The best possible discounts on the most popular gift cards

Introduction

With all of these AMEX Offers popping up of late and people not knowing what to buy at Newegg or Best Buy or JCPenney’s, they usually fall back on gift cards.  But before you go wasting your AMEX offer for 20% off an iTunes gift card, you need to consider the opportunity cost – why waste your $10 off $50 AMEX OFFER for an iTunes gift card when it’s regulary on sale for 20% off elsewhere?  You’re better off buying a gift card that usually never goes on sale.  So this post will outline the most popular gift cards and what the best deal was for them over the past 12 months (if you had the patience and float to stock up.)  This doesn’t mean you’ll get the same discount moving forward, so this should be used as a reference guide more than anything else.  If you know of a better deal, let me know and I’ll update the post.

[Updated 3/8/16 to remove the Gyft 2% loyalty rebate]

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76 gas – 10% off – Gas gift cards are rarely on sale on the exchanges.  You could have done this deal for 10% off.  I don’t know if you can buy 76 gift cards at Lowes or Home Depot; if so, you could then wait for an AMEX Offer 20% off.

Amazon – 20% off – Once or twice a year, you’ll get an AMEX Offer for $10 off $50 at Office Depot.  Well, OD sells Amazon/Kindle GC’s, so stock up then.  If you’re in a pinch, go the Ink / Gyft route for 5X UR or if you don’t have Ink, you could also do United MPX/MR route.

AMC – 33% off – Sometimes eBay will have a sale for 20% off or even Staples.  However, Raise currently has them for 21.3% off as I write this post, and Giftcardwiki shows the best discount has hit 33%.  So, set a price alert and buy it when it goes over 30%.

Applebee’s – 20% off  – Another eBay deal.  Looks like you can easily get this for near 20% off on the gift card exchanges too.

Arco Gas – 20% off – Wait for an AMEX offer at Loews/Home Depot and buy them there.

Bed Bath Beyond – 20% off – Through Discover Deals or an AMEX Offer at Lowes.  The gift card exchanges usually only have this for 10% off, and even eBay’s sale was only 10% off.

Best Buy – 10% off – Wait for AMEX Offer.  Exchanges usually only have a ~5% discount and the sales are usually slightly less than 10% off (buy $100 and get $10 free)

Cabela’s – 20% off – Wait for an eBay sale.  Will be higher than 20% if you factor in portal and Ebay Bucks.

Cheesecake Factory – 20% off – Wait for a Lowes or Home Depot AMEX offer.  Exchanges usually have this for nearly 20% off too.  By the way, to make a killing, go to the Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki and sell the GC to the tourists waiting outside for a table, even till 11pm!!!

Chevron – 10% off.  Ebay deal.  I don’t think I’ve seen a Chevron gift card at Home Depot or Lowes, so can’t do an AMEX Offer 20% off.

Cold Stone Creamery – 30% off – Looks like if you time it right, the exchanges will hit 30% off for this.

Crate & Barrel – 12% off – Rarely seen on sale or as an AMEX Offer play.  Seems like exchanges is best route to go.

CVS – 18% off – Sales are usually only 10% off, but exchanges will sometimes have these for 18% off.

Darden (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn, Capital Grille, etc) – 20% off – Almost everyone sells these gift cards, so wait for an AMEX Offer of say $10 off $50 at JCPenney and stock up.  Sometimes grocery stores will discount them up to 20% off too or wait for an exchange to raise discount to 20% off.

Disney STORE – 20% off – Wait for an AMEX offer for Lowes/HD

Domino’s – 20% offSale price.  Surprisingly, the exchanges only top off at 10% off.  Or wait for an MLB no-hitter and get a pizza for free instead.

eBay – 10% off – Best route would be Ink Gyft or a combined Ebay discount/Ink PPDG.

Express – 30% off – Exchanges.

Fandango – 25% off – These go on sale a lot at 20% off, which is the best price on Exchanges.  However, once in a blue moon, you’ll see a >25% off sale.

Forever 21 – 25% off – Wait for the Exchanges to hit 25% off.

