Best options for buying Gift of College gift cards (now at Target, but…)

Gift of College gift cards are now available at many more stores, including Target and Barnes & Noble. That said, those nationwide chains are not good options due to low maximum load amounts. Fortunately for those in the south and southwest United States, a number of grocery stores now carry these cards. Read below for details.
Gift of College gift cards are available in-store and online. These gift cards can be a great way to earn credit card rewards while saving for college or when paying student loans. To learn about how this works, please see: Frequent Miler’s Miles for College.

This post covers the most rewarding options for buying Gift of College gift cards…

Gift of College Gift Cards Availability

Gift of College now offers a BUY IN-STORE LOCATOR. At the time of this writing, though, Barnes & Noble stores are not loaded to the locator. Also note that this locator only shows stores that may sell the cards. Whether or not the cards are in-stock cannot be found online.

Gift of College gift cards are currently available through the following stores and websites…

In-Store (up to $500):

When buying these gift cards in-store, it is always best to load $500 to each card purchased. In this way, you’ll minimize the $5.95 gift card fee as a percentage of the total amount spent. This results in a 1.19% fee. As long as you pay with a rewards credit card that offers better than 1.2% value in rewards, you’ll come out ahead.

In-Store (but not recommended due to low maximums):

  • Barnes & Noble: $25-$200
  • Target: $50 and $100

Note that while the above stores are now selling Gift of College gift cards, the low maximum values mean that each card’s $5.95 fee is a large percentage of the overall transaction. As a result, these offer poor value unless you happen to have a credit card that offers a very large bonus at these stores.

Online (not recommended):

Please note that current online options have very high fees as a percentage of the maximum total value of the card. These are not recommended for earning rewards.

Credit Card Info

Does the store accept credit cards for the purchase of Gift of College gift cards?

Many stores do accept credit cards for the purchase of 3rd party gift cards, but the decision is usually left to the store manager. As a result, some of the stores that carry Gift of College gift cards won’t be useful for earning rewards if they don’t accept credit cards for the purchase.

Credit Card Bonus Categories

Gift of College Gift Cards are currently available for purchase at multiple grocery store chains:

Many credit cards offer bonus points at grocery stores. Here are some of the best options:

More info

To learn more about how to earn miles when saving for college (or paying student loans), please see: Frequent Miler’s Miles for College.

Last updated on October 26th, 2018

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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Brett W
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Brett W

I still am not clear on whether I can earn AmEx Points for gift card purchases when NOT doing an MSR? Couldn’t I use my Blue Business for 2x at Barnes and Noble and be OK?

Jay
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Jay

Here’s to hoping that with the influx of new options, some of these will make it to 3rd party resellers at a discount.

MarQ
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MarQ

I don’t suppose Target accepts Target gift cards to pay for Gift of College cards?

tro
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tro

None of the CA ones have locations in socal 🙁

But, this expansion is a good sign. For such a long time GoC was ‘working on it’.

AnameOfaguy
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AnameOfaguy

At denominations below $500, they might as well not bother… Assuming they have good intentions, providing such a terrible vehicle for college funding ($5.95 fee on $50, $100, or $200) is really stupid.

Michael Denner
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Michael Denner

So, buying them online from GoC results in a 3% fee, plus or minus. (See below.) Sure, that’s high. It’s pretty easy to get 3% back (my Fidelity card… there’s lots of 3% cash back options). I wouldn’t myself do this, it wouldn’t make sense. But I have a question: Does GoC accept gift card Visas and MasterCards? So, for instance, could I buy this week gift cards from Office Max (basically without activation fees because there’s a sale), buy GoC cards, add them to my 529 (washity wash), and walk away with my UR points? Even a conservative valuation of 5x UR points is 8% back, making a net profit of 5% (8% minus the 3% charge for the GoC cards). Not great, not good enough for me to do it, but certainly possible?

Complete Your Order
Order Summary
Gift Card
Count
10 Gift Card
Total
$2,000.00 Delivery
Fee
$0.00 Purchase
Charge
$59.50 Total

$2,059.50

Ben
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Ben

Yes, they accept GCs.

Peter
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Peter

I went to three Lucky stores. Two of them didn’t have these cards (despite being listed on the GoC website), and the third cited policy and refused to let me use cc to purchase. Store manager was summoned and backed the cashier up. I went back to the third store the next day and found another cashier who let me use cc without a question. So it’s a hit or miss, though I fear getting too much attention and draw extra scrutiny.

Nicesharky
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Nicesharky

Thanks for the data point. I’m going to drive up to try Save Mart and FoodMAXX in Bakersfield next weekend and will share what I find there.

Nicesharky
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Nicesharky

Drove up to Bakersfield to check things out. SaveMart was no problem and allowed me to do two separate $1K transactions. One FoodMaxx was no problem, but a couple others didn’t want to allow credit card. These are lower-end markets so I can understand the unsual nature of the transaction. It was easier if I only did single $500 so it wouldn’t require manager approval. Overall, cards were readily available and you just have to find a willing clerk or convince them that only the Visa/MC gift cards are cash/debit only. Their systems are not hard-coded to require these be cash/debit.