Discount Gift Cards and Online Gift Certificates: Ideas For The Holiday Shopper

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-11-2214

Gift cards? Particularly helpful as a last minute gift idea.

The shopping season will soon be alighting upon us and the question is — how much are you going to be spending (or saving?) during your shopping trips? This is the season when you’ll probably do most of your spending for the year, if you subscribe to holiday traditions that involve festive celebrations, gift giving and decorating that make this time of year the peak season for the retail industry.

Where To Buy Discount Gift Cards and Online Gift Certificates

I’m probably going to have some percentage of my shopping budget dedicated to gift cards this year. While not everyone is a fan of such cards, I won’t debate their usefulness here (yes, they are easy and convenient but watch out for those expiration dates!), but rather, will just provide you with some suggestions for where to find them online. Some of these online resources will be able to offer these cards and certificates to you for less (as is often the case when you shop on the web):

1. Credit Card Shopping Networks
Here’s one way to get gift cards (or other gifts) without having to dip into your savings: if you already carry a rewards credit card (especially the kind with points), now may be a good time to cash in on those points. Some of these reward points expire, so I would be inclined to use them up now, where I can get more “bang for the buck” by applying these points where they get the most mileage: at the shopping sites and portals established by card companies that offer rewards programs.

Tip: Here’s a list of the best credit cards that have points reward programs in place.

2. Ebates
If you’re a fan of cash back rewards, then I’d strongly recommend checking out a shopping portal like Ebates, which gives you deals via a cash back system. You simply go through their site to visit other online retail sites you’re already familiar with, and you’ll receive cash back of up to 12% in some cases. Plus, depending on the seasons (e.g. the holidays), you can get double the cash back you’ll normally earn here. For more details about how this site works, check out my Ebates review. They have gift cards listed as one of their categories, so you can earn cash back by purchasing gift cards at a site you visit via Ebates. Here’s how to become a member (membership is free).

3. Plastic Jungle
This is a site that allows you to buy and sell gift cards, and it looks like a great place to recycle your unused cards. If you’re selling, you can receive up to 85% of the value of your gift card, and if you’re buying, you can save up to 35% on the most discounted gift cards. This could be a great idea, provided that your gift recipients don’t mind the idea of dealing with used cards (that is, if they find out). For more details, visit

discount gift cardsImage from

4. Amazon
Amazon’s gift cards are something I use often since I am a huge Amazon shopper (so much so that I even have Amazon Prime). There are no fees and expiration dates for these cards, which can be delivered to anyone via email or snail mail (with a free personalized greeting card), plus they’re also printable.

Here’s the one stop shop for gift cards of all types with absolutely no fees. You can pick up their virtual gift card, where you do away with the physical card and just send out an email notification with a link to activate the “virtual gift”. They’ve also got discounted cards and a way to cash in on your unwanted gift cards.

Here’s a site that caters to both consumers and businesses by offering gift cards and certificates for various occasions. They’ve got the gift card boutique, again with e-Gift cards, as well as “SuperCertificates”, their version of gift certificates. They’ve also got a “Business Solution” section for those companies that want to reward and provide incentives to their employees, customers and partners. As their mission states: they reward relationships. Visit

7. MyPoints and MemoLink
We’ve previously covered online shopping sites that offer point rewards for their online customers. MyPoints and MemoLink are sites that are geared to allow users to build up points by shopping online, playing games, booking travel, participating in surveys and reading email. Once you get the points, you can redeem them for gift cards and gift certificates to use as you wish. Be sure to check out MyPoint’s “Holiday Bonus” section for gift card ideas.

8. American Express Gift Cards
Nice to know that American Express is joining the rest of the retail industry by eliminating any fees from their gift cards. AmEx gift cards have a variety of holiday designs to choose from. More on these gift cards here. If promotional codes exist, they are already applied to the links we’ve provided.

9. Gift Certificates
For the token foodie in your life, I’d recommend gift certificates from I believe they’re a pretty good deal if you can find good restaurants that are featured as part of’s network. Basically, you can buy certificates for cheap which you can use at restaurants of your choice that are listed on their web site. For more information, you can check out our article on restaurant discounts and dining coupons. Here’s where to check out

With online shopping becoming more and more popular, you can just imagine all the deals, shopping resources and gimmicks you’ll encounter these days. There’s a lot out there to wade through, but try not to get too carried away. Have a shopping budget set before you start exploring your options to keep spending under control.