Gap (Old Navy, Banana Republic) – 25% off – Wait for a Safeway 20% off sale and earn 2X or 4X fuel points to get over 20% plus whatever credit card bonus you get at groceries.

GameStop – 25% off – eBay had a $60 GC for $50, which is 17% off, but if you count 5X UR for PPDG, portal and Ebay Bucks, then you’re up near 25%.

Groupon – 20% off – I could only go back to this Kroger sale.  There was also an HEB (regional groc) sale that had it for 20% off.

H&M – 35% off – Wait for an additional $ or % off coupon to use on the exchanges

Home Depot – 20% off – AMEX Offer.  I won’t count the highly targeted $75 off $250 deal (30% off)

Hulu – 10% off – I couldn’t find a higher discount, but I could have sworn Kroger had a deal in 2015.  Since I can’t find it, let’s assume Ink/Gyft is the best deal.

Hyatt 18% off – There was a sale for 12.5% off, but it looks like the Exchanges have it for 18% off.

iTunes – 33% off – These can be easily found for 20% off, but once in a while, the stars will align and you’ll see 25% off at PPDG, which with Ink/portal/Bucks gets you close to 33% off.  Also, remember you can use this for Netflix.

JCPenney – 27% off – While AMEX offers gives you 20%, sometimes, PPDG will have a 20% off sale, which once again means around 27% off or so.

Jiffy Lube – 20% offEbay sale

Kmart – 20% offEbay sale.

Kohls – 10% off – Gyft/Ink combo.  The exchanges usually have these for sub 10%; if it does hit 10%, it gets SOLD OUT before you can even click through, so stick to Gyft/Ink.  I have seen these go up to 15% off after Christmas on the exchanges though.

Kroger – 10% off – Cardcash/Ink combo; depends on how you value 5X UR.

Lowes – 20% off – Wait for an AMEX offer

Overstock – 25% offPPDG Ebay sale at 20% off, then add Ink/portal/Bucks

Red Robin – 20% off – I could have sworn I’ve seen these for 20% off at grocery stores.  If not, they have these weird promos like ‘buy $25 GC and get an expiring $5 coupon’ or ‘buy $25 GC and get a free ticket to see Terminator.’

Regal Cinemas – 20% offEbay sale or an AMEX Offer at HD/Lowes.  You may be able to get the same discount on an exchange.

Safeway – 10% off – Cardcash/Ink combo; depending how you value UR.

Sears – 20% offEbay sale

Sephora – 25% offPPDG Ebay sale of 83% off but add on Ink/portal/Bucks

Shell – 20% off –  Wait for an AMEX Offer at HD/Lowes and buy the gift cards there.

Skype – 20% off – I want to say I bought a $25 one for $20 at Kroger this year, but couldn’t find the thread.

Sports Authority – 25% offPPDG Ebay sale for 20% off.  Then add on Ink/portal/Bucks.  They are going bankrupt, so avoid!

Staples – 20% off – Discover Deals redemption

Starbucks – 50% offGroupon has these smaller denomination $10 cards for $5.  There was an AMEX Offer of $5 off $10 last year too.  Else, the exchanges had these for 13% off.

Target – 10% offEbay sale.  Rarely on sale, so when it is on sale, pounce.  Else, the Gyft/Ink path will work too.

TGIF – 30% off – Seems the exchanges have hit 30% off on this GC

Toys R Us – 20% off – Wait for an AMEX Offer at Lowes or an Ebay sale

Victoria’s Secret – 25% off – Wait for the exchanges to hit 25% off.

Whole Foods – 17% off – Eh, this week’s $10 off $60 AMEX Offer at Whole Foods.  Else up to 15% off on the exchanges.

Conclusion

This isn’t an exhaustive list of EVERY GIFT CARD out there.  I just wanted to highlight the most popular gift cards.  If you don’t see one on this list, check out this DansDeal’s list of all GC’s at Lowes.  Wait for an AMEX Offer to Lowes or go nuts.  That or stock up when there is an Ebay sale, especially if it’s through Paypal Digital Gifts.