Free gift cards are like being handed a free pass to treat yourself 100% guilt-free. That’s such a good feeling when money is tight, and you’ve been trying hard not to splurge. Treat yourself to coffee, dinner out, a massage, a book, whatever.
The only bummer is that you usually only get gift cards as gifts. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to earn free gift cards if you know where to look. Now you can treat yourself any time of the year!
21 Ways to Get Free Gift Cards (Amazon, Target, Starbucks, & More!)
Earn free gift cards for shopping
This is, hands down, the easiest way to earn free gift cards because shopping is something you already do. These apps will pay you in points or cash when you shop in-store or online, and you can redeem those earnings for free gift cards.
Ibotta is one of the most popular shopping apps because you can get discounts on groceries and other items, while also earning free gift cards for shopping as you normally do.
There are a few different ways to save money and earn gift cards with Ibotta:
- Link your store loyalty account to the app so you can automatically claim discounts
- Take a picture of your receipt and upload it to the app
- Shop through the Ibotta app
- Download the Ibotta browser extension
- Watch short videos to earn
- Referring friends — earn $5 for each friend who signs up through your link
Whenever you do one of those things, you’ll earn cash that’s deposited in your Ibotta account, and you can cash out when you hit $20.
Earn gift cards when you shop
Ibotta pays you for shopping like you normally would, and you can have your earnings transferred to gift cards to popular stores like Starbucks, Panera, Walmart, Lowe’s, Sephora, and more. Ibotta will also pay you cash via PayPal or Venmo.Check out Ibotta
On Swagbucks, you can earn free gift cards by shopping online and in-store, taking surveys, playing games, watching videos, and more.
Swagbucks has already paid out over $645,000,000 in gift cards and cash since they launched in 2008.
The way you earn gift cards for shopping is by shopping through the app (this is the easiest way), or use a link card to shop in store. You earn points when you shop at one of their more than 1,500 different retailers, and those points convert to gift cards or cash.
Shop online or in-store for free gift cards
Swagbucks pays in points that convert to gift cards to more than 140 different companies. You can also earn points by taking surveys, playing games, and watching videos.Start earning Swagbucks
You can earn over 80 different gift card options on Tada just for buying groceries and shopping at your favorite stores. Tada has a very simple 4-step process to paying gift cards:
- Sign up for free with your email address
- Shop at your favorite stores — you can earn up to 20% back on your purchases
- Scan your receipts
- Cash out for gift cards
Want to earn free gift cards for going out to eat? Sign me up!
Seated is an app where you can earn rewards for restaurant takeout, delivery, and reservations — up to 30% back each time. There are over 1,500 restaurants and bars that have partnered with Seated.
You earn rewards when you book reservations or place orders through the app. Once you’ve paid for your meal, you upload a photo of your receipt and earn the reward. Rewards vary by restaurant, but they average $10-$20 according to Seated.
The Seated app keeps track of your rewards, and you can redeem them for gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Nordstrom, and more.
Seated is currently available in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Atlanta, but they plan to expand to more cities across the U.S.
Take surveys for free gift cards
Online surveys are put out by market research companies to find out what consumers think about different brands. Companies use this data for things like creating more effective ad campaigns and developing new products. All of these survey sites are free to sign up for, and they pay in points that convert to free gift cards or cash.
5. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is one of the most popular and trusted survey apps. Most of the surveys take 5-20 minutes on average, and you’ll be asked questions about your shopping habits, demographics, opinions on products and brands, etc.
Survey Junkie pays in points that convert to gift cards or cash. One Survey Junkie Point = $0.01, and you need 500 points to cash out. The surveys pay an average of 100 to 300 points. You also get paid to fill out profiles, which are short questionnaires used to match you with surveys.
You’ll need to earn at least 1,000 points to cash out, and that will get you a $10 gift card to stores like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and more. They have larger gift card denominations if you want to save up your points.
Survey Junkie is my favorite survey site
This is my top pick because they have quality surveys, and you can earn gift cards with more than just surveys. Survey Junkie also pays you to test products, participate in focus groups, or by sharing your online browsing behaviors with SJ Pulse, Survey Junkie’s browser extension.Sign up for Survey Junkie
MyPoints is owned by the same company that owns Swagbucks, so you know it’s a legit way to earn free gift cards! MyPoints pays you to take surveys, watch videos, play games, and shop online.
You’re paid in points that convert to gift cards or cash, and 150 points equals about $1 depending on how you redeem them. For example, if you redeem your points via PayPal, each point is worth a little over half a cent. Your points are worth a little less than one cent when redeemed for Amazon gift cards.
