn rewards too.  Here’s how…

Start with a portal.

At the time of this writing, BeFrugal, TopCashBack, and Rebate Blast are offering 1.5% cash back for purchases at eBay.  Note that cash back is not offered for purchases of eBay gift cards, vehicles, real estate, bullion, or heavy equipment.  You can find the current, best portal offers here.  And, you can find sign-up links for most popular cash back portals here.

eBay gift cards

Earn eBay Bucks

In addition to portal cash back, you can earn eBay Bucks (which can be used as credit towards future purchases).  The standard rebate in the form of eBay Bucks is 2% of the purchase price, but they often run short term promotions with increased rewards.

You must sign up for eBay Bucks before you can earn them (signup here).

eBay_Bucks

Just about any purchase qualifies for eBay bucks, except:

  • eBay Motors categories, including Parts & Accessories
  • Classifieds
  • Coins & Paper Money > Bullion
  • Real Estate
  • eBay gift cards in the eBay Gift Card s category
    (note that only eBay gift cards are excluded. Other gift cards are fine)
  • Business & Industrial

Buy whatever

You can use eBay gift cards to buy anything listed for sale on eBay.  This includes, importantly, other gift cards.

Terms & Conditions

Ebay gift cards do have limitations, most of which can be found on their terms & conditions page.  Unfortunately, I’ve found at least one discrepancy between the terms & conditions listed online and those on the card:

The online terms & conditions state:

  • Valid only for purchases on eBay where PayPal is accepted and the item was originally priced in USD, Canadian dollars, GBP or Euro.

To me, that means that you can use the gift cards to pay for almost anything.  Unfortunately, the terms on the back of the gift card package say (bolding is mine):

  • Valid only for purchases on eBay where PayPal is accepted. Certain eBay sites may not accept this Card.  Visit www.ebay.com/giftcard for details.

That may be a pretty big discrepancy!  By “certain eBay sites” they may simply mean eBay sites intended for countries other than the US.  That would be fine. However, if they mean stores within eBay.com, that could be a problem.

Other important terms:

  • You must have an eBay account and PayPal account registered in the U.S. to redeem the Gift Card.
  • …upon first use the Gift Card becomes non-transferable and attaches to your PayPal account.
  • No more than a total of $500 in Gift Cards may be redeemed per eBay purchase. Unverified PayPal accounts are limited to a total of $500 in purchases of Gift Cards in any 30-day period and verified PayPal accounts are limited to $5000 in purchases of Gift Cards in any 180-day period.

Full online terms & conditions can be found here.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Recently Sears gift cards was discounted on EBay, sold by Giftcardmall but EBay would not allowed eBay giftcard to pay for those Sears giftcards.

    • Really? What happened when you tried? I searched for the T&C of the gift cards but couldn’t find any exclusions of what you could buy. The only thing I could find was where it said that you can use them anytime you can pay with PayPal on Ebay.

        • I’m guessing that you encountered some kind of glitch. I just made a test purchase of a gift card from giftcardmall through ebay and it worked fine. Of course, its possible that certain sale gift cards have different policies, but I don’t think so.

        • I bought $600 worth of Sears Gift Cards with my Ebay gift cards when Ebay had SEARS gift cards at a discount. I can also confirm it worked.

        • Figured out the issue, it was the gift card. EBay gift card bought from Tom Thumb did not activate right away, it’s good after 24 hours, not sure how long it actually took.

  2. I’ve had trouble getting cashback through eBay in the past. If you win an auction, say, and then go through a portal to eBay and your shopping cart, you should get cashback?

    Or is it only for purchases made from the portal > eBay > Buy it Now listings?

    • It just depends how you want to use them. Amazon gift cards are a good option too, but if you want to be able to buy discount gift cards (when available), you’re much more likely to find them on eBay than Amazon.

  3. Why no eBay bucks or cash back for bullion? I want to diversify my assets with some precious metals and would like to maximize my cash back when doing so. I assume their rationale is precious metals are a commodity and sold very close to spot price so people are going to buy it one way or another. But to eBay, they’re still profiting from the sale regardless of what’s being sold…not sure why eBay bucks can’t be offered.

    • Many Ebay sellers know how to game the system and list bullion items outside the bullion category, so when you search for bullion, make sure you *do not* buy from the bullion category. Hope that helps.

