Instant Gift Card Deals

When you’re about to buy something, you may be able to save money or earn extra miles by first buying a merchant gift card and then using that gift card to make your purchase.  Often, though, gift card deals take time.  You may have to wait for gift cards to arrive in the mail, wait for an emailed gift card that comes hours or even days later, or drive to a different store to purchase the discounted gift card.  The purpose of this page is to list options for buying gift cards right now.  Whether you are in a store checkout line or making a purchase online, you’ll find options below for saving money or earning extra rewards…

Caution: When purchasing items with gift cards you will not get credit card protections such as extended warranties or price protection.

Best Gift Card Deals for use at store register

The options listed here let you specify an exact dollar amount that you need for your gift card and deliver the gift card instantly.  The idea is that you can wait for the cashier to ring up your items so that you get a total amount owed and can then instantly purchase a gift card for that amount in order to save money or earn extra rewards.

Gift Card Seller Details

United MileagePlus X App

(earn miles)

United’s MileagePlus X App is designed for use at the register as a way to earn extra miles on many purchases.  The number of bonus points earned varies from merchant to merchant.

Credit cards with bonus categories often (but not always) award bonuses based on the gift card bought. For example, if you buy a restaurant gift card then it is best pay with a credit card that offers a bonus for restaurant purchases.

Seashells

(save $)

This website offers instant cash back for a wide variety of new gift cards, and it lets you specify the exact dollar amount you want, within a range.  The value range varies by merchant. For example, you can purchase Amazon gift cards in any denomination from $.01 to $2,000, but with Macy’s you are limited to values between $25 and $250.

There does not appear to be an app for this yet, but the ShopSeashells website is well designed for mobile use.

Unfortunately, I do not know of a credit card that earns bonus points through this site (the Citi AT&T Access More card does not earn 3X).

Swych

 

(earn points)

This app is designed to let you buy new gift cards instantly and at face value. You can specify the amount you want on each gift card, but only to whole-dollar amounts and often within a tight range.  The primary reason to go through Swych is that you can earn 5X rewards by paying with Chase Ink Cash or Ink Plus, but only if you checkout through PayPal.

Best Gift Card Deals for quick online purchases

The following gift card sellers offer options for buying gift cards quickly, but I wouldn’t use these at the register:

 Gift Card Seller Details

Cardcash

(save $)

(earn points)

Sells second-hand discount gift cards.  Email delivery is often nearly instant (but not always). Earn 5X rewards by paying with Chase Ink Cash or Ink Plus but only if you checkout through PayPal.

Cardcash has an app, but I had a lot of trouble using it as it kept asking me to log-in over and over.  Also, the app does not appear to offer an option to pay with PayPal, so you can’t get 5X rewards with a Chase Ink card.

Discover (Redeem Discover It Cashback)

(save $)

Redeem Discover It Cashback for discount gift cards. e-Gift cards can be used instantly, but regular gift cards are sent via mail. Discover iPhone App lets you send e-Gift card to your iPhone Wallet.

Be careful not to redeem for regular gift cards which are delivered by mail.

GiftCardZen

(save $)

Sells second-hand discount gift cards.  Readers have reported that gift card delivery is usually immediate but can sometimes take longer at off-hours.

Gyft

(earn points)

This app and website is designed to let you buy new gift cards instantly and at face value.  The only reason that I know of to buy through Gyft is that you can earn 5X rewards by paying with Chase Ink Cash or Ink Plus, but only if you checkout through PayPal.

PayPal Digital Gifts

(save $)

(earn points)

Gift cards are available through eBay or directly through this site.  PayPal Digital Gifts usually sells gift cards at face value, but often has sales on select gift cards or offers bonus gift cards.  You can earn 5X rewards by paying with Chase Ink Cash or Ink Plus.

Raise

(save $)

(earn points)

Raise sells second-hand discount gift cards and has a decent app available.  When using the app, you can pay with Apple Pay or Android Pay in order to earn 3X rewards with the US Bank Altitude Reserve card.  Gift card delivery can be very fast, but they sometimes take longer when verifying orders.

Other Gift Card Deals that are not ideal for instant use

The following options are not recommended for instant gift card purchases, but may be useful when you’re not in a hurry (or if you have Bitcoins for GiftMe purchases):

Gift Card Seller Details

Cardpool

(save $)

Sells second-hand discount gift cards. Frequently cancels my orders.  You may have better luck than me.

GiftMe

(save $)

Requires Bitcoin to purchase discount second-hand gift cards.  If you have Bitcoins available to spend, this could be a great option for buying instant second-hand gift cards.

Staples.com

(earn points)

Can be great way to earn 5X with Chase Ink Cash or Ink Plus, but eGift cards are usually delivered next day.

More gift card deals

For more gift card deals, including options for buying gift cards in-person at various stores (grocery stores, office supply stores, etc.), please see: Merchant gift cards, best options for stacking deals.

Comments

  1. What about buying gift cards at 6% discount at Safeway using Blue Cash Preferred? Its an easy way to get a discount on Amazon GCs. Sometimes you can stack with Just4U offers for greater savings

  2. Are the egift cards from Staples easy to use as physical cards? Do you have the bar code in your phone, or do you have to print it out?
    I’ve been preferring to pay the bit extra for physical cards because i think that’s a bit more comfortable for my wife to deal with when she’s shopping. But i’m wondering about using the egift cards to avoid the fees.
    Thanks

    • It depends which gift cards you buy from Staples. For example, Target gift cards are super easy to use: they can be loaded into your Target account and brought up within the Target app on your phone to pay at the register. Meanwhile, Whole Foods gift cards are a pain because there doesn’t seem to be a way to load them into an app.

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