7. Branded Surveys
Branded Surveys is another top survey site that pays you in points that convert to gift cards or cash. What you’ll like about this survey site is that they have one of the fastest redemption periods.
You need to earn 1,000 points to cash out — 1,000 points = $10 in gift cards. Once you have 1,000 points, you can claim gift cards, and then it only takes 1-2 days for you to receive them.
Get paid for your opinions
Branded Surveys pays you in points for completing short surveys, and you can redeem those points for gift card, PayPal cash, bank transfer, or charitable donation.
8. Pinecone Research
I actually took surveys and earned free gift cards with Pinecone Research back when I was in college, so I know they’re a trustworthy site. And what I really like about Pinecone Research is that you can start cashing out for gift cards once you’ve earned only $3 in points.
Pinecone Research’s surveys pay in points that average of $0.50 to $3 per survey, and you can redeem your points for gift cards to Amazon, Target, Walmart, iTunes, and more. Or, you can cash out via PayPal or check if you want cash.
Pinecone Research pays $0.50 to $3/survey
You can quickly earn gift cards through Pinecone Research because they only require $3 worth of points to start redeeming them for gift cards.Sign up for Pinecone Research
9. Opinion Outpost
Opinion Outpost is owned by Dynata — a giant in the market research industry. Like other survey sites, Opinion Outpost pays you in points that you can redeem for free gift cards or cash.
Their surveys average 15 to 20 minutes, and you can earn upwards of $5 worth of points with longer surveys. Branded Surveys also has a referral program that pays $1 for every friend you refer up to $5. Your friend will have to complete at least one survey before you’re paid.
You only need to earn 50 points to earn gift cards, and 50 points = $5 in gift cards to Amazon, Home Depot, iTunes, and more. Opinion Outpost will also cash your points via PayPay, but gift cards are the fastest option because you only need 50 points, compared to the 100 points you’ll need for PayPal.
Opinion Outpost rewards you with free Amazon gift cards
It’s free to sign up and start taking surveys on Opinion Outpost. You can earn free gift cards to Amazon, PayPal cash, or Visa gift cardsCheck out OpinionOutpost
Free gift cards for playing games and completing simple online tasks
Yes, there are apps that will reward you with gift cards for playing games, watching videos, reading emails, and more. I want to warn you that playing games and watching videos is one of the slowest ways to earn free gift cards, but it’s a great alternative if you’re already on your phone playing Candy Crush.
InboxDollars will give you gift cards for doing all sorts of different things on their app — playing games, watching videos, opening paid emails, and taking surveys.
You earn points for completing small tasks on their site, and you’ll need to earn at least $30 worth of points before you can cash out for Amazon gift cards or PayPal cash.
InboxDollars is a free online rewards program
New users earn $5 just for signing up through my exclusive link. Earn more gift cards watching videos, playing games, reading emails, and more.Get $5 from InboxDollars
Mistplay is an Android-only app where you can earn gift cards by playing games on your phone. You can earn points while you play and extra points for finishing competitions. It’s a social app, so you can play with friends and even chat in the app.
Mistplay pays in units that you can convert to a Visa gift card or gift cards to Amazon, GameStop, PlayStation, Google Play, and more.
The reason this app gives you gift cards is that it’s a game-testing site for game developers. So be prepared to give feedback while you play.
InstaGC stands for Instant Gift Cards, and you earn points that convert to gift cards when you watch videos, search the web, or shop online.
They say they’ve already had over 1,000,000 gift cards redeemed, and you can earn gift cards to more than 300 different companies. You can get free gift cards to popular companies like Amazon and Target, but they also offer gift cards to places like Advanced Auto Parts, Delta, Hulu, IKEA, and more.
Passive ways to earn gift cards
The next few ideas will passively pay you gift cards. That means you’re not actively trading your time, like taking surveys. It can take a while to earn free gift cards through these apps, but there’s hardly any effort required from you.
The SlideJoy app wants to rent your phone’s lock screen, so instead of choosing the image, SlideJoy will show you news stories and promotions.
You’ll earn points that SlideJoy calls carats, and 1,000 carats converts to $1 that can be redeemed for gift cards or cash via PayPal. Most users will earn around 10-20 carats per day, which isn’t a lot but it’s super passive because all you have to do is let Slidejoy use your lock screen.
The Honeygain app pays you for unused internet data. The app creates a gateway for other companies to use for search queries. Don’t worry, this is all very legit stuff like keyword analysis and online research.
Honeygain pays in credits at a rate of 1 credit for 10 MB of traffic. To give you an idea of how much that’s with, 10GB = $1. You can cash out when your account hits $20, and Honeygain will pay you in cash via PayPal or in Bitcoin. I know neither of those are gift cards, but being able to passively earn crypto is pretty cool.