    • eBay charges different seller fees depending on the type of product you’re selling. It’s likely that they charge much less for bullion, so they won’t accept eBay gift cards since they sell those to resellers at a loss (from face value)

  4. How often do discounted GC appear on eBay? Unless this is frequent, then I’d probably just but misc. retail GC at staples vs. Buying an eBay one, then waiting around for eBay to show a discounted one. Just curious as to the history and experience others have had.

  5. Probably a dumb question but aren’t Paypal gift cards better than ebay gift cards since they can be used one any website (not just ebay) that accepts Paypal?

    • yes. I bought my share of ebay cards and paypal cards. Paypal cards are 100x better and they are instantly loaded. Ebay gift cards take time to load. sometimes 24 hours and sometimes 3 to 4 business days. Paypal cards basically load up your paypal balance on their website and you can go from there with what you want. Any website that takes paypal, it’ll be good. And even if you want to transfer the money to your account you can (it takes time to do so though). Paypal cards are awesome.

  6. Excited to find a new and different GC to purchase at Staples with my newly acquired Chase Ink Plus Visa for 5x rewards, but I didn’t see them in store. Do we know if this (and other company GCs for that matter) are available at ALL stores within the chain? Or do they just distribute to select locations? I’d like to be able to get them at Staples for my 5x points/miles vs. going to Safeway for just a 2x mile reward (with my United Chase Visa). Appreciate any feedback.

  7. I found something new today: if you buy any giftcard (ebay, staples, …) from ” paypal_digital_gifts” seller in ebay using chase ink, surprisingly you will receive 5x points. I bought several ebay gift card last week and now my account shows that I have earned 5x for all of them. The transaction has posted as PAYPAL *PAYPAL INC.

  8. Hi ..

    I recently noted target is offering visa gift cards in Ebay target store, but if i add to the cart..sales tax is getting charged , so making the fees to 12 $ for a 100 $ gift card….what can be done ?

  9. Horrible cards. When I purchase a paypal card, yes it costs 3.85 to activate but it’s instant. These ebay cards are horrible. sometimes it takes 24 hours for it to be used, sometimes almost a week. I have one sitting next to me that is a week old, and still not in effect. I know how to buy these, bought plenty before. But i have a feeling i wasted money with these things. If you’re going to get a card, get a paypal card.

  10. I saw eBay gift cards at Toys R Us last month!! Haven’t seen them anywhere else. Will check my local staples store, thanks!

  11. I received 11 ebay gift cards on my birthday, each in the amount of $25, for the purpose of purchasing a phone to replace a broken one. I began the process of trying to place the order at 9:30am. I am writing this at 3:11pm. I have spent all day trying to enter codes AND waiting on hold . I am STILL waiting for a call back from ebay’s technical team, which MAY come tomorrow. I called ebay first and was directed to call paypal. After a 35 minute wait, I was transferred back to ebay. At that point I insisted I needed a supervisor, and had to wait for him to call me back.

    The site allowed me to enter SOME of the codes. But after $150, it not only rejected the next one, but REMOVED all of the ones I took the time to enter prior. These are LONG numbers, folks. I don’t want to keep $125 in cards, not knowing if/when I will need them again. I asked for these gift cards for the purpose of buying this phone, and I should not have to lose a day of my life to redeem them

    • @Dianne
      I experienced this also, very frustrating that they limit gift card redemption to max of 5 per purchase.

      • Thanks for the response. If there is such a limit, their own customer service supervisor was not aware of it. It should be clear at the time of purchase. I am updating more than 24 hours after the original post, and still have not received the promised call from the “technical team”. I decided not to wait, and instead purchased the phone and insurance in separate transactions, allowing me to use MOST of the gift cards.

  12. I bought 2k worth of ebay gift cards to purchase a truck and it turned out it was a phishing email, i got scammed , i provided the redemption codes to fake ebay email and i called the real ebay i was told i got scammed and cannot get the money back , they cant trace it they said , too bad we cant be protected , if it has a redemtion code whoever redeemed it should have ebay and paypal account so they can trace them pls help to get my 2k back

    • Some Best Buys have them, but they’ve been discontinued so once they’re gone they’re gone. But I bought 4 and one didn’t activate and it was a royal PITA getting that fixed. I had to find a store locally that had a $25 Ebay card in stock.

      Grocery stores have Ebay cards as well.

  13. I have looked all over.. am near Pasadena, Ca… no one seems to have them.
    are they being discontinued at BestBuy only or all over, Do you know?

    • This was at a Best Buy where they were being discontinued. They said it was all Best Buy stores, and whatever they have now, if any, is all they will ever have.

      What about Staples, Office Depot, Kroger family stores, Target, Walmart, etc?

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