Best options for buying Gift of College gift cards

Gift of College gift cards

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: 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 gift cards are currently available through the following stores and websites…

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.

In-Store:

  • H-E-B Texas Grocery
  • Fred’s Pharmacy (located in the Southeast)
  • Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us (See: Toys R Us no longer selling gift cards)
  • Best Buy was previously listed as “coming soon” but I’m calling this dead since it hasn’t yet happened.

With in-store purchases, you can load each card up to $500 with a fee of $5.95 on each card. This results in a 1.19% fee. Since many credit cards offer rewards that are worth much more than 1.19%, in-store purchases can make a lot of sense.

Note that while Barnes & Noble is now selling cards in-store as of 9/18, those cards have a maximum denomination of $200. The fee therefore amounts to almost 3%, making those cards a bad deal in most scenarios (See: Gift of College gift cards at Barnes & Noble, but not a deal).

Grocery Stores

Gift of College Gift Cards are currently available for purchase at the H-E-B Texas Grocery.  Hopefully the cards will roll out to more grocery stores in the near future.

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 gift card fee as a percentage of the total amount spent.  As long as you pay with a rewards credit card that offers better than 1.2% value in rewards, you’ll come out ahead.

Most rewarding credit card options for grocery store gift card purchases:

Drugstores

Gift of College Gift Cards are currently available for purchase at Fred’s Pharmacy (located in the Southeast).  Hopefully the cards will roll out to more drugstores in the near future.

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 gift card fee as a percentage of the total amount spent.  As long as you pay with a rewards credit card that offers better than 1.2% value in rewards, you’ll come out ahead.

Most rewarding credit card options for drugstore gift card purchases:

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Amanda
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Amanda

Can you buy gift cards with gift cards at ToysRUs? MileagePlus X app offers 3x per dollar at ToysRUs

George
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George

Would a good card for this be Starwood Amex and then get 5000 bonus when you reach 20k and transfer ? Same question for using Plastiq for mortgage .

Thx !

Diane
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Diane

In your list of best options for Grocery Stores (thinking HEB) I did not see Chase Freedom listed at all. If used during the quarter which offers 5% back am assuming that it would be a good option for Gift of College gift cards during that time period.

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[…] Everyone shops at Best Buy at this time of year. They sell gift cards and might start selling Gift of College gift cards at some point, so this offer could be very […]

sue
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sue

Still not found from Best Buy yet

Dylan
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Dylan

Can someone please confirm that you do get 2x MR points with Amex Blue Bus Plus CC? Because in the terms/conditions: exclude buying/reloading prepaid cards.

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[…] Best options for buying Gift of College gift cards […]

Darcie Dufoe
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Darcie Dufoe

Any new information on when these cards will be available at Best Buy or other stores?

krish
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krish

can we buy Gift of college with prepaid visa cards in Toys r US?

Nickguy
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Nickguy

I just created an account on gift of college and I see in the “redeem gift card” area that you can just input a debit or credit card number as well and apply money to an account that way as well. Why wouldn’t you just do that directly and cut out the step of buying gift cards? Am I missing something?

Krish
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Krish

I think in that option — you can only redeem the GOC card number. If you use debit or credit — there is extra charge. I think 3%

Nickguy
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Nickguy

Right, they have a service charge for each transaction, but they have one for buying a gift card in stores as well, so I think the only real advantage to doing that is being able to buy larger quantities on physical cards (up to $500 rather than $200)? So basically it just ends up lowering the per purchase transaction fee somewhat.

Darcie
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Darcie

I have found using prepaid VGC to buy them work in only some states. Give it a try. Babies R Us I have had greater success

JuicyJosh
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JuicyJosh

Where do you find a prepaid VGC for $500 and what do fees look like? I did my first GoC last week but purchased on CIP straight up vs using VGC. Id like to explore this option just uncertain about the all the diff gift card products.

Nick Reyes
Editor
JuicyJosh
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JuicyJosh

Thank you!

Ben
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Ben

Be careful with GoC purchases. I have successfully contributed ~$6,000 into my 529 plan (Scholarshare CA) via GoC gift cards. However one $500 contribution I made showed as “Cancelled” on the 529 plan’s website. They said they received info from GoC, but did not receive funding for the contribution, therefore they cancelled it.

Right now GoC and Scholarshare are going back and forth pointing fingers at one another. I’m going to give it a few more days, then dispute the credit card charge for the gift card purchase.

Just watch very carefully to ensure all contributions you make on the GoC site actually post to your 529 plan. Having one contribution get lost in the ether wipes out the value of all the points earned…

Ben
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Ben

Update – the GOC rep was able to resolve this after a few days.

So it’s a happy ending, but only because I noticed the disparity – they were not proactive.

Krish
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Krish

Does buying gift of college cards using Amex cards for sign on bonus a good idea?

Nick Reyes
Editor

It’s riskier than buying things that aren’t gift cards.

Jodie
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Jodie

Are these really coming to Best Buy??? Or is that off the table at this point?

Nick Reyes
Editor

I’m sure Gift of College would love to get them in every store possible, but they’ve obviously hit some snags that slowed down the process. I’m sure they will let us know the minute they have an update about availability of the cards, and we’ll certainly be sure to update. Many of us would love to see these back at a nationwide retailer, though I would suppose none of us want that nearly as much as the Gift of College people :-).

Neil
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Neil

Any updates on Best Buy?

Tim
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Tim

Any news on best buy or another Midwest vendor? The giant grad school student loan payment is killing me with no rewards

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[…] to load it up with Gift of College gift cards that were purchased last year at Toys R Us (See: Best options for buying Gift of College gift cards). My wife was working on a signup bonus and purchased a few thousand in Gift of College cards while […]

Seth
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Seth
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[…] their blog suggests that they are preparing for an expanded retail footprint this fall (hat tip: Seth).  For more about Gift of College Gift Cards, see: Miles for […]

Flame
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Flame

Some reports that this is now available in about 46 Barnes and Nobles stores – Not sure which ones, I believe this would be available across all B&N stores starting mid/late oct. The denominations however seem to be upto $200 only.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Yup, see my comment immediately above yours.