15. Embee Performance Meter
The Embee Performance Meter is available for Android users only, and it runs in the background and collects data on network performance and how you use your phone. You can earn around $0.10-$0.40 a day on average that can be redeemed for free Amazon gift cards, plus other retailers like Sears and Domino’s Pizza.
This app is not collecting any sensitive data, like passwords or account numbers — it’s only collecting data about how you normally use your phone.
Even more ways to get free gift cards
These last ideas don’t fall under any of the categories above, so definitely read through each option. I explain birthday clubs, online giveaways, gift card exchanges, and more.
16. Sign up for birthday freebies
You can earn a lot of gift cards around your birthday if you know where to look, and you can basically make your birth month one giant celebration. You deserve it!
Some birthday clubs have stipulations on when you use your freebies, and some gift you with an item instead of gift cards. Signing up for birthday freebies usually only takes your name, date of birth (they want to see an ID), and email address.
Here are a few birthday clubs to check out:
- Applebee’s will give you a free dessert on your birthday when you spend $15 and give you a gift card for $5 off your next purchase of at least $25
- Auntie Annie’s gives you a free pretzel on your birthday
- Baskin Robbins offers a gift card for a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday
- Get free chips and guacamole on your birthday from Chipotle when you spent $5
- Dunkin’ Donuts gives you a gift card for a free beverage on your birthday
- Get a gift card for free birthday pancakes from IHOP
- Red Robin will give you a free gift card for a birthday burger
- Starbucks Rewards members get a free birthday beverage or food item
- AMC Theatres gives you a gift card for a free large popcorn during your birth month if you sign up for their AMC Stubs Insider club
17. Get free Amazon gift cards for your electronics
You can get free Amazon gift cards through their Amazon Trade-In Program. Eligible trade-in items include Kindles, phones, video games, tablets, streaming media players, home security devices, and more.
Amazon covers shipping when you trade-in, and you’ll earn a free Amazon gift card, plus you usually get a discount to purchase a replacement. Amazon refurbishes the trade-ins to resell, and they recycle want can’t be restored.
18. Earn free Apple gift cards
Apple has a similar program to Amazon’s, but Apple’s program really focuses on trading in to upgrade your devices. They want to pay you in credit that you can use to put towards a new phone, iWatch, iPad, etc.
However, they will give you a free Apple gift card if you’re not ready to upgrade. You can bring your device to an Apple store or check out their trade-in program here.
19. Grab a free Target gift card
Target occasionally runs promotions where you can earn free Target gift cards. The deals are pretty simple, like “Buy 2 Tide laundry detergent, and get a $5 gift card.”
You can find deals on their website or by signing up for Target emails.
20. Refer your friends
If there’s a brand or service you really love and you think your friends will to, you may be able to earn a free gift card for referring them. Several companies have referral programs, including:
- Public: This investment app will give you a free stock slice when you refer your friends. Don’t worry, they earn a free stock slice for signing up too.
- Robinhood: Robinhood will give you and your friend a free stock when they sign up through your referral link. Stocks may be worth up to $500!
- Chase: Chase has several credit card offers where you can earn $100 bonus (up to $500 a year) when you refer your friends to sign up for a new card. Offers vary by card.
- Personal Capital: This is one of my favorite free personal finance apps. My wife and I have been using Personal Capital for years to track our spending, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and more. You and your friend will have to link at least one investment account with a value of $1,000 or greater to be eligible.
- Acorns: This micro-investment app will pay you $5 for each friend you refer, and they’ll also get $5 in their account to invest.
Those are just a few referral programs. Companies Like Walmart, FabFit Fun, MeUndies, Sam’s Club, GrubHub, and more all have referral programs where you’ll earn gift cards.
21. Exchange gift cards you don’t want for ones you do
We’ve all gotten a gift card we’ll never use, but instead of letting them waste away in a drawer, exchange them for gift cards you will use.
Sites like Raise and CardCash will not only buy your gift cards for cash, you can exchange them for new gift cards. You will get more value out of your gift card if you exchange it for another one instead of doing cash.
What’s the best way to earn free gift cards?
The best way to get free gift cards is by doing things you normally do. Take shopping — you’re going to shop anyway, right? So why not earn gift cards and discounts along the way with Ibotta or Swagbucks. It’s free to sign up for both apps, and you earn gift cards for shopping online or in-store.
If you don’t do a lot of the shopping for your family, then taking online surveys with Survey Junkie is a great alternative. It takes a little more effort, but online surveys are incredibly mindless.
There are honestly so many different ways to get free gift cards. There’s no reason you can’t try more than one of the ideas on this list to find out what’s the best option for you.