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

CreditShout November 22, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Just to comment on the credit card shopping networks, with ShopDiscover which is Discover Cards “Online Mall” you can earn a 5% cash back bonus on all Apple products, which is huge especially if you’re looking on buying a new iMac or MacBook Pro. You can also get 5% cash back on Best Buy purchases and 10% back on purchase with Dell. They seem to be giving a higher % cash back for a lot of stores as a holiday bonus.

basicmoneytips November 23, 2009 at 5:54 am

Giftcards are a great idea, not only for gifts but also for general use. There are numerous sites out there where you can purchase giftcards at a discount, usually 8% to 10%. Most sites offer free shipping so there is not an additional cost to get the giftcards.

If there is a store you frequent, or if you are going to make a major purchase – it is a no brainer. Let’s say you are going to get a new washer from Sears, and you buy a $500 giftcard for $460. You have just saved $40 with almost no effort.

John DeFlumeri Jr November 23, 2009 at 6:16 am

Gift cards scare me usually. Been burned a few times. But I like the idea of’s gift cards because there’s plenty of places to use them.

John DeFlumeri Jr.

Money Bright November 23, 2009 at 8:51 am

Fantastically useful post so close to Christmas! Gift cards are a win win situation at Christmas, if you can get them discounted. Not only does it stop you from buying a gift for someone that they then have to pretend to like, but it means that those you buy gift cards for can actually get even bigger discounts by shopping during the sales.

A shame for me here in the UK that many of these sites don’t offer cards for UK stores, but this is something I am definitely going to look for a Brit equivalent of.

Thank you!

Ashley November 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I’d be careful when giving certificates as a gift. A lot of times there are large stipulations that come with them and the gift recipient will end up spending money they didn’t budget for to cash in on them.

Silicon Valley Blogger November 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Thanks for the heads up. That is true. coupons work more as a buy one/take one free offer. They give you a discount on your meal but you’ll have to read the fine print to find out how much the coupon will cover. But if you or your gift recipient dines out at certain restaurants that are affiliated with, the coupons are still a good value.

Sarah November 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm

You all missed the best one for eGift cards with

It links you to all the eGift cards and is free of charge since it is purely referral. The others generally have some sort of transaction fees, are resellers, or are catered more to B2B sales.

Live for Improvement November 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I like gift cards. True, they aren’t very personal, but they allow people to buy what they want. Being able to mail cards easily is another bonus.

-Dan Malone-

Joel November 25, 2009 at 1:34 am

I am all for general purpose gift cards like an AmEx card or a card that can be used just about anywhere (although I certainly would never turn down a gift card to Borders or Barnes and Noble 🙂 )

Steve November 25, 2009 at 11:14 am

Most of these comments are right on. Why not walk into a store with $100 gift card I paid $80 for. I don’t buy gift cards to give away as gifts anymore. I use the gift cards to shop with. I’m saving 15% to 20% before I walk in the store. I usually combine it with a store sale and usually save any where from 40% to 60%. My favorite site is You can sell your gift card for cash or buy gift cards at a discount. I usually get the cards in 3 or 4 days.

Megan November 30, 2009 at 7:00 am

I think the gift card swapping site is a brilliant idea. I’ve received gift cards in the past that I have been unable to use as the shop it’s for is not in my area. Wish I’d known about this before, then maybe I wouldn’t have wasted a perfectly good gift card.

Chuck January 11, 2010 at 11:22 am

You will guaranteed make this much in free amazon gift cards by using these two: Swagbucks. You can enter your info and sign up. Then just search the web using their search engine and you will automatically earn swagbucks to trade in for $5 Amazon gift cards(I do $10-$15/month)

Irazoo: You can sign up with them too. This site is better than Swagbucks because the points are guaranteed if you rate and recommend the sites you look at, whereas with Swagbucks you just win by chance. I get guaranteed $15/month at Irazoo, that’s every 10 days I trade points in for a $5 amazon gift card; ask anyone that uses swagbucks if they get a gift card every 10 days and they will say NO, that’s way too hard.

have fun winning!!!!

Henry Adams September 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Don’t forget about E-junkie. There’s tons of coupon codes, gift certificates and discount codes being sold there. One can buy Amazon gift certificates for 6% off their face value.

Billy January 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm

You could also try Thirstcard (see They often have coupon codes so it is worth finding one on the web somewhere before you buy. With a Thirstcard, you can enjoy half price drinks at a number of bars, clubs, pubs and coffee shops in the UK.

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